Consumer Technology

Published on July 29th, 2008 | by Joe Mohr

7

It's Electric! My Dad and His E-Bike

July 29th, 2008 by  

My sister and I bought and assembled an electric motor for my dad’s bike this Christmas. It was the first gift he’s ever enjoyed from us.

Recently retired and now living in a suburb of St. Louis, we knew he’d never take to biking as there were a number of screw-this(!) sized hills all throughout his town. Through ten years of teaching I know that adults are far less resilient than children and often times need but one excuse to say “screw this” and go back , in this case, to a steady diet of TV watching. But we were elated to see how much he enjoyed his juiced up Electra Townie! Whether it’s riding with my mom (another proud new owner of an electric bike–she had to keep up), biking to the store for groceries, or putting it on the bike rack and hitting the Katy Trail, few days go by that he’s not on his electric bike.

This began my love affair with electric bikes.

My dad used to be a very active man, his entire life was spent, running, biking, bowling, playing baseball, football, volleyball, racquetball, and golf. However, two very bad knees made even walking a pain, and for the last 15 years all of the activities listed above were whittled down to one–golf, and always with a cart. But now he has his bike and is as enthusiastic as ever to get out and feel the wind whipping through what’s left of his hair (I can say that because he has MORE hair than me!).

As an avid bike commuter, my stance on the electric bike is as follows: it’s not for me–atleast not yet anyway * But it is for all the people who:

+ Can’t (or don’t want to) arrive to work sweaty

+ Have too many hills keeping them from enjoying a regular bike ride

+ Have bad knees

+ Want to enjoy a quiet peaceful relaxing ride without much physical exertion

+ Want to drive less

+ Can’t afford gas

+ Want to help the environment

+ Want a scooter and a bike but only have money for one

+ Want a little exercise

+ Like to avoid traffic

+ Like to take shortcuts

+ Don’t like searching for parking spots

+ Want to have more freedom and more fun!

Here and here are two pretty informative electric bike websites. A browse through these will leave you more informed as to which e-bike may be best for you. Or, one glance at the Rolls Royce of electric bikes may be all you need…

Related Articles

Better Living Through Biking

How to Ride Your Bike to Work

Beer, Water, Big, Small–the Good Old Bike Can do it All!

*The hills in my new neighborhood have kept me from enjoying my skateboard–so this electric skateboard may very well be in my future.

image credit: Hammacher.com


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About the Author

is an Environmental/Political cartoonist for Planetsave, Elephant Journal, Wend Magazine, Twilight Earth, Ecopolitology, EcoSnobberySucks, and more... Joe also does a kids enviro-toon called Hank D and the Bee on EcoChildsPlay and NaturalPapa. Joe lives in University City, Missouri and spends his free time with his beautiful wife, enthusiastic daughter, and curious toddler of the same name. He also enjoys writing, drawing, painting, walking, biking, skateboarding, gardening, reading, listening to music, playing sports, and watching plays (especially the plays his wife's site-specific theatre company, Onsite Theatre puts on).   Visit Joe's online cartoon gallery at JoeMohrToons.com.



  • sealcl

    LOL — that’s great that you finally managed to get your dad a present he liked — I have yet to do that myself. How did you decide to get and install a motor rather than buy an e-bike? Is there a motor you would recommend similar to the one on this e-bike: http://ohmcycles.com/electric-commuter-bike/? Do you know if you can achieve a similar effect with installing a motor as you would with an actual electric bike?

  • Joe Mohr

    Navywife,

    Click on the links (“Here and here”) on the article. Those two sites will answer your questions.

    Don’t lose your enthusiasm–I personally watched it transform my dad’s life!

  • Joe Mohr

    Navywife,

    Click on the links (“Here and here”) on the article. Those two sites will answer your questions.

    Don’t lose your enthusiasm–I personally watched it transform my dad’s life!

  • NavyWife

    Sounds great. I live in CT where there are alot of hills so this would be great. It would give access to places where my knees can’t go.

    So my questions is what brand/model of electric motor did you and where from and how much?

  • NavyWife

    Sounds great. I live in CT where there are alot of hills so this would be great. It would give access to places where my knees can’t go.

    So my questions is what brand/model of electric motor did you and where from and how much?

  • Yep, know what you mean… even on short rides in the city, I encounter some hils that get me huffing and puffing quickly.

  • Yep, know what you mean… even on short rides in the city, I encounter some hils that get me huffing and puffing quickly.

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