What is an Electric Bike?  We’re starting to see a few E-Bikes on HBC rides and most are battery assisted pedal bicycles.  For some reason, these battery- assisted phenomena are just starting to catch on in America … maybe the low cost of fossil fuels and the American desire for huge machines with massive horsepower to propel them and our national belief that Global Warming is a myth are part of the impetus … although the first U.S. Patent 552,271 was recorded in 1895 by Ogden Bolton Jr. 

I wrote about the first E-bike on one of my scheduled rides several years back when a participant showed up and introduced us to what we thought was new at the time.  Research on the internet and testing a few bike models in local shops impressed me then but I was not “ready for the transition”. That was then and then is now and yes, I am now riding … joyfully I might add … my new Trek CrossRip e-bike as often as I can and up many hills as I like.  You hate hills or being left in the back … try an “E”. Guaranteed to take years off any age you feel (even if you’re still a kid).  

What do I like about the Trek CrossRip?  Start with the name … I can now “rip” up hills in my high gear that I torturously climbed at a 5-10 mph pace previously and keep up with traffic in the 30 plus range at least briefly.  Add to this touring style looks, drop handlebars, full fenders, disc brakes and running lights front and back. Oh, and a kickstand! Remember these … we used to have them to hold our bikes upright but got rid of them along with reflectors on the wheels and valve stems because of the extra weight.   And with the high heat and humidity in recent weeks I’ve also discovered moving 5-10+ mph faster has a more cooling effect. Add hills and wind as factors … no problem with an “E”. 

Several people have asked me if I feel like I’m “cheating” with my new E-Bike?  Not really. Age, disease and injuries have taken a toll on my body and if it takes a battery to allow me to go faster and keep up (or ahead) of younger and more fit cyclists the only one I’m cheating is Father Time.  You ride a lighter bike than the guy or gal next to you do you feel like you’re ‘cheating’?  

Do you get the same workout with an E-bike as the conventional pedal bike?  I think it depends on how hard we pedal because to move the bicycle forward requires pedaling and how far we pedal.  I know for sure I’m not feeling the stress of trying to keep up with faster bicyclists and pedaling hard to catch up with the group just as they are rested and taking off again.  The pack gets a little ahead of me now I slip the gear into “Turbo” and I’m quickly back to the group.  

How far an electric bike can travel depends on how fast and the distance and how often hills up and down are encountered but fully charged (takes just two hours) in “ECO” the bike can go 65-80 miles but the bike can be turned to “Off” and coast or be pedaled to add more range.  


References for more information on E-bikes: 

“The Electric Bike Book” by Jim Turner … available free in digital version at www.electicbikebook.com. 


Fun and Health … No Previous Fitness Required 

Very efficient and virtually cost-free to operate 

Responsible carbon footprint with no emissions


Jeff McPartland 

Camp Hill, PA