Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Silver Wings.....glistening in the sunshine. Trek Electric Bicycles

usbackroads--Trek electric bicycles

One of my favorite songs is Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings"He was singing about jet airplanes, but Monday we picked up our own versions of "Silver Wings".  Two brand new, shiny silver electric bicycles.

In my 20's I quit my job, applied for graduate school and took off across Europe on a bicycle for 2000 miles of touring on "Big Red".  I should have gone to New Zealand, but that is a different story.  A 531 double-butted Reynolds tube bicycle outfitted with campy gear and Holdsworth stenciled on the down tube.  The bicycle was designed for racing, not touring.  And in my 20's I could step on it and accelerate just by pedaling.

Well, time has way of taking away muscle strength and tone.  So those memories of "stepping on it" and pulling away on a bicycle have just become fond memories until yesterday.  Yes, with an electric bicycle when you step on it it is a quick trip back to your 20's.  It looks like each level of power assist takes a decade off your personal aging process.  So level 1 gets me back to 50, and so forth.  That means level 4 gets me all the way back to 20!  I suppose I "wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then....",  but at least with the electric bikes you can get help Running Against the Wind.

The Trek Electric bicycles are BICYCLES.  Many electric bicycles are really scooters with pedals.  The Trek's MUST be pedaled for them to move.  The electric boost has four levels including a ZERO level.  So it really feels like riding a bicycle on steroids.  And if you rode when younger it will bring back that excitement of riding a high performance bike.

They also have four regenerative modes where the electric motor is used to charge the battery.  This also slows the bicycle on steep downgrades.  It works like an exhaust brake on steep downgrades.  Handy for running with full panniers.  To keep within most state laws the Trek assist is turned off at 19 mph.  The battery has a range of 40 miles and recharging take 3 to 4 hours.

Hard core bicyclists view electric bicycles as cheating.  I prefer to view it as "cheating time".  The best part is the Trek bicycles are totally silent with a small battery that is hardly visible.  So most people assume that you are one hell of a bicyclist as you whiz past them.

Here is a link to a bicycle tour around the western states on a Trek Electric bicycle.  The author is a Dr. of Veterinary Medicine and her partner due to illness was no longer able to keep up with her on a regular bicycle.  So he did the tour on an electric.  Great read.  Here is her link:  http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=9261&v=23O.

So hopefully, the plan is one of these days is too tour New Zealand on the electric bicycles.  A little bit of fly fishing, maybe some mountain bike trails,  some bed and breakfast nights, and the company of New Zealander's and their beautiful country.

This spring shakedown cruises up the Stehekin Valley up to high bridge.  My only trips to Stehekin have always been "business trips" either on forest fires or as a stop over on the way to Forest Service managed lands in the area.  Those work days are slowly receding in the memory banks.  And it was still a job, so now it will fishing and photography.

Other trips are the Hiawatha Trail, the John Wayne Trail (no, not that John Wayne) and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.  See my postings for information on these trails:  Lower Coeur d' Alene River, Hiawatha Trail

We are looking forward to exploring the area around our cabin with the electric bicycles,  Camas Meadows.

The bicycles are stored in the rear of the 5th wheel for now.  It looks like we will have to get a hitch put on so they can ride in back.  We will be riding the trails of Black Butte Lake, hopefully by the weekend.  Yosemite National Park and the valley floor are also on the agenda for the Silver Eagle!  Susie is waiting to knowing her bicycle better before naming it.

If is snows tonight we are staying in Eugene for another night.  No snow we are headed to Medford at mid-morning.

Here is the link to Part II:   Trek Electric Bicycles--Part Two

We have great plans for those "Silver Wings".


Donna K said...

Those are some nice looking bikes. I hope you put lots of miles on them and make it to New Zealand with them one of these days. Hopefully our snow is all gone for now. Travel safe.

Anonymous said...

That sure is a great idea for us oldies.