People tend to laugh when they see me, a professional athlete, on an ebike. Just to be clear, I don’t do my training on an ebike, but it has become an important part of my daily life nonetheless. Why? Because it is fun. Because it brings normalcy and recreation to my life in the form of being together with my friends. Because it makes me feel better about my impact on the environment. Did I mention it is fun?!! Now, along with my mountain bike and road bike, I have an ebike in my collection of two wheeled fun and there is no favoritism between any of them, just the appropriate time and place for each.
My first exposure to ebikes was on a dream road biking trip to Italy with Clif Bar in June 2017. On the trip was a group of Clif sponsored athletes (mountain biker Hans Rey and myself), journalists, photographers, and Clif employees to celebrate Clif’s 25th year of business. We had an ambitious itinerary to climb up four major Giro d’Italia passes. In just two days, we climbed over 20,000 vertical feet and rode over 130 miles of stunning alpine terrain. I had always dreamed of riding my bike through the Alps, which I have spent over 15 years ski racing on through the Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit, and this trip did not let me down. Clif Bar had arranged bikes and had a couple of ebikes in the sag wagon for those who fell behind. While I am wayyyy too competitive to resort to an ebike on an ultimate challenge like this trip, I quickly learned the value of having them in our quiver.
The ability to ride together regardless of ability was the gift ebikes gave to our wildly diverse group. If someone fell off the back of the group, or just needed a rest, the ebike would quickly be traded and the group would remain together, pushing each other, providing support, and using the power of a team to allow everyone to reach our ultimate goal. The second pass on the first day was the hardest for me. I learned on this pass what my aerobic sport friends mean by “bonking”. The unrelenting length and sheer steepness of the Umbrail Pass was physically and mentally brutal, especially because I had never rode that kind of vertical in one day before (the famed Stelvio Pass was the first pass that day). I was in uncharted territory physically and it felt so bad and so good at the same time. While I didn’t use an ebike, I absolutely needed the group with me to give me words of encouragement and talk me through the hardest parts. Being together saved me! It really was the trip of a lifetime.
Back home in Mammoth Lakes, my friends had started purchasing ebikes from Rad Power Bikes one after another. They were going on outings together, riding to work, going shopping, cruising to restaurants, and getting coffee. They were just outside doing it all and I had to be a part of it. I think this was the first impulse purchase I have ever made; there was no need to think about it, I just needed to be included in the group! I chose the RadMini because I have a small apartment, so the fold up feature was perfect for me! Soon our group formed MPACT: Mammoth Pedal Assisted Cycling Team- impacting everything but the environment. We are an unofficially official cycling team that takes over our town every summer Sunday and on radom midweek evenings. We have so much fun, but most importantly we spend time together, outside, being active. After a hard day of training, I usually just want to rest but always have FOMO of what’s going on around me. Now I never miss out! I just hop on my ebike, and fun and friends await.
The RadMini is quite an eye-catching, functional, speedy, and playful gem. I use the racks to run my errands around town or to haul my popcorn machine to parties (the best party trick ever! RadPopcorn never fails to impress). The fat tires take me offroad around Mammoth’s most scenic destinations. I also use it as a more environmentally friendly way to get to the local coffee shop and have the best parking options! Here is my one piece of advice though… when hauling a milk crate full of take-out dinner for your friends, you may need more than one bungee cord to attach the milk crate to the rack…. that was a RadMini fail (or learning experience as I like to think of it).
So, along with my road bike, mountain bike, running shoes, weight lifting equipment, SUP board, and physio balls, my ebike fits perfectly into my collection and life. Try it and you’ll see. This ebiking life is fun.
This content was developed in partnership with Rad Power Bikes. All opinions expressed are my own.
Life is full of surprises and amazing places. I have an overwhelming desire to constantly be challenged and pushed, and to see everything this world has to offer.