Sunday, March 26, 2017

new ride

It's been a while since I posted here. There's been little to report about resurrecting the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. I have registered to ride RAGBRAI in July, but there's been precious little riding since last fall. That is going to change.
My bike shop at Scheels in Overland Park, KS has started carrying a selection of Ride+ bikes. We have men's Dual Sport and women's Neko dual purpose or hybrid bikes. We have a men's and women's Lift, and a men's and women's Electra Cruiser. The Electras come with a Bosch battery/ motor system, and the Treks come with Shimano STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Pedal System).

The idea behind "Plus" bikes is that you can get a little help when you ride your bike. You can ride without the system turned on, or you can choose from 3 or 4 different levels of help. You still have to pedal, but the motor can help you maintain your speed going up a hill, or keeping a brisk pace without working too hard on the flats.

To get us up to speed on these bikes we've had training sessions and chances to take them out and ride around the store. In addition, one person from each store was picked to ride one of these bikes as much as possible over the next 4 months. I was picked/ volunteered to fill that role for our store. Last week I brought home a Trek Dual Sport Plus, in my size, with the intention of riding it as much as I can, and commuting as much as possible.
I took the bike for an inaugural ride today. It was cold and cloudy, but I bundled up and headed out to see what I could learn. The main thing is that this is a bike. A 1x10 drivetrain gives you plenty of gears to choose from for most terrain, but you can't just put in in the biggest gear and expect the motor to help you go fast. You have to be in a gear that you can spin the pedals, and allow the motor to help maximize your effort. If you do it properly you can maintain your speed, or even increase it as you climb a hill. I found one stretch of maybe 1/8 of a mile at about 7% grade, and from a stop was able to get up to 17 mph by using the right gear on the bike, and the highest level of help from STEPS.

I'm really looking forward to riding this in some different places, as well as tackling my 8 mile commute. I added a rear rack, and a Bontrager Ion R/Flare City Light Set, and am thinking about a rear trunk bag. If you're interested, I'll be reporting on the bike and my status as a new commuter. And hopefully there will be more stories about RAGBRAI and future Colorado rides.