In my last post, I stated that I would be telling you about our travels as we’ve moved on. I’ve decided to write about our new ebikes instead. They are a lot of fun for us and I thought I would share.
My husband, Cal, and I have loved bike riding since we were each growing up. Bikes were part of our first purchases long ago as newlyweds. Our last few years in Missouri were spent riding the mostly flat Katy Trail, a rails-to-trails that stretches all the way across Missouri. We rode the entire 225 miles round trip but took years to do it, exploring local sights and bed-and-breakfasts along the trail. The Katy Trail is really the kind of trail we are used to now.
We hauled our bikes out to Rend Lake in Illinois after purchasing our RV. There was a bike trail there, but the (small) hills on the trail were more difficult than we thought they should be. I guess we’re not getting any younger! We don’t ride enough now to attain any level of fitness on them. We’ve had the bikes out for rides since then, depending where we are, but not really all that often. I can tell you, most trails in the Southwest are not like the Katy Trail. So, mostly our bikes have sat, bundled up, on the back of our RV.
Cal wanted to buy ebikes from the beginning of our RV venture. I’m not mechanically inclined and although I liked the idea, I was honestly a little afraid of riding one. I was also somewhat tired of spending bundles of money after the RV purchase, so I put him off a bit by telling him we needed to save for them. Meanwhile, he researched the future purchase and talked to people who had them in some of the parks we have been in. In January I could put it off no longer – we had plenty of money saved in the little fund that I had set aside for this purpose.
We were in agreement on the two reasons we wanted the bikes – to be able to tackle hills with ease, and to be able to go longer distances on our rides.
When the time came, he knew exactly what we needed. He ordered the bikes from Lectric and they came in two big boxes – not much assembly required! They are Lectric eBikes XP 3.0 and they fold in half. He purchased them with a package that included better headlights, seats, locks and bigger batteries. He also ordered mirrors from Amazon.
I was more than a little nervous getting on my bike for the first time. Cal was very patient with me and walked me through the use of the pedal assist, the gears and the throttle. There were some weird painted lines at the end of our street which seemed tailor made for an ebike rookie like me.
Soon we were riding around the RV park, and then out the gates on our first adventure. Just five minutes away was a Marine military academy. Everyone there must have been on a winter break because the streets were deserted. We found a huge empty parking lot where I could experiment with using the throttle, and tentatively took the bike up to 18 mph. Wheeee!
It was on the way back to our park from this ride that I realized that it was one of those windy Harlingen days. In our excitement over the bikes, we had not noticed. So it was that we found our third use for ebikes: riding in the wind. With our old bikes we would definitely been fighting the strong headwinds.
We rode the country roads around Harlingen:
and, later, around the naval air station in Corpus Christi.
Both places were perfect for learning how to ride. Contrary to what I used to think, I get as much of a workout as I want by adjusting the gears. There are seven, and I have my bike set usually at five or six. The pedal assist adjusts the speed, and it helps when I’m getting started or going up a hill. There are five levels, and level two or three is fine for riding. I’ve gotten it up to to four only once. That was for a granddaddy of a hill which I pedaled up with ease.
The throttle is what helps me zip across a busy street, or catch up to Cal when I’m lagging behind. On a straightaway, it is fun to just use the throttle, sit on the bike like I’m on a scooter, and take up the speed. But I don’t do that often. It is both exhilarating and a little scary. It uses up battery life faster, too.
Harlingen and Corpus Christi are on a coastal plain, so the roads around both places are flat as a pancake. When we traveled further on, to Central Texas and Austin, we were able to see what the bikes could do on hills. Bastrop State Park had some paved trails, and I could go up the hills with no problem. In the picture below, we had just come off a pretty good down hill where the bike had gone up to 21 miles per hour.
The bikes weigh 70 pounds including the battery. They are fairly heavy to schlep in and out of our truck but so far Cal says he doesn’t think it’s too bad. I’ve helped him and I think they’re heavy. We’ll see how it goes down the road.
We found a couple of great paved bike trails in Austin: the North and the South Walnut Creek Bike Trails. The paths were wide, paved, and woodsy. You wouldn’t know you were right in the middle of the city.
I was taking some scenic photos of the Texas bluebonnets, and Cal thought it would be cute to put his bike right in the middle of them:
Another day, we went into Austin for a trail that didn’t pan out. This was exactly the way I was feeling on that trail. Only in Austin!
We did circle back on that ride to get on the trail that lines the Colorado River downtown and crosses over with bike-dedicated bridges. Although it was busier, the trail was wide and very beautiful.
It would be great to have paved trails where we are RVing so that we can ride bikes out of the park. We did not have that luxury in the places in Texas where we stayed. This is where my fellow blogger and friend, Betty Chambers, comes in. She has written an ebook “RVing With Bikes”. It shares the locations of full hookup RV parks that have easy access to bike trails right out of the park. The book is small but Betty is adding new parks to it as she finds out about them. I see a lot of value in this book as time goes on. You can find it on Amazon for the paltry sum of $2.99.
I’m going to close for now, it’s time for a bike ride. See you on the trail!
Next time – roaming Central Texas… maybe…