A couple of weeks later Tony was talking to a neighbor and found out he knew a man who retrofitted standard bikes to make hem electric. Tony contacted the man, tried out one of his bikes, and ended up purchasing it. Shortly after that the weather turned cold. Tony took the battery pack off and brought it upstairs, and the rest of the bike spent the winter in the storage unit.
Yesterday the temperatures were more like May than March, and Tony suggested we take our first bike ride of the year. That sounded good to me. He did some research and found a place in South County that we hadn't been to before, Cliff Cave Park, that had a paved greenway along the Mississippi River. I was still on the fence about electric bikes, and was anxious to see how my standard bike would hold up against Tony's motorized one.
After breakfast I dug the bike carrier out of the corner of the storage unit and installed it on the back of my vehicle, then we put the bikes on. The battery pack makes Tony's bike pretty heavy, but he took it off until we reached the trailhead. Once there, it only took a few seconds for him to get ready to ride.
The park had about seven miles paved trails, divided into lower and upper segments. The lower segment was flat, and had a couple of nice views of the river. The upper segment had an option to connect to Telegraph Road, which had a nice bike lane. We went south on Telegraph for 15 minutes, then turned around and came back.
On the flat surfaces I held my own against Tony and his motorized bike, and a couple of times even got quite a bit ahead of him. However, on the inclines and hills he left me in the dust. At the end of the ride I asked Tony how much he used his electric motor assist. He told me he only used the lowest speed, only on the hills, and at the end of the ride the battery indicator showed that he had used less than a third of the charge was gone.
I asked Tony to give me the name and phone number of the bike retrofitter. I will give him a call. I think I could use my current bike, which would be a nice bonus and save me a little bit of money.