Ebikes, Seniors and Osteoarthritis – How an ebike has changed my life

Richard McGuire rides on the KVR Trail up the west side of Skaha Lake between Okanagan Falls and Penticton. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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I’ve been a cyclist since I was five years old, but four years ago the osteoarthritis in my knees made cycling much more challenging – especially dealing with the many hills in the South Okanagan.

But cycling – like swimming – is excellent exercise for those with osteoarthritis in the knees. You’re not carrying your full weight on your knees and it’s low impact. Cycling strengthens leg muscles which – in combination with other exercises and medication – makes the arthritis more manageable.

When I rented an ebike in Vancouver in October 2019, I was hooked. Nine months later, after doing research and waiting six weeks because they were back ordered, my Rad Power Bicycles RadMini arrived. It’s a foldable (but heavy) ebike that I can load into the back of my car and take to interesting places.

With a traditional bike, I was no longer able to get up steep hills, and I had to walk my bike up, which defeated the purpose. Now, I’m able to increase the electric pedal assist and pedal up steep hills, still getting a good workout.

On flat ground, I can use minimal pedal assist, getting more or less the same exercise I would get on a traditional bike.

Ebikes allow seniors to continue cycling later in life and they’re a great way to get out and see the beautiful South Okanagan.

Cycling is fun. I feel like a kid again.