Most years, the first snowfall has signaled it’s time to put my bicycle away for the winter.
But last summer I bought my first electric bike, and I was having too much fun to put it away when we got an early snowfall on October 23. Besides, my sister in Halifax, who commutes by bicycle through the winter, encouraged me to keep going. Just watch for ice, she warned.
So although I’m an experienced cyclist, I’m a newbie when it comes to winter cycling. I hope that you can learn from my mistakes and falls.
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My e-bike is a Rad Power RadMini with four-inch-wide fat tires. The fat tires are good on snow, but their 20-inch diameter limits their ability to ride in snow deeper than a few inches.
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.