A couple of years ago I bought an electric bike. It’s a tellow mountain bike with a motor powered by a rechargeable battery.
18 months down the track I’ve realised this was not the right bike for me. I’ve ridden it a bit — probably well less than 200Km in all that time — but I don’t really enjoy it much. I used to love cycling, but I mainly just dread getting up Mt Victoria, even with battery assistance.
If I’d done my homework better — or even any homework at all — I would have bought something like the Avanti Aria 1, with its women’s geometry.
Well, it might be 18 months late, but that’s what I bought the other day. My photos here show it standing on Oriental Parade by the harbour, and in the back of our rather small Honda Jazz (known as the Honda Fit in some places).
Apparently women’s bodies have different proportions from men’s bodies and that affects the ideal ‘geometry’ for a bike frame:
When it comes to cycling, on the whole women are different to men — especially physically! On average women have shorter torsos, shorter arms, and longer legs than a similar sized man. Shoulders tend to be narrower, hips tend to be wider and hands and feet tend to be smaller. And, yes, the sit bones are wider too!
These differences mean bikes for women need to be designed and made in a specific way to ensure good comfort, fit and performance – for all kinds of female riders.
[Via : What is WISE?.]
A sturdy mountain bike
My yellow mountain bike wasn’t designed for a woman, as far as I know. It’s sturdy and quite heavy, what with the motor and battery and all. And it has quite fat tires.
Fat, rather knobbly tires hold tight to the road, making it harder to pedal.
All of that means that the bike was too heavy for me, too reluctant to travel by my pedal power. And it was too heavy for me to lift into the car without fearing major damage to paintwork or me.
And that meant I always had to bike back up Mt Victoria, since we live at the top.
I’ve never been good with biking up hills. I grew up on the flat, after all, in Christchurch.
A fly-away bike
The Aria 1 is a road / fitness bike, designed for casual on-road use.
It’s so light I have no trouble at all lifting it in and out of the back of the car. I can easily manouevre it into position.
Yesterday I drove down to Evans Bay marina, parked by the Zephyrometer and biked North down to Freyberg Pool and back. My iPhone tells me that’s a 10Km round trip that took me 40 minutes.
Then I loaded the bike back into the car and drove up the hill to home. Ahhhh.
I loved it. I felt again that joy of cycling I used to have. The bike glided along easily — even a head wind or two round some of the bays didn’t worry me too much.
Gear changes are a dream. On the way back, with a tail wind I was in the highest gear, powering along, feeling that I can put effort into moving.
Achieving great heights
Today I’ve paid the price. Between the ride on the flat yesterday and the previous day’s attempt at a steep uphill I may have overdone things slightly.
Little by little I anticipate achieving further distances and greater heights.
Before long I hope that instead of 6 stops in the space of 300 metres up a particularly steep part of Mt Vic I’ll need only 5 stops and travel 400 metres maybe. One day I may be able to cycle all the way to the top, rather than walking most of it.
Electric mountain bike for sale
I now plan to sell the yellow electric bike. It’s an Apollo Altitude XC, 24 Speed Cross Country Mountain Bike. It’s a great bike, it’s just not the right one for me!