T

he Manitou Days Progressive Community Wide Garage Sale is a go. The sale starts at Community of Grace Lutheran Church of White Bear Lake, located at 4000 Linden Street. Arrive right at 8 a.m. to pick up a map of the participating sales around the communities. The sales are August 21 and 22, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. As with all events, participants should practice social distancing and wear a mask. Now is a good time to get out and find some treasures. Many thanks to the volunteers who are making this event possible.

 

Electric assist bikes

Henry Ford changed America with his affordable automobile and the assembly line. The car allowed families to see parts of the country previously untouchable by horse and buggy or train. Today the electric bicycle is making 30-40 mile bike rides possible for novice cyclists.

Unlike a traditional bike, electric bikes kick in to assist the rider with each peddle. The motor is often located inside the hub of the wheel and a battery pack is the size of a loaf of french bread. Most bikes have a 250-600 watt motor and can assist a rider with 1-5 levels of power.

I have recently been exposed to the e-bike phenomenon and I see why it’s catching on. I’ve now been a couple rides with friends who loaned me a bike. Our first time out was about 28 mile ride in just a few hours. Normally I couldn’t do a 10 mile ride, as I don’t ride often. I never imagined making a long trek like that without significant stress and devastating effects to my physical state. Cycling on an electric bike seems like a good option for people who enjoy biking but aren’t in as great shape as they used to be, have an injury or medical condition, or those motivated by a destination and want to get to it quickly.

The electric assist made the ride a treat. It was enough of a workout but I never felt I might not make it. The electric bike allowed us to explore steeper, rougher terrain with confidence. Each way on the ride my legs became fatigued but with the help of the motor I was still able to keep up with my biking partner.

I’ve been able to try a couple of different electric bikes, ranging from a thousand dollar fat tire bike with a 500 watt motor to a $3,000 high performance belt-driven fat tire bike with higher cruising speeds. Aside from the paint, weight and name brand equipment, both bikes made for an enjoyable ride.

What I’ve noticed from my recent biking experiences is that trail congestion is real. The pandemic has increased traffic on trails throughout the northeast metro. Last week on the Browns Creek Trail we witnessed multiple groups walking three wide and others biking two wide, creating a dangerous situation. Trails need to be shared, and communication needs to happen. Bikers approaching walkers or slower bikers need to call out which side they are passing, and walkers and joggers need to be listening and allow others to pass. We experienced being passed by professional cyclists and appreciated the call out as they passed. Today more than ever, we all need to be courteous of the rules of the road while walking and biking on local trails. Electric bikers need to also adhere to the rules and slow for traffic. No one should get hurt while out enjoying these trails, and trail rage should not exist.

This fall when you’re out on the trails, remember to follow the rules. If you’re not sure, a few basic ones should be obeying all signs, using hand signals, watching speed around others, keeping music low enough to hear others trying to approach, and always wearing a helmet. Check out a bike safety YouTube videos or an online cycle safety course. It might be time for bikers to complete a course like boaters safety or hunters safety.

 

Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.

(1) comment

Beau McDermott

Oh man, I think a lot of people this summer have been catching on to the joy of ebike riding for exactly the reasons you describe, Carter. Even down here in Texas (my pop lives in Minneapolis) ebikes are booming as well. It's been hard to find bikes or bike parts of any sort recently, since everyone's been buying them to get outside (and using any excuse to do so due to the pandemic). Even the company I work for, Bunch Bikes, has been on back order for the luxury cargo bikes we make (they're pricey).On ours, kids ride in front of the handlebars so they can chat and sing with parents while they ride. But ebikes are in now, we're still selling. We've sold a bunch to folks up near you and other areas around the Great Lakes. Glad you're digging the experience and spreading the good word! [beam] Take care, Carter!

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