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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Never forget how

Uploaded: Dec 25, 2011
They say once you learn to ride a bicycle you never forget how. Maybe it depends on the bicycle. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I ordered an electric bike from Supersized Cycles in Vermont. It arrived on December 9th.

The owner of the bike shop said it would be easy for me to assemble, but it was too heavy for me to pick up. So I asked my neighbor to put the box in the back of my car and I took it down to Dublin Cyclery to assemble.

The bike was ready about a week later. It did not come with any instructions, and one piece was damaged during shipping, but the bike mechanic in Dublin did a good job getting everything to work.

This bike is designed to carry up to 300 lbs. and is built like a tank. All of the tubing is extra thick, and it has an electric motor on the rear wheel with a sealed battery. Mine looks like the one in the photo except in black.

All of this reinforcement doubles the weight of the bike from a normal cruiser-type bike which would weight 30 lbs. to 61 lbs. Also even though the frame is a step through, I had difficulty climbing through it. The bike guys suggested getting on from a curb, which I tried and that worked.

The mechanic put the seat level with the rear bike rack. This crunched my knee on the up stroke, so he raised it up a little. It's still tight on the knee, but any higher and it would be too tall for me.

I bought a basket for the handlebars, which stuck out over the top by 2 or 3 inches. We tried several other baskets, including a wicker one, but the best was a metal cage that hung from the handlebars with rubber covered hooks. I noticed when I got home that the handlebars have a gouge where the first one was bolted on. I'm a little annoyed by that but overall the guys in Dublin did a good job.

I bought a bike carrier to take it home. I was nervous it would be too heavy for me to take it off the carrier, but that wasn't a problem. The rear wheel is heavier than the front because of the motor. I put the battery inside the car. That took 15 lbs. off the weight of the bike leaving over 45 lbs.

I was able to lower the rear wheel with the motor on it onto a chair under the bike carrier. Then I took the front of the bike off the carrier, and put it on the ground, and eased the rear side onto the ground. I felt good about getting this far with it.

I locked the bike onto a steel cat cage I have in the garage, and left it in the garage next to my Focus. Later I realized I should have taken the battery into the house because it was getting very cold at night and that would cause the battery to lose its charge. I brought the battery inside and put it on the charger, but the bike shop had charged it and the charge light turned green in a minute.

So the battery and the bike were ready to go, but I wasn't sure I was yet. The next day I adjusted my new helmet, took the bike to the curb, and tried it out. I was able to get on it, but I wasn't able to peddle fast enough for it to start moving.

It started to tilt over on me. I was able to get my feet on the ground and keep it from falling over, but the chain or gear (probably the gear) got caught in my sock. I pulled it lose, but it caused a 2" cut in the back of my calf. This bike was starting to scare me.

A neighbor was walking her dog across the street. I asked her if the bike looked too big for me. She said it was just the right size, but I wasn't ready to try riding it again. So I put it back in the garage and it has been there this week.

They say when you fall off a bike (or is it a horse?) you must get back on right away so you don't let it intimidate you. I didn't fall off, but I'm very afraid of falling because as I have mentioned here before, if I fall down I can't get up without help. It would be even worse with a 61 lb. bike cutting up my leg.

I'll buy some calf sleeves and try riding the bike again. I haven't ridden a bike in 15 years, so maybe we do forget how. Or maybe I need something easier like an adult tricycle.

Now I know why so many older folks ride those big tricycles. The last time I rode a trike I was 6 years old and that was 63 years ago, but once you learn to ride a tricycle you never forget how.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Mark Ballock, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Roz,

Good for you to get a bike to tool around on. Your choice of electric is a good one for around town and up and down the Iron Horse trail. I applaud you for starting cautiously and taking it slow. We all may never forget how to ride a bike, but we do get a little rusty after years of non riding. I can attest with certainty that falling is not the best thing for older bodies as we tend to bruise and break more easily, but with time and slow cautious riding everyone can enjoy the benefits of bicycle riding.
Safe travels, and wear your helmet always!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Thanks, Mark. That's encouraging coming from you. You didn't give up riding after your accident and set a good example for me to follow. I will look into a tricycle too.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Harry, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

Roz- i rode my daughters new bike and could barely keep it straight. i used to ride off road for years in college, yeah i went to college for years, and thought it would be easy. i laughed so hard at my inability i almost tore the fence down. So maybe get some knee and elbow pads, strap on the helmet and calf socks and ride by my house for a photo. HAHAHA! Best of luck, you are a real sport and Happy New Year to you:)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:22 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Harry,

I'm glad I'm not the only one to forget how to ride a bike. But Harry, you are at least 20 years younger than I am!

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Roz,
If you are ever in Pleasanton, can i suggest you go out to lunch at Me and My Friends Deli on first street across the street from the Pleasanton School District offices. After you fantastic lunch, ask to see Marco (co-owner with his brother Vince), Marco has a battery powered 3 wheeler that he uses to run errands around town, it has a large basket in the back and i think it moves in excess of 25 miles per hour, but don't quote me. Check it out, tell them Mr. Rooter sent you.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Dave (Hudson?),

I don't go to Pleasanton very often, but I will take you up on your offer next time I do.

After I answered Harry message I phoned Worksman Cycles in Queens, NY. They manufacture heavy duty industrial and recreational tricycles. The person I spoke to recommended their Port-a-Trike, which can be purchased with an electric motor. Their website says it is for riders under 200 lbs, but she said it would be sturdy enough to hold me.

I also phoned Dublin Cyclery, and they were putting together an adult Tricycle during my call which could hold up to 300 lbs. It doesn't have a motor, but I will go down there and try it out. It isn't a Worksman and I prefer to buy one that's made in America, but I don't want another mail-order bike that I haven't tried riding first.

I would have to sell my new Currie iZip at a loss, but I'm pretty sure I can get close to what I paid for it. It is a very nice bike but not right for me.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by mloliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 28, 2011 at 9:31 am

Good luck in finding just the right mode of transportation, Roz. I think those trikes look like a lot of fun! At least it won't be as opinionated as my current non-motorized-but-self-propelled means of off-road transport.

MLO



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