To E-Bike or not to E-Bike - That is the Question

 E-Bikes have really become a thing the last few years.  We used to see them every now and then, but the majority of cyclists were still on "push bikes".  That is, until around 2017, when Brent, Laura and I were on tour in Germany, and all of a sudden it seemed like almost everyone was on an E-Bike!

Brent and I have talked about getting E-Bikes when we're older, but for now we want to keep pushing up those hills... and truly earning our beers.  More and more often people tell us we should be on E-Bikes, or ask us why we're not using E-Bikes, but we're stubborn about pushing up those hills... by our own power, thank you very much.

This year I had an opportunity to do a supported ride with Ben from  Mountain Madness Tours, an operator that we have known for several years and are very fond of.  Ben enticed me onto a tour from Jasper to Banff (Canmore) by reminding me that the amount of tourist traffic would be very low (or non-existent).  I couldn't pass up this once-in-a-lifetime chance, with Alberta freshly open for business... except for those pesky international tourist drivers.

Ben asked if I wanted to use one of his rental E-Bikes.  I told him no, it wasn't "my time" yet for an E-Bike.  I hoped that Brent and/or Laura would join onto the tour, but as it became apparent that neither of them could come along due to other commitments, I thought yeah, this would be a good time for me to try out an E-Bike.  I could rent one without making a commitment to one, and it would help me keep up with other cyclists who would normally leave me behind in the dust.  

The machine that made me a believer
So, I did the tour on one of Ben's E-Bikes, and now I am an absolute convert.  I hadn't really thought much about how they work, but I guess I sort of assumed they would have their own "forward momentum", similar to a motorcycle, but they do not.  They just add an extra bit of power to my push beyond what my own muscles are capable of doing. 

I was definitely able to keep up with the group, especially since only one of us was on a push-bike and everyone else was on E-Bikes!  

I was able to make it all the way up Sunwapta Pass, which I had named "Sun Wapped My Ass" when Brent and I did the tour before in 2012 because I couldn't make it to the top on my own steam - I had to get off and walk/push to get to the very top.  

My companions have faces!
And something that I was able to do this time that I've never been able to do before - I could race on ahead of people to turn around and take photos of them heading toward me!  

I am definitely four-square in favor of E-Bikes now.  I will get one, probably sooner than originally intended.  I'll be watching the market for the overall size and weight of the batteries to come down because I'll want to be able to take it along on holidays, and the weight of most current E-Bikes is a serious draw-back for self-supported touring at this time.  But I am quite confident that the technology will evolve and the weight will come down over the next few years.  I can't wait!


  1. I’m glad you tried the e-bike and I’m even gladder that you liked it!


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