E-Bike Stories: Tale of the Bionic Granny

This is an article by Gary Kaye; a professional writer who is passionate about e-bikes.  Check out Gary’s writing/marketing services at CompellingTelling.com.

Connie Lauzon had always been an avid bike rider.  But after having both knees and both hips replaced with artificial joints, the 75 year old grandmother was nervous about getting back on an upright bike.

She was afraid that one fall could have disastrous results.  That was a problem since her kids had just bought her a brand new Canondale mountain bike.

Instead she started looking around for a trike, and after a fair bit of research decided that the Sun EZ trike would make the most sense.  She found one on Craigslist that was in great shape for about $400.

Connie would get out on the bike almost daily, come warm or cold.  To fight off the wind, she got a faring for the trike.  But she still found the going  just too hard on the hills.  The easy ones would slow her down to almost walking speed.   When she hit the tougher hills she simply had to get off and push.  After a while that just got old.

In order to avoid the steeper hills, Connie kept pretty much to one route from her Mount Angel, Oregon home to nearby Silverton.  But after a while that too got old.  She decided she’d like to get a bit more adventurous and for that she needed a little assistance.

So Connie went back to the Internet and started searching.  She started Googling and found a Sun Trike EZ-3 pretty much like the one she had, only this one had an EcoSpeed motor.  She also figured out that it would be more cost-effective to buy a rig that already had a motor than to add a motor to her existing trike.

The rig she bought had been used by a commercial soup delivery service, so she was a little leery about the system and told the seller, “if the motor is a lemon, don’t try to sell it to me”.  It wasn’t.

But the same couldn’t be said of the batteries.  The system came with three batteries that had been heavily used, “I bought it in August, and by Christmas the batteries were pooping out before I reached my hills”  Connie once again went online and found a LiPing battery from China that was specifically matched to the EcoSpeed motor.  So she was back in business.

Guilty “Cheating”

Connie says the motor was only for the hills, “I promised I would only use it as an assist on the hills.  But it is easy to cheat. I only do that if I’m totally pooped”.  She does admit it’s nice to be able to push the throttle and zip across the highways.

To keep her company Connie went out and got a dog that could run with her.  Heidi is a whippet-yorkie mix.  “She runs with me for about a mile, but she doesn’t really like it.  After that I put her in the basket”.

Connie complains that her husband, who is also an avid biker, won’t take to the e-bike, saying it’s just not something a “road warrior” would ride.  But Connie feels differently, “It’s empowering to be this old and to be able to do this.  I think every day with my bike is a gift.”

Do you know someone who has a disability that wants to ride a bike/trike again?  Let them know about electric bikes :)

Please share your stories of how an electric bike has changed your life in the comment section below.

Thanks!

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips.

Comments

  1. says

    Yea Connie, I’m with you.  I too have a sun trike and EcoSpeed and It’s fantastic and I use it for everything.  I love riding my bike and never thought I would be able to ride again, but thanks to EcoSpeed there isn’t any place I can’t go….I use it for shopping, delivery for my small company and pure pleasure. 

  2. says

    Just read the article
    about Grandma Connie enjoying her independence once again by way of e-assist.
    Good for her – through perseverance she found the way to conquer “the
    hill” !

    When will narrow-minded
    riders like her “Road Warrior” hubby understand they are not
    embracing the future? There is more logic in her way of thinking than most will
    ever know. As he continues to ride with his old school mindset, others will
    embrace a more logical way to address “the hill”. Think about it – a
    human power/e-assist bike is a hybrid in its purist form. There will come a day
    when he too will need assistance “for the hill” if he still cares to be
    “out there” in the fresh air enjoying his love of independence.

    As for Cheating – – I
    have heard that cliché before as I pass a hard working pace line with my faired
    recumbent bike. The rider that shouts out that word is only showing their
    narrow view of what they think is right. What if the automotive industry had stopped
    with the model-T Ford? Does that mean all of our current cars and trucks are
    cheating?

    Today’s standard configured
    bicycle is antiquated technology held in bondage by the United Cycliste
    Internationale “UCI” organization. If it were not for their rules –
    the bike of today would be greatly different in design. The fastest growing
    segment of human power today is the recumbent bicycle industry. With no rules
    to keep a recumbent bike design with in a box – technology grows to making a
    better human pedal powered machine. Example; – a recumbent bike currently holds
    the world speed record for pedal power?

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V2FgwN_re4

    Thankfully – most electric
    bikes are gradually evolving away from the archaic design of UCI. They are evolving
    differently enough to become logical platforms for daily task.

    There is yet
    another relatively new category of human pedal power called the Velomobile.
    Install an e-assist in a Velomobile and ride across America like these guys did. Five
    of these riders had e-assist in their Velomobiles – WOW – what an incredible efficient
    mode of transportation.

     http://web.mac.com/josef.janning/Roll_over_America/Media.html

    Now – there is nothing
    wrong if the upright bikers wants to ride with their own flock of Carbon Fiber/Titanium
    UCI regulated antiquated designed bikes. Antique car clubs go on tour all the
    time. Just do not talk down the modern technology of human power efficiency
    that is available to us.

    I promise not to shout out to you – “it’s not cheating”

     

    Lonnie Morse

    Oregon Human Powered
    Vehicles “OHPV”  ohpv.org

    Recumbent Aerodynamics
    blog    http://lonniemorse.wordpress.com/

     

     

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