It’s impossible to read the news these days and not see something about Parkinson's and bikes and more specifically, eBikes. There are articles and news stories about...
- The difference between eBikes with pedal assist (PAS) and eBikes with a throttle (when we refer to eBikes in our posts, we’re talking about the pedal assist type)
- A city banning them (and then modifying the ban)
- How people are trading in their cars for eBikes to increase fitness, save money and get healthier
- A major eBike acquisition by Uber
- New models that make them easier to use and less expensive
- Studies about their impact on the environment
- And so much more
It’s exciting to follow the stories, but there’s nothing like talking to someone who has discovered for themselves the real magic of eBikes.
We recently sat down with Davis Phinney, Olympic medalist, two-time stage winner at the Tour de France and Founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation to see what he had to say about his eBike.
It’s simple, he said. “Riding my eBike has brought life back to my life.”
He went on to say…
“As someone who has always ridden a bike both for exercise and transportation, riding is second nature to me; however, over the years, it was becoming more and more difficult to pedal well and to move the bike down the road comfortably and safely. I was putting out too much energy, and when you have Parkinson’s, energy is a precious commodity. I realized I was staying on a “regular” bike out of duty, habit or overall well-being, but I wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much. Riding an eBike still provides a workout because the settings are adjustable, but now I have an ear-to-ear grin on my face when I’m pedaling along. You can’t put a price on that. Add the fact that having an eBike makes it possible for me to still ride with my family up to places like Gold Hill (a 2500 foot elevation gain) without burning myself out! Trading in my other bikes for an eBike has proven to be a vital move.”
Hearing Davis talk about his experience, it’s hard to imagine the use of eBikes being as controversial as it is. But for all of the negative sentiments flying around out there (i.e. “it’s cheating” and “it’s not really exercise”), we can think of a dozen positives, especially for people living with Parkinson’s.
Just to mention a few, eBikes…
- Make it possible for people with Parkinson’s, and other movement disorders, to remain mobile, independent and free to explore
- Make it possible for people with Parkinson’s, and other movement disorders, to be able to participate in rides with their friends without holding people back, being far behind the pack or being completely wrecked at the end of the ride
- Have the potential to replace cars
- Improve cognitive function
- Make commuting cheaper, healthier, shorter and less sweaty
- Are more ecologically friendly
- Help people forget that they even have Parkinson’s at all
“There was such a sense of freedom. I wasn’t stuck on the sidelines anymore. I was part of the crowd again and even if only for a few hours, I forgot I had Parkinson’s. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
These are similar sentiments that we hear from others who have given eBikes a try.
If you’ve been thinking about trying one out, consider what Davis and Cidney have to say about them and imagine how great it would be to breathe in the fresh air, explore new places, reach new heights and even forget for a while that you’re living with Parkinson’s.
In our next post about eBikes, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about them - from what and where to buy them to the different types, where you can and can’t ride them, how to be safe, the costs, maintenance, rules of the road and more.
Have an eBike story you want to share? Let us know.
Have an eBike (or any bike) and want to join us for one of our upcoming fundraising rides?
Whether you want a multi-day climbing adventure through the Rocky Mountains, to try and beat a train in Durango, a 7-day ride across Iowa, a 79-mile road ride or you just want to go to a party and watch other people ride, we’ve got something for you. And your eBike.