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IZIP E-bike for a Day

April 21, 2017

Or, the day I used an IZIP for my commute and instantly starting planning my life on an electric bike.

I’ll come clean. The IZIP wasn’t my first time. Once, after a spitting skepticism in response to someone’s statement about how fun electric bikes are, they lit up and did that you-have-no-idea head shake. I had always imagined electric bikes would ride like inefficient mopeds. Sputtering, loud, and clunky. “You HAVE to get on one,” they said. This prompted the room, now suddenly full of electric evangelists, to chime in. “If you ride one, then you’ll know. RIDE ONE.”

So, a friend and I took out some electric bikes from Bicycle Sport Shop’s rental fleet. Everyone’s enthusiasm was 100% correct. The experience was like riding a bike for the first time. My mouth dried out from the laughing and unhinged excitement. It was FUN. Hills were fun. I was a beast. And the city was mine.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 10.24.07 AMThe IZIP line of bikes is included in a family of brands that is part of the world’s largest electric bike supplier, the Accell Group, which means you can count on quality, reliability and value.

The IZIPS have recently landed in Bicycle Sport Shop and have inspired me to test a work commute using the IZIP E3 Dash. I was eager to see if it would change how I felt about commuting by bike. At that point, the feeling was lukewarm at best. The 45-minute route to work is mostly false flats with a long uphill at the end leaving little room for chill riding. Unless I’m feeling extra spicy or outrunning a thunderstorm, I like to take my time and roll slow to places. Look around. Pedal at causal speeds. That behavior would never get me to the office day-to-day.

With the Dash, however, my day went like this:

I start out of the house in 50-degree weather and a little nervous I’m going to quickly overheat in what I’m wearing. A few blocks in, the crossing guard stands up from leaning on the fence to track me and the Dash, his head following my movement. I’m now clued-in that I’m blasting through the school zone and quickly calm down on the speed. Apparently, I’m too excited to be back on an electric bike.

The bike is smooth and, other than a gentle whir of the motor at times, relatively quiet. My old, Craigslist acquired bike at home sounds like a box of nails hitting a wall when riding over bumps, so it’s a dramatic improvement.

The stoplight two miles into the ride is usually where I furiously tear off a layer and start to pull in deeper breaths. But, my sweater and jacket combo is still cozy and I sit calm on the bike. Riding through the strip of industrial east side landscape, I kick up the IZIP’s motor from 2 to 4––MAX POWER. Now I’m ripping through the part of the ride with no traffic or pedestrians at a sturdy clip. It feels glorious.

Downtown is full of cars, but the bike paths are separated from traffic and the blocks swiftly fall behind me. At stop lights, I can hear everyone’s conversations. Much more soothing on the ears and soul than the callers on Tom Ashbrook’s On Point. I do a few extra circles around Butler Park and get to ride through a flock of grounded pigeons. They frantically disperse at my approach in the most delicious, cinematic city moment.

Finally, it appears. The long uphill on the way to work that I loathe. Normally I would be coaxing myself up the hill in a series of expletives while inhaling penny-flavored air. Nope. I climbed up like butter, baby. My thoughts stayed pure and I was even able to peer above the fence-line of the homes along the street for the first time. They have a killer view of the city.

I show up to work 35 minutes after leaving my house. 10 minutes faster than usual. Still wearing my jacket and sweater; sans the sweat-soak. Feeling downright luminous.

Lunch rolls around I can’t wait to ride around the hills in the neighborhood by the office. I push the bike’s limits and discover that if you’re at its threshold and try to do something else with your hands, the handlebars get decently wobbly. So, keep your hands responsibly on the bars while bombing hills.

My promise to meet someone by a certain time turns the commute home into a no-frills event. Jacket now in the backpack, weather up to 75 degrees, I power through the route without hesitation. Constantly pedaling, I reach the house and pop off the bike to hand it over to my visitor waiting on the porch. “You HAVE to get on this!”

I stand like a proud parent on the curb as they race up and down the block. After a few minutes of letting the sweater air out in my hands as they ride around, I’m able to put it on again and head out to dinner. I don’t feel grimy and need a few moments of water and stillness to recover from a pedal-mashing ride.

The day felt physically 100x more active than a typical day and mentally so much more peaceful. I can easily say I would do this on daily basis. Just me and Dash going around town––the chore of the commute transformed into a somewhat cathartic experience. Yeah, that sounds like a good life.

By Ashley Hitson

Ashley currently works at Bicycle Sport Shop as a designer. She’s looking forward to buying her next commuter bike.

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