Geography is a funny thing.
My new job is closer to my house than my old one, but it takes me longer to get there in the morning because I have to drop off my preschooler "on the way," and he's now more out of the way than ever. Biking to work used to add 20 minutes of commute time to my day; now it adds an hour.
To boot, I have more hills on my route than before, plus the 6%-grade driveway that makes up the last quarter-mile of my ride — so I arrive huffing and puffing and (in this cool spring air) a bit sweaty. Veloroutes says it's a gain of 95 feet. Just wait till the weather changes!
|Here's the hill I climb with 40 pounds of preschooler on board: distance 0.2 mi, gain 85 ft, grade 9%|
This is a bummer, dude. My old commute was pretty much flat except for the above hill to preschool and the one up to my house. I used to feel like I never had to make a choice between biking and driving based on the time it would take to get me to a 9:30 meeting on time. Now, there's no way. If I bike, I get there at 10:00 and spend some time cooling down and gulping water before I can even speak to anyone.
|Here's another hill on my route: distance 0.2 mi, gain 42 ft grade 4%|
So I'm actually considering adding a Bionx electric assist to my Boda Boda.
To be totally honest with you, it makes me feel a little guilty to even admit that! A 90-minute ride first thing in the morning gets the heart pumping, makes me feel like Wonder Woman, and puts me in a fantastic mood—but I can really only manage that once or twice a week at the most. And I know among my readers there are more than a few e-assist people. I've read on Hum of the City that using bikes with motors has actually boosted her hill-climbing strength, helped her lose weight, and convinced her to sell her minivan. I've heard from others that having the electric assist helps them get going from a stop with a fully loaded bike, allows them to get to work dry and on time, and reduces the struggle to keep a steady speed through a headwind.
|Another hill! distance 0.1 mi, gain 39 ft grade 11%|
I'm still having this squishy feeling, guys...why?
Maybe it's the cost. Yuba sells an add-on Bionx kit for $1,798. Then I'd have to fork over probably 50 bucks to install it at my local shop. That's a lot of money. But if it got me to ride my bike more often, I'd pay for it just by not buying gas for my car for 30 workweeks. The Bionx is supposed to regenerate electricity as you pedal, and costs pennies to recharge.
|Distance 0.1 mi, gain 16 ft, grade 4%|
So what's holding me back?
Sometimes I think that if I just get on my bike more, I'll build the muscle power to get up these hills faster. Then I remind myself that my kids are not getting any smaller.