It’s getting newer bike time in Napa or should we say Electric Bike Time?
People from all over the world like to head to Napa Valley, rent a bike and go for a ride. The early morning rides on a clear day are tough to beat. A lot of people don’t have the legs for a 20 or 30 mile journey. Electric Bikes might be the answer.
Electric Assist or Full Electric Bike
If you want to still get some exercise, rent an electric assist bike. Downhill the battery can recharge, similar to the regen mode in most electric cars. Uphill, press the throttle and get that little boost you need.
The big benefit of electric assist is that it won’t go unless you do. This way you still get some exercise and get to burn some of the calories you will collect along the way. Electric assist bikes are also more in line with normal bike speeds making them a little safer to run around town and the valley.
Fast Electric Bikes
Electric assist bikes normally run along about the speed of a good beach cruiser or town bike. Most won’t do the speeds of the Lance Armstrong wanna-be’s on the Carbon Fiber framed bikes that probably cost twice what a good electric assist bike would cost. The best part though is that they can help you get up some of the bigger hills and then self recharge on the way down.
Standard Electric bikes are normally limited to 20 MPH. Plenty of speed for running around Napa or anywhere here in the North Bay. From the people we see zipping through pedestrians, it must be difficult to resist the urge to go full speed.
Fast Electric bikes are usually equipped with bigger batteries and go up to 35 MPH. At that speed you pass everyone, but it also can make it a lot more dangerous. Several pedestrians have been injured because of the speed of these bikes. Stopping them isn’t easy and they weigh a lot more.
The biggest issue with all of the electric bikes is weight. You can’t just toss them on a bike rack with one hand like that old mountain bike. An average mountain bike is about 28 lbs. Lightweight folding electrics are 30-50 lbs and larger mountain electrics and fas electrics can quickly top 50lbs and go to 70 plus.
At these weights it is not exactly easy to put on the roof of the Subaru and go for a ride. That is why so many prefer to rent from a local bike shop when they arrive. Here in Napa there are several good shops that rent e-bikes