My old dad only adopted walking poles when it was obvious to all around that he needed much more than that. Really, he was ready for a walking frame if not a wheelchair for over a year. But there was a fierce vanity about the basically modest man in his mid -eighties. He wasn’t going to show the world he needed support. In his own head he’d use the poles, but only to enhance his performance, not because he needed support standing up let alone propelling himself forward.

To date I’ve taken the same approach with e-bikes. Maybe I’ll be ready to have a go when I’m the same age as my dad was, when my heart/lungs/legs won’t quite cut it. But the heart appears to work alright and the legs manage to propel the rest of the body around – I agree not as fast as a few years ago. But e-bike – no thanks.

You know what’s coming.

 

Yesterday we visited a friend and he insisted I borrow his e-bike for a day. In the end I only said yes to stop him offering me the bloody thing. We’re house sitting just around the corner and it just became easier to agree to ride it home, put it in the garage and return it the next day.

Well tomorrow came alright, as it usually does and I offered to go out and get the paper on it and then when I got back I worked out we were out of milk so I popped out again, then I just went for a ride to check the neighbourhood out. When I got back I thought OK maybe I’ll pop up the road for a loaf of bread for lunch and then after that another ride to go around the park at the Auckland museum. It’s a shame I didn’t bring the charger home or I might not have taken it back at all. I haven’t had as much fun on a bike for years. It was almost like the friend knew something.

For those of you that haven’t used them, you do actually pedal. The wind gets in your hair, what’s left of it anyway and you zoom around and accelerate away from the lights using pedal and e-power. Likewise on hills you are probably safer using the combined power, rather than wobbling around at low speeds. Downhill you go at a fair old lick, the combination of a heavy bike and a heavy body, physics in action.

The mate that leant me the bike says the dealer who sold it to him reckons people who purchase e-bikes end up much fitter, because rather than sitting in the garage, like my three bikes at home, they actually get used. Simply put, people who own them, use them.

Just as well I’m in Auckland and no-one knows me. I couldn’t do it at home, someone might see me. Vanity, unfortunately, runs in the family.

Pete Carter is all over the place. He writes and takes photographs and runs an art rental business. He lives in Eastbourne in New Zealand with a wife (an artist) and two dogs, they have two grown up children, one lives in Bristol and the other in Sydney. Two books of poetry and prose are out and he has written a children's book by mistake that will be published in February 2017. This book as illustrated by his nephew. There is also a novel that rightly has not yet seen the light of day. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold his work to corporate clients.

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