To Err is Bikish…

It’s Errandonnee season! That’s the time of year when, in order to escape the late winter biking doldrums, our friend Mary from Chasing Mailboxes challenges us to use our bikes to complete 12 errands in 12 days, and ride a total of 30 miles between March 20-31, 2017.

Today I needed to return an e-bike I borrowed from ElectriCity Bikes in DC. Yesterday was the Nova Maker Faire and I demonstrated e-bikes. Big shout out to Tempo Bicycles for arranging with the bike shop for me to borrow this one, the Santa Barbara model. Big shout out also to The Bike Lane in Reston who loaned me a Trek e-bike for the event.


The Trek – configured more like a traditional bike – real shifters and everything.


I hadn’t really gotten much of an opportunity to try the Santa Barbara yesterday, so I figured if I needed to return a bike, I’d ride it back. It’s only 23 miles and something I do frequently on my me-powered bike, so it seemed like a way to really test the e-bike concept.

Sadly, there is some kind of speed governor on the e-bike, so going down Hunter Station road wasn’t the usual thrill I enjoy. It took a while to get the rhythm of when to use the e-assist. I was a little paranoid about using up all the juice before I got to my destination because this bike is 53lbs and I did NOT want to be powering through the hills of the Custis trail without any e-assist on a 50+ pound bike!

The best part of the ride was when I got to DC. Every time I had to stop and start again (you do that a lot in the city), starting back up was a dream because even on low, the e-assist gave me a nice boost. When cars are backed up behind you at a light, that’s a nice thing to have in your ‘gas tank.’

borrowed bike

It’s very cute – the step through is nice. But more of a city bike than I need.

I arrived without incident, took a photo, and returned the bike. I hopped on the Metro back to Reston. When I arrived at the Wiehle station and went to the bus stop the bus was just pulling out and wouldn’t stop for me. The next bus was 30 minutes away and I live 3 miles from the station. It wasn’t raining and my bag wasn’t too heavy (since I left the charger with the bike shop), so I walked.

Now I need to figure out what category the errand falls into. My observation for the day is that this e-bike will not do the work for you. There are various settings for cadence that seem to affect the boost rate – which means you can actually get a work out and sweat if you want to. Of course, if I’m going to sweat, I might as well be on one of my me-powered bikes. That will be tomorrow when I errandonnee to the bank, and grocery store, and whatever else I might dream up!

Normally when I rDinneride to the city, and especially when I ride back, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. But the e-bike did take the edge off my level of fatigue, and the walk energized me. So this was dinner. I felt quite virtuous since this used up left over mushrooms (in the burger), sweet potato hash (added chopped bacon tonight to make it a new dish), left over sour cream (sauce on the burger) and a cucumber that I needed to use or lose. Oh, and the burger buns. They were left-overs too. Love this when it happens!


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