E-bikes – cheating? No just having more fun

E-bikes – cheating? No just having more fun.

I’ve been biking for well over 20 years and have ridden lots of events and races.  Never been very fast but I enjoy the challenge and thrill of biking – both on the mountain bike and the road bike.

As I approach my sixth decade, I’m as keen as ever and one of my most frequent rides is a 35km course that takes in the Hectors Trail south of Timaru plus some of the Centennial Park tracks. I love it and ride it regularly  -like 3 or 4 times a week.  I am no speedster and just ride for freedom, fitness and fun.

The other day I was right near the end of my MTB ride, in the last km, heading for home on the tar seal. (By the way I love that I can get my MTB out of the garage and be off-road within about 3 minutes riding – I don’t drive to a trail head – benefit of living local in Timaru).

Back to the story, was heading for home – as it happens up-hill, trucking along at about 12kmph and most definitely in wind-down mode, when a cyclist comes zooming past me.  Nothing unusual for someone to pass me, but this was going at a decent clip and left me for dead.  The rider was quite a large guy and most definitely on the north side of 100kg.  Wow! I must be going slower than I thought!

I just kept on pedalling  and after 50 metres, another bike came zooming past – not as quick as the previous, but still way faster than I was plodding along at.  This was ridden by a smaller, lighter woman.  Checked my pace and thought this ride must have taken more out of me than I thought.

So, I just kept my slow and steady pace and…you guessed it - a third bike came along making much faster progress than me.  Felt like I was going backwards.

Duh! E-bikes – what a cruise.

I don’t own an e-bike, but I have ridden them several times and they are loads of fun.  They really do deliver on the promise of higher, further, faster.

I know some regular XC mountain bikers are anti e-bikes, I’ve heard some negative comments, but to me they are different things.

E-bikes are great for introducing newbies to cycling (road or trail), developing skills and confidence plus they can keep people on their bikes longer into older age groups.  They are great for people recovering from injuries or health issues.

E-bikes can even out the ride for couples, families or groups and enable everyone to ride together.

Despite the power assistance you still must pedal (these are not motorbikes) either in turbo support mode, which makes the ride super easy, or eco mode for light support.

E-bikes allow more people to get out and exercise more often, for longer and riding further and faster.

E-bikes are so much fun to ride and allow you to shred in some conditions like sand or snow that otherwise you would just never be able to ride in.

Compared with taking a car or SUV, e-bikes are eco-friendly and great for the environment.

And finally, they are here to stay – if you haven’t tried an e-bike get into your bike shop and take one for a test ride.  It’ll be a blast.

So just what is it about the Pass2Pub

The Pass2Pub Mountainbike Ride is an amazing experience

The Pass2Pub is just an amazing ride.  It is so good you are just going to want to ride it over and over again and again.  It has been staged for well over 25 years, making it one of the oldest mountain bike rides in NZ.  It has history and just for reference that means it was started way back in 1989.  Since then the pub’s gone.  The Burkes Pass one that is.  Gutted by fire in 1994.  So now the race goes from downhill North to South so we can finish at the other pub - the Albury Tavern.

Why is the Pass2Pub mountain bike race so good?  That’s hard to pin down exactly.

Firstly, I guess it’s the rugged location.  Bordering the magnificent Mackenzie high country with the rugged hills and mountain ranges that overlook the riders from start to finish.  The scenery is breathtaking with valleys that open out into a patchwork of emerald and khaki fields before disappearing into craggy gorges, fresh alpine streams and a moonscape of limestone cliffs.

The trails are well-marked making it easy to make your way through the various farm tracks, gravel roads and the odd river crossing.  The course is ‘fast as’ if you’re good enough, or easy-going if you want to take a more leisurely, scenic ride. 

At 36km the Classic race is just long enough to be a short but stiff test for the guns going flat out and a serious biking challenge for everyone else.  It is one of those rides where you get to the finish and always feel you could give more.  Just a bit harder here and a bit more committed there and you’ll be bettering your time from last year.  And for many that’s their big aim for the race -alongside beating their best mates, or their son, their daughter, mother or grandfather.

That’s another thing.  Family is big deal for the Pass2Pub.  I am sure we get more families taking part than any other mountain bike ride in the country.  It is the one ride that old familial rivalries get dragged out of the garage.  The challenge, the scenery, the family competitiveness, the sunny warm weather, the refreshing drink at the finish, the hundreds of spot prizes, the after match party – all up they just make this one of those rides you never want to miss.

We do get plenty of registrations (usually well over 500 and some years close to 1,000) with loads of first-timer newbies, but we really want to amp up the number so we can deliver a really big bonus fundraiser for the Albury School.  The Pass2Pub Mountain Bike Ride supports the Albury Home and School so kids from this tiny school can have opportunities to attend school camps and have up to date safety, computer and sports equipment.

We would love you to join us on the start line – first Sunday in March  www.pass2pub.com

Ten reasons mountain biking is healthy for you

Ten reasons mountain biking is healthy for you

It’s challenging, sociable and offers a great workout. Suitable for everyone, any age or level of fitness, biking helps weight loss as it burns calories, improves health and gets you out and about.

  1. Mountain Biking is one of the easiest ways to exercise

    You can ride your mountain bike almost anywhere, at any time of the year, and without spending a fortune.  Most of us know how to cycle and once you have learned you don’t forget.  All you need is a bike, a half an hour here or there when it suits, and a bit of confidence.

  2. Mountain biking builds over-all strength and body tone

    Mountain biking does not just involve the legs. Every part of the body is involved in cycling.

  3. Mountain biking gradually increases muscle tone

    Cycling improves general muscle function gradually and depending on where you ride there is a low risk of over exercise or strain. Regular mountain biking strengthens leg muscles and is great for the mobility of hip and knee joints.  You gradually see an improvement in the muscle tone of your legs, thighs, rear end and hips – it’s great for trimming some weigh off your butt.

  4. Mountain Biking builds stamina

    It is a great way to build stamina.  Regular mountain biking becomes a habit, you butt gets used the seat and so it all becomes a lot more enjoyable and you don’t even notice that it’s easier and you can further than you did last time.

  5. Mountain biking improves cardio-vascular fitness

    Biking makes the heart beat faster, in a steady manner and helps improve cardio-vascular fitness.  For example, studies have shown that cycling to work will increase cardiovascular fitness by 3-7%. Cycling uses the largest muscle groups the legs, raising heart rate to benefit stamina and fitness.

  6. Biking eats up calories

    Biking is a really effective way to lose unwanted kilos. Steady biking burns approximately 300-600 calories per hour. If you cycle for 40 minutes every day you would burn up to 10kg of fat in a year. Since it helps build muscle, biking will also boost your metabolic rate long after you’ve finished your ride (or in other words, you’re still burning up calories event after you finished).

  7. Biking improves heart health

    According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 30km a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. A major UK study of 10,000 civil servants suggested that those who biked 30km a week were half as likely to suffer heart disease as their non-cycling colleagues.

  8. Biking improves coordination

    Cycling but especially mountain biking, is an activity that involves the whole body. Therefore, arm-to-leg, feet-to-hands and body-to-eye coordination are improved.

  9. It reduces stress

    Any regular exercise can reduce stress and depression and improve wellbeing.  Mountain biking is a great way to be one with nature and our planet. It takes your mind away from everyday life, stress and rejuvenates his soul.

  10. Biking is the perfect base training

    Biking is a base training activity - endurance and aerobic training at the same time. Incorporate other fitness activities like circuit training or team sports so you complement the benefits of biking.

  11. Bonus:  It’s a great sport to do with your mates

An evening or weekend ride is always better with your partner, family or friends.  Not only getting your body in top shape but also your relationships.