This boomer is biking into his future

Isolation? Check. Idleness? Check. Ailments? Check. Baby boomer Larry Lefkowitz of Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, was dealing with all of this as the pandemic wore on, until he found an outlet. Which is also now part of his future.

As the pandemic stretches across its second year, many of us have adjusted even though our lives have changed considerably. Despite the constant fight to return to pre-pandemic normal, we have adopted precautionary behaviors and changed routines.

Larry Lefkowitz with his very cool electric bike.

For me, the idea of being so stationary was disconcerting, but not a terrible sacrifice. I am not given to travel or attending mass functions. However, my feeling of freedom from fear of the virus, and freedom of movement in the world, seemed increasingly constricted. .

My urges led me to be outside and to a return to walking. The gym I had gone to for more than ten years was closed (and now is out of business), so I began walking. It’s one of the healthiest exercises there is, and being outside, seeing people, observing nature, and being out of the house, it was a logical outlet.

But immediately my feeling of freedom was soured by unmasked walkers, most of whom made no attempt to respect two-way walking traffic on the sidewalk. Not wanting to canoodle with strangers in the pre-vaccine days, I’d move off the walkway, sometimes into the street to avoid them. This was an irritation, but not a deal breaker. However, after many weeks, my back started acting up and walking became too painful.

One day, while looking at my garage instead of actually cleaning it, I noticed I still had two bicycles, so I pumped up the tires and set out for a ride. Hey! This was much easier on my back, and infinitely easier to avoid the great unmasked. All was blissful until I had to ascend the long gradual hills on the way home. It was then that my back conspired with my hips, legs, shoulders, and probably parts I no longer had, to tell me that I was a) old;, b) not in riding shape; and c) as flexible as a cast iron bar. What to do?

One thing was apparent to me: being outside and moving was a boon to my mental state. The other was that accumulated ailments and previous injuries were going to keep me from being a “cyclist.” It was then that I discovered electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes.

I was not that familiar with them and the idea of riding seemed counter to actual exercise, which is what I was after. But it’s not, or at least it doesn’t have to be. The more I read and researched, I realized that the e-power could be used to assist in riding, meaning, I could pedal all I wanted and just have the motor assist me on hills. This is called PAS, or, pedal assist system.

I settled on the bike I wanted and purchased it, gradually getting used to its nuances, and began taking short rides a few times a week. This progressed into longer rides and further distances from home. I concluded the season having tripled my original distance and riding every other day.

In Spring this year, I resumed biking and am currently riding eleven miles every day, which isn’t bad for a codger my age with physical limitations. The vehicle has proven to be a companion and a relief valve, making it worth every penny. I have allowed it to live in my house, albeit in the foyer. With simple recharging once a week, it, and I, are happy.

8 Comments

  1. I love Larry’s active approach by using a bike that fits his active lifestyle. He looks very cool and where he is biking looks like paradise! Go Larry!

  2. Yep, e-bikes rock. I converted my Specialized by adding a torque-sensing mid-motor and battery; didn’t want to buy a new bike when I liked the one I had.

  3. Great article. Mr. Lefkowitz captures those feelings that many of us Boomers are experiencing. E-bikes sound like a great way to regain some freedom and get some exercise.

  4. Great read Larry and you made me feel more at ease with my recent purchase of a Lugo Rhino step thru e-bike. A few years ago I purchased a Trek mountain bike to get back into riding like when I was younger, however, I didn’t have the physical limitations as I do now at 66 so it sits collecting dust. On a recent visit with my son in SoCal, I got to try out his RadRunner e-bike and it made me realize I can still do this and get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. I’m also a photographer and planning on using it to get me deeper into nature for more enjoyment.

  5. Larry has convinced me to get a bike, although not an electric because Saint Paul hasn’t the hills Bucks County has.

  6. Inspiring article. I’ve been thinking about buying a bike. I gave up riding more than 20 years ago because my husband doesn’t ride. So we hike instead. But I really miss it cycling. Now I worry about the stress it would have on my back. Never thought about e bikes. Thank you Larry!

  7. Glad you discovered e-bikes and that you are outside in the great outdoors once again. E-bikes are cool. We have 2 in our family. But not for me or my wife. We got them for our kids. They’re in their teens and balked at family bike rides. Riding a bike has been part of my regimen for decades – along with running, swimming, surfing, and tennis. Biking uses a whole different set of muscles and is an enjoyable activity. But our kids did not share that enjoyment. The kids always complained that they could not keep up with us old folks (especially on the steep hills we have in our area). But they love the e-bikes and no longer complain about going on long rides with their parents. So I say, YES! to e-bikes.

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