I have always loved riding bikes all my life, even today. – Lee Ann McKay, e-Boom Electric Bikes owner
It all started with a little pink bike when I was 4-years-old. My first. It had training wheels and a few racing stickers on it like STP and Bardahl Oil. I quickly got rid of the training wheels and rode that bike all over the neighborhood. My parents had a difficult time keeping me near the house like I was supposed to do. That was too boring.
My next bike was also pink (my mother picked the colors) and had a big, white basket on the front. I didn’t really care for the basket, but my mom liked it since she “borrowed” my bike often. This sharing of my bike wasn’t going well, so I finally got what is still today the best ever Christmas present – my first 10-speed bicycle! I was only 13, but I was truly the coolest kid on the block (when it came to bikes). It was canary yellow (which coincidentally was the color of my first car, a used 1964 Mustang) and a Schwinn. I rode the tires off that bike. Rode it to school, to my friends’, to the store and even to places where, technically, I wasn’t allowed to ride yet; like to other nearby towns and back.
I spent most of my teenage years riding my bike, more than driving a car. I had upgraded to a new green Schwinn 12-speed and rode it to swim practice, softball practice, my summer job at the pool – everywhere. And, I often rode with my friends and family. I really didn’t want a car (can you imagine a teenager saying this), except during winter, though I rode a bit in the winter as well. One summer, my grandfather bought a used tandem (also yellow) and my friends and I would ride that all over the town of Madison, Indiana (where I grew up). It was so fun, we just wanted to ride it all of the time. And, we did.
Just a couple of summers ago, I decided to sell my car and use my bike for transportation. I had an internet business and worked from home, so I would ride to the bank, to the grocery and even to meet clients at Starbucks and other hang-outs. I was really fit and trim that summer. And, if I needed a car, I would ride with my family, rent one or take Uber. I really didn’t miss it.
The Bike Transformation
I have a Raleigh road bike that I’ve put hundreds of miles on riding all over the country, and still like to ride, but bending over all of the time makes my hands go numb and my neck tight (even after professional fittings). That’s when my e-Boom business and biking partner approached me and asked if I wanted to open an electric bike store. I was appalled. Electric bikes! I’m too fit, too young, and too stubborn to try an electric bike. We did the research together, and I finally tried one while visiting in St. Louis. The bike shop owner had to dig it out of the back of the store and dust it off before we could ride it. I was amazed how much fun it was to ride. It reminded me of the fun I used to have on grandpa’s tandem. I didn’t realize that I would actually get to pedal the bike. It has added another dimension to bike riding.
Robin and I made a trip out to Las Vegas to Interbike, one of the largest international bicycle retail shows in the world. It was there that we met with our current e-bike manufacturers and rode every last electric bike that was available. We knew then that electric bikes are here to stay. They are kind of similar to the internet when it was getting started. Skeptics said it wasn’t going to be around very long. Just a fad. Yeah.
So, I now own four bikes (well, about 50 if you include our store inventory). I have my own electric bike and last summer I rode it almost daily. I put over 500 miles on it, got fit and trim again, and love, love, love riding it. I still do all of the pedal work, but I just go faster and longer.
I’m on a mission. I want to get more people back on bicycles, and I think electric bikes are the way to do it. When I go for a bike ride around the neighborhood, I would like to see many others doing the same. I don’t want to be the adult-riding minority anymore. I challenge you to join us. See you on an e-bike soon.