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How an E-Bike Changed My Life

Riding grew harder as I grew older. Then I got an electric bicycle.

(This is an excerpt from a column by Jennifer Finney Boylan, that appeared in the NY Times on August 20th.)

BELGRADE, Me. — I was doing my usual bike circuit around the north half of Long Pond, here in Belgrade. As I turned left, I found myself accidentally merging into the Trek Across Maine, a three-day event in which cyclists ride from Brunswick to Augusta to Waterville and back again.

It felt good to suddenly join the pack, and to find myself surrounded by all those other cyclists. But it was awkward, too, and not only because I wasn’t wearing a race number. More embarrassing was the fact that I was passing everyone, sailing up the hill on Castle Island Road in front of the Travis Mills Foundation for wounded veterans while everyone else was grinding away in low gear.

That’s because my bike was no ordinary road bike, but one of the new e-bikes now taking over the cycling world. The principle is fairly simple: You plug the bike in at night, and it charges a battery that provides an extra level of support as you ride. You still have to pedal, but the battery silently doubles the amount of power provided by your muscles to the wheels.

For older riders like me — I’m in my 60s — the assist makes all the difference in the world. I’ve been riding all my life, and while I’ve never been a competitive cyclist, biking has always been my favorite form of exercise. In part it’s because I like the solitude of riding, especially on the remote trails where I take my mountain bike.

Cycling, like everything else, has gotten harder as I’ve grown older. For much of the year, I live on a dirt road at the bottom of a mile-long hill, and some days I just don’t have the energy to make the ascent. Last summer, I was on my bike a total of five times.

Since I got the e-bike, though, I’ve been riding 15 and 20 miles a day, four or five days a week. It’s been life altering, not just making me fitter, but also raising my spirits, getting me out of the house and back into the mountains.

I felt more than a little guilty as I soared past the other riders in the Trek Across Maine. A couple of them called out to me as I passed. “What in the world is that?” asked one. “That is so awesome,” said another.

“When people first jump on an e-bike, their face lights up. It’s exciting and joyful in a way that you don’t get from a regular bike.”

Nowhere was this clearer to me than when I left the Trek Across Maine peloton and paused at the top of something called Blueberry Hill. For a moment I thought I was alone. But then I saw another rider had pulled over, and he had the same kind of bike as mine, a Specialized Turbo Como. We exchanged goofy grins, and I told him that the bike had changed my life.

At that moment, from down a mountain trail, came a dozen wounded veterans also on e-bikes. Some men had prosthetic arms and legs. They were from the Travis Mills Foundation, as my companion explained, and some of them hadn’t been on a bike in years. Now they’d ridden all the way to the top of Blueberry Hill. “You’re not the only one whose life got changed,” the man said.

I rang the bell on my bike — ding! — and headed into the mountains, feeling hopeful, feeling as if I still have lots of adventures ahead.

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Winter Tune-Up Special

Save Money  

You know you need one, so why not save money?  Bring your bike in for a tune-up now, and save up to $100 dollars on labor, and 10 % on parts. And your bike will be ready to go on that first warm day ... whether that's February 25th (like last year!), March 15th, or April 1st.

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Save Money  

You know you need one, so why not save money?  Bring your bike in for a tune-up now, and save up to $100 dollars on labor, and 10 % on parts. And your bike will be ready to go on that first warm day ... whether that's February 25th (like last year!), March 15th, or April 1st.


Beat the Crowd 

Did you bring your bike in during April or May last year? Like everyone else?  And learn that you'd have a FIVE WEEK WAIT?  Or were you one of the smart ones who beat the crowds, and chortled wildly, knowing that your cleverness had been rewarded.

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Pedal Power Is Looking for a Few Good Men ... and Women!

As always, we're gearing up for Spring.  Play your cards right, and you could find yourself working here ... with US!  Wouldn't that be special?  We need both technicians and sales folks, and will consider both full and part timers. Friendly enthusiasm is always a must, and a love of cycling would also be a plus.

We offer competitive pay, bonuses, the chance for industry certifications and conferences, vacation and health insurance for full-time employees, and a fun atmosphere.  We understand that not everyone has been fortunate enough to have a career as a bike technician, and we've had good success re-training people from other mechanical and engineering fields.  So if you're one, come in and see us. We've also been the first paid job for many high school students and we're looking for more of them; but you must be at least 16 years old to work here. 

Of course, neither gender nor race is an issue.

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Acton, Concord, Carlisle, Westford, Chelmsford and Harvard may never look like this, but we do have lots of open areas, and we do get snow.  Cross Country (XC) skis can turn any golf course, lawn or backyard into a ski area without the long drive or expensive lift ticket.  

Pedal Power Bike & Ski is uniquely positioned to get you XC skiing now; we've been doing it for over 30 years.  We have an extensive stock of Salomon XC boots, bindings, skis, and poles, to go along with winter activewear from Salomon, Garneau, Bontrager and Specialized. The fit and quality of Salomon XC boots are unparalleled, their bindings give the best support and control in the industry, and their skis are superior. Right now we have equipment for folks of all ages, sizes, and skill levels. 

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Pedal Power Bike & Ski will be closed in observance of Memorial Day, on Monday, May 27th.  Why not watch or, even better MARCH in, a parade and then go ride your bike.  We'll be back bright and early at 10am Tuesday May 28th.

J & J and the Gang at Pedal Power

Pedal Power Closed Sunday

Due to the inclement weather, Pedal Power will be closed on Sunday, January 20th. We will be open our normal hours 10am - 6pm, on MLK Day, Monday January 21st.

So, go out and enjoy your Cross Country skis in the fresh snow today. If they're lost, missing, broken, no longer fit, or (heaven forbid) you don't even have any, drop into Pedal Power on Monday to get shiny new ones.


New Year's Hours

Pedal Power will be open our normal hours on Saturday, Dec 29 (9:30 am to 5:00 pm), and Sunday, Dec 30 (1:00 - 5:00 pm). However, we will be CLOSING EARLY (2:00 pm) on New Year's Eve, Dec 31.

We'll be CLOSED ALL DAY on New Year's Day Tuesday, Jan 1, and on Wednesday, Jan 2.

But we'll be back to our regular hours starting at 10 am Thursday morning.  

Happy New Year,

J&J and the Gang at Pedal Power

Christmas Hours

Pedal Power will be open our normal hours on Saturday, Dec 22 (9:30 am to 5:00 pm) , and Sunday, Dec 23 (1:00 - 5:00 pm). However, we will be CLOSING EARLY (1:00 pm) on Christmas Eve, Dec 24.

We'll be CLOSED ALL DAY on Christmas Tuesday, Dec 25, and on Wednesday, Dec 26.

We know that bikes are usually THE BIG PRESENT, so we obsess over any that haven't been picked up. But unfortunately, strange things can happen, so you can reduce the stress on all of us by coming early.

One year a father buying a bike was stranded by a snow storm, and didn't get back until Christmas morning. Happily, we were able to make arrangements to get his son's bike to him.

If you have any kind of problem getting here to pick up presents, PLEASE CALL, and we'll try to arrange something.

Merry Christmas,
J&J and the Gang at Pedal Power

Roller Racing at Pedal Power

Here's one of our fun, free Roller Racing sessions at Pedal Power Bike & Ski in Acton, MA. They're usually held on Thursday evenings, 6:30 - 8:00 pm. Watch for more info and starting date.

Pedal Power Annual Open House

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