Category Archives: Transport

Bicycles #2 – It’s electrifying!!

So, we tried the bicycle built for two, it was fun, but not a transport solution for the poor Gazelle.

Next stop was the electric bicycle. Three million cheers! Imagine suddenly having the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. No parking hassles, minimal personal energy input, the wind in your beard and, finally, a way to travel with all of your friends.

Oh electric bike we love you!

The Gazelle bought himself an electric bicycle for about $2,000 shortly after we moved to hilly hobart. I know that that sounds like a lot of money, especially for people who are sick and desperately throwing cash at all sorts of cures, but it was worth every cent. Freedom. On. Wheels.

Electric bike we love you!!!

Someone asked me to write about the pros and cons of the electric bike.

Well, lets start with why it is good for the Gazelle:

  • FREEDOM: he can go anywhere, anytime. I think the battery lasts him about 30km which in very hilly Hobart seems like good going.
  • WIND IN HIS HAIR: for an outdoors man, it’s a relief to be back in the elements. His body gets gentle excercise (while you have to pedal to get the motor going, you do not need to actually use any force, so its really just freewheeling)
  • EQUALITY: we can do stuff together, just the way we like it. We get to meet each other and ride home from work (or, when he was still really sick, we could at least ride the short distance to a friend’s house)
  • NORMALITY: it makes him look normal and capable (the downside of this is that as I struggle some metres behind I look like the trailing incompetent girlfriend. I need a sign that says ‘He’s cheating!!’)
  • CHICK MAGNET: ok, maybe not chicks. But geez, nothing pulls a middle aged man like a young fella on an electric bicycle!
  • HAPPINESS: a number of times as I’ve been recovering from glandular fever, the Gazelle has dinked me on the back of his bicycle. Not only does it mean that he gets to look after me, but as I sit daintily, sidesaddle, we get so many happy looks and dopey soppy faces. Happiness. On. Wheels.

Hmmm and the cons…

  • CHARGING: you have to remember to charge it. If the battery runs out it’s a darn heavy bicycle to pedal around (the Gazelle, organised man that he is has never been caught short)
  • EXPENSE: it is quite a lot of money up front. There are cheaper models, but make sure you get something sturdy.
  • BALANCE: some people with CFS don’t have the energy to stay balanced. I still think it’s worth it, just start slowly. We recently recommended an electric bike to a fella with CFS. His seems energy levels seem worse than the Gazelle’s so balance is more of a challenge, but it seems to be helping his mental health at least.

But really, there are no cons… just do it.  Bite the bullet, rent one for a week, borrow one from somewhere (talk to your local bicycle group). It really is freedom on wheels.

Yes! Bicycling adventurers – CFS and all!

Bicycles #1 – A bicycle built for two…

The Gazelle, talented man that he is, not only was once the pronkiest pronker that ever pronked, but he also rode a bike.

In every day life the humble bicycle was our mode of transport, to work, to parties, to do our shopping… Obviously, when CFS came to play, the bicycle was out of the question.

Aside from the obvious, one of the worst things about the Gazelle’s inability to ride his bike was what it did to me. Suddenly the lifestyle that I knew and loved, and that I believed in wholeheartedly was challenged. If we went anywhere together it had to be in the car. Which meant that I was tied to his weariness and worse, we became seperated from our friends. When everyone else was saying ‘let’s ride together’, we were working out where to park, and tiredly dealing with traffic.

Our first attempt at solving this problem was when the Gazelle was still very sick and we lived in a flat place with good bike paths. We tried a tandem (you gotta try a tandem, CFS was a good excuse to try crazy ideas in search of solutions).

A Bicycle Built for Two…

I was pleased to find the picture above and to note that it is the woman riding at the front. The reason for trialling a tandem was that we figured the Gazelle could ride for free when he needed and I could do the work.

HILARITY.

Picture this. Small me on the front of a tandem bicycle. Remember that tandems are usualy built so that the big person is on the front and the small person on the back. Off we wobbled the Gazelle slightly squashed and me slightly stretched.

The thing about tandems is that you have to work as a team. When coming up to a busy intersection, communication is key. I am a cautious cyclist. I hit the breaks. The Gazelle, likes to speed through, he hit the pedals. I think I probably yelled out something like “Oi! I’m the boss of this machine!” as we narrowly avoided disaster.

In the end the tandem wasnt for us. It’s not so good up hills and it does mean that you have to do everything together. At that stage, the Gazelle just didn’t have the energy to share the load, but didn’t have the self control not to pedal (but for anyone interested in trying a tandem, it’s worth contacting your local bicycle advocacy group. Pedal Power in Canberra hooked us up with one for a week so we could give it a whirl).