Kongo turned 70 this month (I know, I know…he looks young for a monkey) and Mrs. Kongo got him a bicycle “to get off the couch and out of the house.” For the past three weeks he’s been pedaling his simian tail off and logging miles. Lots of miles. At this writing he has 537 miles on his odometer.
He’s done countless laps on a hilly loop around the neighborhood, toured the local national and state parks in the heat of the day and cool evenings, ridden 30 miles along the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and back, rode from Ventura to Ojai, from Ventura to Carpentaria, and pedaled the boardwalks of Santa Monica and Marina Del Ray. He’s goes all over town and knows the bike lanes like his favorite jungle vines. He’s hooked.
There’s a 20 mile trip from Kongo’s house to the ocean through Point Mugu State Park that is an exciting downhill for ten miles and a uphill slog back. It’s partially paved and while the monkey is not a mountain biker by any means (he’s 70, remember?) he takes the rutted dirt road with dips and climbs like a pro. He’s done this trail several times.
The really, really nice thing about this new bike is that it’s electric. That’s right, ELECTRIC. Using pedal assist, he can cruise along at a brisk 28 MPH on a flat road although he’s pushed 40 on a long downhill. Normally he cruises at about 15 MPH and doesn’t worry about hills. The range on this bike is about 40 miles if you are on flat ground using pedal assist. Since there’s basically no flat ground around Kongo’s neighborhood the range is a bit less and the monkey is considering another battery he could pack for a long trek although one of his biking buddies told him to “just grow a pair of legs.” Right.
One guy, a purist obviously, asked Kongo if he thought electric bikes were “cheating.” Kongo said “I’m not cheating, I’m 70.” Like that.
Over the past few years and particularly since the pandemic, electric bikes have really exploded in popularity. Kongo sees a lot of them on his two-wheel travels. The monkey had to wait a month for his to arrive. If you’re as tired of staying at home as the monkey you should consider getting one of these. Costs range from about $800 to over $10,000 and battery capacity can take you just about anywhere you want to go if you want to spring for an extra power block to stuff in your backpack.
Kongo purchased an Aventon Pace 500 E-Bike for $1399 and free shipping. It comes fully equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, battery, a cool computer screen to record your activity and manage your battery, and a comfy seat. Kongo added a rear bike rack, lights, bell, and Mrs. Kongo insisted on a helmet that sends a message if you crash along with your location so she knows where to send the ambulance. She’s always thinking of the monkey. Kongo thinks a couple of extra low gears would be nice but … “grow a set of legs.”
While it’s possible to ride the bike without pedaling at all and only use the throttle, your range will decrease to about 20 miles and your speed is limited to 20MPH. Depending on terrain and how much pedal assist you use, you can squeeze up to about 60 miles out of this bike and in Kongo’s view, at this pace your butt is going to go south before your battery.
The monkey loves plugging in his earphones, selecting a cool chill jazz track from Apple Music, and riding with the sun and wind in his face. He’s developed a great bike tan and has lost 7 pounds so far so, yes, you can get some good exercise on an E-bike.
The monkey packs his camera on most rides now, so standby for more adventures on two wheels.
Travel safe. Have fun. Stay healthy.