Where Exercise Meets Fun

Betty and Dan's old bikes.

Do you like to ride bikes? Do you ride for fun or exercise? If you’re like Dan and I, you ride for both. Whenever we are in Pentwater, we bike ride on the Hart-Montaque trail. It is a 22.7 mile (one way) trail from Hart to Montaque.

Dan and I usually start in Mears, where a bike shop called “The Wood Shed” is located. Then, like the true fitness buffs we are, we ride to a restaurant. This year, we decided to ride ten miles to the Country Dairy for lunch. But, once we started, we both had “issues” with our bikes. Mine was rubbing on the back wheel (and the front, too, I think), and Dan’s gears weren’t working.

Small bike hanging from a tree at The Wood Shed.
At The Wood Shed

After just a bit, we turned around and rode back to The Wood Shed. The owner, Jake, (it’s a one man operation) was at lunch. So, we waited the 15 minutes for his return because we wanted to ask him to look at my bike. While waiting, I sat and looked at two e-bikes sitting there for sale. Those bikes looked like Dan and Betty to me. I put those thoughts in my heart and my mind for later processing.

Jake came back from lunch. He did some adjustments on my brakes and did some oiling somewhere. He also commented that he thought it might not make much of a difference as all the brake cables needed to be replaced. We didn’t want to wait for that, so we rode off to the Country Dairy restaurant.

After six miles, which felt like twenty, we stopped to rest at Shelby. From where I stood on the trail, I could see the back of a building which had “Deb’s Restaurant” painted on it. I mentioned this to Dan. In two seconds, we were off to meet Deb. Deb’s Restaurant was closed, but a few blocks down was “The Brown Bear.” We were familiar with “The Brown Bear” as there is a second location in Pentwater. Or it could be the main location is in Pentwater, and the second location is in Shelby. It didn’t matter. Either way, we were ecstatic to see it.

While we ate our lunch, we discussed our bikes as well as the Dan and Betty e-bikes I had been admiring. One thing we decided at lunch, our old bikes were done. My bike was twenty years old. Dan’s bike was bought used about ten years ago. We didn’t think it would be worth the cost to repair and upgrade everything on our bikes. After lunch, we rode back to “The Wood Shed” and asked Jake a number of questions about the e-bikes. Then we drove back to Pentwater.

Back in Pentwater, we continued to talk and think about the e-bikes. I did some research on the internet.

One concern I had was that our fitness level would decrease should we purchase e-bikes. Dan’s response was that we didn’t have to use the “pedal assist.” This is true, but it would be so tempting. Even with the pedal assist though, one still does get exercise. Now, I believe walking is the best exercise for us, and it is greatly beneficial in a number of ways. My daily goal is 7500 steps. But right now, if we bike ride, we walk fewer steps. My thinking is, with the e-bikes, we can do both. At least, that is my theory.

Another concern was the cost. It was a lot of money! Now, those of you who know me, even just through my blog, know I am frugal. I am frugal because I want to spend my money on things that matter more to me. I am happy to clean our travel trailer myself with Dollar Tree products – or eat at home – or whatever – because having money and no debt gives us options. Like the option to purchase two new e-bikes. Which we did. After thinking about it for an entire week.

Two e-bikes with Lake Michigan in the background.
Our New E-Bikes
Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater, Michigan

We left our old bikes with Jake at The Wood Shed. Since we were in Michigan with our travel trailer, we didn’t have a way to bring them home. But, we didn’t want them anymore anyway. Last we saw, they were making friends with the other bikes there.

The Wood Shed
Mears, Michigan

Another concern was how to get the e-bikes home and how to transport them when we are traveling in our travel trailer. Each bikes weighs about 60 pounds. My concern evaporated though when Dan simply said, “We’ll figure it out.” Dan’s confidence in us and his strength was enough for me to settle this concern.

Here’s how we brought them home:

On the folded down dinette
On the folded down jack-knife sofa

Now, I’m not sure how we will transfer them in the future. I asked our travel trailer dealer about it, and he suggested we have a hitch welded onto the back of our travel trailer. Then, we would put an e-bike rack into the hitch. However, we are not sure this is a safe option as it puts 120 pounds plus on the back of the trailer, maybe causing sway. Please feel free to comment if you have any insight.

Now, as I mentioned, it took us (mostly me) a full week to decide to purchase the e-bikes. Dan was on board with it from the beginning. We could have just purchased new regular bikes at just a fraction of what we spent. But you know how I decided? When I thought about getting new regular bikes, it felt okay. But when I thought about getting new e-bikes – I felt excited! Real excited!

So now, the e-bikes are home. We’ve ridden 25 miles so far. I’m really happy we got them. And I’m still excited! I feel like a whole new world of exploring has opened up to us. Have you thought about e-bikes?

Betty and Dan with Beach in the background.
Ready to Roll!

30 comments

  1. I have not thought about an e-bike, mainly because even though I would like to bike, there is no place safe around our house, and I would have to tote a bike somewhere to ride–which is kind of why I do not walk as much as I would like. But, I am excited for you and admire you for keeping up the fitness level! Plus, the new bikes look really spiffy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! We are fortunate to live near bike trails which connect to the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a Missouri state park which is a trail across most of the state. So we could ride a long, long way – if we wanted. I appreciate your enthusiasm for our new e-bikes. I could do better fitness wise, but I am always trying to stay healthy – even if it’s just taking baby steps. Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for Jake at The Wood Shed; he isn’t a high pressure salesman. He told you all about the bikes and left you alone to think about it. Good for you and Dan that you did your research and made the best choice after thinking about it for one week. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about a major purchase for more than one day! Nancy and I are fellow debt free livers, but you guys take the cake in your frugality and discipline with the green stuff! Like you said, you’re willing to fork over the cash when it’s something you really care about. But otherwise it’s, “pinch those pennies!” This is inspiring.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David, for saying this post is inspiring. That means a lot to me – coming from you. As you know, being debt free gives us all kinds of options in life. And yes, Jake is pretty low key. No pressure at all, and he wanted us to be happy. He made numerous adjustments – like the seat, etc. We see him at The Wood Shed every year, probably since 2007. He’s fixed my bike a number of times. One year, we asked him if we could take him home with us. He just laughed, but we know where to find him! Enjoy your Sunday, and Blessing to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. E-bikes? That’s so awesome. But now I’m jealous. We have been talking about getting a couple for us but haven’t yet for the same reasons you mentioned. Cost, weight and how to stow them. I’ll be watching for updates on how you guys like you bikes in the future. Happy Days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought I remembered you guys mentioning them. I’ll be writing updates as we go forward, and I always include the positive and any “lessons” we learn. 🙂 I have to do more research about the hitch welded onto the back of the trailer. It wasn’t too hard getting them into the trailer. Dan brought them back to Pentwater one by one in the back of the Expedition. It was easier to get them into the trailer, he said, than the back of the Expedition. There are also e-bikes which fold – which didn’t appeal to us as much – I guess because we are taller. Happy Days, and safe travels to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your post was very interesting, since we also are talking about e-bikes! What brand are they? We are used to the Katy trail, and now that we are out everywhere on our bikes, those darn hills sure get in the way. And, we also always make sure there is a restaurant, brewery or winery on our trail for the day! 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more about your ebikes as you use them. As far as putting them on your trailer, just see how much they weigh, and what the max is that your trailer can carry – bikes plus hitch. Have fun!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The company is Stone Mountain Bike company. https://stonemountainbikecompany.com/ The company is near Atlanta. When I was researching e-bikes, I found all kinds and price ranges. Costco had one for about $1,000, but it did not get good reviews. We wanted the 750/800 watt motor since we hope to ride in the Smokey Mountains NP and in Yellowstone. There are also some e-bikes which are way more expensive. Once I searched, I kept getting ads, and I checked those out, too. Many bikes, while different brands, looked exactly like the bikes we bought – down to the leather hand grips. Jake gave us $100 off each bike since we bought two. Also, the bikes were already put together which we liked. We did upgrade the seats for comfort. He gave us a bit of a discount on that, too, as we gave him the seats which were on the bikes. I think we are okay regarding the total weight; however, I have read to put the weight in front of the trailer to prevent sway. I will update our experience with the e-bikes as we go along. Thanks for your comment, and safe travels!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! Even though we don’t bike, I know many folks who do. A good friend says she wouldn’t trade her e-bike for anything. Good for both of you and enjoy, as I know you will! Anxious to read about your future e-biking adventures. Your writing style is so much fun and engaging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It is good to hear what your good friend says about her e-bike. And I appreciate the compliment about my writing style. Hope you have a good week ahead with lots of enjoyable power walks.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great story and a great find! I have not thought about an e-bike but would definitely consider them in the future. As to your puzzle about transport, I wonder if you could put a rack on the front of your vehicle like buses have? Also I lace my Fitbit on my shoe when biking so as to get credit for my my pedal strokes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I have not thought about the front of our vehicle nor have I thought about putting a Fitbit on my shoe. The e-bike does have an odometer, so I do keep track of miles. We will see how everything works out! Have a good week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. YES!!! You will not regret buying your e assist bike. I love mine, and yes, you do get plenty of exercise. It allows you to do MORE biking, and helps you get up big hills and if it is very windy. You can turn the assist off or keep it on the lowest level. The only hassle as you said is transporting them. My husband does not have one (yet) so we have been putting it in the back of our Honda CRV, but I cannot do that by myself, and then there are only 2 seats in the car. If (when?) we buy a truck and RV, we will re-evaluate. When we saw our friend’s 5th Wheel in person, we observed that the bike would fit standing up in the living area even when the slides where pushed in. I guess you would have to find a way keep it from tipping over, but that could be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I am so glad to read your comment. You know, I thought it was a good decision and that we’d like the e-bikes, but you never know! I think we could have one standing up in our TT with the slide in – possibly two, but we’d have to check. I thought about putting the e-bike rack on the floor to keep them standing up. If nothing else, we can use the dinette and the jack-knife sofa to transport, like we did on the way home. I was thinking the e-bikes would allow us to do MORE biking, so I am glad you said this, also. So far, we have 37 miles, and everything is great. I am very cautious crossing streets and making turns, especially sharp turns. Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I do hope they bring many miles of smiles, too! Love that phrase! Are there places where you have your home base that you could ride? There are lots of e-bikes options – even adult trikes! I can just see Miss Barbara zooming around! So far, the e-bikes are really fun to ride. Kind of like a motorcycle, except that I can handle it! Enjoy your day!

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    • Hi Mary! We actually stayed in Pentwater at Charles Mears State Park, but we drove over to Mears to ride the Hart-Montaque bike trail. It is a beautiful area. We like Silver Lake, too. Sometimes we go there to play putt putt. We enjoy the Lake and the weather – usually much less humid and more comfortable than St. Charles at that time of year. But our favorite town is Pentwater.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How fun! Years ago when we camped our children always took their bikes along. At first the husband was against it because we were “getting away from it all”. But after some boredom from the kids, he relented. We loaded them up on the back of the pick-up with all the other necessary gear and the kids loved riding in the parks. After a year we were camping out and had to make a run into Walmart for some essential items that were left at home – bug spray, ant bait, a comb, and shampoo. While walking through the bike section we saw two adult bikes each priced at $75. We stood there for a moment and decided that despite the price, the bikes were assembled, and we would enjoy riding in the state parks with the kids. Best investment ever! Except the night we got home from that camp out we decided to ride around in the neighborhood. Guess had to be rushed to the ER to have her face stitched together…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! Hopefully, it wasn’t too bad of a gash! It does sound like lots of fun riding with the kids. I am being very cautious when making turns or when crossing streets. The bike has 5 levels of pedal assist; I’ve gone up to 2! 🙂 We’ve been home two days and have taken an 8 mile ride each day. The best part is going up a hill to a nearby park with paved trails. We’ve avoided that hill in the past. Not anymore! Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day tomorrow!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is great exercise! It was the thin tires and hand brake that messed me up. I was very cautious after that and have vowed if I ever buy a new bike it will not have thin tires!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I had a 3 wheeler trike/bike I rode everywhere before we left Sydney 2019. I could even do the 3 km ride to do a small grocery shop. The basket at the rear was very handy for the markets, groceries and even picnics by the river. When we move north, we never thought about the steepness of the hills and we had no where to store the trike. I sold it and do more walking. If we visit the local beaches, there are usually have hire bikes and trikes so I don’t miss it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on the new e-bikes! Our current debate is whether to purchase collapsible bikes to take with us on our travels or an inflatable tandem kayak. (Neither of us has ridden a bike in years.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! That is a fun debate to have! I do like to kayak, but we ride bikes way more often. Good luck with your decision. Either way, you will have fun! We are really enjoying the e-bikes.

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