I recently saw a Civia Cycles Parkway step-thru e-bike cruising down the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis. I was camped out at the outdoor café at Freewheel Bike sucking down a mango smoothie. It was a needed rest break after 32-miles on a 66lb Royal Dutch Gazelle Tour Populair (review coming soon!).
A cyclist (road tool with matching kit and carbon fiber Italian race bike) sitting at the table next to me chirped, “Ha! Look! An e-bike!”
He said it like it was a bad thing, like riding an e-bike is some kind of cop-out or cheating. For lazy, out-of-shape riders. Who are all these pompous dicks and why do they keep sitting by me?
“Hey, if an e-bike will keep me riding if I make it to my 70’s I’m on board,” I replied.
Predictably, he said nothing. I wondered what the jackass would have said if he saw me blazing down the Greenway on a Terra Trike AT Rambler!
Here’s what the road tool in matching kit didn’t bother to see:
- The cyclist was an older woman.
- The cyclist did not have a gut.
- The cyclist was pedaling.
- The cyclist was enjoying herself.
- The cyclist would encounter her share of hills on the Midtown Greenway and when she did, the Civia Parkway’s electric assist would help her keep pedaling.
- The cyclist represented who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing if I make it to my 60s and 70s.
At Interbike last year, I got to ride at least a dozen e-bikes (mountain bikes, commuters, cargo, fatbikes, etc) and they are really cool; I admit I knocked them until I tried them. There was something really freeing about tooling up a hill without over-exerting myself.
I also saw the possibilities and purpose. Not everyone who rides bikes are road tools in matching kits who ride 100 miles in an afternoon on a carbon fiber Italian race bike and have quads the size of Redwoods. Cyclists come in all shapes, sizes, ages and ability. I mean, holy fuck. Why does everyone have to be of the Tour de France mindset?
But back to the Civia Parkway. I ride a Civia Hyland (not an e-bike) as my commuter bike so I’m familiar with the brand. They have an easy simplicity to them with an attractive price point. Indeed, Civia’s mission is to “help more people get out into their own cities and towns with confidence and style.” Which is exactly what the Parkway e-bike cyclist on the Greenway was doing.
When I Googled the Civia Parkway e-bike model, I was impressed. For $2,799, the Parkway features an e-assist system from Bosch’s Active Line with a 5.5 lb PowerPack 400 frame battery. The Bosch motor offers four levels of acceleration support from Eco to Turbo. Oh! How I would love to have the turbo option to ride over the chocolate malt-sucking cyclist with a gut’s smug face!
It also has a 9-spd rear derailleur and maxes out at 20 mph. A control with an easy-to-read-and-use screen is mounted near the handlebar grip to allow the cyclist to adjust assistance levels without letting go of the handlebar. Looks to be a simple turn it on, press a button and go. Again, Civia Cycles is keeping it simple because cycling shouldn’t be complicated.
For those who wonder how long the Civia Parkway e-bike runs on the PowerPack, the answer is that it depends. Civia states that a fully charged battery will last from 30-110 miles depending upon selected terrain assist modes, wind, total weight on the bike, and other elements that vary by rider and by ride conditions. When the battery depletes, you pedal home and recharge it. According to Civia, a fresh charge from empty takes 6.5 hours and the Civia Parkway comes with a Bosch compact charger.
So, yeah. In a world where e-bikes can run upwards of $7,000, it’s nice to know that one can be had for much less.
Other reasons I would never dis an ebike (and neither should you):
- They’re great for no-sweat commutes (important to cyclists who don’t have shower facilities at their workplaces)
- When it’s easy for people to ride a bike, they ride bikes further and more often.
- Even though an ebike is a steep initial investment, it’s still cheaper filling a car’s gas tank, insuring it and maintaining it.
- e-bikes aren’t for everyone, but then is any one bike perfect for everyone is there?
I don’t expect for a moment that I’ll be as fit as am I now when I’m in my 60s and 70s (assuming I live that long). But what I do expect is to keep on riding because I love it. Bikes are a big part of my identity.
Thanks to companies like Civia Cycles and their snappy Civia Parkway e-bike for under $2800, I (and the e-bike hating road tool) can keep on riding.