I finally experienced the Summit Bike Share program, which has sat literally across the street from my office for months. The key here is that they’re not just bikes. They’re e-bikes. Bicycles with electric pedal assist (“Pedelec”). What this means is that when you’re moving up hills or across tougher terrain, the bike itself kicks in and moves you along. You still have to pedal, but it’s not really any work at all. Which opens up a world of opportunity for those of us with good intentions but more taco chips than gym reps.
1. Fancy gear not needed. It’s fine! They’re made for people in shorts or suits or jeans or the full spandex bike outfit. Look at me, jeans and loafers and a blazer.
2. They are heavy. So don’t leave the coverage zone because the Pedelec assist ends and you have to pedal this heavy bike back in all on your own strength.
3. Helmets are good. Ok, so when you take off on a bike, you do so by having one foot on the ground, the other on a pedal, and you step that foot down while lifting your other foot and you move forward and start pedaling, right? On an e-bike, that initial motion forward is assisted and IT IS FAST HOLY COW. I stumbled off and lowered the seat because I realized I was probably going to fall off the damn thing and I wanted to be that much closer to the ground when I did.
4. Texting is bad. I KNOW. But the last time I was on a bike phones were not this big and I realized mine was probably falling out of my back pocket and so I pulled it out and when I did I saw that somebody who was going to meet up with us might still be coming so I was sending a quick response as I rapidly approached a stopped car at a stop sign. Realizing I was holding the phone in the hand that operates the brake handle I ruminated briefly on my life decisions before ditching the phone as close to the basket as I could and skidded to a halt. Pro-tip: glass screen protectors are the best.
5. App required. The app is easy to use (Summit Bike Share), and very interactive, it shows you all the places you can pick up or drop off a bike. I had no idea there were so many locations.
It also tracks exactly where you went and, how long you were riding and how far you went. It also calculates the number of calories you burned, but if I really burned 200 calories tooling around effortlessly on an electric bike with my scarf blowing in the breeze then this is the best weight-loss solution I’ve ever seen.
Moral of the story? SUPER FUN BUT KIND OF SCARY BUT MOSTLY FUN. Everybody should try it, and it’s a brilliant example of Park City’s commitment to greener initiatives and getting people outside. In fact, the next time you want to look at property and it’s a beautiful day in the mountains, don’t be surprised if I hand you a helmet and bottle of sunscreen.