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Friend and foe

"The perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction." This is the meaning of the word "wind" as taken from Oxford Languages.


The arrival of spring is a blessing for cyclists. Nicer road conditions. Fewer clothes. And for the most part, better weather — but with an accompanying byproduct. Hence, the definition opening today's blog posting.


For us pedal pushers, the wind is both a friend and a foe. If you're going with it, riding a bicycle seems effortless and the resulting increase in speed brings a smile to your face. On the other hand, if one is going against it, the fun stops real quickly. It's almost as if your two-wheeled machine suddenly became 30 pounds heavier. And if it is a really stiff breeze, it's like pedaling in quicksand — with very little progress going forward. Plus it's dangerous, due to the fact that you cannot hear vehicles coming up from behind.


Many of my spring spins are influenced by the direction of the wind. I'd much rather start out a ride getting blown around, when my legs are fresh, so then I can end up gliding my way home.


Ride like the wind ...


There is one solution — or at least a partial one — when it comes to battling the breeze. And that would be the utilization of an e-bike. Tired of getting beaten up by a gale? Just press the magic button.


I readily admit to pooh-poohing them in the past, and I still hope I never have to resort to using an e-bike. But they are here to stay, and even the small bike shop where I work — Mathieu's Cycle & Fitness — has recognized that fact.


E-bikes are popular and, dare I say, practical. And they are becoming more so. Here's a case in point. While cycling on the Legacy Trail in Sarasota last fall, I would say 40 percent of the other bicycles I encountered were of the e-bike variety. And a quick check of the internet revealed that almost every bike shop in that Florida city catered pretty much exclusively to these new kids on the block.


As I said, at Mathieu's, we are picking up on this trend — slowly, but surely. I realize I'm biased when it comes to Trek, as I have five bicycles in my stable from that brand, but I believe the Wisconsin-based company has nailed it when it comes to e-bikes. I could throw a bunch of performance and technical numbers at you, however, the big thing for me is how they feel and look. At first glance, you cannot even tell that a Trek e-bike is an e-bike. And for me, that's a huge deal.


Part of Trek's ethos is only designing and building bicycles that they, themselves, love. And I think they have done a good job of passing on that love — even through e-bikes — to us cyclists. Stay safe!


Trek FX+ 2 e-bike capable of going 20 mph. To me, it looks like a regular bicycle.

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