The popular “What’s Your Workout” feature of The Wall Street Journal tells the story of a man in love with his Pedego. Bruce Austin, 70 years young, rides his Pedego Ridge Rider at least 50 miles a week as part of a healthy lifestyle. He uses the electric assistance to moderate his heart rate while climbing steep hills, and to keep up with his athletic son on strenuous off-road rides without overexerting himself.
Mr. Austin says he turns off the assistance on flat ground but will use it to help him stay in his heart-rate range on hills. “When I’m going up a steep climb I’m pedaling with about the same effort I would on a regular bike, but going faster,” he says. Riding his e-bike has helped bridge a generation, he says, allowing him to ride regularly with his sons, as well as his two daughters, both in their 20s.
Another benefit is the time savings. A hilly ride that would usually take him three hours on a standard bike now takes 90 minutes, he says, and burns nearly the same amount of calories per hour, around 500. “I can get in a hard ride before my 7 a.m. train to work,” he says. Mr. Austin bought a second e-bike so he can ride with his wife, Rhonda, his daughters, and friends his age. “In the past, my daughters found mountain biking stressful,” he says. “Now, they’ll be full-throttle on the e-bike and they have so much fun. They haven’t yet refused a ride.”
While many purists disapprove of e-bikes, Mr. Austin says the assistance has allowed him to skip the stationary bike in the gym. “There’s nothing more motivational than climbing to the top of the Santa Monica Mountains and breathing in the fresh air as you look out to the Channel Islands,” he says.
Every bicycle rider should know how to put air in their tires. Airing up a Pedego Electric Bike is pretty much the same as any other bike, but there are a few differences.
Most important: Always make sure your power is turned off. You don’t want to risk accidentally twisting the throttle or activating pedal assist while working on an ebike.
It’s normal for tires to lose air over time, so you should check your pressure before each ride. With practice, you might learn to give your tires a quick squeeze and have a rough idea of whether or not you need air, but until then, use a tire pressure gauge. Good bike pumps have them built in. You might only need to actually add air once every few weeks, but it’s worthwhile to check more often in case you pick up a thorn or something.
Every tire should have its recommended pressure range marked on its sidewall, although sometimes it’s really hard to see. Most Pedegos come with tires that are rated for about 35 to 65 psi. For these, we recommend inflating to about 50 to 55 psi. This gives a good balance of comfort and rolling resistance. (Trail Trackers with their fat tires typically have a range of 8 to 22 psi, and we usually pump to around 18 to 20 psi.)
As a general rule, if you want more comfort, lower the pressure a bit, and if you want less rolling resistance (which can increase your range), raise it. Lighter riders could go a little lower, and heavier riders could go a little higher. For better traction in dirt, go lower, but if you go too low, you increase your chance of getting a pinch-flat or bending a rim.
Pedego Electric Bikes come from the factory with a puncture sealant called Slime in the tube. (That’s why the valve stem covers are green.) This could save you from having to fix a flat while out on a ride, but if you’re not careful, Slime can gunk up the air valve. This can make it hard or impossible to pump air into your tire.
To minimize the chance of this happening, whenever you add or remove air, you should rotate your tire to put the valve stem at roughly halfway between 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock or halfway between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock (45 degrees). That way, if there’s any Slime in the stem, it can drain into the tube. This also keeps the stem from sitting in the Slime that collects at the bottom of the tube. After removing the pump from the stem, give one last pump to blow out any Slime that might have gotten into the nozzle.
Get a pump that fits Schrader valves (same as on car tires). All Pedegos come with Schraders. Many bicycle pumps can switch between Schrader and the other most popular kind of bicycle tire valve which is called Presta. You might want to choose one that fits both, just in case you ever have to replace a tube with one that has a Presta valve.
We recommend high-volume floor pumps which are often identified as being appropriate for mountain bikes. A high-volume pump will make it easier to get your tire filled quickly. You should probably avoid high-pressure or hand pumps as they will just be much harder to use.
Some people like to use compressors rather than bicycle pumps. They’re less physically demanding, but they tend to be noisy. There’s a wide variety available since cars also use Schrader valves. Be sure to get one that can plug into a wall outlet, not just a car’s cigarette lighter, and make sure its maximum pressure is high enough for your bike.
Maintaining your tire pressure is one of the easiest and most important things you can do for your Pedego. Take care of your tires, and they will take care of you!