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Wobbling around with someone holding onto our seat and running behind us after we have bravely announced “I can do it myself without the training wheels!” is often what we remember about our first bicycle. It’s amazing that we manage to eventually not only stay aboard the mechanical beast, but that so many of us fully embrace the experience, preferring it over cars or skateboards or walking.
Do It Yourself…
Bicycles have evolved into some type of ride for everyone. There are road bikes with razor thin tires, beach cruisers with 3.5″ high floatation tires, mountain bikes meant for steep and rocky crags, strange looking Elliptigos with 14” wheels, and even electric E- bikes requiring little or no effort on our part to climb our hilliest San Clemente bike trails.
Road bikes are what we often think of when bicycles enter our day-dreams of riding away from it all. With 18 or 21 speeds, these look most like the 10-speeds we probably coveted as kids.
Cruisers are built more for comfort than for speed. These smooth rolling bikes with their wider tires are great for riding the beach trails. They let you comfortably and effortlessly cruise the world around you. Soak in the sun. Take in the scenery. Made with spring comfort seats, soft grips, and perfect style from front to back, anyone can kick up the kickstand and take their cruiser for a spin – no matter how long it’s been since you’ve ridden a bicycle. With from one to seven speeds, they will take you where you want to go with a minimum of derriere distress. Add a surfboard rack and you’re set for a day of adventure.
Both of these styles are now also available as electric motor hybrids. They look like bicycles but they offer varying degrees of assist, which depend on the amount of throttle you use. These are not motorcycles. They are bikes and as such they do not require licensing or registration, as long as they operate at less than 28 miles per hour. All the bikes come with a governor on the motor that prevents them going faster than that with the motor alone.
Elliptigos are bikes you ride standing up. They mimic the elliptical cross trainer at your favorite gym but you actually get to go somewhere on them. The 3-speed 3C for level terrain, or the 8-speed 8C for the hills should get you to your happy place. The specialized gearing lets you hold your comfortable pace as the road changes beneath you.
Bicycles San Clemente stocks an assortment of both Fuji and Izlip motorized bikes as well as Elliptigos. Jax Bikes carries Trek E-bikes with Bosche electric motors. Murf Electric Bikes sells a private brand of stylish electric cruiser bikes. All three shops offer substantial warranties on bikes and batteries.
Or get a little help.
E-bikes are very popular in Europe and Asia. They entice those of us who love to ride but find it more challenging as we age. E-bikes pedal and handle just like a regular bicycle. The electric component is meant to augment human power, not completely replace it. It makes obstacles like hills and headwinds more manageable and allows you to travel further without getting as tired. The 48-volt, 350-watt engines cost as little as fifty cents to recharge the battery. Cost for driving an E-bike is around $400 annually.
Charging an E-bike is as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet. Charging times for batteries vary, but usually take from two to six hours to fully recharge, with a life span of 700 to 1000 charges.
Most E-bikes are designed to help you only while you pedal. The more muscle power you use, the less power is taken from the battery and the more range you’ll achieve. This is especially relevant when accelerating or climbing steep gradients. If your E-bike has a throttle (which allows you to get power without pedaling), constant use will eat through your battery charge faster. If you use your E-bike in hilly areas, expect less range from your battery. Similarly, heavier riders or people carrying heavy loads can also expect reduced range. Wind resistance can also cut down on your riding range. Tony from Murf recommends a rear-hub motor for cruising and commuting and a mid-hub for mountain biking.
Bike Trails in San Clemente - Mapmyride.com
There are currently over 2,166 bike trails in the San Clemente area. Some of these are along streets, while others are in more natural settings such as the Rancho San Clemente Ridgeline Trail or San Mateo.
While trail maps are available from the City of San Clemente and all the bike shops in town, there is an app called Mapmyride that shows distance, connections, ascent, elevation, and when the trails were created, among other things. It functions much like Google maps but for bike rides, and settles nicely into your phone apps.
Whether you are pedal pushing or going along for the ride on your E-bike, you can do it yourself, even without the training wheels!FAVORITE RIDES FROM THE EXPERTS
Pete Van Nuys from Bicycles San Clemente.
Pete Van Nuys from Bicycles San Clemente prefers the ride up El Camino Real to San Juan Capistrano, which goes all the way to the Los Rios Historical District. He and his wife Lynn are hosting bicycle trips through Europe this year. “We always choose tiny roads with little traffic. We like them and the space between the villages, rather than the bigger, busier towns.”
They offer Elliptigo bikes for the routing through Austria, Italy and Switzerland or on their Castles, Caves and Canyons trips through France, but regular and motorized bikes are fine too. You can rent the bikes there or take your own as luggage. Some airlines, like Air New Zealand and Air Norway, will ship them at no charge.
Alan Kang of Murf Electric Bikes enjoys riding along the ocean on PCH to Sunsets Restaurant in Capistrano Beach. Murf Electric Bikes is his new venture with business partner Josh Jones. Their bikes are all electric cruiser style, and you can even have cup holders mounted to the handle-bars.
Tanner Affleck of Jax Bikes loves riding the fire trail by San Clemente’s Dog Park. Mountain-bike riding on his Trek E-Bike with its Bosche electric motor still gives him the thrill of riding on dirt or rocky trails but with a little more control.
Bicycles San Clemente - 1900 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949)492-5737.
Murf Electric Bikes - 212 N. El Camino Real, Suite B, San Clemente, (949)245-0294