Watch out people, the e-bike posse is coming for you!
In the edited lyrics of Queen, friends, Melody Poggio and Lea Scudamore sing, "We love to ride our e-bicylces, we love to ride our e-bikes." The two women bought Momentum eBikes from Continental Ski & Bike and since then they have been racking up the miles around Minnesota. From a wine barrel mission in Cannon Falls to a 100K from Duluth’s Lake Superior Zoo to Castle Danger Brewing in Two Harbor’s and back to the famous Lincoln Park district OMC Smokehaus for a whopping 64 miles. The two friends have ridden over 3,000 miles.
Locally, the women have shared their love for their bikes with everyone from strangers to their family doctors.
We sat down with two of these amazing ladies in the posse to do a bit of "question and answer," as well as shoot some pics, what a great time! Here's just a bit of their incredible story, we hope you enjoy and feel as inspired and stoked by their story as we do!
Prior to owning the E-Bike when was the last time you had owned/ridden a bike?
- Melody: Prior to owning the e-bike I had tried unsuccessfully a few times to ride my Huffy with my kids. I even pulled my son in a trailer with that thing, but I gave up because I hurt for days afterwards each time I tried. I didn't have the time or patience to not be able to chase my kids as needed.
- Lea: I owned a Trek bike but the pain in my hips and knees made it not so fun. I'd hurt for days afterwards. I think it sat in the garage for most of 7 years.
Prior to owning the E-bike what was the furthest you had ever ridden a bike?
- Melody: Prior to owning my ebike, I had really only gone maybe 5 or 6 miles during my adult years. I LOVED riding my bike as a kid and teenager, but as I got busier and had a car, I didn't ride as often.
- Lea: 13 miles. I love riding the trail along the highway near Splitrock Lighthouse, Cove Point Lodge, Larsmont Cottages, and sitting on the deck at the Rustic Inn for lunch. It's the perfect ride.
What has the E-Bike done for you?
- Melody: My ebike has given me an outlet that I didn't know I needed physically, mentally, and spiritually. The pandemic hit me hard between my work as a private tutor, a parent of two school-aged kids, and just the stress in general. When Lea asked me to come try one out, I was sold immediately. I couldn't really let it go and probably annoyed my husband with my insistence that we buy it as soon as possible. It has been BY FAR one of my favorite purchases I've ever made. The physical stress relief was needed, but the mental and spiritual aspects have been more than I think I could have anticipated. Mentally, the act of leaving my house and family behind for time that is solely for me, is one of the best things I have ever done. The challenge of seeing if I can do just one more mile and knowing that if I do, I won't be regretting it the next day is incredibly freeing. The pandemic was preceded by my brother's death, in April 2019. I find myself thinking of him a lot while I ride, and I find that the freedom to be alone with my thoughts and feelings while "seeking grace in every step [I] take" (Rocky Mountain High, John Denver) brings peace.
The physical aspect of these bikes is astounding though. I have a connective tissue disorder that affects my joints. I used to hurt constantly. I would force myself to walk the Lakewalk every day, but it was solely for the act of moving, not enjoyment. My ebike has allowed me to get out and ENJOY the act of exercising for the first time in a long time. Being able to get off the bike and then continue on with my day like I hadn't just ridden 20 miles was a game-changer for me.
- Lea: Kind of the same thing Mel said. It's therapy. My bike can take me anywhere and opens up the sport to me. Without the assist from my bike, the hills of Duluth would be murder and not accessible. I live on the hillside where it is literally uphill both ways everywhere I want to go.
What's been your most favorite place to see from your bike that you maybe wouldn't have had you not been on it?
- Melody: This summer, Lea and I did a 100 km ride up scenic Hwy 61 and back. We started near the zoo and rode up to Castle Danger, recharged the bikes and ourselves, and ended at OMC in the Craft District. It was a challenge, but seeing Lake Superior for the majority of our ride kept our spirits high the entire ride (well except for the wind that managed to be in our faces in BOTH directions, haha).
- Lea: That's a hard call. Jay Cooke park was great. That's another ride that would have been completely infeasible without my eBike's help. The hills there and the valleys are stunning. It would have been horrible on my knees. My knees grind and it feels like growing pains when I try to sleep for a few days after a big ride.
How often are you riding?
- Melody: I ride about one hundred miles a week.
- Lea: I ride almost every day during the workweek to and from work. On the weekends I try to get a ride in that "tests the battery." Twenty or more miles gives you time to think and shut down my brain for a minute. I know it's cliche but just me and my bike riding one of the trails or taking down the hills, makes me feel better and charged for the next week. If I don't ride my bike I miss it. I ride the hills so often I've named them all. I used to be afraid to try to ride out Rice Lake Road from where I work downtown. I named it, Puke Hill because I was convinced it was a hill I'd never ride. After about 6 weeks with my bike, I knew I could ride it. I road up to Puke Hill and cruising down the backside of it past Lowell School and Campus Park I was relieved. I remember being freed from that physical thing that made me say, "I can't do it." I could power my way up that hill and not die. My leg muscles were burning sure. I was breathing hard but not my joints weren't grinding and there is a debilitating difference between bone pain and muscle pain. Muscle pain heals. I like muscle pain in a way. It means I worked and I'm living and enjoying my bike.
Where do you hope to explore in the future on your E-Bike?
- Melody: My folks live in Ridgway, CO. I am hoping to spend a few weeks out there next summer riding my bike.
- Lea: I'd really like to bike around Lake Pepin, spend a weekend in the cities, or ride the trails in the Woodbury area a friend told me are pretty great. That's on my list before the end of the year. If I had multiple batteries and charging cords I'd really like to ride Duluth to the Canadian border with Mel. I know my bike battery would be worn out before I am. It'd be really cool to take a few days and ride the crown of Lake Superior. It is cool to encourage others that miss biking to get ebikes and ride with us. It makes me happy to help them find a bit of childhood.
How many friends around you now have them and what do they think?
- Melody: Since Lea and I bought bikes, we joke we should be the brand ambassadors. We have taken trips together and sold people on the bikes just by talking about how much we love them. Both of my parents have purchased ebikes too, which is amazing. My dad set a goal to ride 1000 miles before he put his up for the winter, and he is about 50 miles away from reaching his goal! I can think of about 5 people off the top of my head who have purchased their ebikes after we got ours. I always tell them to go and try one out. It makes you feel like a kid again. That same feeling of freedom that you get as a kid with your first bike comes back with an ebike; the freedom now comes from being pain free.
- Lea: A friend of ours calls our converts the, "e-Bike Posse." It makes me laugh but it has grown and is growing. I know of six people that have them and another two waiting for theirs to arrive. My neighbor got one and I love seeing her on her bike. I think the most fun I've had besides riding my bike is turning my bike on and letting someone try it. They always come back with wide eyes and a huge grin on their face. Then the cell phones come out and they take pictures of the bike, close-ups of the brand, the controls, etc. It's fun to open that door for them.
It reminds me of the day Mel mentioned. I asked her to try a bike and talk me out of buying it. I was IN LOVE. I was looking to replace my old Trek bike because I could hear my knees grinding every time I rode. I had sold my bike and was sad that I was done biking at 41 years old. Then my super smart husband (I have to give him the credit.) recommended I look into e-assist bikes. I road one kind of as a last-ditch hope to biking again. I wanted it instantly. But, I wanted Melody to talk me out of spending the money on a bike because I'm a mom, there are bills, sports, responsibilities, etc. She failed me immensely. (What a rotten friend.) I'm kidding. We go to Continental she test rides a bike. She comes back with her legs straight out each side, cackling wilding, and yelling "I'M GETTING ONE! YOU HAVE TO BUY IT NOW!" That was it.
Now we are just two weirdos that get stopped by people to talk about our bikes. Then we watch our bikes ride off down the road with someone else on it. They always come back with light and airy kid-like hearts. It's life-changing and it puts accessibility into cycling. You no longer have to feel like your biking days are behind you.
We get asked a lot, “how long does an ebike battery last” and they found out when the batteries that assist the two riders gave up at mile 34 of a 37-mile ride. "But the cool thing is, we were able to shut off our batteries and only use them on the hills we needed help and finished out 37-mile goal.
What are the best ebikes? Admittedly biased, Lea and Melody would recommend Giant’s Momentum Lefree!