Last year I joined a facebook group Bike Path Riders: West Michigan because I wanted to ride with a group for a change, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only has it introduced me to a group of wonderful people, but it has motivated me to invest in a trailer hitch style bike rack for two and to go on rides up to fifty miles away (so far.) The second bike feature has already come in handy when a friend went with me on one of the rides; I picked her up on the way to the meeting place.
The Weekly Smile was part of our group ride yesterday. We ended up going almost nineteen miles. For the first time, a lady showed up with an e-bike on a bike rack attached to the back of her car. The e-bike was all decked out with a basket on the front and a carrier-type basket in the back. She also brought her small terrier, Grover. Grover was the calmest and coolest little guy you could imagine. When asked how did Grover come into her life, she said, “he was a neighborhood dog for a long time and then he chose me.”
It was the lady’s first time riding with a group and she was a little nervous about how an e-bike would fit into the dynamics, especially since last week a troll tried to generate a flame war over whether e-bikes were welcome on bike paths, especially since there are signs saying no motorized vehicles. The moderator of the group ended up kicking him out and we are back to peace and harmony again. She was happy to see what a fun group we have.
Every time the “accordion” line regrouped, the lady would lift Grover and put him down so he could do his potty breaks. His grizzled chin told me that he was an older dog and the way he walked told me he might have arthritis. As we got rolling again, he kept his balance well on the back of the bike and showed no signs of wanting to jump down.
We planned a stop at a local distillery for drinks and lunch on the way back. The lady was going to leave because she didn’t want Grover to wait outside, but the group decided we would stand at the tables outside if necessary. We were delighted to learn that the distillery is pet-friendly! Not only did the owner/manager welcome Grover in, he brought him a bowl of water with pet prints on it.
I admit to having had some reservations about e-bikes, at least until yesterday. I’ve been surprised/startled by them racing around me from behind or bursting out from around corners coming towards me. After seeing them up close and how they operate (with this one you have to pedal in order for it to go) and how slow they can go, my reservations are minimized. There are plenty of pedal bike racers who have done the same. Speedsters of either kind sharing the trail with people who are walking baby strollers, old folks with canes and walkers, and people walking pets, is a mistake in my opinion but I don’t make the rules.
Learning about e-bikes, seeing how well Grover rode, and how well Grover was treated at the distillery are my weekly smiles.
This is my first time participating in Trent’s Weekly Smile.