When I first started writing Fish & Bicycles, back in 2009, I’d already been employed by Western Washington University (WWU, Western) for nine years, and I was a devoted bicycle commuter.
Rain, shine, even snow…it was a point of great environmentalist pride, as well as the absolute best way to squeeze exercise into a ridiculously busy schedule.
But sadly, over the past two years of my now 17-year tenure at WWU, due to a combination of having moved much further away from campus, some injuries and health issues, and simply a loss of mojo for getting out on a bicycle in Bellingham’s famously wet weather, I gradually stopped my daily bike commute.
Enter, Western’s Viking E-Bike program!
I’ve been considering purchasing an electric pedal-assist bicycle for some time, thinking that the power assistance, only as needed, for the several hills along my 5-mile commute route, would be just the thing to get me back in the saddle, but with price tags ranging from $1,000-$4,000 or more, it was no easy decision.
So, when I learned about the Viking E-Bike program, when I learned that I could apply to have a loaner electric bicycle for an entire 10-week academic quarter, I jumped at the chance, applied, and was just accepted!
I had my orientation this week, in preparation for the start of my 10 weeks near the beginning of January, and I can already tell that this will be an incredible opportunity to evaluate an e-bike, learn how to use one, learn what features I like and don’t like on the eProdigy Jasper bicycle that I’ll be riding (which will guide my eventual purchase of some bike by some to-be-determined manufacturer), and whether or not the power assistance will be enough to get me back to a daily cycling commute.
Given that it’s wintertime, it will be one helluva test, and new rain gear is already on my holiday gift wish list.
I’ll be blogging about my experiences here, so keep an eye out for “Viking E-Bikes” in my post titles!