E-Bikes & Bikes Customised to You
July 10, 2022
This is Sixthreezero's, My Journey, My Experience podcast, stories from sixthreezero riders about their lives and time in the saddle. I'm your host, Dustin Gyger.
Okay. Welcome again to this week's My Journey, My Experience podcast. Today, we are joined by another loyal sixthreezero rider, Kathy Poole. Kathy, thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you for inviting me.
Of course, of course. Kathy is actually one of our electric bike riders. She's been logging some great mileage on the app. It'll be fun today to hear from an electric bike rider, which we haven't had on the podcast yet, and kind of get a sense of why Kathy chose electric, how she's enjoying it and what kind of rides she does.
Kathy, thanks again. I'm excited. This is the first time, like I said, we've done this with an electric bike rider. Let's first get to know a little bit about you. Where are you located?
I am in Belfair, Washington. We are in the foothills of the Olympic mountain range.
Okay. Do you live at elevation?
I am not... We are near the bottom. We are only at about 500 feet elevation. We're not real high.
Okay. Gotcha. You were just telling me before we started that you guys have had spotty weather. Have you had a lot of rain frequently?
It's been very rainy, and windy, and cold, unusually. We've set all kinds of records, not in a good way this year. Our average spring temperature is only 52. It's been very cool and wet.
Yeah. It's been tough.
What's the temperature typically, would you say?
It should be in the mid seventies.
Oh, wow. Wow. That's a pretty drastic change there.
Very drastic and very disappointing because we haven't been able to ride as much as we thought we would.
Yeah, no, absolutely. Well, it seems like not just in Washington, but in other parts of the country, it's been a very mild spring. In California here too, but we're getting some heat now, so maybe that'll come your way.
I hope so.
Okay. Just to get to know you a little bit more, and so everyone knows you a little better at home, do you mind telling everyone your age, and your height, and then we'll dig in a little bit more to your writing habits?
Okay. I am 73. I am 5' 4".
5' 4". Perfect. Okay. Take us back now to... If you can remember, do you have any sense of when you started riding a bike, at how old, and what kind bike it was?
Oh my goodness. Sure, a tricycle when I was a young girl, a little kid. When I rode bikes growing up, we didn't even have speeds on our bikes. We had coaster breaks. No speeds. I have never ridden a bicycle with speed until now.
Oh, really? You never had a bicycle with gears at all?
Correct. I had no clue what to do with them. My daughter had to teach me how to use those gears.
Okay. Okay. Interesting. Tell me a little bit about... When did you buy your sixthreezero bike?
I bought my sixthreezero, my current sixthreezero, in August of 2021. I had... This is sort of a silly story. My daughter rides motorcycles and son-in-law, and I've always loved motorcycles and wanted to ride one and decided I'm just too old to learn to ride a motorcycle now. Where we live, because of the elevation, the hills, the mountains, I couldn't ride a regular bike, not at my age. That was... I started researching electric bikes.
What ultimately made you land on sixthreezero... Or, well, sorry, A/O, which is part of sixthreezero.
Well, I started researching electric bikes and sixthreezero had such good reviews, as far as the bikes themselves and the customer service, that I started looking at sixthreezero bikes. The Frida was not my first choice, but it was in stock and it was close to what I wanted, what I had chosen. I was looking at a Reach Your Destination, but they were out of stock. Customer service suggested I look at the Frida and I did. I'm glad... I'm very glad.
Now prior, and just so everyone knows, she ultimately chose the A/O Frida 500 wat e-bike, which is very similar to the EvryJourney 500 wat electric bike. Now, prior to getting an electric bike, when was the last time you really rode a bike?
Probably when I was a teenager, so many, many years ago.
Oh, wow, so it'd been a good... Yeah. Wow. So 50 years.
40 some years, 50 years. Sure.
Wow. Okay. Tell me, what was that like, getting back on a bike? Was there a learning curve? Did it come naturally? What was that whole process of just getting back on a bike like for you?
It was scary. It was a learning curve. I felt very wobbly and unsteady at first. It took me several, probably, short rides, not more than a mile. I couldn't turn. I was afraid. I was afraid to turn. I was afraid to do anything other than just ride straight and stop, and then turn the bike around and then get back on it and ride. It took me probably a couple weeks to feel confident.
When you were getting back on, were you literally just riding in a straight line and not turning at all?
Correct. I was afraid to turn. I was scared to death.
Yeah. No, I'm just... I'm actually just kind of curious to understand your process because this is actually a pretty common occurrence that I hear from a lot of people in your same age range that have been off the bike for 30, 40 years. I'm really curious and I think everyone else would appreciate just... I'm trying to understand that process.
Step one was get back on the bike and really just ride in a straight line, which I'm assuming just got you comfortable balancing, being back on two wheels, that sort of thing.
Correct. I was just worried that I was going to tip over and fall off. It was scary. It truly was.
Yeah. You were wearing a helmet though, I assume?
Oh yes. Oh yes.
All the time?
Yeah. From there, one mile, you said it took a couple weeks, and then after that, was it like... After those few weeks, were you just ready to go? You jumped back in and you felt comfortable?
Again, when I first did it, I didn't know... I'd never had a bike with gears. I don't know what gear it was in, but whatever gear it was in is what I rode. I didn't try to change gears. I didn't even use the battery. I was just trying to get used to riding the bike. After a week or so, then we put the battery in. I still didn't use it, but it was there. My daughter, one of our daughters taught me how to shift and explained to me. She got on a mountain bike she has and rode with me and said, "Look, this is why I'm changing gears. This is what happens when I do." Then I started using the gears.
But when you initially got on, you were not using the electric motor or the assist at all for the first couple weeks.
Then you got comfortable using the actual speeds, which, so everyone knows, the speeds actually have nothing to do with the mechanical, the electrical element of it. You got comfortable with the gears and shifting, is that right?
That's right. After that, then I started to use the battery and the throttle assist. I learned. It took me a few rides to figure that out also, to do it. I watched a lot of your YouTubes and figured out... I don't use the throttle assist very much, only when I'm just first starting out, because I'm starting out on a hill. Just to start the bike, I use it, but then I don't ever use it again really.
You'll leave it in just pedal assist after that.
Correct. Mostly. It depends on if I'm on a flat surface, I don't. I just shut it off, honestly. But if I'm on hills, which I usually am, then I leave the pedal assist on.
What level of pedal assist do you find yourself keeping it in?
One. I never go higher than one. I just don't need to. Unless I'm on a-
Do you feel like that still gives you ample..?
It does. I say that... We've got a couple of very, very steep hills, and so I will put it in two just to give myself a little umph to get up that hill, but I mostly do it by changing gears.
Got it. Got it. Yeah. You're finding pedal assist level two is enough power for what you need to do and even on the steep hills.
Yeah. I seldom use two. I try only to use one. It's just a personal I want to be able to do it without using all that assistance.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, so you still get the exercise.
Right. Right. Now, my husband rides with me and he obviously uses it.
Now, so interesting. What? Oh, he always uses it.
Now, your husband has a sixthreezero too, right?
He certainly does. He has the Reach Your Destination.
Okay. The 500 wat as well, right?
Yeah. One thing I wanted to go back to, which is interesting, is when you started riding the electric bike, you didn't put the battery in, correct?
You were riding it as a regular bike without the battery attached to the bike.
Yeah. I think that's an interesting thing too, because that really is the beauty of our style electric bike, and some electric bikes in general, where you can pull that battery out, reduce the weight of the bike, and it's very much going to ride like a regular bike. I'm assuming from your experience without the battery, it just felt like a regular bike to you.
It did. Honestly, the reason I didn't put it in, I was afraid I was going to crash and ruin, and break it, so I didn't want to have that battery in.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. One thing I'm also curious about is, in level one or level two, do you still feel like you're getting a workout, even just using a little pedal assist?
I do because of the terrain we're in. We are seldom on a level surface. These are some pretty good size hills. Yeah. I still feel like I'm... That's one of the reasons I leave it in pedal assist one, is because I still want to feel like I'm getting some exercise.
Absolutely. Yeah. I just think that's a big myth for a lot of peoples. They think, "Oh, they have an electric bike. They're not getting any exercise, or they're not getting a workout," but I think the reality is, depending, especially on the terrain or the hills, you're still going to feel it in your body and your legs. You can let yourself work as little or as hard as you want. You just choose the level.
I think that to me is the beauty and the attraction to electric bike. Honestly, I seriously could not ride just a regular bike here. Not very far, not very much, because of the hills.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well, that's amazing. You took 40, 45 years off, jumped back into riding and you come out of the gates, get an electric bike, a sixthreezero electric bike and relearn to ride a bike before you turn the electric on, get comfortable on it, then boom, you're off and running with the electric. Now, here we are, about a year later since you got your e-bike, how frequently do you typically get out, weather bearing?
Weather bearing, we'll go every day, if we can. Our routine is after lunch, we get on our bikes and we ride. We would like to ride every day, but the weather has not been very cooperative. Honestly, sometimes life just gets in the way. We've got too many other things to do that we can't ride, but we do... It's a way of exercise for us. It's something we very much enjoy, but it is not... It doesn't run our lives. If I miss a day, I'm not going to cry. I might feel bad.
Right. You try to get out every day. When you do get out, what's the typical length of your ride?
Minimum 10 miles. The maximum we've gone is a little over 16.
Okay. I'm curious, when you complete your ride, do you ever pay attention to how much juice you have left on the battery?
Yes. I always have... My battery has five bars of juice, I guess. I never have less than three. I always have three, or usually four, because I just don't... I try not to use it.
We have got-
Any idea how much your husband has left?
Less than me. He usually has... His show's 10 bars as opposed to my five. He usually has four bars left.
He's using a little more than I am.
I cut you off. What were you going to say? You went...
We have gone... Considering the hills we do, when we went, it was not quite... It was over 16 miles, like 16 and three quarters, I think. I still had, at that day, I had three bars on my battery left. I will tell you that ride was pretty much all up and downhill. There was no level surface.
Wow. These are... You're logging these rides on the app too?
Yes. Yeah, we do.
If you're curious to see any of Kathy's rides, you can find her on the app also. If you don't have the app, download it, the sixthreezero ride tracking app. It's a great place to see how others are riding, share your rides, and track your rides. Yeah, Kathy's been avid posting on there.
We love that app.
That's great. Oh yeah?
What do you love most about it? I'm just curious.
I get a big... Well, first of all, I like seeing what, how... I like seeing other people's rides. I get a big kick out of letting the app talk to me while I ride and tell me you've completed this mile and it's taken you this many minutes. I just get a real kick out of that.
Yeah. That's great. Are you on an Apple iPhone, or an Android phone? I'm just curious.
IPhone. Got it. Got it. Great. I'm curious then, when you go on a ride, what accessories are you bringing with you? Do you have a bag? Do you have a basket? Do you bring water?
We carry water. I do not have a bag yet, but I just won a bag from you, which I'm so excited about. We have... My husband has two sixthreezero bags on his bike, so most everything goes in his. We both bought bells because we're supposed to have an audio notice on our bikes in Washington. We bought sixthreezero bells, and we have a real interesting little thing going. He's usually behind me. He feels more comfortable there. If a car is coming, he rings his bell, so I know to make sure to stay far right and don't swerve over or move over. We use those bells to signal each other and love those bells. We both do have cameras on our bike, rear facing cameras so we can see what's behind us. We both, of course-
We both, of course, wear helmets. We both wear a safety strap, a high visibility, safety strap. We both have flashing rear lights on our bike that we make sure to put on every time. We're very cautious.
No, that's great. Tell me a little bit about... Two things I'm curious about. The bell, is that actually a state law in Washington, that you have to have an audible notifier on your bike, or e-bike?
Yes. That is a state law. I'm not telling you that. I don't know how well it's enforced. I don't know how many people do it, but we do it and we use them. It's just those little round sixthreezero bells, old fashioned bells. We love them. Here's an example. I was behind one time. I was in the rear and I got a flat tire. By ringing that bell repeatedly, he knew to stop and turn around and see... He knew something was wrong. They've come in handy.
Yeah. Wow. I'm just curious. Do you know if that's... Is that for all bikes, or just e-bikes you're talking about with the law in Washington?
It's for all bikes. It's all bikes.
All bikes, gotcha. Wow. You got a flat tire on your sixthreezero, or on your A/O. What did you guys do from there?
Well, fortunately, we were only a few miles away from home. He rode home quickly and got the car and came back and picked me up because it was a rear tire. If it was a front tire, he carries tubes and a tire pump, but it was the rear tire. The tube had split. We just put it in the car and brought it home.
Did he do the repair at home, or you took it to the bike shop?
No, he did the repair.
Oh, good. That's great. He took the rear wheel off and disconnected the motor, fixed the tube and got it all back up and running.
Yes. Yeah. He's very mechanical, so yeah.
Oh, that's amazing. No, that's great. You mentioned that you have the rear facing cameras and you have a little screen on the handlebar. Is that what it is?
Yes. There's a little camera that we have mounted to the rack on the very back of the bike, and then the camera is on our handlebar. They're very, very handy.
I'm just curious, is that something you bought on Amazon type purchase?
Yeah, we bought it on Amazon. Again, we're pretty cautious. Where we ride is fairly high traffic. I didn't want... Again, I didn't want mirrors on my handlebars because I was afraid I was going to fall and break them. I just had this big fear when I started riding again, that I was going to be falling all the time, and so I didn't want something like that. This is on the handlebar and it's on the inside. If I fell, it would still be protected. We both have... Well, he's got... One of the bags he has is the cell phone holder bag, which is what I just ordered. Then he's got one of the rear rack panniers, but I have my cell phone mounted just in a little cell phone holder right now.
I got you. What is the advantage of the camera? It's interesting. I belong to a lot of electric bike riding groups on Facebook. I see a lot of other people who are buying these cameras as well. I'm curious, from your opinion, what's the advantage of the camera? Why do you have it? What does it help you with while you're riding?
Two things. First of all, again, the traffic, not only do we have a lot of hills, but there's a lot of curves. You don't necessarily know a car is there until it's on top of you, but with these rear cameras, you can see pretty far back that a car is coming. The other thing is, we actually use it to watch each other.
I got you. He's going... You're going in front, so you can keep an eye on him basically behind you.
Right. Whoever's in the rear, the person in the front. I don't... Well, I can go up hills faster than he can, so I am generally always watching to make sure is he going to make it up that hill? Is he doing all right?
Yep. Yep. Now I'm just curious, do these cameras record also, if you were to want to watch the footage back, does it record it?
No, it does not. I don't know if they make that kind or not, but that is not what we have.
Okay. No, I was just curious. It's basically just like a real rear view mirror in real time, kind of deal, with the camera.
It's very handy having it right in front of you on your handlebar. It's very easy to look at it and still see where you're going. I just did not want mirrors or things sticking out of my handlebars.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, I'm curious to just hear more about the A/O Frida, which is like the Every Journey Women's 500 wat, how do you like the seating position, the comfort? How does it feel on your body? When you get finished with say, 10, 15 mile rides, how do you feel physically?
You know, I feel fine. I really do. It's very comfortable. I love the... I can sit upright. I'm not leaning over the handlebar at all. I'm sitting upright. I will tell you, I did change the seat and bought a little bit more comfortable seat. I think that's just because I'm old. I can't tell you there's anything I dislike about the bike. I do like it. It's comfortable. It's easy to get on and off, especially for me at my age. I wanted something that was going to be comfortable to ride. I'm not looking for speed. I'm not looking... I don't want to go off road with it. I just want to be able to get some exercise and be out in the fresh air. Where we live, it's generally very beautiful and it's very nice to just ride. You feel like you're just casually riding. I have no aches and pains when I get off that bike. None.
That's amazing. Regarding the seat, I'm curious, you changed seats. What led you to change the seat and what did you want out of a different seat?
It was a little uncomfortable, like bicycle seats are. I just bought a seat with a little bit more padding in it. It's just a little more comfortable.
I'm just curious, do you remember the name of the seat or the brand?
I don't. I bought it on Amazon, but I can't tell you... I don't remember. I honestly don't know.
Yeah, no problem. More of a gel cushy top kind of seat?
Which I totally get it. The seat is... Yeah. The seat is a very specific thing, too, different shapes of people and finding the right one for each person is... It's just one of those things. Yeah, I totally understand.One thing I just wanted to go back to real quick. Ultimately, what led you into wanting to get a bike again? Was it just the idea of what can you and your husband do together, or was this truly exercise, or what was the exact reason why?
The exact reason was I always, when younger, liked to ride a bike and I wanted to get out and exercise a little more. We have a lot of wildlife here. I wasn't comfortable walking by myself. I didn't necessarily... I didn't know that my husband was going to want to bike. This was just for me. I wanted to be able to go out and get some exercise, get some fresh air, but my family did not want me walking by myself. We have seen bears when we've ridden. We see bears. We see coyotes. We see deer.
Nobody wanted me to walk by myself, but we felt like on a bicycle, that would be okay.
Yeah, absolutely. Did your husband get his bike after you got your bike?
Yes. He got his 90 days later. He saw what a kick I was getting out of mine. I actually broke down and let him ride mine once or twice. He said he wanted a bike. Then we decided to get him a bike.
Okay. Wow. You were out there initially riding by yourself then, without him as your riding partner.
Yes. I had no one. Yeah. I was by myself.
I'm just curious for him, this was his first electric bike as well?
Yes. The first time he had ridden in as many years as me. Same thing. He had Schwinn Coaster bike that he won when he was 12 years old. He hadn't ridden in 50 years, same as me.
Yeah. Was his experience similar to yours in terms of getting comfortable on the bike and getting reacclimated?
No, he's a guy. It was just like, "I can do this. Nevermind." He struggled a little the first few times. I was able to tell him, "This is what you use the throttle for. This is..." He knew how to do the gears, but that he didn't know anything about using the throttle assist or that. It didn't take him as long. He was a little less cautious than I am.
Yeah. Well, it's different for everybody.
Either way, yeah, I think it's great. Last question before we wrap up is, I think you mentioned 10 to 16 miles. Is your longest ride to date 16 miles?
Just over 16 miles.
When you do a ride of that length, do you stop, or is that just 16 miles all the way through?
16 miles all the way through.
Are you taking water and drinking the water while you're continuing to ride then?
Wow, that's amazing. What does that take you on average, about an hour, a little over an hour?
A little over an hour. I'm going to say an hour to an hour and a half, depending on traffic and how windy it is. If it's real windy, it's a little harder to ride. A little over an hour.
Gotcha. Well, it's 1:40 PM Pacific right now. Have you've done your ride today, or has the weather not been accommodating?
I have not ridden yet. We're going to ride this evening instead of today because my husband had something to do this afternoon. We're going to ride this evening.
Okay. Perfect. Well, there you have it. That's Kathy's experience getting her first bike and first e-bike in 45 years. She's out there logging lots of miles at 73. Kathy, that's amazing. That's awesome. I'm so glad to hear that we could be a part, sixthreezero could be a part of you getting back on a bike.
Don't forget, Kathy had the A/O Frida, which is like the EvryJourney, a similar frame. Those are 500 wat e-bikes. If you want to follow Kathy, download the app. You can see the ride she logs today, this evening. Maybe you'll post some pictures for us, Kathy, on the app. We can check it out. I know I've seen some of your wildlife photos before, I'm pretty sure. What's the name of your bike? What do you call your bike on the app?
I call my bike Green Dragon.
Green Dragon. Yep. You can download the app and look out for Kathy riding the Green Dragon. She's trying to get out there seven days a week. Yeah.
Thanks, Kathy. We appreciate you being on the My Journey, My Experience sixthreezero podcast, and look forward to seeing you log many, many more rides over the course of the next few years.
Me too. Thank you.
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