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Showing its age, but still going strong, like its owner.
Showing its age, but still going strong, like its owner.

Back On the Saddle Again

With a topped-off battery charge and new air in its tires, my decade-old Wavecrest TidalForce M-750 electric bike got its first workout, a nearly 5 mile ride to Paneras and the bank.

I had a breakfast meeting this morning with fellow entrepreneur and good friend, Greg Fripp. We planned to meet at 7:30 AM at a local Paneras just over a mile and a quarter away, according to Google Earth. The morning was clear and the temperature 48 F (9 C), so I decided to ride my ten year-old Wavecrest TidalForce M-750. Covered with a winter's collection of dust and cob webs - I really need to wash it and oil the chain - I switched on the key and pressed the button to fire up the electronics. Having charged the battery Sunday and inflated the tires, the battery state-of-charge gauge showed full. With my right pant leg tucked into my sock and my head buried in my bike helmet, I set off to meet Greg. In my messenger bag over my shoulder was my iPad with new Keynote pitch on it.

I got there first, ordered coffee and a breakfast sandwich and waited for him to arrive.

Greg is working like crazy to set up several urban agriculture projects around Omaha and it appears he's starting to make some serious headway; he just got two grants for his first project; a pre-commercial- scale aquaculture demonstration system. We have a mutual interest in that way: I have a small aquaponics system in my basement where I raise kale, swiss chard, and bib lettuce, along with some 30 largemouth bass in a synergistic system where the waste from the fish feed the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish.

Over coffee, we shared ideas and talked about our respective projects. I showed him an exciting new 'wrinkle' to my ePEDALER business model that left him stunned, his eyes wide, jaw slack; a good sign. Of course, whether the people I am hoping to spring it on will react that way remains to be seen. First, I have to get an audience, and that won't be easy since we're talking about the chairman of Coca Cola Company, Muhtar Kent. I'd probably have an easier time getting an audience with Warren Buffett.

Greg and I parted, I promising to help him build his new demonstration systm later this summer. Next I headed to the bank 1.77 miles away to deposit several business checks. That ride proved equally pleasant, being mostly on level ground and nice paved sidewalk on both sides of the four lane road. Our community hasn't yet gotten into designating bike lanes.

Just before reaching 84th Street, I swing into the strip mall with its collection of fast food joints and an empty Walmart; they've moved over next to Paneras several years ago. As I rode across the gradually deteriorating parking lot, I reflected on the waste. Paving all this once-productive ground cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and now it sits empty in silent condemnation of our devotion to suburbia and its car-centric sprawl. At least here, there's little chance I'll get hit by a car.

The checks deposited in the bank and the receipt stuck in my pocket, I slipped back on my sunglasses and headed home down 84th Street, a ride of another 1.75 miles. I pedaled the entire distance, using electric-assist when I needed it against a steady southerly breeze. Total length of trip: 4.88 miles; a lot further than I had anticipated, but really no big deal even for a guy who now qualifies for senior citizen discounts. That's what's so brilliant about electric-assist bicycles: age doesn't have to be a detriment, nor your current fitness level.

Best of all, I left my ethanol-burner at home, and burned some of those Paneras calories instead, leaving the air around me a lot cleaner than my S10 would have done at 14-15 mpg.

May I say that today, I pedaled what I preach?

Posted By: Bill Moore [13-May-2013]

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