When it comes to cycling, Alexandra man Allan Johnston believes he is making up for lost time – especially after injury – and that is something that has been enhanced by the e-bike revolution.
The 88-year-old former Earnscleugh orchardist took up cycling after picking up a bicycle at a garage sale about 14 years ago.
It had been a long time between drinks for the pastime – he had last ridden a bike before he could drive.
He estimated that since then he had completed Central Otago’s rail trail “both ways”.
That had meant dealing with hills and headwinds.
Then, three and a-half years ago, things became very different for Mr Johnston.
“I suffered a serious non-bike injury . . . had to learn to walk again . . . and was banned from riding a bike or driving a car for six months.
“It took some time to acquaint with riding my original bike again.”
When he traded in his ordinary bicycle for a bike with electric assist, it changed his life
“Since very recently acquiring an e-bike, I feel that I’m making up for that lost time.
“Now my big regret is that I didn’t acquire an e-bike sooner.
“Hills and head winds don’t deter me from biking now, giving me a new life.”
E-biking, he discovered, provided many of the same health benefits of conventional cycling, without causing as much strain on his heart or body because the battery-powered motor gave some pedalling help.
The difference was immeasurable, he said.
“The second day I had this [e-bike] I did 42km of the river track.”
He was convinced the technology could change the lives of other people in their senior years, he said.
He cautioned it was not just “like a riding a bike”.
“It really surprised me. It takes a little time to get used to and then it is a completely different result to an ordinary bike.”
Once a rider had gained their confidence they were away, he said.
E-bike dealer Doug Rabbitt said Mr Johnston’s model of featured 26-inch tyres, hydraulic disc brakes, an eight-speed chain hub drive and had a range of between 100km and 150km on a single battery charge.