Oh oh oh it’s magic

Watched Ratatouille the other day with my kids who, inexplicably, hadn’t seen it before, and got very excited when my favourite scene came up. You know the one. Where the cranky food critic tastes the signature dish and is instantly transported back to his own childhood:

I had a similar moment myself today when I went for the inaugural ride on my 50th (50th!) birthday gift to myself:

It’s an e-bike; specifically, it’s an Aventon Soltera. I’d been eyeing one for awhile and finally followed through a few days ago. I hemmed and hawed for a while because a) while it’s lower-priced compared to a lot of other e-bikes, it’s not lower-priced compared to my income, and b) I wasn’t sure I could really justify it. Ottawa’s a pretty flat town. There’s really only one hill I can think of that I would for sure not attempt in the lowest gear (for the record: the one by the Byward Museum).

There were lots of things I liked about this model, in theory. It was affordable, had decent reviews, seemed to have a decent battery life/range, and came in a seven-speed model (fun thing about turning 50 is that I remember having fixed-speed bikes and I also remember eventually having multi-speed bikes and I also remember thinking anyone who preferred the former to the latter was an idiot).

Today I put theory into practice and all I can say is WOW. Ottawa is a flat town, but some of the flat parts can be pretty windy, especially along the river and through the Experimental Farm, and the pedal assist modes — which you use when you are actively pedalling, versus the throttle, which you use when you are not — make the breeze a total non-issue. You can feel yourself slowing down a bit and then you press this button and then you are not. It’s mechanics, not magic, but it feels a bit like magic.

Or, more specifically, it feels like memory. Like being seven years old, a little late to the game, and having your dad run along behind you, keeping you steady and giving you just enough of a push to keep you moving forward.

That is the feeling this bike has given me. I knew it would be a good present, I didn’t realize it would be such a gift.

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