Our goal has been to be very positive in our writing and our outlook on life through the years and we have managed very well. This is not to say that everything works out perfectly every time but it does work out in the end as you will read.
I bought my first e-bike just over two years ago from our local bike shop that carries many different brands of bikes. They are very helpful and have a great service department with wonderful people. I have to admit that I did not do any research in advance and saw a German built bike with a German motor on the website and purchased it with only a short test ride. This store also has an adjoining rental shop where they told me to go and try different bikes to find what I wanted and the cost of the first three rentals would be deducted from the price of any bike I purchased. Did I take them up on their offer? Well I did not and I paid for my mistake as it was a lemon. I should have done more research online before spending a lot of money and time with the bike in the shop. In less than two years my bike was in the shop for four (4) motor replacements. Each time I would be riding and the computer on the bike would flash up a warning “Waiting for drive”. Sometimes I could just power off and on the bike and everything would be back to normal for 20-30 kilometers. Other times it required removing the battery and resetting the computer and all would be fine for a few days or not. The company had extended the warranty from two to three years due to all the problems they were having with different motor failures and these were well documented in the complaint forums. My local dealer was very kind and gave me a free loaner bike to use while mine was being serviced and shipped back to Germany twice. It was helpful to try the different bikes but I did not like any of them so I knew some others to drop off my shopping list.
Did I mention that all of this was done in French? The friendly folks at the store made me carry on the conversation in French so I had to be prepared with everything I needed to say before returning with the bike and be prepared for what they were going to ask about the loaner bike and how long or if I wanted one. Ok so after the second return of the bike we became very friendly and I didn’t have to answer any questions as they knew when they saw me with the bike that the same problem had occurred.
At the beginning of this year I went out for a ride on a bright sunny day and climbed one of the highest hills in the area only to see the dreaded message again when I reached the top. I was ready right then to take the bike back to the shop as it was on the way home but they were closed for the day so I had time to calm down and get ready to trade the bike in for something else after doing a little more research this time.
I really do not use a bike very much on paved roads but mostly riding along the Aude river and the Canal du Midi and these are mostly gravel paths. But in reality I do like to ride out to the big box stores to find things not available at our local mom and pop stores or the marché and we have four different large centers around Carcassonne. The new bike had to do all of this and be reliable.
I looked on the website of the bike store and found my dream bike, a Moustache! It has a full suspension with a rack for adding bags. The bike is built here in France in the Vosges region and it has the latest Bosch motor that has been thoroughly tested for reliability. The bike store did take my old bike as a trade in but I knew that I did not want to see that disappointment again so whatever they were willing to give, I was willing to accept and it really was fair.
Fast forward now to the middle of April because we went on a train trip in February across France through the Alps to Florence and back home through Nice. While we were traveling we were hearing about the virus and so we tried to keep away from any large groups of people which is not easy when you are changing trains in Milan and you have a three hour delay. We came home and the lock down began shortly after and bike riding for fun or exercise was not allowed. We really didn’t need anything from the big box stores until this week when we realized that our coffee supply was dwindling. OK this might be an exaggeration because we had a little more than a seven week supply of ground coffee and a few kilos of whole beans for the espresso machine. We happened to see the weekly flyer for one of the large shops with our coffee on offer at half the price we would pay at the small shop up the street if we bought a package at time. We are allowed to ride bikes for transportation to work, shopping and medical visits so this was my chance to get the bike out on a sunny day and go for a ride. Coffee at one store and then sausages, toothpaste, shave cream, nuts for aperos and more at another and the panniers and rack bag were not even full. I was only passed by two cars on the 8 km trip so it was a very pleasant ride.
Why did I buy an e-bike you may wonder? I ride for fun and am not working up to the Tour de France. An ebike like my Moustache can be ridden with the motor turned off which I do a lot of the time but we do have some hills that I like to climb and a lot of winds to deal with that would take the fun out of the trip. The assist cuts out smoothly when you are pedaling faster than 25 km/h and I have seen 48 km/h on the speedometer (it’s scary!) If you have never tried an e-bike you might be very surprised how much fun you can have. No worrying about not being able to keep up if you are usually left behind with friends and family and with a full suspension bike you get a much smoother ride. Rent one for a couple of hours and you just might be joining me having fun while getting exercise at the same time.
One quick note about e-bikes in France. There are two different standards, one with a speed assist of up to 25 km/h and the other up to 45 km/h. The lower powered bikes are treated as a standard bike but the high powered bikes must be licensed and a full helmet must be worn with gloves just like a scooter.
Moustache bikes https://moustachebikes.com/en/electric-bikes/
Carcassonne bike shop https://www.funsportscycles.com/
Carcassonne bike rentals https://evadeocycles.com/en/