E for exhilarating: PlanPhilly reviews Indego's new e-bikes

Indego’s electric bikes are pretty fun.

I rented one from the bike station at 25th between Spruce and Locust during the late hours, where one day transitions into another. I was determined to ride one of the new pedal-assist motor bikes after learning they go up to 17 miles per hour.

If you’re in an automobile that’s maddeningly slow, but feeling the wind caress your cheeks as you bike at almost 20 mph is pretty amazing.

The lone white and blue speed demon was docked with a dozen old Indego bikes. My hands hurried through the rental process in case someone else with a monthly pass tried to steal my joy.

I scoffed at the blue antiques on my way to claim my first prize for the next 24 hours.

I pulled it from the dock, positioned it for take off, hopped on and hit the power button on the left handle. You have to do it while the bike is still or else the motor won’t kick in, by the way.

It illuminated and showed it was just about fully charged. The transportation gods had shown favor upon me. It wasn’t until the next night that I learned it’s a good idea to check the battery power before undocking.

I was ready to take off like a bat out of hell, sprang forward by the electric motor. I pedaled once and the bike crept forward. The speedometer read two, three mph. Pedaled again, same thing. This is where I learned what pedal-assist means: you have to keep pedaling to get the boost.

Once I got the hang of it, I was cruising through the quiet Rittenhouse Square neighborhood into South Philly toward home.

It’s the perfect bike! I cruised at top speed much of the way, pedaling non-stop with minimal, if any, sweat. Even with my backpack on, my tee shirt suffered no back sweat. The electric-motor does a lot of the work for you. It was great!

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