Words and images by Frankie Pioli
I always thought that I would have an E-bike in my life at some point, and would have loved to own one sooner to help my training, and essentially get more out of my time off work playing on the trails. When getting an E-bike became somewhat of my only choice for being able to ride bikes however, I wasn’t so happy. The cost for a start, not to mention it being this huge symbol of what I could no longer do, and having my hand somewhat forced as my only option. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last too long!
“The E-bike has given me the greatest sense of freedom and enabled me somewhat to keep socialising with my biking friends out on the trails as we did before.”
Riding has changed for me. I imagined that I would be able to smash the laps in the bike park with the gang, however it turned out that this was too much. I couldn’t hold in my excitement for the adrenalin rush and contain my natural competitive nature to want to push myself. Unfortunately, bike park laps in big groups are no longer an option… But luckily for me the lifts aren’t open all year round and my buddies have to peddle again at some point! The E-bike has been incredible. I am able to pedal up with everyone while they work hard with blurred vision and dripping in sweat… while I keep them talking, wind them up about how unfit they are and get to smell the flowers.
On a few occasions, I have gotten up early to cycle up the mountains behind my house. Crisp mornings are starting to creep in as autumn approaches. The sun rising behind the Mont Blanc mountain range creates this beautiful sunburst effect and these stunning streaks of haze throughout the valley. The E-bike gives me the freedom to get up high and to be amongst nature again, but more importantly, I am now noticing so much more of my surroundings by slowing down and no longer panting out of my arse.
The smell of the flowers and how it changes while you make your way up high. Listening to the wild eagles as they hunt their prey while I watch the blades of grass sway in the wind. Crickets coming and going adding to the sounds of nature.
The experience of biking and the reasons I now go out for a ride have totally changed. I am no longer on the hunt for adrenalin and have a need for speed and suffering. I am taking a slower approach and getting pleasure from the beauty of my surroundings.
Francesca Pioli, aka Frankie is a sports physiotherapist based in Chamonix, France. Her client base consists of everyone from elite athletes, Olympic gold medalists, mountain professionals, ultra-runners, to locals who keep the valley going.