Thursday, September 21, 2023


A sudden epiphany: Life lessons learned while riding my bike

I have been learning life lessons while riding my bike (my beloved Lectric eBike). It is not as simple as the old adage goes, “Just like riding a bike.” I have been working on it for a while.

My balance is still wobbly no matter how long I can stand on one foot before falling over. I now understand why my doctor explained the stork stance exercise rather than showing me.


I am always a bit tense while riding and am afraid of falling. I have only fallen twice on my electric bike. The first time happened on the first day I rode it and I was not actually on my bike, just standing next to it. I gripped what turned out to be the throttle and, never one to give up, I held on. I held the throttle even after I was on the ground, the bike was on me and speeding up. Oh, yeah. That was a failure to read the directions thoroughly…

The second time was yesterday. I still go into mild moments of panic where my eyes widen and my heart pumps when I spot an obstacle ahead. It could be anything from a tight turn, a small branch, a pothole or, the terror of all terrors, a small child on a bike wobbling as much as me.

As a safety measure, I have learned to apply my brakes and just stop when I get close to an obstacle. Then I proceed with caution. I’ve quickly learned to apply the back brake harder than the front, which helps not catapult me over the handlebars.

Yesterday, there seemed to be more than a weekday’s share of obstacles on the bike/walking trail. I avoided two gentlemen, who evidently did not hear my scream of “Biker on the left!” I avoided them by stopping the bike in a bush. It was a bit embarrassing when I had to pass them again after having straightened out. Seems their hearing improved and they practically hopped into the bushes as I passed.

Then came a tight turn on a hill with drop-offs. I wasn’t turning well, I was going too fast and I was headed toward the side I was trying to avoid: the one with the drop-off. I braked. But I was past the pavement, into the rocks and grass. I stepped down, into the air, and knowing what was coming next, gently let the bike down, again on top of me. As I was slowly falling, I was trying desperately to remember the AARP article on how to land on your bottom and not break a wrist. The hill was soft, so thankfully I had no broken bones.

The panic, braking, stopping, and rolling into the bushes around a sharp curve is exhausting. Did I mention that I am not so great at curves? It is amazing that I like riding so much.

The epiphany

Then, the epiphany. The life lesson. The thing to remember. I lifted my bike and realized I had to quit looking at what to avoid and start looking at where I wanted to go. I had to stop unwittingly steering toward the obstacle and braking. And I had to, with intention, note the obstacle but steer where I needed to go. Into the bushes was not the place!

Euphemisms and quotes abound: “Keep your eye on the prize!” “Don’t give up!” “Look forward not back!” “Focus on the future since that’s where you’re going!” “Look up, always. Look back, never!” “The magic of life is about looking forward, not looking around and worrying.”

Those quotes have not been lost on me, but it is difficult to focus on where I want to go instead of avoiding something. There are a lot of obstacles to avoid, on the bike trail and in life. But just avoiding all obstacles is truly exhausting and slows down where I want to go.

Today, my ride was much smoother: no bushes, no sudden stops, and the curves were nicely rounded.

The question in a broader sense then becomes: “Am I going to brake and stop to avoid the hazards in my life? Or am I going to keep peddling to go where I want to go?”


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. With my Ebike I don’t turn on the electric assist until I am on the bike. My Cheetah is similar to a Lectric in design (foldable) and I find the platform not as stable as my traditional ram handlebar road bike. The big differences are the short wheelbase and the rake of the front forks which create a less stable platform than a well-engineered traditional bike. However, I do love the mini thrill of riding the Ebike.

  2. I have the Lectric e bike also, n recently face planted when accidently pushing the throttle while getting on what I thought was a turned off bike. I have since found I could (& did!) turn off the throttle unless I’m already pedaling. No more accidently turning it on from a standstill! That was the first day in June, n I’m still healing.

  3. Ebikes do have a learning curve. I see these young guys doing tight corners but not me. The bike is heavier and takes more control. But, I do not let that stop me. Nor do I let my bike crash last October stop me. It was my fault – they were doing road work, had no choice but to ride on the street. When I got past where their trucks were blocking the sidewalk I went to get on it forgetting there was a 1+ inch lip, turned too sharp and went over. It was only by the grace of God I did not break anything. I did have scrapes, black eye from my helmet hitting my nose (if I had not had my helmet I would have hit my head instead), and traumatized tissue above my knee which is slowly healing.

  4. The last 10 years or so I rode my 18 gear road bike that weighed maybe 25 pounds to work everyday. Then I retired to the mountains and bought a 65 pound e-bike with the big fat tires, and no gears. It was like learning to ride a bike all over again. I think the weight and wide turning radius were the biggest things to overcome. I’ve had it for a few years now and can even ride it on easy dirt mountain bike trails pretty proficiently, but it took lots of miles and practice. Keep riding and you’ll get better and better and gain more confidence and have more fun. 😁

  5. As a 45 year cyclist, as well as a 45 year camper, both activities are great and get refined with experience. As the motorcyclists said, and experienced cyclists as well, you will subconsciously steer where you are looking. When you focus on the obstacles, you will end up riding toward or into them. Look where you want to go, but be aware of risks and obstacles. The other item to focus on is controlling your speed to a level that you are comfortable that you can handle in an emergency. Just like following too closely on the highway while towing a trailer or driving a big rig at too high a speed.

    We are both 70, and met when we were both on the same bicycle racing team in 1979.

  6. Your comment….

    I avoided two gentlemen, who evidently did not
    hear my scream of “Biker on the left!”

    …needs to be taken seriously. I’m profoundly Deaf and will never hear such warnings coming from behind me. Please bear this in mind when you are approaching someone who cannot see you.

    • Yes, and sometimes people have ear buds in and are listening to music or they just don’t know the protocol of “biker on the left.”. I’ve learned the hard way to slow way down when approaching people because I’ve almost run over a few who moved into my path not knowing I was coming.

    • Right on! Any cyclists should be prepared to stop beforehand when approaching walkers, runners, or slow cyclists thinking in advance that they may not have heard you coming, or like so many of us do today they are wearing some kind of earbuds. Defensive driving of an Ebike is no different than driving a car, be prepared for the un-expected.

  7. Such a helpful article, comments too. Misery loves company, and it was gratifying to know that I’m not the only one who is anxious about riding a bike. A few years ago we bought an e-bike, thinking it would solve my biking problems. Not so. I’ve fallen several times, including making the same throttle mistake that Nanci did. One fall involved whacking my head on the pavement. Thank goodness for bike helmets! We’ve relegated the e-bike to my husband; with a new knee replacement, I may be out of the biking business permanently. But thanks for the helpful tips, in case I decide to try again.

    • Ask your doc .. Biking is usually great exercise as well as therapy after knee replacement.
      My real opinion is why even have a bile if you are going to get one with a throttle? They are dangerous and harder to control than those with pedal pedal assist (pedalec).

  8. Thanks for this article! Also equilibrium challenged and fear the fall…things break easier at 76. Rented E bikes in Zion NP and was terrified almost the whole Reading the comments reminded me, as an ex equestrian, always keep your head up and look where you want the horse to go…ahead of expecting him to go there. Guess it works for bikes too! Safe peddling!

  9. My wife had a similar experience on her Lectric 2.0 bike. On a narrow trail, she tried to avoid an oncoming bike on a tight curve and instead of stopping, tried to steer closer to the edge of the paved path. At slow speed, these heavy bikes are very difficult to maneuver. She dumped it and the bike fell on her leg, causing a nasty contusion. A few weeks later she developed an infection deep within her leg and had to go on a course of antibiotics. She is now pretty gun shy about using it and wants to sell it.
    These are heavy bikes and require a different skill set to ride safely.

  10. Elevated narrow bridges on bike paths always scare me. I fell over sideways over the side of one once and landed in the ditch next to the bridge with my 65lb Lectric bike laying on my right leg while I was still sitting on the bike seat and I could not lift the bike off of me. Stuck in the muddy ditch. Thanks to my husband to help get the bike off of me and help me up. Now I always stop before these kind of bridges and “walk” my bike across it. This fear is something that I want to overcome someday. I believe I was too focused on the narrow bridge below me and not looking forward enough to the path in front of me. Your words of encouragement are appreciated. Bike with a buddy always.

  11. Nanci, I’ll give you some advice as an experienced motorcyclist of 40 yrs. Keep your eyes up and look far ahead to spot obstacles. Always focus on where you want to go, if you focus on the obstacle that’s where you go ! And turn your head to look thru the corner, don’t keep looking straight ahead. Slow down before the turn,and accelerate thru the turn. (gently) Always use both brakes, never grab them, use a gentle squeeze gradually increasing pressure until you stop. Practice panic stops, you will be amazed how quickly you can stop once you learn the feel. Most of your stopping power is in the front.
    I hope this helps you to become a better and confident rider. Stay safe !

    • Michael, as a former motorcyclist myself, I totally agree with your line, “Always focus on where you want to go, if you focus on the obstacle that’s where you go!” I learned this the hard way, but once ‘learned’ it was never forgotten.

  12. Something folks should know- e-bikes are motorized vehicles. Pay attention when using a bike path – if the signage bans motorized vehicles, you will have no argument about riding a bicycle when a ranger tickets you!

    Not likely? Ha! Mackinaw Island of Michigan is a State Park. The ONLY motorized vehicles allowed on the island are the ambulance and fire truck. Residents and visitors use feet, horses or bicycles to get around. Bicycles can be brought over on the ferry from the mainland. But recently, owners of e-bikes were ticketed as they could not prove they were not using the electric assist.

    • Depends on where you are. Around here motorized vehicles do not include ebikes especially Class 1 & 2. But you do have to follow the speed rules if there are ones. Hint: read the rules where you enter the trail.

  13. Nanci, I’m sorry for laughing at your blunder, but this line cracked me up.

    I gripped what turned out to be the throttle and, never one to give up, I held on. I held the throttle even after I was on the ground, the bike was on me and speeding up.

    You have a good sense of humor. I enjoy reading your articles.

  14. The Lectric bikes now have hydraulic brakes, and recently they are providing those upgrade kits to owners of the 3.0 model. (Not sure about the 2.0 models). Another tip is to adjust your brakes so the front does not lock up when applied under panic conditions. Having the rear apply more pressure than the front. Our E bikes are fun to ride, but recently we upgraded our helmets to some hi tech ones, since we are in our 70’s also, and one hit on the noggin may be the last! Those old Bell helmets from 20 yrs ago still look cool, but aren’t appropriate for eBikes, or any other bikes as well, due to age and new technology.


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