Can an E-bike Help you Shave Minutes off your Time?
Manpower vs horsepower: How Don Coats, the owner of Caledon Hills Cycling in Inglewood, fared using an e-bike to race his faster employee, Sean Bechtel.
ON YOUR MARK
Would it be manpower or horsepower? That was the question as Don Coats, owner of Caledon Hills Cycling in Inglewood, lined up beside his employee, Sean Bechtel, for the race of the…well, the race of April 27, 2018.
Would it be youth and fitness or experience and drive? Would it be the hare or would the tortoise take home the yellow jersey on a sunny spring morning? Would it be road bike or e-bike?
The duo would battle it out on a 217-metre climb over an 11.1-kilometre route amid Caledon’s scenic rolling hills. They’d leave from the historic village of Inglewood, power up the relentless hill to the Cheltenham badlands, summit the Niagara Escarpment and then swoop down into the pretty hamlet of Belfountain.
Would it be a photo finish? Could it be anything else?
Astride his staid black Cube Access e-bike was Don Coats – a seasoned cyclist. As the sun gleamed on the simple gold keeper in his left ear, it seemed like a talisman of Samson-like power. But would it be enough? Would his e-bike’s small, but powerful motor give him the edge his six-decades-old thighs needed to overcome his 30-something competition?
Riding his fire-engine-red Cervélo S3 was Bechtel, a former national team triathlete and ironman. He strutted his toned, ultra-fit self to his sleek, skinny-tired bicycle. His muscled thighs rippling in his Lyra cycling shorts. Bechtel was young enough to be his opponent’s son.
At the starter’s signal, off they sped, young Bechtel sprinting down the road – a flash of red. Coats lumbered at first, but his e-bike charged into action when it hit turbo speed. As it did, there was a second flash – the warm morning sun had again caught Coats’ golden earring.
I made my way to the finish line outside every cyclist’s favourite coffee shop, Higher Ground in Belfountain. My camera at the ready, my sweaty index finger poised in expectation of a photo finish. Breathlessly, I waited. Soon enough I looked up the street and rounding the bend into the hamlet came… could it be? There in the clear morning, a morning in which the rising temperature had kicked up a fresh breeze, was a lone cyclist! What? Where was the sprint to the line? Where was the battle for bragging rights? Where was the photo finish? Where was … Coats?
Don Coats was about two minutes behind Sean Bechtel. He later reported, “If I’d been on my road bike, I’d have been five or more minutes slower. So the e-bike was faster, but not quite fast enough – proving that riding an e-bike is not ‘cheating’ as some people think.”
Year-round they meet – on the trails, along the roads, in local pools and quarries, and even in banquet halls. After 15 years of uniting everyone from Olympic-class athletes to toddlers and grandparents in the joys of active living, Caledon’s C3 still offers Canada’s premier cross-training environment. Here’s why.