THE BLOG
11/18/2014 08:04 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How A Bike Opened Up The World For One Middle-Aged Couple

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Last summer, at the age of 57, Cathy Rogers and her 59-year-old husband, Paul, rode their bikes 3,300 miles from Washington State to Washington, D.C. as part of the Big Ride Across America. The ride took 50 days and covered 85 miles a day.

"It was a bucket list item, for sure," says Cathy. "We've wanted to do a ride like this ever since we rode up the East Coast when we were in our 20s."

As the years went by and other commitments took priority, though, the couple had given up hope of ever making the trip. By the time they learned about the Big Ride Across America, a fully supported ride that would not only fit into their schedule but also raised money for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific, they were convinced it was too late. Although Paul believed he was up for the ride, Cathy was worried about blowing out her knees going up the mountains.

"Then the Pedego electric bike entered my life, and I was renewed," says Cathy. "I never felt fear once I started to ride. I was able to climb every steep mountain that presented itself and I was actually able to keep up with the hardcore riders. It was pure joy."

After training for a year and a half for the event, Cathy became the first woman to ride across the country on an electric bike. She was surprised to find that, thanks to her bike's electric assist, the physical demands were actually the least challenging parts of the trip.

"The hardest part was dealing with all the different riding styles and trying to stay together as a group," she admits. "I found it frustrating having to wait when someone needed to stop -- and equally frustrating when I was the one who had to stop and the other riders kept going."

The ride brought out Cathy's competitive spirit -- and so did the bike. In fact, because she could literally turn on the speed at her whim, she even won the "fastest rider" award at the end of the tour.

"I loved being the fastest," she says, laughing. "My favorite days of the tour were the ones when I broke off the front and rode at my own pace -- fast! It was very empowering."

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It was also a unique way to bring some spice into a marriage that had already celebrated three decades.

"We were able to share so many amazing experiences beyond the ride," says Cathy. "In our daily lives, we're so busy and it's hard to find the time to really talk and connect. We had great conversations, and we both feel very lucky to have taken this adventure of a lifetime together."

Cathy credits the electric bike with opening up the world to her as she approaches 60, calling it "the great equalizer." She points out that it allows men and women to ride together at the same speed, offering couples a fun way to bond -- and get in shape.

"Anyone who thinks that an electric bike doesn't provide health or fitness benefits has never ridden an electric bike," says Cathy. "The electric assist puts power into your muscles but you still have to use them. It would be impossible to ride an electric bike and not get exercise. How foolish!"

No wonder the electric bike industry is steadily growing. As the baby boomers age, this just may be their answer to working out, being environmentally conscious and enjoying one of their favorite childhood activities.

"I never thought I would be camping in my 50s, and the truth is I could never have made this trip without my Pedego," marvels Cathy. "In theory, I'm rather old for this kind of physical activity now but my electric bike made it possible for me to step out of my comfort zone and I'm so grateful."

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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