After having my Surface 604 Element for almost a month, I decided it was time to take it on a road trip to Blue Mountain. It is supposed to be a biking destination for both mountain and other bikers and so I thought it would be fun. Since it was still fairly new, the bike got to ride in my van with me!
It’s embarrassing to admit, but the bike was still so new and even though I read through the materials I was sent with the bike from its Vancouver, Canada manufacturer and also some documents online, including reviews, I wasn’t entirely aware of the full benefits to the power assist mode. But I sure got to try out that feature Blue Mountain, Collinwood and the surrounding areas.
First, although I do use the power mode without pedalling for things such as buying some last minute items at the grocery store and other errands where I need to get there and back fairly quickly without too much effort, I mostly use the power assist. And the reason for that is that I first used it quite a lot at Blue Mountain. I used my Element for cruising around the area to see what there was. I found it was much better than driving a car as I could get much closer to what I wanted, could travel at a slower speed than a car and could go where cars could not such as on a number of trails and short cuts.
I took a ride down toward Craigleith and took this picture of my bike:
The one thing I noticed consistently is that I received a lot of raised eyebrows when people saw the e-bike, mainly because of its nice design and huge 4 inch tires. Most of the stares were from people in their cars with bikes on the top (ie: bikers) but many others also took a good look at the bike with a thumbs up. I was used to this by now because on the first day I used my bike at home, all kinds of people stared at it, many with a thumbs up. People stopped me at Blue Mountain and around home to ask about the bike. Although I loved the bright coloured Element e-bikes, I am glad I got the matte black finish or the bike would have garnered a lot more attention. I never expected that much attention to be paid to a bike!
The Georgian Trail, another trail mostly made from a converted railway track, was only a few kilometers from where I was staying and so I decided to head out on that trail. It is about 32 kms I believe from start to finish. I started a few kilometers into it and went a little more than half way riding mostly using the motor to test out the limits. It is a beautiful trail and in part follows the highway adjacent to the bay, mostly hidden in the trees though. It goes through towns and neighbourhoods as well. The trail is in great shape and is taken care of by a local association. I stopped about halfway back and took a picture of my bike to remind me of that nice ride on the trail. It’s below:
As you may be able to tell, this is where the trail crosses from the bay side of highway 26 to the other side. Highway 26 heads up toward Owen Sound and further north west, for those of you who know the area. One problem I did have was that after checking out the Georgian Trail a little further online, I found out that the local municipalities’ politicians made it illegal for basically anything that is not powered by the human leg to go on the trail. Yes, the definition is extremely broad in the legislation! What this means is that not only are ATVs and motorcycles forbidden from using this beautiful trail, but e-bikers are as well. When I went on the trail during a weekday toward the end of June, it was almost deserted. In addition, for the (I think) 2 people I saw on the trail, I slowed down to a few km per hour and drove carefully by these people, who in both cases were walking their dogs. What a short sighted move by local politicians for an area which is in part supported by tourists, many of them with bikes and e-bikes.
The so called bottom line to this part of my e-biking story is that my Surface 604 Element performed beautifully. When I did use the motor fully at the third or highest power level, it did go about 32 kilometers at an average speed of about 32 km/hr, with some battery left. As the battery gets used up, its top speed declines to about 30 or 31 km/hr, which is not bad considering I biked almost constantly with few stops. So it had a bit more juice left in it and would have gone farther. This is with me, a 190ish pound person, about 10 pounds of locks and about another 10 pounds of stuff in my back pack. Not bad. As you will see in future posts about this e-bike, you can get much more mileage out of the power mode if you use the 1st or lowest power level.