No that is not a typo. Lectric is the brand name of a company that makes ebikes that seem designed for people like us. We first used an electric bike at Timothy Lake that was purchased by our employers, but since it was a standard 10 speed I never felt steady on it. Even Lee wiped out a couple of times riding it because when you engaged the electric the bike would jump. Since that experience we have talked several times about getting electric bikes but they are pretty pricey and I wasn’t sold on the fact I would like them enough to use them.
Fast forward to Yellowstone and my reading a post by some fellow RV Dreamers Les and Sue. I have followed their blog and taken their advice from the very beginning of our RV journey so when they raved about the Lectric bike I took that seriously. I also know they are all about getting value for their dollar and since these bikes are over $1K that mattered to me. Last thing I wanted was an expensive toy we would never use.
I reached out to them personally and asked for their opinion and based on that we decided to rent a couple and try them out. Bikes are a pretty personal thing and I was particularly nervous because for the last several months I have been having balance issues. Whether that is caused by high elevation or the extra 15 pounds I put on after quitting smoking I don’t know, but I haven’t been surefooted for awhile. The last thing I wanted to do was take those balance issues on a bike. Lee kept gently pushing me to try it though and after sharing my concerns we set out on a Saturday on one of the few bike trails in Yellowstone to give it a go.
I’ll be honest it took a little while to setup bikes because we wanted to take our cameras and needed to be sure they were safe. The bikes we rented were the standard models (without baskets) so we bungeed our camera bags and water to the back rack which worked ok. The good news was the wide tires and lower to the ground design made for a very stable ride and although I kept ride assist lowest level I did enjoy the sensation. It was also really easy to stop at some sites along the way, including this thermal pool.
The gravel road was in pretty good shape, but I was pleased to see the bike handle the rougher spots pretty well. Initially we discovered the shocks were turned off and it got even better once we turned that feature on. My major complaint was the seat wasn’t that comfortable, but we were lucky enough to see two Lectric bikes with all the bells and whistles on the trail and those larger seats would definitely do the trick.
Initially my plan was to ride the bikes to Fairy Falls but unfortunately that trailhead was no bikes allowed. We didn’t have chains or locks so decided to leave that for another day and continued on the bike path. The path was on the backside of the the Prismatic basin, which is probably the most iconic in Yellowstone. There is an overlook where you can supposedly get great shots but again the path was no bikes so we just finished out the trail to the other end. I should probably mention that Yellowstone is really not bike friendly and they actively discourage bikers on the main roads, but the trail served its purpose and was a great place to try out the bikes. Plus it was pretty.
As you can see when we were heading back the crowds were definitely getting larger. There were many envious glances as we breezed by folks going uphill using the pedal assist and since it was getting really hot I was super glad for the breeze. Another unexpected benefit was the area was pretty buggy, but on the bikes the bugs mainly left us alone. All in all I was pretty happy with the experience but Lee had one more area he wanted to explore.
After stopping at home and taking the dog for a walk, we headed out on the Frontier Trail. This national forest service trail is opened year round for snow shoers and cross country skiers and was in pretty rough shape. The bikes did surprisingly well on this rougher road with the exception of one steep hill. We both decided to get off and push the bikes up and even using pedal assist it was pretty tough. Honestly this trail was more suited for mountain bikes and my butt is still sore from that section a few days later. I would recommend a smoother path personally for future trips but we did make it there and back.
One last thing I should probably mention is another major concern of mine was bears. To be honest I have been somewhat hesitant to hike much because of bear and cub activities and I wasn’t sure I felt much better on a bike. I finally talked to Lee about it and asked what happened if we turned a corner and one of us was attacked and his answer (without pause) was the other person should haul ass. That oddly made me feel a little better, but I was still somewhat nervous when we were in the heavily treed areas with less visibility. Later I saw that I wasn’t being paranoid in my concerns because the forest service had special signs for what bikers should do if they saw a bear. They recommended standing your ground and never running, which I get for the average biker, but since these bikes can go 30mph the advice might be a little different. Not sure what I would do in that situation to be honest. Thankfully there isn’t bear activity in most areas so that problem is pretty Yellowstone specific.
Oh and another thing. Despite not riding a bike in a couple of years, I did pedal almost the entire way and my battery was still close to full when we were done. I’ll be honest after pushing the bike up the hill c I did use more power to get home, but overall I thought it was a good workout. We liked the experience so much that we decided to buy a couple of bikes ourselves and Lee ordered them along with front and back baskets, cup holders, and mirrors on Monday. All in it was around $3K which is not cheap but thankfully Lee has picked up a side gig that should cover the cost. I’ll do a more thorough review when they arrive in a couple of weeks, but wanted to share our experience while it was fresh in my mind.
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