I'm working on a longer, more in-depth review of the Izip Trekking Enhanced, the new electric bike from Currie Tech that I'm testing out, but I wanted to write up a quick post about the sheer joy of riding an electric-assisted bike.

I never want to go back to a regular bike again.

An electric-assist bike has a battery-powered motor that adds more power to your pedal strokes. It's not like a moped — you still have to pedal, the motor just makes you ride stronger.

A lot stronger.

I haven't had as much fun on a bike as I've had the last week on my Izip since I got my first mountain bike in the eighth grade, which allowed me to get out of the house and range all around town. The Izip brings back that feeling of exhilarating freedom.

After the first couple of rides, the power-assist kind of fades into the background of your pedals and you just ride like ... well, the wind.

I've passed jersheyed-up road bikers who appeared a little startled at having a guy cruise by them on what looks like a commuter bike. I've charged up hills, surprising even myself with the speed at which I rose.

If you're a halfway decent bike rider, an electric assist will turn you into a high-performance machine. I still have tests to do and races to run with more experienced cyclist friends, but I feel like I could keep up with a good college cyclist when I'm out ripping around Portland's streets.

The great thing about electric assist is that you can ride them two ways -- you can go as fast as you do on a regular bike and use way less energy doing it, or you can push just as hard as you do on a regular bike and go WAAAAY faster. They appeal to riders who like to fly and older people and commuters who might not want to arrive at their destination coated in sweat.

If you haven't ridden an electric-assisted bike yet, do yourself a favor and find the nearest one to try.

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