It's time to catch up with Christian & Nate again! Christian and Nate are full-time RVers, travelers, parents, and avid eBikers. They spend their days exploring the country with their family and often turn to their eBikes as a convenient method to explore new places!
They recently spent some time in scenic Zion National Park, and Christian shared this blog about her experience. Check it out!
As eBikes become more and more affordable, we are beginning to see them in more and more places as we travel. Seeing them parked next to a coffee shop or whizzing down a city street is one thing, but seeing them in and around America’s most prized natural wonders? I never thought I’d see the day these amazing machines would be widely accepted, but our recent trip to Zion National Park made me realize that Park Staff are not only embracing the idea, but are also willing to encourage their use!
We carry two folding Lectric eBikes with us on our travels. Since we have our two kiddos with us, we installed rear seats on the back of both bikes so they can ride along with us. As full-time RVers, it's great to have an economical option for quick trips away from the RV without having to fire up the diesel engine just to grab a few things from the grocery store. Our trip to Zion proved that point even further.
Our goal was to hike Angel’s Landing, an exhilarating and exhausting hike that takes you up switchbacks, narrow land bridges, and steep rock scrambling to spit you out on the peak which has stunning 360-degree views of the Virgin River miles below, rock fins, and surrounding mountain peaks. There’s only one problem. You can’t drive to the trailhead - the park service doesn’t allow personal vehicles on the road there. Your two options are the free Zion National Park shuttle bus service, or biking the 5 miles uphill to the West Rim trailhead. We chose to use our eBikes so that we could be on our own schedule. While it's definitely possible to make the trek on a standard bike, to be able to hike the 5 miles roundtrip immediately after would be quite an accomplishment!
Zion National Park has conveniently wide pedestrian and bike paths that follow the winding North Fork Virgin River. Effortlessly coasting the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on our eBikes was an experience all unto itself. We charged our batteries the night before in preparation for the ride and set off early the next morning for our 9 am permit reservation for the bucket list trek. Although it was a bit chilly at 8 am, it definitely beats being packed onto a shuttle bus full of tourists. (not to mention the ride back down full of sweaty hikers and backpackers). The official rules are that the Zion bus drivers are not allowed to pass bikers. So, they may give a courtesy honk for you to pull off the roadway and stop, but our pedal assist allowed us to keep up with the speed limit, negating the need to pull over all but a few times.
The all-uphill ride took us around 15-20 minutes and only cost us about half a battery (plenty to get us back downhill the return 5-mile trip). There was just enough bike parking to allow us to lock up our bikes, although many of the 50 or so eBikes parked at the trailhead weren’t secured at all. Because of Zion’s enthusiasm concerning eBikes, there are several eBike rental vendors in the neighboring Springdale, AZ who can’t keep enough eBikes available for the demand!
Once parked, we shed some of our warm clothing and left it with the eBikes and set off on our long-awaited hike. The hike did not disappoint and we returned to our eBikes about 5 hours later. We decided to break up the return trip to camp by stopping at Zion National Park Lodge, only one from the trailhead back towards the West entrance of the park (Springdale and Watchman Campground) It’s beautifully manicured lawn with a massive shade-giving cottonwood tree in the middle provided the perfect place to take a post-hike nap, let the kids practice their headstands and cartwheels, and enjoy a few craft beers from the outdoor Lodge bar and cafe.
Once we’d had our fill of pricey beer and people-watching, we hopped back on our Lectric eBikes and coasted the remaining 4 miles back to camp. After some quick showers and agreeing that neither of us had any desire to cook dinner, we decided to ride into Springdale to Zion National Park to grab dinner at the Zion Canyon Brewpub. At that point, we still had plenty of battery left, so after having a delicious quinoa burger and chimichurri fries we decided to explore Springdale before dusk and treat the kiddos to some ice cream for their hard work on the trail.
My hope is that more national parks begin to adopt this positive attitude toward eBikes. Having been a long-time eBike owner, its been refreshing to see the attitude toward eBikes shift from nuisances to being generally accepted as a safe and efficient form of transportation!