I just read Ken Allen’s column about electric bicycles (“Allen Afield: Electronic bicycles are on the way,” May 3), and did catch his not-even-disguised contempt: “I wouldn’t be caught dead on an electric bicycle.” Believe it or not, there are good reasons for using one of these other than just not wanting to pedal.

Two years ago, I was walking when I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. As I kept walking, the pain didn’t go away; it got much worse, and I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I could barely hobble around the house that summer.

I was a good candidate for an artificial knee, but had no insurance, so that wasn’t an option.

Somewhere, I read an article saying that if the muscles supporting the knee could be strengthened by non-load-bearing exercise, that could be very helpful.

I had recently read about e-bikes and decided to search one out at a dealer. It was pricey, but this was my quality of life at risk, so bought it. At first, I didn’t even have the range of motion to assist with pedaling, but I kept at it, slowly trying for more and more.

The end result was that the knee got better without any medical intervention when I used my e-bike. Now I not only can pedal the bike for exercise, assisting the motor to extend my range, but I’ve also been able to go back to walking without pain and have lost about 20 pounds.

I would be curious to know if any physical therapists have considered one of these for patients. It was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

Erik Bartlett


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