PT 2: Wine Country, 70 mile Test Ride, 80cc Limited Powerking

My mind at ease, I started to really enjoy the ride again. The country in Napa is incredible and constantly reminds me of Little House on the Prairie, with its clustered oak trees and rolling hills.

At the next intersection I saw a man on an ATV and flagged him down, just to double check my navigating. He had a shotgun on the handlbars and for some reason didn't seem like the trusting type. He confirmed I was on course and rode of without a smile. I think he was the only guy not smiling today. Maybe his wife had him out doing farm chores he didn't want to do because he'd rather be watching the game.

I wound my way to Pope Valley. A two-store town that marks the uphill climb over the peak towards Angwin. I think it was called Pope Valley Market. There were about 15 Harley Riders resting there, standing and talking with their headbands, vests and Oakleys.

They were in the shady spot and so I pulled up in the shady spot too.
They didn't even acknowledge my presence. Not enough cc's, I guess.
I smiled anyways, and not worrying about looking cool, checked my my map to see if I was on course. I decided to walk in to the market grab a snack and let the motor cool before riding the steep grade.

Inside a grabbed a bottle of water and a Drumstick ice cream cone. Drumsticks are my vice. I quit smoking. A man's got to have at least one vice.

Shirley, at the counter, kindly rang me up and informed me that Pope Valley had no gas station. As she did I saw on the counter some kind of fruit or veg that she was selling for .25 cents each. I asked what they were and she told me lemon cucumbers. SHE had never tried them but her grandkids loved them.

"If you want one you can just have it," Shirley said. "They're probably too old to sell anyways."

I told her I was interested but didn't know If I wanted to try one right then and told her I would try right after she did. She didn't, so I didn't. I did tell her I would take one and plant it to see what happened. Maybe I will try them then.

I took my ice cream cone and ate it outside in front of the Harley riders, looking as tough as I could with an 80cc bicycle (yes, yes, 67.9, whatever) and an ice cream cone. When I was done, I pedal started I headed up the peak. This time the Harley riders watched me as I headed up the road to the top. I'm sure they thought I was nuts.

The road up was great! The trees got older and thicker, and the air got cooler. The grade was steep enough that The motor started to really strain and just before it died I started pedaling. I only had to pedal a few times and just for 5 minutes or so at the most. I never broke a sweat because the motor did all the work.

Now I understand what "Pedal Assist" means!

I think folks were surprised to see a bicyclist just cruising up the hill, sitting on my ass relaxing. I barely had to pedal and I made it a point to not pedal when cars were going by, just to show them the true brilliance of a motorized bicycle!

As I got over the peak I came upon a gas station! I forget how much they were charging for gas. I pulled up and leaned my bike against a pole next to the pump. Walked in and handed the cute college girl a dollar.
"Fill 'er up on 4."

As I got back to my bike a crowd was already forming. People asked questions, I told them how much I loved it and how it got 150 miles to the gallon and how I thought gas would hit 6 bucks next year, and how I just rode 60 miles over the mountain and there was much oohing and aahing.
It seemed everybody was THINKING about getting one.

I always tell them, "I highly recommend it."

I almost forgot to get my change, I was so caught up being "Ambassador to the Motorized Bicycle Industry." So I went in and got my change. 23 cents.
It was all I could fit!

HAHAHAHA! I love it! 77 cent fill up. Oh, geez. You can't beat that.

It was down hill from there on out. This was the campus for Pacific Union College and just past campus was a trail marked bike route. I almost passed it and I am so glad I didn't. It turned out to be one of the funnest but shortest legs of my trip. It was the old road around a smaller peak and it was half grown over with backberry bushes and I had to slow down crossing the first narrow bridge because the blackberry bushes only left about a 1-foot gap. The road then slowly opened to a single lane and ran below the upper road and behind a winery. The road was old but had nice banking turns. It quickly let out on the other side of the small peak. I wanted it to go on forever. It was like my own personal bike highway.

I headed down the steep grade and came to an intersection. I stopped to look at my map. Some lady in a Chrysler 300 turned down one of the side roads and a few minutes later, after I had taken a photo of the valley below, came back.

I wanted to ask her the name of the road in an effort to take the smaller, less travelled one on the map. She rolled down her window and asked me for directions to a winery where her friends were getting married. She beat me to the punch. We talked for a moment and I wished her luck.

I headed down that small narrow road not sure if it was the one I was looking for, but again, what a great road it was!

It was another barely used narrow winding one lane road. I only saw two cars the whole time and one guy really sweating to get his bike up it. I basically slalomed the whole thing. Braking on the straightaways and leaning hard on the turns. What fun! I got going so fast it scared me a couple times, but again, I seemed to have the whole road all to my self.

I got to the bottom and came to a stop sign where a couple in a Subaru had stopped and let me go down before them. This road was obviously well used but still quite winding. I pulled over and waited for the Subaru to pass. They did and I kept with them all the way to the bottom. Finally reaching the Silverado Trail again some 40 miles later at the town of St. Helena.

I cut through town to Hwy 29 and headed south again. This is like Winery Row so there were tons of vineyards and lots of people heading back from their wine-tasting adventures and what-not. They were all passing me until at one point traffic came to about 15 mph. That's when I "got mine" and passed like a hundred cars and Harleys on my little motorized bicycle.
It felt good.

I looked down at my front reflector and noticed it had rattled loosed. I stopped to make my only adjustment of the day (good thing I had ten pounds of tools in my backpack!).
As I did i noticed a little old lady with a hunched back trying to drag two trash cans to the roadside.
I quickly fired my bike up and rode along the railroad tracks in the gravel about 100 yards to where she was struggling.

I told her I would do it for her. She told not to take them BOTH to the road. She had brought two so that she would have one to help her walk back. She used one of the wheeled trashcans as a walker.

I don't know or care if you believe in God, but I believe SOMETHING put me there just at the right time to help that lady, just the same as the guy who gave me gas to start my trip and the guy on the motorcycle who stopped to help me and the Mexican family who had a party in the right place at the right time. This is why I have a motorized bicycle. It's an instrument for interacting with Creation.

As I rode off she told me to "Be careful on that thing!"
"You too!" I said.

A few miles down the road I came to Yountville, stopped at the market and got another ice cream cone. This time it was a Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Cone. I stood and ate it, just before saddling up heading up the tree-lined drive at the old vets home.

It was a great day full of risk and reward. It was exactly what I wanted and nothing I had anticipated.

It was life ...on two wheels.

70 Mile Test Ride
Giant 26" Prototype 1
Avg Spd: 17.7
Max Spd: 29.1
Time: 4:02:07
Distance: 71.347
Fuel ratio: Eyeballed, but rich
No mechanical issues to report.
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New Member
Jan 30, 2008
Hurricane Utah
Thank you for a wonderful story I was there as I read along. I have been to the wine country and I agree it is a beautiful part of the country. Have fun, Dave

Bikeguy Joe

Godfather of Motorized Bicycles
Jan 8, 2008
up north now
Nice account!

Instead of 10# of tools, next time take a 10mm wrench, and a pair of locking pliers....and A CAMERA!

I went on an adventure yesterday, but not as long....see elsewhere in Travels and adventures....


MB Builder Extraordinaire
Jul 21, 2008
coventry, RI
excellent read !!! :)
INDEED! :ride2: (^)

SGT: you said, "traffic came to about 15 mph. That's when I "got mine" and passed like a hundred cars and Harleys on my little motorized bicycle.
It felt good

exactly. thats how a guy can get to work faster on these sometimes. a free pass all the way up to the intersection, instead of sitting thru light cycle after light cycle.

that was an excellent story :)