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Phylise Banner

Phylise Banner

My first day out on the TownieGo in 2018.
Out on Martha's Vineyard -- my favorite place to ride.


Where do you live, what do you do for a living, and how old are you?

I’m 55 years old, and I live in Saratoga Springs – in the house I grew up in. I am a learning experience designer and president of my own consulting firm. I have clients around the world and travel quite a bit.

What kind of bike(s) do you ride? What are the features you like about it?

I love my Townie Go (pedal assist)! The Blue Sky team did me a glorious courtesy and brought in the Townie Go for me when they came out in the US. I had ridden one in Ireland, and it was the only way I could have ridden a bicycle all day and kept up with my family! I really wanted one, but wasn’t sure how I was going to get one here in Saratoga. Blue Sky was willing to get the bike in stock and let me try it again before I bought it.

The pedal assist enabled me to get back on a bike, and to get moving again. I have had some injuries and spinal issues, and I thought I’d never really ride a bike (more than at the gym, or for a few minutes on the road) again.

How long have you been riding, and how did you get into cycling?

It was that little red tricycle that I had when I was 2 – for sure. After that, my sister and I had a tandem and we rode that straight through high school. The back (where I sat) was a banana seat, and I always wanted my own banana seat bike. Never got one.

When I was living in New York City, I was afraid to bike, but when I moved back to Saratoga in 1997, I had a friend who went with me to Blue Sky to pick out a new bike (Specialized hybrid) and get me on the road. That was a while back, and my daughter ended up with that bicycle.

I was seriously injured in a pedestrian vehicle accident, and it took awhile to get back on a bike. Years later, spinal issues caught up to me and I had to have surgery. I thought I’d never be able to ride a bike again. I have always loved getting from here to there on a bike, so I’m thrilled that I can do just that with my Townie Go.

How do you typically put the miles on your bike(s)? Do you keep track of your miles?

As soon as the weather is nice, my Townie Go becomes my primary mode of transportation. I don’t typically keep track of my miles, except to congratulate myself for being able to go 20 miles without any physical issues!

Do you have some favorite routes?

Last summer we flew our bikes with us to Martha’s Vineyard for 2 weeks in our little plane (actually, my bike went in another friend’s plane). We had no car with us, and biked everywhere. My favorite routes are out there – including the ride out to Wasque point on Chappaquiddick.

What are your long-term cycling goals?

The pedal assist on my Townie Go inspires me to bike for the rest of my life. I’ve gotten back on my old Specialized a few times, but I haven’t attempted a big hill yet. Maybe someday I won’t need to rely so much on pedal assist?

What are your proudest moments as a cyclist?

Living for two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard without any other mode of transportation! Actually, I am proud every time I get on my bike — I can’t stress enough how the pedal assist has made it possible for me to ride again.

What tips would you offer to less experienced riders?

Try a pedal assist bicycle, or other e-Bike. It has made such a huge difference in my life!

What’s your favorite cycling product/accessory?

My traditional ding-a-ling bicycle bell. It makes me happy. And the battery that powers my pedal assist, of course!

How do you fuel and hydrate when you’re in the saddle?

I keep a bottle of water in my bike bag when I go out, along with a protein snack if we’re taking a long ride.

Any funny or unusual experiences during your riding/racing career?

When we flew out to Martha’s Vineyard last summer, I had to find a friend with a plane big enough to fly my bike out, as it does not fit in our plane. When his plane landed at MVY airport, the ground crew looked at us funnily as we all hurried up to our friend’s plane and greeted my bike. Looked like we were all crowding around a celebrity! I think they were a bit disappointed that it was just a bicycle.

To add — not necessarily unusual or funny — but I have to say that the Blue Sky team were integral in helping me get my Townie Go, and I will forever be grateful to everyone there for providing the BEST customer service ever. It’s great to see all of the e-Bikes that they carry now, and I encourage everyone to try them out!

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