Posted by Gary Hohl on 7/10/2015
to Electric Bikes
Why Do I Want an Electric Bike?
Americans tend to think of bikes as strictly a tool for exercise. So the thought of an e-bike would seem to be ridiculous. In Europe and the rest of the world, bikes are mostly used for utilitarian purposes and E-bikes are huge in those markets... riding to work, going to the grocery store and using a bike for daily tasks. But for many people the thought of riding a bike to do these kinds of things is just a little too much work and it's so much easier to jump in the car. An E-bike bridges that gap between a bike and a car. Jumping on an E-bike to ride down town or to work is now totally do-able.
Here are 4 Reasons to Own an Electric bike.
1) Lower Your Carbon Footprint. It’s an established fact that most trips by car are just a few miles from home. For those of us who believe that man’s activities are the major cause of global warming, a little conversation is going on way back in the far reaches of your head, “Gee, I hate to drive my car down town to mail these letters and pick up a few groceries…I’d like to ride my bike…but…that’s too much work… I’ll get all sweaty…..where are my keys?” OR “Gee, I’d like to commute to work by bike …I’d get some exercise…I could kill two birds with one stone…lower my carbon guilt…but…I’ll get all sweaty…it’s just a little too far…I have to wear all that tight bike clothing…oh man, where are my keys?”
An electric bike takes all those excuses away. It’s not too far, you don’t get sweaty(at least a lot less sweaty), you don’t have to wear funny bike clothing, you can get some exercise (yes, you do get exercise on an e-bike.) and best of all, you can take personal steps to lower your carbon footprint and do your personal part to keep our winters full of fresh powder. (That’s snow, for all you non-skiers and snowboards.)
2) Get Some Exercise. It’s a complete myth that you don’t get any exercise on an electric bike. There are 3 operating modes that make e-bikes move. The first is “pedal assist”, the bike senses that you are pedaling and adds assistance. The rider can control the amount of assistance. Low assistance…the rider does more work, high assistance…the rider does less work. The second method is a throttle. E-bikes with “throttle only” are primarily on the least expensive e-bikes. With this system, you don’t have to pedal at all, but most people pedal along and vary the amount of effort they are willing to put out. The third is a combination of both designs. The e-bike primarily operates in pedal assist, but you can hit the throttle at any time. The motors on e-bikes have speed limits. Twenty MPH is the limit by most laws in the United States. The level of assistance starts to diminish as your speed approaches the upper limit, therefore the rider has to push harder to go faster as you approach the speed limit. So you can work as hard as you want, but you’re going to be doing it at 20 mph instead of 13 mph.
3) Save Money. I will illustrate this with my own situation. My commute is 40 miles round trip. The cost of owning and operating a midsize sedan is about 60 cents per mile. That’s $24 per commute. The cost of the electricity used for the same commute on my e-bike equals 17 cents per trip. We need to factor in the price of the battery since it does not last forever. Most e-bike manufacturers state that their batteries last about 3000 charge cycles. The cost of replacement battery on my e-bike is around $600. That comes out to 40 cents per commute. The cost of maintenance and depreciation on my e-bike comes out to approx. $2.50 per commute. This figure is the very high side since my e-bike is expensive. That adds up to a total of $3.07 per commute, compared to $24. If I commute by e-bike 5 days a week, that equals a grand total savings of over $5000 per year! Plus I haven’t even factored in other costs of driving, like parking and stress.
4) Disabilities. E-bikes are great for people with all kinds of disabilities. They put less stress on hurting body parts..bad knees…replaced hips…hearts that aren’t quite working perfectly. E-bikes can serve as great recovery tool. E-bikes offer independence for people who are not able to drive a car for whatever reason.
These are just 4 reasons to ride an E-bike.
I'd love to hear your comments or questions.