Is it possible that the trend in electric bikes(ebikes) will continue to advance and even allow you to completely ditch your car, in the near future? If we look to Europe, we would say that it seems possible. If you’ve ever been traveling to Europe, you know that they love bikes. It appears that they love ebikes, too, since they’re buying over 1 Million a year. Could we follow?
Modern electric bikes are “pedal actuated”. This means that they boost the power you create by pedaling. They are designed according to the same styles we find in regular bicycles, such as mountain, road, cruiser, fat tire, folding, cargo and others. They all use lithium ion battery powered tech and feature computers that ensure your battery usage is optimized.
Do you already have a bike or don’t want to buy a new one? No problem. One of the great emerging technologies is the ebike conversion kit, such as the Copenhagen Wheel. These kits allow you to convert any ordinary bike into an ebike, by just changing the wheel. Most include a smartphone app to manage and track the charge, improve performance and allow you to select riding modes.
The benefits of electric bikes are substantial and can have positive impact on your daily quality of life, in a variety of ways:
Commuting – Ebikes allow you to commute and get around much faster, and to do so without having to change into workout clothes or even break a sweat. That’s critical, because who wants to walk into work a sweaty, dripping mess? Especially, if you don’t have shower facilities in your building or office. Electric bikes can eliminate the costs of parking. More importantly, they can remove the need to sit in traffic and eliminate the agonizing waste of time that makes our stress levels skyrocket. They are faster than most public transportation options, and more cost effective. They let you start and finish a day with a brief burst of gentle exercise.
Fitness – Anyone who bikes daily is just healthier, and yet an electric bike lets you work as hard or as light as you wish. Most ebike owners make a point of riding daily. They also help improve overall fitness while giving you a large amount of fresh air and sunlight. If you dread pedaling up a hill, an ebike can help you, while maintaining speeds of up to 20mph.
Lifestyle/Financial – An electric bike is the most cost effective way to travel, operating at roughly one to two dollars per month. If you own a car and choose to use your ebike to commute, it helps to preserve it’s life by putting less wear and tear on your vehicle. It lets you get errands done quickly without dealing with traffic (most errands in the U.S. are within three miles of home). You never need the gas station and riding is one of the greenest things you might do for the planet.
So, electric bikes are arguably one of the smartest ways to get to work and do some errands, and that means we need to know what it would take to implement a national ebike system or encourage the use of such bikes. The simplest answer is to copy the Europeans. They already have dedicated bicycle lanes in most roads and cities, and laws that protect riders and make parking easy, secure and safe.
Interestingly enough, data from “bike sharing” programs have discovered an interesting development in urban areas. They’ve shown that the programs coincide with much lower rates of accident or injury. This may be due to the cautiousness of the riders, but also to the awareness of drivers that more and more cyclists are sharing the roads and using dedicated lanes. Cities such as Philadelphia have long had dedicated cycling lanes, and other urban areas are following suite, integrating bike share programs, cycling lanes and improved traffic management.
Yes, it will take a change in the average mindset, and even then not all commuters can enjoy the use of electric bikes because of lengthy commutes or harsh seasonal weather conditions. However, even commuting on a ebike during peak weather is going to help anyone cut their expenses dramatically and improve their overall health.
With electric bikes becoming more available, it’s a good time to explore whether you should make the switch. They help you stay healthy and fit you while enjoying your commute, giving you some electric pedal power whenever you need it, and because they’re a dirt cheap way to get around, you save money at the same time. Cargo and carrier racks as well as other accessories can easily turn your bike into a vehicle capable of handling the weekly shopping or a weekend adventure ride, far from town. So…could YOU ditch your car for an electric bike?