What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

02 June 2016

It's Electrifyin'

The last couple of months I lived in Austin, I borrowed an electric bike from work for commuting and other longer trips and left my own bikes at home for neighborhood-based trips. And it was very cool.

This bike, which still has no name.
First of all, a definition: an electric bike is one with a battery and a small motor to assist the pedaling action. Most state laws (and the industry standard) limit the assist to 20 mph; once you hit that speed, the motor cuts off and it's up to your own legs to keep you going that fast (I can't). The motor generally can only be activated if you're pedaling-- if you stop to coast, so does the motor. And finally, most bikes have levels of assist from just low enough to offset the weight of the bike, to fast enough to feel like you're flying.

So the first few days I kept the assist relatively low, maybe bumping it up a notch for some help going up hills, but still low enough to feel like I was doing some work. And then one day I thought, "Why not see what this thing can do?" and I got home in about 25 minutes. (That's faster than the same car trip would take, by the way, and about three times faster than the bus.) It's times like these that singing "Defying Gravity" while riding is especially appropriate.

By the way, an electric bike is also a good solution to the problem of riding to work without getting sweaty, or carrying kids, or having aging muscles--it takes some of the strain off of you as the rider, even while you're still burning calories and having fun. Obviously, this is not a bike for training for the Tour de France (or the tour de anything).

After about a month of flying over the hills of Austin as fast as I could, I remembered that I was going to have to hand that thing back over when it was time to move, so I brought the assist back down a few notches so I could remember what it's like to out some effort into riding a bike. Still pretty awesome, though, and I think my next bike may be a cargo bike with e-assist.

Would you try an electric bike?

1 comment:

Sandra Cox said...

I didn't know electric bikes where out! Yes, I would definitely try one.