Thursday, October 16, 2008

eBikes: How We (should) Roll

Pushing bike riding on people is a tough task, even with expensive gas prices. But what about bikes you don't have to push? Have you heard of an electric bicycle? AKA an eBike? Are you not ready for a scooter and don't wanna get all sweaty riding a bike to work? Here's an option for under $400.
They call the motors on these eBikes "pedal assist," like on an old school moped , because you can't get by on the motor alone. The motor won't help going downhill and your feet will have to pitch in up a really steep hill. But it can go 18 miles an hour for 20 miles on a single charge. And it's really fun to ride.

Karen and I got to ride one of these on a recent trip. Turn the throttle and the thing will almost leave you behind if you don't have a good grip. Another drawback is the battery. It makes the bike heavy. Solution: roll it, don't lift it. Also, you have to replace the battery every year or so and that's not gonna be cheap (same deal at Walmart). But, overall, the bike is cheap. Sure, you could spend more on an electric bike, but this one will get anyone onto one who is serious about driving less.

Watch it GO:

9 comments:

  1. Posted this over two hours ago and it's still not on RVABlogs, the top source of traffic for this site.

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  2. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I'd kill myself on this. Seriously. You'd see me on the news - "Midlothian mother of 2 requires jaws of life after bike wreck!"

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  3. I tried riding as bike in traffic 20 years ago (when I was 40 after a 20+ year lapse). No way.. I guess I don't have a well developed deathwish..

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  4. You two are echoing the first line of this post. And I don't blame you. To the car-addicted pedestrian, bike riding seems so counter-intuitive. Yes, I'm resorting to name calling (cuz I'm not really hoping to change any minds). It's fun and I'll try it on myself too. Adopting the point of view of the tree-hugging grease monkey can be a challenge, especially out in the burbs. Coordination can be (re)learned and competition with cars just takes practice and a little faith.

    As the years tick by, we're all probably trending toward the "built for comfort" body-type. But that's what makes the eBike so attractive. It does the work for you. It makes the miles fly by. And even on Courthouse Road or Mechanicsville Turnpike, enough of us helmet wearing neon vest clad riders would create an envoy of safe and ethical travel. And maybe bike lanes would appear without activism, instead out of sheer necessity.

    I may be a dreamer, but you would be too if you regularly felt that wind whipping through your hair on your two-wheeled way to work. Now imagine that sensation without sweat or gasoline. Pure fun: the eBike.

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  5. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Ok - can this thing haul a bike trailer with, say, 80 lbs. worth of kid in it? Because I have my kids with me all the time - every waking hour. Not that I would subject them to this kind of thing down the middle of Hull Street. I put them in $200 car seats when they're encased inside a car - how is a flimsy bike helmet safe enough for them in a bike trailer with cars whizzing by? My cousin in MI used to bike hundreds of miles a week until he got hit two different times by cars. He's still in killer shape, but he'll never be the same after a broken clavicle, major concussion, and a broken leg with lots of pins and other metal doohickies in it. ~Midlothian Mother of 2, Car-Addicted, Gas-Guzzling Suburbanite, Built for Comfort Kind of Gal~ (All tongue in cheek of course - I like it that you try to fight the good fight.)

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  6. Ms. Anonymous, You had me sweating bullets for a minute there. Whenever I'm advocating my insensitive and elitist positions, I can't help but think on how my snobbery might effect ordinary folks like yourself (your husband isn't a plumber named, Joe, is he?).

    But don't worry. Under my regime (aka Obama's second term), the repurposed military will escort you into the Blue Ridge mountains for revolutionary reprogramming while your children remain behind to serve as labor in transforming the people's landscape.

    No longer will we have suburbs; a counterrevolutionary outgrowth of capitalism and class privilege. Instead, there will be densely populated cities surrounded by farmland and country-side. Citizens will choose their location based on their vocation or a role will be assigned. However, EVERYONE will ride bikes and we will have transcended the attachment of parenthood or any other bond that threatens one's allegence to the revolution. Does this resolve your concerns?

    (um, please don't respond to this diversion - it was just in good fun)

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  7. Anonymous8:30 AM

    For us interested in walking.. sidewalks in Chesterfield County would be nice.

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  8. Anonymous11:28 PM

    yeah, true dat anon!

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  9. nice collection

    nice video

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