I want to publicly acknowledge my former bias about e-bikes. I am a recovering judger, a non-believer, and I even questioned the legitimacy of e-bikes amongst ‘real’ bikes. There, I’ve said it and I’m sorry.
I love bicycles. I love looking at bicycles, owning bicycles, working on bicycles, drawing bicycles – you get the picture. And, I’ve ridden bicycles for as long as I remember. As a kid, my motives were driven by freedom and fun. As an adult, I ride for recreation, peace of mind, environmental reasons and it allows me to multitask – I get a work out in while commuting to and from work. Oh, the pride of showing up at work with that sweaty glow and firmer quads!
But, do I bike commute everyday or as often as I could? No. Some mornings I’m lazy. Some days I have more baggage (literally). Some days I have errands after work. And, some days I’m tired at five o’clock and I don’t want to work out for an hour. This adds up to a whole lot of convenient excuses and sadly, convenience often wins.
Our goal at SVBC is to get more butts out of cars and onto bikes. I firmly believe in our mission and work hard everyday to encourage more people to use healthy transportation. Imagine the internal friction I have when I drive to work! Committing to ditch the car and use the bicycle more often is a challenge I can relate to. Some days I just don’t have the energy to commit to a 25 mile bike commute – am I right?!
I first rode an e-bike in Seattle when I hopped on a bike share pedal assist. Not knowing what to expect, I pushed on the crank and felt that initial little boost. I gotta admit, the boost made me a bit giddy, it was a zippy ride and a fun way to explore a city. My next trips took me to Denver and New York where I found myself actually looking for a pedal assist amongst their shared fleets. Cruising almost effortlessly up and over the Brooklyn Bridge was gleeful. I’ll consider this my tipping point.
Despite already owning several beloved bikes, I began considering adding an e-bike to my own fleet. But, here’s what I was up against – my own naive opinions about e-bikes which looked like this: ‘bikes are for riding – by human generated power’. ‘what’s the point of an e-bike, it’s not really biking’. ‘it’s kind of cheating, isn’t it?’ I cringe as I write this because my thoughts look super ignorant in writing. Hahaha – cheating what?! Commuting isn’t a race. And, unless you’re racing, riding a bike isn’t a race. Riding an e-bike is not cheating. It’s quite brilliant, actually.
You know where this is going. I am now the proud owner of an e-bike and I love it. I did a lot of research and test riding before I committed to the purchase and I now own the best e-bike for my needs and wants. It’s versatile. It’s compact. It’s tidy but mighty. I sought something that would allow me to haul my baggage. I wanted a little assistance while towing our 90 pound office dog, Eleanor, to work in her trailer. I had my inaugural commute last week and let me tell you, this is a game changer. It’s a pleasure to ride. And that bloody hill in the last mile just before arriving home? No sweat. Ok, there is sweat, but it’s a blissful sweat.
In summary, I realized it was my ego getting in the way – bike commuting does not have to be an endurance sport. I am no less a bicyclist because of my e-boost. I challenged my bias and now I will challenge my excuses. E-bikes are a game changer and I look forward to seeing more and more people embrace the opportunity to challenge their own excuses.