E-bikes: The Most Fun You’ll Have Saving the Planet
The best part about riding a bike is that effortless moment when you’re flying downhill. The wind is in your hair, maybe your legs are thrown out to the sides, and you’re grinning from ear to ear. It feels like freedom. The worst part is struggling uphill as sweat drips down your face and your legs – from your thighs to your calves – are burning from exhaustion.
Riding a bicycle is one of the most sustainable ways to get around, but oftentimes it’s not a convenient or practical mode of transportation. Let’s explore some obstacles. Your destination is too far, and it would take too much time to get there. The inclines are way too challenging. You have too many things to carry, and they’re heavy. You have a kid to cart around. You’re not in the best of shape. You can’t work up a sweat before your event or meeting.
These problems all revolve around two key issues. The first is that biking can be physically taxing, especially with long distances or tough terrains. The second is that bikes and their riders can’t transport a lot of cargo without adding more weight. Trying to take heavier cargo, like a child or groceries, can make a bicycle ride just about impossible if you’re not a daily rider.
Introducing the magic of the electric bike, or e-bike for short. This revolutionary piece of equipment fulfills every childhood fantasy of getting some extra help when going up hills or long distances. Below are some basics about e-bikes to help get you started.
Getting Started on Your E-bike Journey
If you love the thought of green transportation and replacing or supplementing the use of your gas-powered car, you will love the e-bike. At a fraction of the cost of the typical electric vehicle (EV), e-bikes offer people the chance to get from point a to point b without emitting greenhouse gas emissions.
Cost: Hint – It’s Way Less than an EV
The cost of these bikes can range from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the type and model you choose. Basic city commuter bikes are on the lower range, while larger, more powerful cargo bikes that can carry kids and big loads are on the pricier side.
There are also some great incentives in some states designed to promote the use of e-bikes. These can include grants and tax credits to help with purchases, as well as long-term loan and rental programs. If you live in California, you might qualify for a grant program offered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Through this program, eligible participants receive a $7,500 grant to cover the purchase of one or more e-bikes and e-bike accessories. You can learn about all of the different incentives available here.
The Different E-bike Types to Meet Your Style and Needs
While cost is always important to think about when choosing an e-bike, it’s more important to consider your transportation needs – how much you will be carrying, how far you will be going, and what kind of terrain you will be riding on.
On a single charge, some e-bikes can go up to 15 miles, while others can go an impressive 60. Don’t forget, though, your weight and the difficulty of the terrain can impact range. It makes sense if you and your load are lighter and you’re traveling on flat land – your range will be longer.
Pedal Support and Speed
Below are three of the main types of e-bikes available today, each one providing different styles and levels of assistance, speed, and power.
Class 1 – Pedal Assisted. This popular choice in e-bikes provides motorized assistance while you are pedaling. As you pump your legs to get that bike moving, the motor kicks in to give you that little extra support you need to make biking a breeze. No more feeling winded and wasted after a ride. Aside from the inevitable helmet hair, you can get to work or school without being red in the face1 and short of breath. This type of e-bike can come with a throttle.
Class 2 – Throttle. This type of e-bike is kind of kike a motorbike or e-scooter. You can crank the throttle to power the motor. No need to pedal to engage the e-bike. This can come in handy if you’re often in situations where you end up too tired to pedal or need to get up to speed fast. The Class 2 can be either throttle only, or it can include pedal assist for the best of both worlds.
Both Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes have a maximum legally permitted speed of 20 miles per hour. If you exceed the max speed for the ebike, it will shut off, but you can still pedal your heart out. Riders do not need a driver’s license, and there are no age limits. Class 3 is another story.
Class 3 – Pedal Assisted. These types of bikes have more restrictions. Riders might need a driver’s license and are required to be at least 16 years old. They also must always wear helmets. The e-bikes themselves are not allowed on some protected bikeways and street paths. There’s a reason for all of these rules. Class 3 e-bikes can reach speeds of 28 mph, exceeding the 20 mph speed limit legally permitted. This makes them more dangerous and akin to motorized vehicles.
Must-Read Resources to Help Get you on the Road
It’s great to see EVs beyond just cars and trucks. Ride & Drive Clean is a campaign to help reduce carbon emissions by encouraging the adoption of EVs – including e-bikes. Check them out hereto learn more. They provide free interactive and educational webinars to connect you with other e-bike users, guide you to the right bike for you and your budget, and provide you with essential safety guidelines. You can also sign up for one of their limited-time-only discount campaigns.
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By evee Life Contributor
Published November 3, 2022 3:27PM
Eveelife is an eco-oriented lifestyle platform that helps consumers make more purposeful choices about how they live and what they consume. We do it by curating content and products that help them make more conscious, carbon-free choices while amplifying their EV ownership experience.