This article 1st appeeared in the March 2015 issue of the Ashland LocalsGuide
Electric Bicycles 101
Winter has been mostly a no-show this year and everyday it becomes easier and easier to shift into a bicycle riding mindset. Ashland is a great place to ride a bike. If only we didn’t have so many pesky hills to climb, right? Depending on where you live, a ride to the grocery store and back can be a mini-epic workout. If you’re up to the task and you have the time, I salute you. However, if you’re like many of us, you do all your around town traveling by car and your bike is reserved for the occasional weekend pleasure/exercise ride. What if there was a way to bridge the gap between these two scenarios? Enter the electric bike!
E-bikes ride and function like regular bicycles with the addition of an electric motor and battery to provide assistance in propelling you forward. The electrical components provide power equal to that of another able-bodied adult helping you pedal. Hills seem to flatten out before you and miles slip by easily. Your bicycle elevates from the level of recreational equipment to alternative transportation. Now you can run the majority of your around town errands on a bike, enjoying all the benefits of open air, smell-the-roses travel without the hot and sweaty, exhausted-at-the-end-of-the-ride outcome.
You still need to pedal to navigate Ashland’s varied terrain but it can take a fraction of the effort that a non-electric bike requires. (Remember the virtual-able-bodied adult sitting behind you helping with the work?) So now you can get as much exercise as you desire or as much assistance as you need depending on the situation. You have complete control over the amount of power that the motor delivers. Imagine running across town to Shop’n Kart in the morning, meeting a friend downtown for lunch, and then zooming out once more in the afternoon on another errand. After all this you still have the energy to go out dancing in the evening. This is what e-biking is all about!
E-bikes are easy to ride, they don’t require a driver’s license, and in a town like Ashland you can make most trips as quickly or faster than you can with your car. Traffic snarls and parking woes no longer affect you. E-bikes operate on just a few cents worth of electricity each day and they don’t require any special maintenance beyond that of a standard bike. If you compute the savings in gas purchases over time, the payback period for the cost of an e-bike is surprisingly short. I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity about e-bikes in general. If so, I invite you to come by the shop, see all the bikes, and take a few test rides. In my world a single ride is worth ten thousand words. Come ride the future…its here now!