This article first appeared in the November issue of the Ashland Locals Guide.
Bicycle Commuting Made Easy
by Jerry Solomon
Have you ever considered making your daily commute to work by bicycle rather than by car? If so, then please hold that thought! The benefits to you and the environment will be substantial. If you rode a bike to work only one day a week you would reduce your environmental impact by 20%. That’s the equivalent of buying a hybrid car, only at a far lower cost. Rather than jostling through morning traffic (I know, its Ashland, but we do have traffic snarls nonetheless) how would you like to be cruising along, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the new day? Yes, its a wonderful alternative vision for commuting but what about the disadvantages? Well, let’s look at those and see how the advent of the electric bike is the solution to most of them.
The first complaint people have when considering biking to work is the idea of arriving all hot and sweaty at the start of your day. With an ebike that’s simply not a problem anymore. The power assistance of the motor means you’ll be working far less at the pedals to get from point A to B. Do you have sizable hills along your daily route? No problem, the ebike flattens those out into an easy ride as well. So, take it extra easy in the morning to keep your ‘freshness factor’ intact, and then on the way home, if you want to push it some more to get a bona fide workout, go for it.
The next concern people have is that they don’t have the time to devote to riding instead of driving. On an ebike that’s simply not the case either. Quite often friends and I will travel from one place to another in town – me on my ebike and them in their cars. Almost always I’m the first to arrive at the next place ahead of them. Following all the rules of the road I can traverse town faster, park my bike right in front of our destination, and be inside getting comfortable before all the drivers come through the front door.
The third biggest concern about an ebike is the cost; a quality electric bike will cost anywhere from $1600 to $4600, with the majority falling somewhere in the mid-$2000 range. That’s a lot to pay for a bike some say. Have you been in a quality bike shop and looked at prices for the better offerings they have? Have you priced a new or reliable used car lately? Suddenly, an ebike looks like a bargain in comparison. How about operating costs, maintenance, and insurance? It costs about five cents to fully charge an electric bike, and that charge will take you anywhere from 15 to 50 miles depending on the bike. Did you get that? One nickel for perhaps a week’s worth of riding. Maintenance is no greater than a regular bike, and insurance or licensing is not required. Now that’s affordable transportation!
So, don’t you think its time to reassess your daily commute? Wouldn’t you like to become part of the solution rather than continuing to be part of the problem? Our addiction to fossil fuels must end, sooner than later. We can make a difference however seemingly small…one bike at a time. Come join the two-wheeled revolution!