Should your next car be an e-bike?

We spent the middle of September in Paris, Fr., and in the 3 years since we were there the number of e-bikes an e-scooters has exploded. It is not a surprise. Paris traffic is terrible. We walked everywhere we wanted to go or took the Metro. When we were walking I am sure we were making better time than many in cars. Those on bikes and scooters outpaced both us and the cars. The number of bikes being used as delivery vehicles was also much larger on this trip. Most of the e-bikes were rentals. Practical bikes with fenders and chain guards to protect the rider’s clothing, these looked like they being were ridden by people on their way to and from work by the way they were dressed. There were also many more privately owned e-bikes. I am assuming they were privately owned because they lacked any corporate identification and their designs were much more varied. We live out in the country. Our nearest store for a bread and milk run is 8 miles away so an e-bike is probably not practical for us. But if we lived in town or even closer to town, I think we would be down to 1 car and an e-bike. Do you see yourself as a potential e-bike rider? Here’s is a WSJ article on e-bikes and their riders.

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@PucksFool - Excellent post. I am just getting up to speed on e-bikes.

The Boston Globe had an article about riding them in the Boston area yesterday which piqued my interest in them. I’m seeing more and more of them around town lately so I decided to check them out.

Here’s a link to the article in the Boston Globe → I finally biked to work. Was it worth it? - The Boston Globe

I also checked out e-bikes 101 at the Trek Bikes website. They are pretty expensive!!

In order for us to invest in an e-bike, I think we would need to sell one of our cars!!

'38Packard

The range of these e-bikes is way more than 16 miles. So, if all you need to carry back is a loaf of bread and gallon of milk, it should work well for you. However, a consideration is how busy the road that you’d have to travel to get there and back is. Traffic can be dangerous for slower moving bikes.

We’ve been seriously considering getting one for both me and my wife. Since we’ve retired (about 1 year ago) we bought a 40’ 5th Wheel and Ford F350 diesel to pull it with and are traveling the country to see all the sites (part time). Given the high price of a gallon of diesel and the relatively poor mileage the F350 gets, an e-bike could save us a lot of money over time. But at about $1,000 a pop the payback might take a bit of time.

E-bikes are attractive to RV’ers in that you can get foldable versions for easy transport. There are a ton of YouTube videos by RV’ers discussing pros, cons and available features. We’ve watched most of them.

We’ll likely get a couple of e-bikes in the not too distant future.

Rich

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Two thoughts here. I was hit, head on, on Beacon St in Boston. The bike went under the car, I went over it; landed on my back, taken to the hospital, recovered but have a mild facial palsy to this day. So beware the laws of physics: there is no scenario in which a car vs bike favors the bicycle rider.

Second: Mrs. Goofy has an e-bike which she rides only on greenways (no cars). She LOVES it. (It’s a Vida+ by Giant, I think.) It’s pedal assist, meaning she has to pedal all the time to keep moving, but at her age (late 60’s) it’s good exercise, it’s outdoor, it’s fun. When she bought it a few years ago it was $2500, certainly closer to $3K now, but she’d do it again in a heartbeat.

One tip: if you’re thinking about it, go to a bicycle store and pay the extra hundred or two. It’s invaluable to have them for service and knowledge; this is one place where buying a kit off the internet is a short term savings and a long term headache. Yes, a bike store will assemble your internet kit, but they know their brands better and can steer you away from some manufacturer that will have issues.

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Rented a house with sisters and cousin, their spouses, up in Kennebunk, ME, back in June. We discovered we did not have enough bikes. The only thing we could rent were electric bikes. So my cousin and his wife rented two of them.

I discovered on a mountain bike with knubby tires on the hilly roads I was way out of shape. This sent me to the gym when I got home to do HIIT.

The cousins discovered they wanted electric bikes when they got home to Waterford, Ireland a quieter place with less traffic.

Very nice vacation.

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E-bikes seem like a good idea to me, very energy efficient for short errand runs and things like that. I would not personally want to ride one on roads that have 40-50mph vehicle traffic on them, seems like a motorcycle gives a person a better chance to evade danger on the road, although there are a lot of car/truck motorcycle crashes. Biggest problem I see is how pathetically a minority of American vehicle drivers perform their task of actually paying attention to driving while behind the wheel. So unless I had a multiuse bike path available for the majority of miles, I would not be using an E-bike for a daily commuter option.

( I’m risking the odds by going on a road ride later today, when it warms up a little. Scenic ride, hills aren’t real big, and a shoulder on each side of the road for bikes. Will be very alert the whole time,though, I do not trust any vehicle drivers )

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My wife and I both bought the Aventon Pace 500. It’s a great bike. I have ridden it down to the next town and back, about 36 miles and still had half a battery left. It has peddle assist and then if you get tired it also has a throttle to keep you going. It goes about 22 miles an hour at the top speed. If I was still working I would have an ebike because we have bike paths directly to where I used to work.

My wife and I love the bikes. You can ride where ever you want and if it gets to be to far you just hit the throttle and come back home. I had the bikes delivered and my wifes hydraulic brakes were not filled completely so we took them down to a bike shop and had them gone through to make sure they were safe after I assembled them. I wanted to see how Aventon customer service was so I sent them the bill for my wifes bike’s hydraulic brakes check up and I was amazed. They paid me back for the cost. So yes I love our Aventon’s and I tell everyone about them.

Andy

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Also one other thing is. If you get a bike rac* make sure it is able to handle the weight of your e-bikes. Not all can. I bought the Yakima rac* . I would give you a hyperlink but the site does not allow the use of the word rac* and it’s in the hyperlink :joy:

Andy

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Hey Andy,

Try it again, I updated the filter. Edit at will.

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LOL thanks Mints. I really appreciate all you do.

Andy

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Wow, Andy…what a timely post. Both for the rec for the Aventon Pace bikes and the appropriate car attachment for transporting them (TMF’s new nanny filter sure has it in for certain words🤔… I’ve had to find creative alternatives to describe how to walk with a gimpy leg)

I’ve been looking at this brand with a view to adding modestly priced e-bikes to our two wheeled stable. We already have an assortment of road, hybrid and mountain bikes but have found that a move to high altitude living has changed our perspective a bit now that even road biking takes place at elevations of 6000+ft and > 8-10% grades. Seems the glowing online testimonials crossing my radar screen are warranted.

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The distance isn’t the problem for the bike or for me. Spring, summer, and fall I ride almost every day. The problem isn’t the 5 miles of busy highway because it has a wide shoulder. The problem is the 3 miles of narrow and twisty road I have to ride to get to the highway. It has no shoulder, terrible sight lines, and people drive way too fast on it. I quit riding on our local roads after being forced into a ditch to avoid being hit head-on by someone who decided to pass another car.

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Yea be careful out there Puck. We had about 5 bikers die a couple of years ago. They were hit by a truck and the driver was on crack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjKMzQKbx0U

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Indeed. One of my clients was killed a few years ago while riding his bike on the streets. He had recently retired and was looking forward to spending more time with his family and grandchildren.

Ride like almost no one can see you, and those few that can are out to get you.

–Peter

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If the city I lived in and my lifestyle allowed it, I would bike. The old fashioned peddle kind. My current lifestyle, I’m never going 5 miles or less anywhere and never for just 1 or 2 things to place in a backpack for the ride home so SUV it is.

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As a kid, I biked all over NYC with the assuredness of invulnerability which all youth has. Once I learned how to drive (in the school of offensive driving), and spent a considerable amount of time driving a heavily armored van around Manhattan (and the City, in general) my opinion of cycling changed. There were cyclers who were devinely protected and those who had been mauled by larger vehicles. I din’t feel worthy of the first group and decided to avoid the second.

So, back around 1985 I won a Fuji mountain bike in a contest (and stored it next to the fly-fishing package I had previously won). Last year, I sold the bike (unopened) on E-Bay and am still waiting to go fishing.

Under mayor Mike Blumberg, the City installed loads of dedicated bike lanes (none around where I live) and hundreds of racks of rent-a-bikes. I have a friend (the guy who repairs the delicate pieces of gizmos like tablets, cell phones and some miniature laptops which transcend my abilities - as I am not a watchmaker) who, being unusually electro-mechanically gifted has graduated from building custom electric skateboards to building e-bikes. I’m guessing they could be moderately safe around where I live, but the subway and bus are nearly as convenient and a hell of a lot safer and faster.

I guess if I lived in some primitive part of the country, like some small town in Idaho or Los Angeles, an e-bike might make sense, but when you have convenient/inexpensive alternatives, it simply makes you an attractive target without the benefit of getting any exercise.

Jeff

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When I was employed at Arm and traveling to Cambridge twice a year I was always amazed at the number of bike commuters in England. At work would be nearly as many bikes as cars. Traveling from hotel to office at rush hour nearly as many bikes as cars. This is not an exaggeration either. The weather is reasonable for this (unlike Austin, Texas). The car drivers are all aware of their existence. One time my boss and I were at a pub after work with his boss (who is in Cambridge). Upon leaving first-line asks second-line if he can drive us back to the hotel or if we need to flag a cab. He replied that he biked here. :smiley:

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“As a kid, I biked all over NYC with the assuredness of invulnerability which all youth has. Once I learned how to drive (in the school of offensive driving),…”

I am ( so far ) solely a pedal biker, and I ride aggressively whenever I feel or sense that any nearby vehicle drivers are lacking the attention span of a gnat, and just can’t bear to put their smart phone down while behind the wheel. Of course, that won’t protect me from getting blindsided, but it has many times helped me avoid a bad situation by sprinting out of trouble. An E-bike would provide much better acceleration than a pedal bike, so they could be safer in urban areas, providing the E-bike rider is also very aware of their surroundings.

Jeff, you are pretty technical, how hard would it be for the cell phone manufacturers to engineer a feature into cells phones that would stop/freeze the ability to use texting or web surfing while the vehicle is moving ? Of course there would need to be an exception for mapping, and for hands free voice, but it doesn’t seem like it’d be a massive engineering feat to build this in. Many American drivers have proven that they cannot be trusted to self regulate the urge to instantly respond to that “urgent” text message, so let the phone take the decision out of their hands.

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@UpNorthJoe -

I hope that when you are riding aggressively you are also watching out for senior drivers.

I’m just over 65 and I’m sure that my reflexes and eyesight are not what they used to be. I was driving in the downtown area of Providence in a section of the city that I was not really familiar with, and was at a very congested intersection (parked cars on all sides and traffic going in all four directions). Between looking for cars (and aggressive / distracted people driving those cars) I inadvertently pulled out just as an aggressive bike rider shot across my path.

He gave me the finger. I literally never saw him… I did not hit him, and it wasn’t really a very close call, as I was pulling out slowly and he had 8 - 10 feet between me and him, but please also look out for folks that may not have the reflexes of a twenty-something!!!

Best ~
'38Packard

One thing I will say. In Cambridge I did notice the bikers obey traffic laws much more than they do here. In Austin, which is reasonably bike-friendly, the bicyclists seem to have no regard to the traffic laws. And this tends to cause friction with the car drivers.

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