A couple of months ago I purchased a Populo Sport electric bicycle from CityGrouds.com. After going car-free for 2017, I felt it was time to take the next step to increase my speed and range in 2018. After all, it’s often important to have the option of biking somewhere without looking and feeling like a sweaty mess when you arrive. I did my research and chose an “off-brand” electric bike that cost $1000 but had very positive reviews from bike companies and cyclists alike.
I’m not going to get into boring detail about componentry or tech specs. I want to talk to you about how this bike has changed the way I move about my city, even in the winter months. The truth is, this bike is a game changer for anyone who fancies the idea of cycling for transit/commuting, but struggles with issues like sweating, mobility problems and longer distances.
I have ventured a speedy and exhilarating 374 miles on my pedal-assist electric bike already (basically you just go through the motion without any pedal pressure and the bike takes you at a speed of 20 mph) and can honestly say this is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. The freedom to move about my city in a suit and tie, or a T-shirt and jeans, and still feel comfortable is amazing. And what if I want to head outside of the city? The 20-30 mile range of the bike is tremendous. And if by some chance I run out of juice, it rides just like a regular bike so I can get home without a problem.
I talk often about how most of our country sees cycling as a recreational or fitness activity rather than a practical, viable commuter and transit option. Electric bikes are beginning to chip away at this perception, removing the aforementioned barriers of sweat, pain and lengthy commutes that often come with a regular bike.
There is one catch… the legality of electric bikes is “fuzzy” at best in most states. Here in New York State, the DOT clearly says that non-registerable motorized vehicles are illegal, and makes specific reference to electric bikes and electric scooters. However, outside of New York City (where they are “cracking down” on electric bikes) I’ve never met or heard of anyone being pulled over for having an electric bike. For starters, there is no way to tell my bike is electric, save the battery on the frame, which, if you wanted to, you could easily hide with a bike bag. The general rule is, just don’t ride like a d#@k and you should be just fine.
Do I still love to ride my other bikes? Absolutely. But owning an electric bike removes some of the worries one might have when considering whether to bike or drive to a location. The biggest one is “what am I gonna look/smell like when I get there?” If you just love to see your city, your town or even the countryside on two wheels, owning an e-bike will change your experience, and change it for the better. Do your research, don’t cheap out but don’t feel like you have to overspend, and just have fun… you might be surprised just how much joy an electric bike can add to your life.