I want to publicly acknowledge my former bias about e-bikes. I am a recovering judger, a non-believer, and I even questioned the legitimacy of e-bikes amongst ‘real’ bikes. There, I’ve said it and I’m sorry.
I love bicycles. I love looking at bicycles, owning bicycles, working on bicycles, drawing bicycles – you get the picture. And, I’ve ridden bicycles for as long as I remember. As a kid, my motives were driven by freedom and fun. As an adult, I ride for recreation, peace of mind, environmental reasons and it allows me to multitask – I get a work out in while commuting to and from work. Oh, the pride of showing up at work with that sweaty glow and firmer quads!
But, do I bike commute everyday or as often as I could? No. Some mornings I’m lazy. Some days I have more baggage (literally). Some days I have errands after work. And, some days I’m tired at five o’clock and I don’t want to work out for an hour. This adds up to a whole lot of convenient excuses and sadly, convenience often wins.
Our goal at SVBC is to get more butts out of cars and onto bikes. I firmly believe in our mission and work hard everyday to encourage more people to use healthy transportation. Imagine the internal friction I have when I drive to work! Committing to ditch the car and use the bicycle more often is a challenge I can relate to. Some days I just don’t have the energy to commit to a 25 mile bike commute – am I right?!
I first rode an e-bike in Seattle when I hopped on a bike share pedal assist. Not knowing what to expect, I pushed on the crank and felt that initial little boost. I gotta admit, the boost made me a bit giddy, it was a zippy ride and a fun way to explore a city. My next trips took me to Denver and New York where I found myself actually looking for a pedal assist amongst their shared fleets. Cruising almost effortlessly up and over the Brooklyn Bridge was gleeful. I’ll consider this my tipping point.
Despite already owning several beloved bikes, I began considering adding an e-bike to my own fleet. But, here’s what I was up against – my own naive opinions about e-bikes which looked like this: ‘bikes are for riding – by human generated power’. ‘what’s the point of an e-bike, it’s not really biking’. ‘it’s kind of cheating, isn’t it?’ I cringe as I write this because my thoughts look super ignorant in writing. Hahaha – cheating what?! Commuting isn’t a race. And, unless you’re racing, riding a bike isn’t a race. Riding an e-bike is not cheating. It’s quite brilliant, actually.
You know where this is going. I am now the proud owner of an e-bike and I love it. I did a lot of research and test riding before I committed to the purchase and I now own the best e-bike for my needs and wants. It’s versatile. It’s compact. It’s tidy but mighty. I sought something that would allow me to haul my baggage. I wanted a little assistance while towing our 90 pound office dog, Eleanor, to work in her trailer. I had my inaugural commute last week and let me tell you, this is a game changer. It’s a pleasure to ride. And that bloody hill in the last mile just before arriving home? No sweat. Ok, there is sweat, but it’s a blissful sweat.
In summary, I realized it was my ego getting in the way – bike commuting does not have to be an endurance sport. I am no less a bicyclist because of my e-boost. I challenged my bias and now I will challenge my excuses. E-bikes are a game changer and I look forward to seeing more and more people embrace the opportunity to challenge their own excuses.
Allison Greenlee est une militante de la Coalition Vélo de la Silicon Valley (SVBC ci-dessous). Elle a écrit un texte simple et marquant témoignant de son expérience avec les vélos électriques. Elle qui méprisait quelque peu cette catégorie de vélos, s’est rendue compte de leur potentiel magistral, à savoir, faire tomber une à une les mauvaises excuses et remplacer la voiture par le vélo. Une excellente opportunité de vivre plus sainement et plus écologiquement.
Elle nous a gentiment autorisé à publier, traduire et diffuser son texte. Le voici.
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