Author Topic: Should I Get an E-bike?  (Read 6811 times)

Gimesalot

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Should I Get an E-bike?
« on: March 21, 2016, 07:05:14 PM »
Hello everyone.  I am having a tough time figuring out if it is worth it to buy an e-bike kit.  Here is my situation:

Location: New Orleans and Chalmette, LA
Distance: I used to work 18 miles from home, now I have been transferred 6 miles from my house
Duration:  Certain for 4 more months, very likely for an additional 6 month, for a total of 10 months. I work 4 days a week.
Current commute: 15 minute drive getting about 30 mpg due to frequent stopping and accelerating

At first I was really excited about living closer and therefore riding my bike to work, but then the complexities arose: 

1.  I have to be at work at 7:30 exactly.  If I am late, I am docked at a minimum 15 minutes off my check, in addition to the time I am late.  Also, I am not paid extra if I arrive early.

2.  I ride my bike a lot, but I am still a novice because I stick to very easy routes.  This one only has a bike lane or residential streets for part of the route (shown in green on the attached photo).  Yellow means there is a shoulder.  Red means no shoulder, but two lanes.  Black means no shoulder and only one lane.  Average traffic speed is 40 to 50 mph.  The parallel road has no shoulder or bike lane.

3.  The weather!  Since I am not too confident on a bike, I am really scared to ride when it is wet or raining for fear of slipping. Meaning, I would probably end up riding my bike 2 to 3 days out of the week in the long term.

4.  Car will not be sold as a result of e-bike upgrade.  It will just move a lot less.

Today, I thought that maybe with an e-bike, it would be easier, because I could move faster and wouldn't feel bad for taking a lane but I am still worried about my safety.   However, it looks like it will be at least $500 to get an e-bike kit. 

So should I invest $500 on getting the e-bike kit?
 

bobechs

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2016, 07:47:43 PM »
Yes.

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2016, 07:57:03 PM »
Yes.

Haha this short response made me laugh.


If the e-bike will result in you riding your bike more often then get it.  It's still a better investment over using the car more.  I would also guess that once you start riding more, you'll feel more confident, and maybe work up to riding when the weather is less than perfect. 

Good for you for starting on the bike commute path!

trashmanz

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2016, 10:57:25 PM »
How is your security at home and work?  People like to steal expensive bikes.  If you can't see it or if isn't off the street then you should think on that.

coolistdude

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, 11:14:48 PM »
How is your security at home and work?  People like to steal expensive bikes.  If you can't see it or if isn't off the street then you should think on that.

Sometimes employers are willing to let you store your bicycle inside. It may be worth checking out. I brought my bike to corporate and they strongly encouraged me to bring it into their cramped office even if I'm just visiting.

Exenos

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 05:54:03 AM »
I wouldn't.

Just leave early enough so that you can enjoy the commute (regardless of weather) and can relax a little bit before you need to start working.

For me, cycling isn't just a matter of saving on petrol/vehicle costs, the exercise puts you in a good mood, you feel better for not being in traffic, trying to hit personal bests for the commute home, you notice it gets easier each time, etc.

Adding electric for 6 miles would make it way too easy, you'd get bored!

Rollin

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, 06:02:29 AM »
Yes.
x2

I essentially replaced my vehicle with my e-bike. Ride it about 6,000 miles/year. Best thing is when its hot I don't have to sweat like a piggy (do they sweat?). It makes riding in the wind easy. Also, I feel it is safer in traffic because you can travel at higher speeds, take off from lights faster, etc. and that seems to have you involved with less cars trying to overtake you etc.

I love mine (I have two - the kids use the other one and haul friends all the time).

plog

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 07:55:51 AM »
Sounds like you are trying to justify buying an ebike. Most off your 4 points aren't complexities but red herrings:

1.  Tardiness:  I don't see how an ebike would factor in to this. Actually it may harm you.  My bike ride to work has less variance (24-27 minutes) than my drive (12-20 minutes). If anything an ebike would increase variance because you would be more at the mercy of traffic.

2. Route:  You'd still take the same route on an ebike and regular bike, so this is a non-factor.

3. Weather:  Weather effects an ebike the same as a regular bike.  Non-factor.

4. Car:  keeping it no matter what.  Non-factor.     

None of those 4 factors affect the ebike decision.  It's a toy you want and don't need and probably won't use as intended.  So, get if you want a toy, but don't rationalize it as you are trying to do.     

ditheca

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 08:07:31 AM »
I bought a bike to commute 7 miles to work.  I never actually did it... just fantasized about not driving the car.

A few years later, I upgraded it to an e-bike and now I use it daily, even in the rain.  My coworkers minds were blown when they saw me riding in a blizzard.  Thousands of miles ridden, no more back pain, and absolutely no regrets.

plog

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 08:09:45 AM »
Just googled your route--you do realize that you don't have to take the exact same route on your bicycle as you do in your car right?  A bike's top speed on a 4 lane, 55mph road is the same as it is on a side street.

Yes, you lose a few minutes by an indirect route, but gain peace of mind by riding in residential areas.  There are plenty of safe routes between your orgination and destination.


   

Retire-Canada

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2016, 08:47:19 AM »

So should I invest $500 on getting the e-bike kit?

No. Just ride your damn bike. You'll get fit and your bike skills will get better each day. Give yourself sufficient time to deal with a flat tire [15 mins is enough] on the way to work.

You don't need an e-bike to go 6 miles.

humbleMouse

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2016, 09:19:04 AM »
I am selling an ebike I build up myself.  If anybody is interested on this forum I am willing to give them a heavily discounted deal from asking price...

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/bik/5499780760.html

Syonyk

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2016, 09:40:11 AM »
Sounds like a great ebike commute.

Perks include, "Not being sweaty when you arrive at work, being able to wear good rain gear without sweating yourself through, and good cargo hauling capacity when you realize you'd rather ride your ebike to the store than take your car."

I'll offer up a review of the Rad Wagon, which is $1600 for a remarkably competent electric cargo bike - http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/03/rad-power-bikes-rad-wagon-review.html  I already have my fleet, or I'd buy that one.  I may still pick one up eventually, because it's a serious "ambassador" electric bike since it stands out.

Quote
Adding electric for 6 miles would make it way too easy, you'd get bored!

*shrug*  I commute 5 miles each way on electric, and haven't gotten bored yet.  I don't enjoy showing up to work sweaty and either having to take a shower there, or being hot for the first half hour of arriving.

I also take my electric bikes a wide variety of other places I wouldn't take a pedal bike.  I'm not going to pedal up steep hills with a hiking backpack filled with 40 lbs of groceries, but I do this with the ebike quite regularly.

Rollin

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2016, 11:57:38 AM »

So should I invest $500 on getting the e-bike kit?

No. Just ride your damn bike. You'll get fit and your bike skills will get better each day. Give yourself sufficient time to deal with a flat tire [15 mins is enough] on the way to work.

You don't need an e-bike to go 6 miles.

I get this from some and have heard "that's cheating." Didn't know I was in a race, not did I realize everything needs to be physical. The best "that's cheating" I got was from a guy in his kit, sitting on a barstool, drinking a local brew, smoking a cig, and having his road bike on the back of his car in the parking lot. I rode to work on the ebike that day, every day that week, and every day to follow for months, completed many errands, and also had a great time riding to the local pub for my brew. No need for 4,000 pounds of steel to carry me. Nor would I have been comfortable in those situations on a road bike (I was dressed casually). One more point is that since you don't have to sweat as much you can often wear your work clothes while riding. This saves a lot of hassle and is one of the reasons you'll ride the ebike more.

Bottom line is if you force me (or try to guilt me) into riding me regular pedal bike instead of the ebike, I and most others will choose to drive (BTW - I do ride my regular bike often - just rode across the state in December and plan to cross the country soon).

On an e-bike you are outside, breathing the fresh air, etc. and still getting exercise. Also, I say that 6 miles is the perfect distance for getting an ebike. If more people understood how much better the ebike is to a car, as opposed to comparing it to a regular pedal bike, we'd be much better off. Besides, in that distance my ebike is the same as (in early morning) and better than (in rush our) driving in terms of time. So, I say encourage people to get out of their cars first, then if they feel like getting more physical they can choose to go pedal without assist.

bobechs

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2016, 12:05:22 PM »

So should I invest $500 on getting the e-bike kit?

No. Just ride your damn bike. You'll get fit and your bike skills will get better each day. Give yourself sufficient time to deal with a flat tire [15 mins is enough] on the way to work.

You don't need an e-bike to go 6 miles.

I get this from some and have heard "that's cheating." Didn't know I was in a race, not did I realize everything needs to be physical. The best "that's cheating" I got was from a guy in his kit, sitting on a barstool, drinking a local brew, smoking a cig, and having his road bike on the back of his car in the parking lot. I rode to work on the ebike that day, every day that week, and every day to follow for months, completed many errands, and also had a great time riding to the local pub for my brew. No need for 4,000 pounds of steel to carry me. Nor would I have been comfortable in those situations on a road bike (I was dressed casually). One more point is that since you don't have to sweat as much you can often wear your work clothes while riding. This saves a lot of hassle and is one of the reasons you'll ride the ebike more.

Bottom line is if you force me (or try to guilt me) into riding me regular pedal bike instead of the ebike, I and most others will choose to drive (BTW - I do ride my regular bike often - just rode across the state in December and plan to cross the country soon).

On an e-bike you are outside, breathing the fresh air, etc. and still getting exercise. Also, I say that 6 miles is the perfect distance for getting an ebike. If more people understood how much better the ebike is to a car, as opposed to comparing it to a regular pedal bike, we'd be much better off. Besides, in that distance my ebike is the same as (in early morning) and better than (in rush our) driving in terms of time. So, I say encourage people to get out of their cars first, then if they feel like getting more physical they can choose to go pedal without assist.

This is what I meant by Yes.

robartsd

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2016, 12:37:33 PM »
While I personally wouldn't change my 6 mile commute decision based on if my bike had an assist (6 miles is an easy bike commute without assist to me), if it actually would make a difference to you then get it. I get the impression from many people who have gotten an ebike that they end up using it more than they thought they would. I would get it for the benefits of biking even if the reduction in car costs does not mitigate the full cost.

I think that the variance in time it takes to get to work would be least by ebike and greatest by car - any bike would be less subject to traffic than a car and an assisted bike would be less subject to personal energy level than an unassisted bike.

Syonyk

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2016, 02:28:23 PM »
While I personally wouldn't change my 6 mile commute decision based on if my bike had an assist (6 miles is an easy bike commute without assist to me), if it actually would make a difference to you then get it. I get the impression from many people who have gotten an ebike that they end up using it more than they thought they would. I would get it for the benefits of biking even if the reduction in car costs does not mitigate the full cost.

This is quite true.  My experience has been that I ride a lot more with an ebike than I did with a pedal bike, I use it for a lot more things, and other people I know who've purchased electric bikes do the same thing.  This is one reason I tell people to get twice the range of their commute in terms of battery - it's almost certain that they'll end up using it for way more than just a commute.

They're much more of a car replacement than a bicycle is, especially if you don't work in an environment where showing up sweaty is considered acceptable.

Quote
I think that the variance in time it takes to get to work would be least by ebike and greatest by car - any bike would be less subject to traffic than a car and an assisted bike would be less subject to personal energy level than an unassisted bike.

This is why I got into electric bikes.  It's mostly immune to traffic, and is also heavily wind-resistant.  Going to work in a stiff headwind is annoying, not "Wow, this will take an extra 10 minutes and I'm going to be soaked in sweat for an hour."

And it's literally faster than driving during normal traffic.  That's pretty nice too.

No. Just ride your damn bike. You'll get fit and your bike skills will get better each day. Give yourself sufficient time to deal with a flat tire [15 mins is enough] on the way to work.

You don't need an e-bike to go 6 miles.

You know, that attitude has been present for the past 30 years or so.  "Just suck it up and bike!"  It hasn't really done much to change the primary nature of commute in the United States, at least (still single occupant car).  I get that some people love biking as a form of recreation, but not everyone does.

I think it's well past time to try, "Hey, electric bikes are a great way to get around instead of a car."  If someone wants to ride centuries on the weekend and commute in lycra, awesome.  More power to them.  But that set of attitudes has done more damage to bicycles as a form of transportation than anything else I've seen.

So, yes, I will encourage people who are driving to get electric bikes.  Getting out of a car, into the morning air and being active, even if it's less exercise than a pure pedal bike, is still a big win on pretty much everything that matters.

onlykelsey

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2016, 02:37:41 PM »
Quote
You know, that attitude has been present for the past 30 years or so.  "Just suck it up and bike!"  It hasn't really done much to change the primary nature of commute in the United States, at least (still single occupant car).  I get that some people love biking as a form of recreation, but not everyone does.

I think it's well past time to try, "Hey, electric bikes are a great way to get around instead of a car."  If someone wants to ride centuries on the weekend and commute in lycra, awesome.  More power to them.  But that set of attitudes has done more damage to bicycles as a form of transportation than anything else I've seen.

So, yes, I will encourage people who are driving to get electric bikes.  Getting out of a car, into the morning air and being active, even if it's less exercise than a pure pedal bike, is still a big win on pretty much everything that matters.

This is so accurate.  I don't have an ebike (or want one, given that I live in a walk up and am a petite woman), but people like to make perfect the enemy of good, even when it concerns other peoples' lives.  If you're going to ridicule people for their commuting styles, I think ebikes fall way down the list under single-car drivers of pretty much all sorts.

Le Poisson

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2016, 02:43:33 PM »
I don't care what you ride to work - just ride! (But you don't need an E-bike to do it)

Also, the NOLA bike Advocacy group may be available to suggest better routes for you: http://bikeeasy.org/

Retire-Canada

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2016, 02:55:26 PM »
Bottom line is if you force me (or try to guilt me) into riding me regular pedal bike instead of the ebike, I and most others will choose to drive (BTW - I do ride my regular bike often - just rode across the state in December and plan to cross the country soon).

I don't care what you ride to work. Pedal bike, e-bike, skateboard, e-stakeboard, segway, etc..

OTOH - if you come to a public forum and ask people's opinion on the subject you are going to get people's opinion on the subject.

Do you need an e-bike to go 6 miles? No.

Is pedalling a bike better for your health? Yes.

Is a pedal bike cheaper to buy and maintain? Yes.

Is a pedal bike better for the environment? Yes.

Is an e-bike safer? I'd argue no. Poor bike skills + higher speeds = bigger crashes IMO.

So given this is a forum about saving money, reducing environmental impact and moving your body when possible should you be shocked that or appalled that someone points out that an e-bike is not needed or a better choice for the OP's commute????

Rocket

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2016, 04:01:51 PM »
I like my ebike so I say yes.  Got me back on a bike.  Its the best of both worlds.  When I'm commuting to work, I'm in max boost mode.  On the way home, I'm in lowest boost mode.  When riding for exercise I go with no boost.

bobechs

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2016, 04:18:16 PM »

OTOH - if you come to a public forum and ask people's opinion on the subject you are going to get people's opinion on the subject....

Do you need an e-bike to go 6 miles? No.

Is pedalling a bike better for your health? Yes.

Is a pedal bike cheaper to buy and maintain? Yes.

Is a pedal bike better for the environment? Yes.

Is an e-bike safer? I'd argue no. Poor bike skills + higher speeds = bigger crashes IMO.

So given this is a forum about saving money, reducing environmental impact and moving your body when possible should you be shocked that or appalled that someone points out that an e-bike is not needed or a better choice for the OP's commute????

Even if the opinion is the usual: 

Man-up, suck-it-up and just pedal!   And pedal hard, you poor-bike-skills, earth-hating , sick, sick, sick, weak, weak,weak, spendthrift, crash-prone motherfucker.

You tell 'em.  That'll surely get them right up, off their dead asses, and out into the bracing NOLA springtime outtadoors.

Syonyk

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2016, 04:22:05 PM »
You tell 'em.  That'll surely get them right up, off their dead asses, and out into the bracing NOLA springtime outtadoors.

*sigh*  Yeah.

I find it sad that cyclists are the reason a lot of people won't consider a bicycle as a form of getting around.

bobechs

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2016, 04:33:33 PM »
You tell 'em.  That'll surely get them right up, off their dead asses, and out into the bracing NOLA springtime outtadoors.

*sigh*  Yeah.

I find it sad that cyclists are the reason a lot of people won't consider a bicycle as a form of getting around.

And then there's hipster cyclists...  the worst kind of cyclists.

Even hipsters won't cycle, after an encounter with hipster cyclists



onlykelsey

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2016, 04:37:07 PM »
You tell 'em.  That'll surely get them right up, off their dead asses, and out into the bracing NOLA springtime outtadoors.

*sigh*  Yeah.

I find it sad that cyclists are the reason a lot of people won't consider a bicycle as a form of getting around.

And then there's hipster cyclists...  the worst kind of cyclists.

Even hipsters won't cycle, after an encounter with hipster cyclists




Flashback to Austin in the mid 2000s.  Shudder. 

Rollin

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Re: Should I Get an E-bike?
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2016, 06:28:11 PM »
Bottom line is if you force me (or try to guilt me) into riding me regular pedal bike instead of the ebike, I and most others will choose to drive (BTW - I do ride my regular bike often - just rode across the state in December and plan to cross the country soon).

I don't care what you ride to work. Pedal bike, e-bike, skateboard, e-stakeboard, segway, etc..

OTOH - if you come to a public forum and ask people's opinion on the subject you are going to get people's opinion on the subject.

Do you need an e-bike to go 6 miles? No.

Is pedalling a bike better for your health? Yes.

Is a pedal bike cheaper to buy and maintain? Yes.

Is a pedal bike better for the environment? Yes.

Is an e-bike safer? I'd argue no. Poor bike skills + higher speeds = bigger crashes IMO.

So given this is a forum about saving money, reducing environmental impact and moving your body when possible should you be shocked that or appalled that someone points out that an e-bike is not needed or a better choice for the OP's commute????

Then why aren't you walking?