E-bikes

Jamie in Chile

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E-Bikes

Being an environmentalist used to be about either more expensive or more boring things, or giving things up. But nowadays it can be more about getting cool new stuff. Starting now, I´m going to aim to do 1 out of every 2 posts about ways to go green that are fun, cool, or save you money.

I first encountered an electric bike in about 2015 when someone casually overtook me going up a hill with little effort. They were a novelty at that time, and I was actually confused how they were doing it!

More here: climateideas

If you´ve tried an e-bike, let me know what your experience has been. Can they replace a car in some cases?
 
One of the things that I find encouraging about is how they fit into the commuter role. Many people found regular bikes impractical for getting to work because you would get to work all sweaty. Not as big an issue on an e-bike. plus they are fun.

The other thing I really like about them is how many cities here in California have contracted out e-bike rentals. The way it works in most places is that there are. "hubs" with bike stands. And you can get a bike out of a stand with an app. Ride it to where ever you want and just leave it. End the rental with the app and the. bike locks up till someone comes by to rent it again. Some of the bike stands are charging stations. In some places the e-bike company has trucks that go around and pick up the scattered bikes and return them to the stands.

Some cities have E-scooters too.

One of the drawbacks I've seen is that in some places that are really common destinations like train stations or schools, there gets to be so many e-bikes laying around - its hard for pedestrians to get around them. And I'm not sure why but college students seem to like leaving their bikes laying down right in the middle of the sidewalk.

Back before Covid the other problem was that the guys who picked up the bikes were independent contractors . Competition got pretty fierce so there were some turf wars. but I think that has been ironed out.
 
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E-bikes are very popular around here! I see people riding them everywhere and there are at least 2 shops selling them locally. My grandson was interested in looking at them so we went in the shop that is in the TJ Maxx plaza. They are very cool but this brand was really expensive! The prices started at almost 2 grand! Other brands are a lot less so this must be high end but I can't remember the name. They even have 3 wheelers for us old folks!
 
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I think it's going to keep on and on slowing growing for a long time.

Good point about the commuting. You could potentially use much of the battery on the way to work with very little pedalling (when you want to avoid sweating even a little bit) and then pedal home with a small assist on the lowest setting to exercise since you can more easily take a minute to cool down and change clothes if necessary on arriving home.

I used some of those types of rental bikes in London once. When I looked at the system here in the capital city of Chile, it looked more tricky to get started, I think you had to apply for a physical card to be posted to your house to use the system, which makes it a bad system really, especially for people like myself who would probably use it 2 times a year since I don't live in the city. So I didn't bother.

Chryssie, I think $1000-$4000 is a common price with some under $1k and some over $4k from what I'm seen. But not fully sure.
 
its also really popular with tourists. see the city without having to figure out the mass Transit system. or paying for taxis, or a rental.
all the popular destinations now have shops to rent bikes.
 
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I love the idea of e-bikes! I had a six-week stretch during my working days when I had no car, so I rode my bike to work. It was a 10-mile round trip, but I also worked nights, so that was a little tricky on the way home. On occasion, a colleague would take me and my bike home.

I would love one for tooling around my town and running errands downtown. I'm only 2 miles or so from the downtown, so such a bike would be fantastic. The only worry is distracted drivers. It's a big problem, so I'd have to be vigilant. I have a regular bike, but it's not outfitted for errands.
 
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I saw a video of someone that had an e-bike that could do 40mph on a a slight downhill and about 33mph on an uphill and he was using it to keep up with cars on a road with a 35mph limit to get into down town.

35-40mph on a bike might be a bit hair raising for some, but he explained that by matching the car speed he felt safer than doing 10mph-20mph and having cars constantly pass quite close.

I think that's a fair point.

It also seems unfair to allow trucks/cars to go faster on a road than an ebike since the former is obviously more dangerous.

However, many ebikes are limited to 20mph or some other low speed, it wasn't clear in the video if he was breaking the law or whether he had to jail brake the bike since some come with speed limiters.

Of course, we don't want people doing 40mph on pavements or cycle tracks.
 
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I saw a video of someone that had an e-bike that could do 40mph on a a slight downhill and about 33mph on an uphill and he was using it to keep up with cars on a road with a 35mph limit to get into down town.

35-40mph on a bike might be a bit hair raising for some, but he explained that by matching the car speed he felt safer than doing 10mph-20mph and having cars constantly pass quite close.

I think that's a fair point.

It also seems unfair to allow trucks/cars to go faster on a road than an ebike since the former is obviously more dangerous.

However, many ebikes are limited to 20mph or some other low speed, it wasn't clear in the video if he was breaking the law or whether he had to jail brake the bike since some come with speed limiters.

Of course, we don't want people doing 40mph on pavements or cycle tracks.
Well, I think the thing is that e-bikes are Bikes. they should stick to the bike lanes when available. Once they get into traffic they are probably risky.

If there are no bike lanes, maybe a better option is a gas powered motorcyle or a scooter (vespa like scooter - Not the toy like ones). or a toy like scooter - they rent them here right along with the e-bikes and a lot of scooter riders Do use them on the sidewalk. And they are not that fast.

Lime is very popular in California. They have the contract for Santa Clara county.

 
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I just learned that the scooter issue is getting complicated.
The issue I knew about was that they are left all over the sidewalk.
but also San Jose State may ban them from campus because students speeding to class are creating a hazard and someone got killed on one last year.

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Both of my grand kids have electric scooters. I think bikes are better but the scooters are inexpensive and easy to tote around. Haley rides hers to work and just carries it inside.
 
Well, I think the thing is that e-bikes are Bikes. they should stick to the bike lanes when available. Once they get into traffic they are probably risky.

If there are no bike lanes, maybe a better option is a gas powered motorcyle or a scooter (vespa like scooter - Not the toy like ones). or a toy like scooter - they rent them here right along with the e-bikes and a lot of scooter riders Do use them on the sidewalk. And they are not that fast.

Lime is very popular in California. They have the contract for Santa Clara county.

Well sure bike lanes when available but often they aren´t and that´s why there is a benefit to allowing them to do 40mph.
If motorcycles are allowed to do 40mph while polluting and creating a lot of noise than perhaps ebikes should be allowed to.
An e-bike at 40mph is less of a danger to others than a car at 40mph. You´re mainly putting yourself in danger.
 
An e-bike at 40mph is less of a danger to others than a car at 40mph. You´re mainly putting yourself in danger.
I saw a couple of e-bikes that are built like little motorcycles. I'm thinking if you need to get out with cars maybe something like that would be better/safer.

 
New York Times has an article here that describes two teens deaths from ebikes after collision from cars.

“The speed they are going is too fast for sidewalks, but it’s too slow to be in traffic,” said Jeremy Collis, a sergeant at the North Coastal Station of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating Brodee’s accident.

Encinitas, where both incidents occurred, declared a state of emergency for e-bike safety.

You can read the full article here if you are subscriber

It might make sense for ebikes to be only of people above a certain age, or only used on the road above a certain age

But the real think I found striking about this article that describes people on ebikes being killed by cars and vans is that they then talk about ebikes being a problem, not cars and vans. And no mention of the need for cycle paths or car free zones.
 
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Hi, I love bicycles but do not have an e-bike. i have seen and met several people here who own them.
Can they take the place of a car? no. I do however own a gates belt drive bicycle which is easy to
maintain and does not get grease on you, so I do recommend bicycles with a gates belt drive.
Here is a page from Evelo showing the e-bikes they have. There is also the priority bicyle company
in NY that sells gates bicycles and an e-bike. Links are below. Have fun and wear a helmet.
Electric Bikes | Adult Electric Bikes | PRIORITY CURRENT E-BIKE having a sale through 7/30
 
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I love the idea of e-bikes! I had a six-week stretch during my working days when I had no car, so I rode my bike to work. It was a 10-mile round trip, but I also worked nights, so that was a little tricky on the way home. On occasion, a colleague would take me and my bike home.

I would love one for tooling around my town and running errands downtown. I'm only 2 miles or so from the downtown, so such a bike would be fantastic. The only worry is distracted drivers. It's a big problem, so I'd have to be vigilant. I have a regular bike, but it's not outfitted for errands.
I have seen humans on a very busy road where I live biking who wear dark clothing. I think its' a must to wear bright clothing
(red, neon, yellow, white) that can be seen easily and is hard to miss. Have fun!.
 
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I got my first e-bike in 2003. My e-bike and my Vespa scooter were my primary vehicles, until I got married in 2011.

In California, the 30+ mph e-bikes are actually illegal for on-road use, though I see them quite a bit. A bicycle's frame, suspension, wheels, and brakes are not adequate for motorcycle speeds.
 
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