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The Convenient Electric Bike

By Larraine Roulston:

There are many advantages to acquiring an electric bike. To determine if one makes sense for you, there are several factors to ponder. Electric bikes have increased in popularity during the past few years. There are several pros as well as a few cons that one should take into consideration while contemplating a purchase. 

The pros include the following:

  • If your friends enjoy cycling, but you are not quite as fit for long physical outings, the electric bike allows you to join in the fun for hilly adventures. As rural folks will find the use of batteries over gas more budget friendly, they may be inspired to head into town as well as visit friends more frequently.
  • When utilizing the electric bike for a daily city commute, you will most likely arrive at work faster without requiring extra time to freshen up. 
  • Rather than dozing off on public transit or becoming stressed in traffic, the wind in your face keeps you more alert and in gear to face the working day’s challenges.
  • While touring a city, electric bikes offer more mobility, avoiding time waiting for public transit.
  • Using the electric bike regularly will lessen the maintenance on your primary automobile. Studies in America have revealed that approximately half of daily trips are under 3 miles, which is perfect for cycling. 
  • Electric bike owners do not require a driver’s license or insurance as mandated for motorcycles or other vehicles.  
  • Unlike motorcycles, another positive feature is that electric bikes are relatively quiet, thus making trips more enjoyable. Without noise distraction, bike users can be more aware of danger signals.  

The major con is this:

  • The approximate $1,000 price tag is considered cheap by electric bike standards. Although you save money initially, the cost of basic repairs, such as a flat tire, often will be significantly more expensive, as there are electronic cables and motor components that need to be temporarily removed in order to complete the repair. If the cheapest variety were purchased online, a major battery or motor breakdown may be impossible for a bike shop to replace. 

According to my bike expert, Alex Fraser, manager of Toronto’s Spokes and Sports, “Researching the proper e-bike for your needs is key. The two main types of e-bike systems are a motorized wheel that operates with some form of ‘throttle’ to control speed. The second type is pedal assist that actively engages when the rider pedals the bike, adding power to each pedal stroke. Both systems have benefits and therefore doing your research and test riding both systems can help you make an informed decision. In general I find [the] pedal assist system more engaging for the rider and can allow the fitness rider or commuter to go farther, faster. On the other hand, throttle systems can allow seniors or individuals with chronic injury to enjoy a longer bike ride, without the fear of being stranded and unable to return home due exhaustion, or the flare up of an existing injury. Overall there are lots of great e-bike options out there, so take a visit to your local bike shop and test one out today!”

Since obtaining an electric bike is an investment of both money and lifestyle, purchasing one from a bicycle shop where you would receive reliable advice and proper, timely maintenance would be wiser. 

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Larraine writes children’s books on composting and pollinating. To view, please visit: www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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