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Bicycles

Published on April 29th, 2020 | by Kyle Field

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Shelter-At-Home Project: Electric Bikes Unlock A New Avenue For Safe, Free Workouts

April 29th, 2020 by  


For millions around the world, sheltering at home has been an unplanned, chaotic adventure into a brave new world of remote productivity. Conference calls with inevitable interruptions from kids with questions about the latest school assignment, awkward video calls with the inexperienced masses, the missed mute button, and accidental video shares work against newly established temporary kitchen offices.

At the same time, the daily commute goes out the window along with dry cleaning bills, eating out, and unproductive water cooler discussions. It has been a disruption, there’s no doubt, but there is a silver lining to working from home for many.

Electric Bike Company's Model C

The Electric Bike Company’s Model C amps up the classic beach cruiser with an electric motor and battery. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Working from home also likely means far less physical activity than our bodies are used to as even the short walks to the car, office, and around the world that was are no longer an option. Instead, we now make fully armored trips to the store, outings to dust the cobwebs off the car, and far more attention to the garden than is healthy. Such is life, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Tune It Up

Bicycles have opened the door for millions to maximize the benefit of our occasional outings with a welcome bit of physical activity. It isn’t rocket science, but the reality of that for many of us, ditching the commute has freed up countless hours in the week and created a vacuum in the physical exercise department.

If you already have a bike, it is a great idea to start with a solid tune up to get it into shape. If you haven’t ridden it in awhile, the tires likely need a bit of air, the cables might need to be swapped out, and some bearings might need some lube. It’s a great DIY project to pick up some new skills or you can reach out to a local bike shop for assistance. Here’s a quick video primer that walks through a basic bike tuneup:

Electric Bikes

Being in good enough shape to go for a ride to the store and back is a barrier for many to even get this project started, but thankfully, technology can step in to fill the gap. Electric bikes offer riders extra power while pedaling or from a throttle, depending on the model, which gives out of shape riders the support they need to get out the door and back onto a bike in the first place.

Rad Power Bikes Rad City e-bike

The Rad Power Bikes Rad City e-bike. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Getting back out around town on an e-bike does more than just providing a bit of physical activity, it also provides a sense of freedom that you just don’t get from a car. Being able to ride through the breeze while getting a workout gives a sense of relaxation and enjoyment that is unparalleled.

Longer Range

Electric bikes are great for more than just out of shape people. They also make it easier to ride longer distances. Just this past weekend, I spoke with a local fellow (from a distance, mind you) about how his RadCity Step Thru had transformed his life by enabling him to ride farther than he was able to on a traditional bike. The electric boost not only allows for more miles to be ridden per day, it can reduce the amount of time any given trip takes, making it easier to swap out the car for a bike for even more trips.

Juiced Bikes Scorpion

The Juiced Bikes Scorpion is the modern day manifestation of the moped. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

For recreational riding, this benefit is huge as it allows riders to see more sights on a trip. Instead of just riding around the neighborhood, why not ride downtown, or to the beach? On the practical side of things, the additional range of e-bikes enables them to be used for even more trips around town.

Haul More Gear

Sure, you can get to the grocery store or hardware store, but can you get 4 bags of groceries or the parts needed to add sprinklers to the front yard home afterward? Traditional bikes are more than capable and come in a range of cargo bike formats that let owners haul kids, groceries, surfboards, and more around town.

Electric bikes take that to the next level, with many cargo bikes like the Tern GSD, Rad Power Bikes RadWagon, and the Blix Packa coming to the table with the capacity to haul 350-400 pounds of people and gear, depending on the model. These electrified cargo bikes are customizable, with the ability to add front and rear racks, seats for little humans, and a wide range of cargo bag (panniers) to them. It’s a beautiful system that can truly offer capability to replace a vehicle for a wide range of lifestyles.

Pedego Stretch

My two sons (and a stuffed panda) enjoying a stint on the Pedego Stretch on the way to the grocery store a few months back. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Over the course of my reviews, I have had the opportunity to ride and share a wide range of electric e-bikes, and the response is universally positive. They are surprisingly easy to ride, haul an impressive amount of gear or micro humans, and make bike riding quite a bit more enjoyable. When the RadWagon first arrived, I was dreading having to force my two boys to ride on it, but much to my surprise, they hopped on and loved every bit of it, every single time. While our house was being rebuilt, I regularly rode up the hill 10 miles to pick them up at school, and 10 miles back home again and was simply amazed at how much they liked it. It also gave us a nice block of time to debrief from the day at school, which I still have fond memories of.

E-bikes Are Hot!

The coronavirus has forced people around the world to rebuild their lives around this new normal, and electric bikes are one of the new hot commodities benefitting from it. Juiced Bikes reported a massive 65% increase in sales from February to March and a 32% increase in sales from March 2019 to March 2020. That’s exciting to see and bodes well not just for people staying safely mobile and healthy through this crisis, but hopefully far into the future. 
 
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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in BYD, SolarEdge, and Tesla.



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