Want to know what the most popular vehicle is globally? You’re sort of right if you guessed the Toyota Camry and its variants, but that’s only the most popular car. If your next guess was the Honda Supercub (and its variants), you’re right again, but only for motorized vehicles. The far and away most popular vehicle ever was the 飛鴿, or Flying Pigeon PA-02 bicycle, manufactured in China. In other words, travel by bike is #1 globally, with motorcycles at #2, and cars at #3. Many people around the world know how to take care of an e-bike and there’s lots of help for people who don’t.
This short article is the homepage for a series of articles. Scroll down to see links to the individual articles.
We Aren’t All So Lucky
As an American, this was odd to me, though. For me, a bike was a toy. Children use them for transportation, but adults only use bikes for exercise and recreation, I thought. But then I spent some time overseas and used a bike for almost everything.
The utilitarianism was very different from American bikes. It was brand new, but instead of keeping it looking good, we gave it an awful paint job to make it look less attractive to thieves. It had a bottle cage (something you wouldn’t want really do on a mountain bike if you’re hitting serious trails), a cargo rack, a big black lock, and simple tires.
The maintenance situation was also very different. Sure, more people knew how to work on bikes, but when everyone rides bikes, businesses tend to follow the money. There were bike shops all over the place in Taiwan. Many of them would let you pull up and use their air compressor for free, which was really a good way to get you in the door for your next paying job. When a cable stretched and my gears weren’t shifting right anymore, one shop fixed it in two minutes and refused to charge me.
E-bikes are changing the trend, though. Even in places with suburban sprawl, the speed of an e-bike means that even people who’ve gotten back out of shape like me can cover the distance without showing up where you’re going drenched in sweat. But in most places with serious sprawl or smaller cities with no urban core at all, there are still only a handful of bike shops. For example, my home town has 250,000 people in the area, but only 3 bike shops.
Learning To Take Care of an E-Bike
Those of us getting into cycling again (or for the first time) with electric assist have to take care of an e-bike without the benefit of shops on every corner or loads of experience maintaining bikes over the years. Even if you live in a place with easy access to bike mechanics in every part of town, it’s great to take care of your own bike to save money and be more independent.
Here are some links to articles about caring for your e-bike. Not all links are live yet, but as we publish articles, the links will become active. Plus, as we come up with more articles, more will appear. So check back often!