I got to test-ride the Mars e-bike from Heybike this week, and this was probably the toughest test I ever put an e-bike through. It was tougher than the Hill of Doom, and tougher than my 20-mile suburb-to-city commute down a mountain and back up again with no bike lanes. I put it to the toughest test of them all: The Canvas Test.
Why Canvas On An E-Bike?
If you have ever canvassed for a candidate before, you are already acquainted with the familiar routine of walking the streets, knocking on doors, and asking voters to support your candidate.
Canvassing can involve a lot of exercise, especially when long driveways and long stairways are involved. It can also involve a lot of hopping in and out of the car, when there are long distances between the households on your list.
Typically the canvas organizer gives you a list that can be covered in two hours or so, with a partner. By the time you’re halfway through, it can seem like drudgery. Your feet are tired or your gas tank is dwindling, or both, and most people aren’t home anyways, and some people are home but they are crabby or they just don’t have time to chat.
Not so on an e-bike. I canvassed on an e-bike for the first time last year, in a neighborhood across town from mine. It was like magic. Every minute was fun, and I covered more ground, more quickly than on foot or in a car. I could hardly wait to do it again.
It also helped that conditions in that particular neighborhood were ideal for canvassing, e-bike or not. It was in a flatter, older part of town where the houses were close together and close to the curb, too.
Canvassing On A Mars E-Bike
I tested the Mars e-bike while canvassing last Saturday. This time I was assigned to a more suburban part of town, where the conditions are less than ideal for canvassing on foot or by car.
This time around, the households on my list were spread far apart, making it impractical to cover the territory on foot alone. A car would help, but every house in that part of town is set back from the road, requiring a long walk from the curb up a driveway to reach a path to the front door, and usually some steps thrown in for good measure. Even with a car, the amount of footwork was monumental.
A bicycle would be another option, but in this particular neighborhood, the streets wind steeply around a hillside. Consequently most of the driveways are steep, too. A cyclist in good form could cover the territory in two hours, but not the rest of us.
On the Mars e-bike, the challenges evaporated and the terrain was a breeze. I was on that bike for a good three hours straight, including an hour of time between my home and the mustering point. Though I didn’t cover my entire list in two hours, I covered a lot more than I could have on car, foot, or non-e-bike.
The Mars e-bike chewed up those nasty steep roads like a tiger and spit them out, one by one. Riding the bike up driveways was also a big time-saver. I don’t know about your town, but in my town it’s okay to ride a bike up someone’s driveway, but it is not okay to drive your car onto their driveway unless you are invited. I would have had to park my car on the street and walk up, each time.
All in all, the e-bike handled the grind of canvassing like foam from a can of whipped cream. Starting, stopping, parking, walking, starting back up and doing it all over again for two hours straight didn’t seem like a chore at all. I could have gone for a third hour and finished up the territory, but I had to be somewhere else later that afternoon.
Rounding out the experience was a comfortable seat and the smooth styling of a fat tire ride, along with the nice chunky feel of the Shimano gearshift to modulate in between power modes.
More About Heybike & The Mars
CleanTechnica hasn’t poked around in Heybike territory before, though we did publish a sponsored post from the company last spring featuring upgrades to its Explore model.
“Considering the first Explore model sold out less than a week after it was first announced, you might want to pay attention to what made the bike so popular — and why HeyBike’s upgrades to the bike will make the new version even more desirable,” they wrote.
Maybe I’ll check out the Explore next. If you’re looking for an affordable Class 2 e-bike that can chew up the territory, though, the website currently lists the Mars discounted at just $1,099.00. The Explore is a Class 3 e-bike that lists at $1,899.00.
The Mars sports a 500 W motor and a top speed of 20 mph, which is plenty of power and speed for my needs.
“The rear e-bike motor is designed to provide power and added boost to riding. Whether you are cruising on flat terrain or venturing up hills and bumpy ground, the high-powered motor is made to take you wherever you need to go,” Heybike explains.
“Mars features 4-inches wide fat tires. The large surface area of contact with the ground offers superior traction, stability, and a smoother ride compared to conventional bikes,” they add.
Totally. I had to jump a curb at one point to avoid an obstruction, and I barely felt it.
As for style, I would call this the Sion of the e-bike world: stripped down for business, but with a big, beefy, impressive-looking silhouette. If you are a small person, don’t let the size stop you. I’m 5’3″ and the Mars me fit like a glove, straight out of the box.
Speaking of boxes, this was one of the easiest-to-assemble e-bikes I’ve every assembled, out of 10 or so (and counting).
If you’ve never canvassed before, now is a good time to start. Campaigns across the US are gearing up for the final push ahead of Election Day 2022. It’s a mid-term election that will decide which party controls the agenda in Congress, impacting everything from the pace of climate action to the status of women as co-equal citizens (if you have any thoughts about the relationship between women’s rights and bicycling, drop us a note in the comment thread).
Whether you’re going door to door, making phone calls, or writing letters, every contact with a voter can contribute to a win for your candidate of choice. Give your local campaign office a call and find out how to help.
Check out more of my e-bike tests, including the Hill of Doom and the 20-mile commute with no bike lanes, here.
Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Photo: Mars e-bike by Tina Casey.
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