Easy Rid­ing on E-Bikes

The new wave of two-wheeled trans­port comes with a lit­tle pedal as­sist

Gulf & Main - - CONTENTS -

The old adage prom­ises that you will never for­get how to ride a bi­cy­cle—and that is true of Southwest Florida’s many vis­i­tors who en­joy tak­ing in the area’s beauty via two wheels. To­day’s va­ca­tion­ers, how­ever, will en­counter a new cy­cling op­tion that has taken off dur­ing the past few years. Elec­tric bi­cy­cles, or e-bikes, are go­ing main­stream. On an e-bike, it’s eas­ier than ever to pump those ped­als.

In gen­eral, rid­ing an e-bike is the same as rid­ing a stan­dard bi­cy­cle, ex­cept e-bikes have an at­tached elec­tric mo­tor. When the pedal-as­sist func­tion is switched on, riders must still pedal, but they can do so with much less phys­i­cal ef­fort. On some mod­els, which are less pop­u­lar in Southwest Florida, a throt­tle on the han­dle­bars will com­pletely power the bike, so that riders do not have to pedal at all. These ad­van­tages have prompted Andy’s Elec­tric Bikes of Fort My­ers to laud e-bikes as “the best of both worlds.” They are “more ef­fi­cient than a stan­dard bike, but not as costly as a true scooter or mo­tor­cy­cle.”

All in all, elec­tric bi­cy­cles en­cour­age cy­clists to “ride farther and faster,” and they em­bolden oth­ers who nor­mally would not con­sider cy­cling, says Salli Kirk­land of Billy’s Bike Shop on Sani­bel. E-bikes help riders feel con­fi­dent that they can safely reach their des­ti­na­tion, even af­ter a long day of bik­ing in the

When the pedal-as­sist func­tion is switched on, riders must still pedal, but they can do so with much less phys­i­cal ef­fort.

face of buf­fet­ing winds as they pedal back home. Greg Pel­i­can, mar­ket­ing man­ager of Trek Bi­cy­cle Stores of Florida, af­firms that one of the big­gest ben­e­fits of e-bikes is that they “al­low riders of any fit­ness level to ride,” in­clud­ing older peo­ple and those with a lim­ited range of mo­bil­ity.

Rid­ing e-bikes in­stead of driv­ing fu­el­hun­gry ve­hi­cles aids the en­vi­ron­ment, too. Elec­tric bi­cy­cles do not rely on gaso­line and there­fore do not pro­duce emis­sions. In­stead, e-bike bat­ter­ies can charge in just a few hours while plugged into a reg­u­lar house­hold out­let, ac­cord­ing to Andy’s Elec­tric Bikes. A 2017 study by the Univer­sity of Ten­nessee-Knoxville main­tains that e-bikes can be 10-30 times more en­ergy ef­fi­cient than cars. An ad­di­tional ben­e­fit of rid­ing an eco-friendly e-bike is that con­sumers can save money on trans­porta­tion costs, since charg­ing an

e-bike bat­tery costs sig­nif­i­cantly less than fill­ing up a car’s gas tank—or even a mo­tor­bike’s tank.

E-bike riders are not re­quired to have a reg­is­tra­tion or a driver’s li­cense to ride. The bikes of­fer a con­ve­nient trans­porta­tion op­tion for daily work com­mutes and short er­rand runs, sug­gests Kirk­land. An elec­tric bi­cy­cle is also a great op­tion for leisurely rid­ing. The Univer­sity of Ten­nessee-Knoxville study found that 40 per­cent of e-bike own­ers used their e-bikes in­stead of tak­ing sin­gle car trips. The study of more than 1,700 e-bike own­ers also re­vealed that e-bikes al­lowed 34 per­cent of own­ers to take trips that they oth­er­wise would have avoided.

This very ac­ces­si­ble mode of trans­porta­tion is par­tic­u­larly handy for own­ers who live in tem­per­ate des­ti­na­tions, such as Southwest Florida.

“E-bikes are very pop­u­lar in gated com­mu­ni­ties where they are used for recre­ation and trans­porta­tion,” says Pel­i­can of Trek Bi­cy­cles. They have re­sulted in some reg­u­la­tions, how­ever. Fort My­ers Beach in­sti­tuted a ban last year. Town coun­cil mem­ber Bruce Butcher, in an in­ter­view with lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tion NBC2, ex­plained that the town feared that bi­cy­cle riders speed­ing along at 20 miles per hour “could cre­ate chaos, knock­ing peo­ple off side­walks into traf­fic flow.” The e-bike ban on the paths, side­walks and beach area of Fort My­ers Beach threat­ens vi­o­la­tors with a $50 fine, although e-bikes are still al­lowed on the roads of Fort My­ers Beach.

While most of the world’s e-bikes can be found in China, con­sumers in West­ern Europe and North Amer­ica are steadily pur­chas­ing more e-bikes, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Nav­i­gant Re­search, an en­ergy mar­ket re­search firm. This pro­lif­er­a­tion of e-bikes pro­vides plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to ride elec­tric bi­cy­cles on do­mes­tic va­ca­tions and abroad. Elec­tric bi­cy­cle tours are a great way to travel slowly through a re­gion, cy­cling a cer­tain

E-bikes help riders feel con­fi­dent that they can safely reach their des­ti­na­tion, even af­ter a long day of bik­ing in the face of buf­fet­ing winds.

dis­tance each day to reach the next ho­tel. Even a bi­cy­cle trip through the Swiss Alps is pos­si­ble aboard an e-bike. Rid­ing on e-bikes is es­pe­cially use­ful for groups of mixed fit­ness lev­els, so less ex­pe­ri­enced cy­clists can rely more heav­ily on ped­alas­sist func­tions to stay up to speed.

Wher­ever you choose to cruise, rid­ing an e-bike can be an easy so­lu­tion. Ali­son Roberts-Tse has de­grees in com­mu­ni­ca­tions and dance from the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin, Madi­son. She now lives in Lon­don, spends time on Sani­bel and ob­ses­sively plans get­aways, both near and far.

An at­tached elec­tric mo­tor makes ped­al­ing quite a bit eas­ier on an e-bike. Bat­ter­ies charge in just a few hours while plugged into a reg­u­lar house­hold out­let.

E-bikes are great equal­iz­ers, al­low­ing riders of all lev­els to bike to­gether with­out any­one lag­ging be­hind.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.