This story about riding an e-bike was first published on CleanTechnica
Electric bicycles are like electric cars. People who don’t like them are usually people who haven’t tried them. I was at a local farmers’ market recently where I got to take a test ride on an electric bicycle. I only drove it for about 50 feet before I knew I wanted one. At an age when creaky knees and hips are beginning to impact my lifestyle choices, an e-bike — sometimes called a pedelec — could fulfill most of my transportation needs, at least in the warmer months.
E-Bike Use Varies By Country
The e-bike is a bit of a regional phenomenon. They are hugely popular in European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and France. In fact, nearly a third of all bicycles sold in the Netherlands today are electric. In the UK, sales are less than half that. In the US, they are still a relatively new phenomenon.
Why An Electric Bike?
What is it about electric bikes that makes them so appealing? “It’s quite difficult to explain what one feels like. You’re still cycling but it’s like being an Olympic athlete. You can go faster and longer; hills are less effort. The acceleration is quite fun, even for the most skeptical grown up,” is how Steve Gardis, operations director for the UK Bicycle Association puts it in a piece in The Guardian. “Ebikes level the playing field,” he says. “People of different abilities and fitness can cycle together. People can cycle with their enthusiast partners. Grandparents can go out with their families because e-bikes close that gap.”
Paul Stewart of UK cycle distributor Moore Large says, “If you look at our cities and the way that we commute, the e-bike gives you the opportunity to get around at a reasonable pace. You don’t need to get all hot and sweaty, you don’t need to pay [car] tax or have a driving licence, because they’re classed as bikes.