E-Bikes and Bikes and Biking, OH MY

<3 The most recent episode might be helpful if you haven’t listened to it yet.

But I get it. There’s two sides: maybbbbe this makes sense, but mayyyybe this is irresponsible and it’s hard to know until you try (and then it’s too late).

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Yup Yup! :slight_smile:
I did listen to the most recent. Thanks!

Plz allow me to braindump about bikes!

I love the idea of biking. Bikes are attractive (especially uprights!), eco-friendly, faster and more convenient than walking, and just feel friendlier than any kind of motorized transport. As we are a one-car household and I take that car to work, I sometimes feel like D and the wiggler are trapped in the house during the day. My commute is about four miles, which seems like a great length for a bike commute; I could also bike to the grocery store, the library, and points north that are not accessible by foot; when the wiggler goes to school, I imagine biking the less than a mile with him.

I am not a very good bike rider. I have a beautiful bike that I enjoy riding, an Electra Townie. At least, I think I enjoy riding it. I haven’t ridden much for years. Two years ago I had it tuned up and started to practice riding, but ran into the obstacle of HILLS. I obtained some advice from the MMM forums and came to the conclusion that my gorgeous, heavy three-speed bike is not suitable for my neighborhood, at least until I am a stronger rider and can use muscle to get up those hills (and freak out less going down). I became discouraged, and also pregnant, so I haven’t ridden since then.

An ebike sounds like an amazing solution. The assist would get me over the hills and allow me to practice riding, so I could get stronger and eventually ride my Townie, at least to the library if not to work. Also, part of my commute involves heavy car traffic and no shoulders, let alone bike lanes, so I think I’d feel a lot safer with the speed capabilities of an ebike. (I drive the same route I would bike, so I’m very familiar with it. And no, there isn’t a more bike-friendly option, since the problem areas are the ones close to my work and the other roads close to work aren’t any better. There are actually signs along the route indicating that it’s the bike alternative to the highway. I’ve also seen people biking it before; once I passed a guy on a bike, was passed by him at a light, passed him again on a long hilly road, and was passed by him again after I’d parked in front of my house.)

The big problem: Parking. As far as I can tell, there’s nowhere to lock up a bike around here. There are parking garages, and we got an email recently about designated motorcycle parking, but I have never seen a bike in this parking lot. I fear that if I locked a bike to a bench or something, the property management company would get mad at me. Also, I would be very nervous about just locking an ebike to something. I got briefly excited about the idea of getting a folding bike and stashing it in my cubicle, but then I realized that any ebike is going to have some kind of connectivity (Bluetooth, USB, wi-fi, etc.), which is not allowed in my building. I keep thinking about asking Facilities about bike parking–I’ve even drafted an email to them, using the upcoming Bike to Work day as an excuse, but I got anxious about sending it. Maybe because I am not going to be ready to bike to work next Friday regardless of parking.

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Most ebikes are not internet connected, just a connection for charging the battery. I don’t know if that changes things, but not many actually connect to the internet or put off any radio waves (wifi etc). They’re closer to bringing in rechargeable double aa’s.

There are some very nice folding ebikez!

I’d say that a townie > ebike is a big leap. Townies are very very fun and extremely cute but are meant for flats or gentle rolling hills, not big hills or big roads. If you need to handle bike parking, you might be able to simply get a more generously geared bike meant for hills, that’s Much lighter than a townie which is nearly all bikes - for example a folding bike - and close the gap, so to speak. I worry about speed being the thing that makes you comfortable, over a bike that’s simply better geared/weighted for your commute.

That isn’t knocking ebikes as a solution, of course! Maybe it makes sense given your commute and comfort level. But I think it might be easier to find parking for a bike you can easily lift or fold than something so heavy it’s awkward to pick up!

I freaking love townie’s aesthetics and comfiness but there’s a reason they’re called cruisers- short for beach cruisers - aka flat land :frowning:


That might change things if they just have regular plugs for the batteries. I literally can’t even have a USB port. A coworker got in trouble with a lamp with places to plug in USBs hidden in the back.

That’s fair! I’ve kind of been thinking, I obviously cannot commute on my Townie, so if I have to buy another bike in order for bike commuting to be feasible, I might as well get something really nice that can take me lots of places and carry lots of things. It’s not just about the speed, it’s also about the power up hills because I literally do not have the leg strength to bike up some of these hills. But maybe with a lighter, more maneuverable bike, I would? I’ve literally ridden less than a mile in the last fifteen years… but maybe I could start out riding the ~mile to the library to get more strength? (I wouldn’t be willing/able to take the wiggler on those library trips, though, so it would still be really hard to make time to practice.)

WAIT OKAY so “cruiser” and “beach cruiser” are the same thing and mean “works on flat land,” not “works in the sand”? People who ride bikes and people who sell bikes seem to use completely different terminology! I cannot keep track!

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The works on the sand bike is called a “fat tire” - most bikes suck on sand to be honest, but fat tires work okay (mountain bikes are okay too). Beach cruisers = cruisers.

And yes, our names for bike stuff is bullshit.

You might be surprised how you can handle hills on a lighter bike! But getting strength up is definitely key!

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When I was using an old step through Schwinn (close to a cruiser in styl, very heavy, very upright, few gears), trying to get up even a small hill was hell. Then I got a light road bike and was doing 600 foot elevation changes that felt easier than a 30 ft hill on the old bike,

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Reading all this has told me that as fun as my current bike is, I really need a lighter bike to commute. Not even an electric, just a normal commuting bike (leaning towards the road bike style of things) would make so much sense. Hmmmmm.

… Yes I know this is an old thread but we are currently rearranging our transport habits and this thread was very, very valuable. I may actually finally listen to the relevant podcast.


I lost the key to my cargo bike battery (and my shop never gave me the second key or the code or put the code in the bike computer like they were supposed to, heh) so I’m not using it for my workplace commute this winter – just for all the other errands that I’d previously used a car for.

I’m currently using my single speed aluminum bike and it’s AMAZING having a bike I can throw on a bus rack with one hand, or in a trunk just popping off the front wheel. It’s so simple and light and versatile.

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