Electric bikes are here to stay, and we see them more often since the beginning of the pandemic. Cities are transforming before our eyes. But what’s so special about electric bikes, and should you sell your car and go 100% e-bike?
Here are some aspects you should consider:
What Are Electric Bikes?
An electric bike is built like a standard bike, but has a rechargeable electric motor that can be turned on or off to assist the rider. For example, you could pedal on your own on flat stretches and get some help on the hills, or you could pedal in the cool morning air and get some help when the temperature goes up. E-bikes offer a lot of flexibility and are great tools for city commuting, but could they replace your car?
Hidden Costs of Car Ownership
According to Alek Asaduryan, founder of, Yes Cycling, a new e-bike could cost you up to $2,000; a car could cost twenty times that. In addition to the sticker price, cars often come with hidden fees. For example, you will have to pay registration, property tax, vehicle and notary fees, and any other fees besides, depending on where you live. Additionally, depending on your age and the make and model of your car, insurance rates can be downright painful.
Visible Benefits of Cycling
Bicycles get you out in the fresh air. They also allow you to get plenty of Vitamin D, which many people who work indoors lack. An e-bike will move you through the neighborhoods you need to travel through anyway without getting overheated as a regular road bike might.
Balancing a bike takes core strength, which will build up slowly. You’ll also be able to exercise your legs without putting a lot of pressure on knees and ankles. If sidewalks are crowded or uneven, the bike path is generally smooth and flat, which can protect you from stumbles and scrapes. Finally, cycling can lift your spirits. You can fully enjoy moving your body through space, enjoy the sights and sounds, and get a little help from the motor when you’re tired.
You’ll Need to do Some Planning
E-bikes include a battery which is generally incorporated into the flat strapping panel behind the seat. Most of them also have a basket, which you can either add or swap out as needed. If you have used your car for running errands and are used to the hauling space, you may need to start scheduling deliveries or set up subscriptions for bulkier items.
Bonus to Your Budget
In addition to all the savings a bike can offer in terms of the purchase price and fees, your bike can actually make it harder to shop. Getting in the car generally means you have a destination and a task. Current fuel prices and a bit of environmental awareness mean that getting out and going for a drive is a rare activity.
However, with an e-bike, you can connect with friends, go check out local trails, pack a cooler of drinks and sandwiches, and just hang out in a new spot. Even if you don’t have the time for a long camping trip, getting together with friends and getting outdoors is a wonderful way to burn stress and connect. Pandemic experts recommend outdoor activities instead of indoor gatherings, and local activities reduce the risk of transmission across regions or states.
The Gear is Nifty
Once you have your e-bike, you’re going to need some gear. This can include
- an indoor cycle to help you stay in condition
- a helmet
- a bike rack
A carrying platform across the back, a good backpack that fastens at your core, and a collapsible basket will also be helpful in your bicycle travels. Finally, consider getting a mat for your workspace so you can store your e-bike in your office without leaving a tire mess.
Like your car, your e-bike will need to be maintained. You can wash it with a degreasing soap and buff it with a soft towel to get it to shine. Check your tires before each ride and always keep the batteries charged at least to half. The lithium batteries for an e-bike will tolerate a full discharge, but leaving it empty can damage it. So can frost and extremely high temperatures.
Make sure you regularly check the connections on your bike, such as the handlebars and the wheels. E-bikes aren’t terribly heavy as bikes go, but chatter can loosen connections over time. Always check your light reflectors to avoid having to go back and search for them. Finally, make sure to lubricate your bike as directed to avoid wear and tear.
If you’re thinking about a new car and really don’t want to deal with the expense, parking hassle, fees, and insurance, an e-bike can be a terrific investment. In the end, you may need a car. However, you could find that you can do nearly all of what you need to do with your bike and rent a car as needed.