For a long time, people simply weren’t ready to give up the comfort of their car on their daily commutes. But with the rising popularity of electric bikes, things are changing, and fast. Cities around the US are investing in infrastructure that will encourage a new generation of cyclists – a welcome change, considering that carbon emissions are rising again and that their largest contributor is the transportation sector.
Although the first prototypes of power-assisted bicycles date back to the 19th century, it is only the last decade that saw their true adoption by wider masses. Today, they cost only a fraction of what their predecessors did, making them a sustainable choice for millions around the world. And their benefits over traditional modes of transportation are obvious. When comparing CO2 emissions, an e-bike emits 23 times less carbon per year than most cars. That makes it an amazing alternative for anyone who needs to cover greater distances at a relatively high speed.
But are e-bikes really a good fit for everyone?
Definitely! In our little family of four, the first person to get an electric bicycle was my husband. The bike was a much-appreciated Christmas gift that was meant to make his cycling commutes easier. In addition to shortening his time spent commuting by an average of 30% – which is more time spent with us – one of his favorite things was that it made the entire ride considerably easier and less sweaty.
Soon after that, we decided to get another model, this time for me. I decided to go with a beach cruiser style ideal for doing the school run and taking care of errands. And pretty quickly, I realized what all the hype was about. Not only was this transportation mode just what I was missing, but it also proved to be my absolute favorite way to get around town.
I found out that the fact that this transportation mode was sustainable was not its main benefit – it was an added bonus, and I was amazed by the advantages it offered.
Cutting back on car use
The fact that most e-bikes can cover 20-30 miles on a single charge means a great deal to anyone trying to cut back on their car use. The distance is enough to get most people through the day, but it’s also good to know that the batteries are quite easy to recharge.
People living in a big city know how stressful it can be to have to leave your beloved bike outside. A great number of electric models are foldable, which means you can pack them up and easily take with you, wherever you are.
Handling difficult terrain more easily
Some places are simply not made to be covered by bike. But, with a bit of electric assistance, even ascents can be made easier for those lacking in stamina. Some national parks now allow visitors to enjoy and explore the surroundings on electric bikes, which makes for a wonderful way to connect with nature.
Ideal for the elderly
Those who want to stay active well into old age can now do so more easily by hopping on an e-bike. Because they move at speeds that can easily be limited, they are one of the best modes of transportation for anyone wanting to get a workout without exerting themselves too much.
While old-school models tended to be quite expensive, now there is a wide variety of electric bicycles for all budgets. If you’re shopping for one as an alternative to your car, you’ll find that the costs are incomparable. If, however, you’re used to getting around on foot, you’ll find that it does require an initial investment.
Anyone willing to improve their cardiovascular health, or spend more time outside will doubtlessly realize the health benefits cycling offers. It promotes mental wellbeing, strengthens the immune system, and can even improve your sleeping patterns.
If you’re looking to minimize your impact on the environment, you may want to start with how you get around. Cycling doesn’t have to be difficult, slow, or sweaty, as long as you choose a model that will work best for you. And the fact that it can help you shed a few pounds, feel better about yourself, or spend more time outside, is just an added plus. It’s a fantastic way to kick off a healthier, more eco-friendly 2020!