Do Electric Bikes Make Sense in the City?

If there is one problem that I had consistently, it is that I could never find a place to park. All the bike rings and racks are designed for normal bikes, and today I had to walk up and down a whole block finding a ring that I could get up to. Size matters in the city and this bike is big. In the photo at the top where I am locked to a restaurant’s patio railing, I am taking up half the sidewalk.

Another problem I worried about today was running out of electricity; I didn’t plug the battery in properly last night and had only third of its capacity left. Of course it pooped out two blocks from home, where I have two hills to climb. I thought a bike this heavy would be murder but in fact I could go into low gear and managed to get up them without a problem.

In the end, I agree with Mikael’s conclusion:

E-bikes serve a purpose. Absolutely. They are a great niche addition to the existing armada of bicycles that have served citizens for 125 years. They have the potential of increasing the mobility radius of cycling citizens – especially the elderly. All good.

Furthermore, most of the problems of e-bikes won’t be as likely to happen with older riders; they tend to be more careful. They won’t be speeding in the bike lanes. They know why they are on an e-bike and not a Cervélo. E-bikes will also help a lot of cyclists in cities like Seattle, with serious hills, for people who do a lot of shopping with their bikes, for people who pull a lot of cargo.

I am going to miss this bike. It was a serious amount of fun, got me to the doctor on time, and attracted a lot of attention. But Toronto is relatively flat, my trips are relatively short, and I am relatively fit; I can see that for other people in other places it could be a very different story. Tomorrow I will be back on a regular bike that is a third the weight and a fifth the cost. My heart will beat a little faster and I will travel a little slower, but I’m not ready for that e-bike yet. Let’s talk again in a few years.