Roll Models: Catherine and Her E-Bike

If you hang around here, you’re probably already familiar with the awesome Catherine of The Freckled Diaries. We asked her to share her bicycling story and tell us more about her cool bikes.

Brief introduction:

I’m Catherine, a librarian working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  I live in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Virginia–a small city just on the other side of the Potomac from DC.  I own two bikes–one regular and one electric and I’m in the final stages of going totally car-free and I’m excited about it!

Catherine with her Electra Amsterdam

A little about my bike history:

I was big into bike riding as a kid, particularly from ages 10-14, when I pretty much lived on my bike. I had what felt like free reign to the whole universe, but in retrospect, the outer limits of what was allowed was a mile and a half away. It didn’t matter though because my school, after school activities, most of my friends, the YMCA, the library, playgrounds, etc were in this 1.5 mile circle around my house so, for a pre-teen/young teen, that may as well be the whole world. My bike riding came to an abrupt stop at about age 14 when I started high school in a town 10 miles away and I outgrew my pink Schwinn. This being the mid-90s, it was replaced with a mountain bike. I hated that bike. I didn’t like the way I felt riding it, but because I didn’t know any better, I figured it was because I had outgrown bikes. In retrospect, it was the hunched over feeling, the perched too high feeling, the handle brakes (as opposed to coaster brakes which I still prefer) that I hated. I think I rode that thing twice.

A Reintroduction to bikes and the Electra Amsterdam:

Fast forward a double-digit number of years and I find myself living in Old Town. It’s pretty much the perfect city environment for bike riding: streets on a grid, not heavy or fast traffic, everything you need within 2 miles, extensive trail network all over Northern Virginia and DC to get elsewhere. I bought an Electra Amsterdam with the intention of riding it around town for errands, getting myself to the Metro station, etc. I thought maybe I’d take it out on the trail every now and again, but at the time I was heavy and not physically fit and “cyclists,” particularly those out on the trails, seemed like such athletic people that I couldn’t really imagine doing much more than scooting around town.

I quickly learned that I need a better imagination.

The bike commute:

When my bike arrived in March, I immediately fell back in love with the freeing feeling of cycling, and found myself inventing errands to do so I could spend more time on the bike. After a few weeks, I took to the trail to see how far I could make it, and after doing that a few times (by mid April) I realized that I was 3/4 of the way to work and that I really could make a go of bike commuting. After dealing with a broken foot (minor setback), I started bike commuting twice a week in early June.

The commute is about 10 miles each way, and is largely flat but does have a few short but steep hills and one very seriously large and steep hill at the end. (Here’s a video I made of the commute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvYI2PYivw8). It’s a great ride: a bit of Old Town streets, then a trail all the way up and across the Potomac, a sidewalk/trail to the Washington Monument, then a straight shot up the National Mall to Capitol Hill. It also takes me past two rugby fields, which I particularly like because there’s frequently a match in the spring and summer evenings. I love rugby and rugby players, so it’s kind of an ideal situation for me :).

Catherine with her e-bike

My e-bike decision:

A combination of the time factor, my fitness level and various logistic concerns made a daily commute not really workable for me. I thought about it more and more and realized that if I got an electric bike, I could bike commute every day and completely replace my car with the combination of the bikes, Metro and Zipcar. By early August, I had my e-bike (an Ecobike Elegance) and began bike commuting every day–most days with the e-bike and some with the Amsterdam. I still consider the Amsterdam my main bike; it’s all I use for everything but the longest of rides, and I frequently take it on Metro to get to/from farther-flung friends’ houses. The e-bike is more the utilitarian commuting beast.  Either way, I haven’t driven my car since September and have its sale in the works.  All in all, the sale of the car will cover the cost of both bikes, and between insurance, gas and maintenance (plus the ability to rent out my parking space), I’ll be saving/earning almost $5000/year (the parking space is worth a pretty penny ’round these parts).

More about the electric bike:

About e-bikes….they introduce a level of complexity into the situation but I’m really a proponent of them. Mine works in two ways–one by “turn the handle, bike goes” (the throttle option) and by pedal assist option–you pedal and the bike “senses” the effort you’re putting in and matches it. Most of the time, I use pedal assist because that’s what comes naturally to me and it doesn’t drain the battery nearly as much. I use the throttle mainly to help starting from a red light (particularly if I’ve forgotten to change gears before stopping!), or every now and again for a little “daredevil” boost of speed.  Most e-bikes work in a variety of different ways (some allow the cyclist to select the percentage of assistance for pedal assist, others are throttle only, some regenerate the battery when coasting/breaking). I know that they’re a little “controversial”, mainly because of the perceived “laziness” factor, but I think that this quote from a recent New York Times article about e-bikes in the US addresses that nicely (and coincidentally comes from my brand):

“Four years ago, we encountered many people saying, ‘Oh wow, we are so lazy, we need motors on our bikes’ ” said Scott Shaw, president of EcoBike USA, an e-bike maker in Southern California. “Now people are understanding and saying, this is more a utilitarian vehicle for commuting and getting outside on two wheels rather than four.”

I think it’s really important to recognize that not everyone is willing or able (physically, or time-wise) to commute, or otherwise travel daily by regular bike. While e-bikes are not as simple or “green” as regular bikes, and don’t provide the same level of exercise, they are far simpler, more sustainable and provide far more exercise than cars and public transportation. I think they’re a great option for that large segment of people who “would cycle to work but….”. I think that the more we embrace (or at least not dismiss) e-bikes, the more we’ll see bikes being thought of and used as transportation rather than “just” recreation.

So that’s it! If anyone’s ever in the DC area and wants some tips on where to go, what to do (or even a personal tour of the Capitol– a little staff perk), drop me a line!

Thanks so much for your inspiring story, Catherine! Visit Catherine at The Freckled Diaries.

Her story contains a common thread that also runs through my and Trisha’s stories: that of abandoning the bicycle in early teenage years, only to rediscover as adults the fun of riding a bike. We are curious to hear who shares this experience. Or has anyone ridden bikes without pause from childhood up through adulthood? If so, what kept you from falling into the societal trap of trading a bike for a license? On the other end of the spectrum, has anyone picked up a bicycle for the first time in adulthood, having never ridden as a kid?

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42 thoughts on “Roll Models: Catherine and Her E-Bike

  1. I grew up in the suburbs of Greenville, SC where there really wasn’t anything to speak to ride my bike to. I rode for exercise and recreation, motivated because I wanted to keep my weight down. In college I purchased a mountain bike. They were new on the scene and I found it comfortable for getting around on the campus of UGA. I continued to ride through my 20’s and 30’s but purely for recreation. I discovered bike commuting and returned to the upright posture when gas prices went through the roof a few years ago.

  2. Giffen says:

    Love the post. Catherine, I think you’re definitely ahead of the curve with the e-bike! Definitely appreciate the “inventing errands to run” thing. :)

  3. alice says:

    Great article! I rode an electric bike in Japan and I thought it was really fun and so brilliant for hills.

    In regards to the question at the end of the article – I have ridden bikes from childhood though to now (30). I have never learned to drive really because I have never needed to drive, there isn’t any parking in the city so I didn’t have the urge to drive to school/work/university. I guess it is high time I did learn though!

  4. philippe says:

    I’ve never really stopped to ride bikes, but never refused to drive a car or ride a motorcycle.
    Different vehicules for different use. In town I usualy ride a bicycle or a motorbike (if I’m in a hurry or a long way to go). But I frequently rent cars when I travel (by train of plane), and I use my old Peugeot when I need to carry heavy stuff for instance.
    Most of my trips are made on 2 wheels. But I suspect than most of the miles I travel are not human powered.

  5. dukiebiddle says:

    Catherine, your e-bike is really handsome, very different than how I’ve always imagined e-bikes to look. I’m curious, did you purchase that retail in D.C., or from elsewhere?

    And as to Dottie’s question, I took a 20 some-odd year hiatus from cycling from 12 on before rediscovering cycling about 3, maybe 4 years ago.

  6. Oh, I definitely share many aspects of this story! Especially being heavy and not physically fit when I came back to riding.

  7. G.E. says:

    Catherine, Thanks for sharing your story. I know I’ve visited your site, but it’s nice to get the whole story of how your bicycling started (and ended and started again) in one place. I also identify with not having the “typical” cyclist body, and have found that even being overweight, bicycling is definitely doable (and it doesn’t kill my joints). :o)

    As for me, I was one of those who also stopped bicycling at age 14, but for me, it was more of an obsession with cars. My friends had started driving (some were a couple of years older, and my boyfriend at the time was old enough to drive), and I abandoned my newly acquired mountain bike for the option of the “exciting” cars around me. Since that time, I was a car girl. I just loved them, and couldn’t get enough. The thing that brought me back to the bicycle was a competition at work in the summer of 2006 in which we competed to see who could cover the most miles (via any means: walking, bicycling, swimming, etc) in a month. I was training for my first marathon at the time, so it was great additional exercise for me to go to the gym in the morning and then bike the 8 miles into work. I wasn’t as into the bicycles though until this past summer when my hubby purchased a cruiser bicycle for me, and it’s been difficult to get me off my bikes since that time.

    I find that we really do have a car-obsessed society, that starts us very young on the idea of vehicles (both through ads of “coolness” and the role models all around us). I know so many people who would never give up their cars (not that they should have to give them up, but they also would never even consider walking or bicycling to something just half a mile away), or even think of public transportation. For me, the last couple of years have caused me to rethink my feelings about where I live and the way I get around. As the economy starts to improve, I look forward to being able to move to an area again that offers alternative options for getting around. For now, I’ve made my peace with the 7 mile ride to get to the borders of anywhere significant, and actually enjoy the ride.

  8. It cheers my heart to hear stories like Catherine’s. Good for you!

    I, too, biked everywhere (helmetless) as a child and teen on an old Schwinn. Then mountain bikes took over and left me out in the cold. It took about 12 years to get back on a bike, first just for fun, but for the past 10 years, more and more for daily life – which is also fun when you’re on a bike!

  9. dukiebiddle says:

    It’s interesting how several of you remember mountain bikes eliminating cycling. My childhood memories involve everyone riding either banana seat bikes or cheap bmx bikes, then everyone switching over to cheap road bikes, followed by everyone quitting cycling because road bikes are very poor for transport. When mountain bikes came around, it seemed like everyone started riding bikes again, which I hadn’t seen in years.

  10. @dukiebiddle – You’re right. It was uncomfortable and basketless bikes in general.

  11. dukiebiddle says:

    @Imaginary Bicycle – I’m just happy to see practical transport bicycles becoming popular again, which I’ve never seen in my lifetime.

  12. Melissa Hope S says:

    Nice! I just got lost in the net looking at folding electric bikes. Got something to save for in the future! ;-)

  13. @dukiebiddle – Me, too. There is hope for us yet.

  14. donna says:

    I only considered getting a bicycle as a form of transportation once I’d moved from the burbs to the city and within a reasonable distance from my job to make commuting by bike feasible. I have yet to take my bike on Toronto’s buses or subways and only some bus routes are equipped with bike racks.

  15. Jim says:

    Great that you can go without a car! The real issue with e bikes is the lead acid battery. The lifecycle of manufacture and disposal in not sustainable at all. China is now restricting e-bikes there. We are definitely moving in the right direction but I hope a lead acid battery ebike is a transition to a better method.
    BTW I ride 15 miles each way for my bike commute but not every day so my helmet is off to anyone who is able to go without a car.

  16. welshcyclist says:

    Really enjoyed this post, great to hear there are rugby fields and games going on in the USA, we really love our rugby here in Wales. Well done Catherine on your commuting progress, keep up the good work.

  17. Jim says:

    I see that your bike uses a Lithium Manganese battery. I am ignorant of the manufacturing and recycling or disposal issues. I hope it is better than lead!

  18. Amy says:

    Catherine is such an inspiration! I loved this post, and it made me just a little homesick too. She’s just up the road from my hometown (Richmond VA). I grew up riding all over the place on my mom’s Fuji Mixte (I didn’t have my own, and she didn’t use it) Stopped riding in High School because we moved way out to the country (that’s what I get for blowing my allowance on a horse!) and it was a good 30 minute car ride on the highway to get to the nearest store. Now, many years later, and with asthma to boot, I’ve started riding my Hercules part time to work. I can feel my lungs getting stronger and have had fewer asthma attacks since I started. I still have to be careful, especially in the cold. I’m really looking forward to the spring, and the opportunity to ride more. Also, sometime in February, I’m adopting that old Fuji!

  19. I definitely had a bike reconnection as an adult.

    I rode a lot as a kid to get to friends’ houses, stores and even my summer job in high school. Once I got my first car at 16 though, the bike became just a toy that I played with occasionally. I took it to college with me freshman year thinking I’d ride to classes, but I gave up on that pretty quickly due to the number of pedestrians sharing my riding space. I was always afraid I’d hit someone and couldn’t go much faster than walking anyway.

    Then, my hubby bought me a mountain bike about a year after we got married. I started riding that once in a while, and over the course of about two years, once in a while became a full blown hobby.

    After about a year of serious riding on that bike, I bought my first road bike and trained for my first century. My bike has been a loving obsession ever since!

  20. cycler says:

    Great post and I love your white checked coat!

  21. Beany says:

    This was really inspirational. I love that Catherine has found happy medium that works for her. I also loved the video!

  22. Dwainedibbly says:

    Wonderful post, thanks for sharing! Catherine seems delightful.

    From age 8 until 16I rode all over the small town where I grew up. The 3-speed Typhoon that I used for my afternoon paper route from when I was 11 until 14 or so is a bike I’ll never forget, even if it was bigger than me for the first couple of years! I wish I still had it. I quit riding until I was in my mid-20s when I did a bit of long-distance road riding, but later dropped out for quite a few years. Now I’m back to cycling as transportation.

    A few years back I built an ebike using a Wilderness Energy kit. It’s very handy for commuting when the temps are high and I don’t want my co-workers to have to put up with a sweaty stench. I understand that DC can be very hot in the summers, too, so it certainly makes sense.

  23. bonified says:

    Catherine, awesome job on committing to the bike commuting! I too am a DC resident and try to ride my bike almost everywhere, though I still have a (very old) car for those hiking trips in VA. I love Old Town and it’s so great you’re on trails almost your entire ride (rugby players don’t hurt either). I commute through the city and there’s nothing overly loveable about the ride, other than the feeling of being on a bike and flying by all those cars stuck in traffic!

    LGRAB ladies, I’ve been obsessed with bikes for a long time, minus a period in highschool where I had a car. Rode my bike everywhere as a kid in the neighborhood, then in middle and high school (before the car) all of my friends lived in a different neighborhood so I’d just ride my bike over there. It was the ultimate in freedom. I probably rode my bike 10+ miles a day all summer to friends’ houses and the pool and never thought about it. Picked up biking again in college when I didn’t/couldn’t have a car and fell in love all over again. I bought a GT mountain bike and it was my first “big girl” purchase at $400. I still have it despite it’s being stolen and subsequently found by the police after an unfortunate racial profiling incident. However, I now ride a 1969 Raleigh Superbe as my main bike and I love it and the conversations I have with people because of it.

    ps- Dottie, excellent recommendation on the shoes at DSW, found a great and cozy pair!

  24. Vee says:

    awesome!!!

    I have been interested in e-bikes for a while. When in my 20’s and living car free ( no drivers license!!) I really wanted one but thought it was too costly and couldn’t imagin myself using one. So I agree let’s embrace the e-bike I think they are rad and I kind of want one too. ( city bike plus hills hey hey hey!)

    catharine- yours is very nice.

  25. Melanie says:

    I love it! I haven’t heard much about e-bikes before and found it really interesting, but more than anything, I love stories about people gong car-free. Go team!

    I had bikes growing up, but in our suburban Western town I don’t think it ever occurred to me to ride a bike for transportation. Car-driving was so normative- it was the height of SUV culture- and the bike lane infrastructure wasn’t quite there yet. Copenhagen Cycle Chic got me on a bike at the beginning of graduate school. It’s amazing what you can do when you aren’t tethered to the expenses and demands of a car.

  26. Catherine says:

    @dukiebiddle
    I did a lot of research on the internet, and test-rode a few models at mainstream bike stores and at an all-electric vehicle shop in Annapolis (I highly recommend it–the guy knows his stuff).

    I would up going with EcoBike because I liked having the two options (pedal assist and throttle), the low step-through frame and it’s general good looks :).

    I got it through a store/website in San Francisco (flat-rate shipping!) because the closest place to me (NYCeWheels in Manhattan) was out of stock.

    There seem to be more and more regular bike shops carrying e-bikes and more dedicated e-bike shops–none yet in DC but I believe that one just opened in Philadelphia a few months ago.

  27. Catherine says:

    @G.E.

    Thanks, G.E., and interesting to see that you’re thinking of moving–some blogs I read seem to be pushing the idea that there’s a suburban-urban paradigm shift underway and that US cities could start to resemble European ones (ie–cities are the expensive, desirable areas to live in).

  28. Catherine says:

    @Jim
    About the battery: yes, they’re lithium ion and while I don’t know specifics, I know that they’re far better than the old kind in many ways (hold charge better, lighter weight, less environmental impact etc). When it’s time to replace the battery (I’ve been told I won’t have to think about it for 5 years), I plan to call the company and my municipal waste/recycle program and see what to to :).

  29. Catherine says:

    Thanks generally to all who are commenting–I’m glad you think it’s interesting. I’m happy to talk about my bikes anytime, and the e-bike seems to be getting a lot of attention these days.

    I’m in no way an expert but happy to answer any questions I can or help wade through the ocean of disorganized information about e-bike brands, models etc.

  30. Rebecca says:

    Funny you should say that at the end… I’m Catherine’s cousin, also living in the DC area, and I never learned to ride a bike as a kid. (Well, started, but stopped due to a rather violent run-in with a parked car.) Catherine started teaching me to ride last fall, and I had just managed to get it when it suddenly became very cold. As I am a wimp when it comes to low temperatures, I haven’t been on the bike since. I plan to pester her to teach me again as soon as it gets warmer. =)

  31. “I had what felt like free reign to the whole universe, but in retrospect, the outer limits of what was allowed was a mile and a half away.”

    Heh, that sounds just like my teenage bike story! I have these memories of constantly riding my bike “everywhere” and roaming free as the wind, but really I did not go very far at all compared to my rides today!

    Thank you for sharing Catherine’s story. That e-bike is phenomenal-looking!

  32. sara says:

    I love reading people’s stories and enjoyed hearing about Catherine’s. I know nothing about ebikes but I just say– Rock on for giving up your car. Thanks, D & T, for giving Catherine this space & I look forward to reading more stories of more cool bikey people.

  33. G.E. says:

    @Catherine – I think that being closer to all of the things we need makes being car-less, or at least nearly car-less more of a possibility. It would thrill me to be able to bicycle or walk everywhere, and I hope to be in an area again someday to do so. I have also heard/read that there seems to be more of a shift to the idea urban living, and I have to wonder if it’s the economy, or if there’s a bigger picture thing going on? I love living in small town America because I don’t worry so much about crime, plus it’s quiet and peaceful, but I miss “big city” life because things were convenient and there’s a certain energy, not to mention culture other than the fall pumpkin harvesting (okay, it’s not quite that bad, but it feels that way sometimes).

  34. G.E. says:

    @Rebecca – How awesome to have someone close by who you trust to teach you to ride! I know that I sometimes take for granted the idea of riding a bicycle and forget that it’s something we all had to learn at some point in life. I hope you have fun continuing to learn… and don’t let setbacks like hitting a parked car get you down (I’ve hit a few accidentally because I am looking behind me, or otherwise not paying attention). I also had to have training wheels on my bicycle for at least a couple of years until my parents ultimately just had to take them off and force me to figure it out on my own.

  35. Ann says:

    Catherine,

    I enjoyed your post and the video (it was deja vu–I worked most of my career in D.C.; I love Old Town). I too have an electric bike. I electrified my 21-speed mountain bike last summer because I found I wasn’t riding much after retiring to the far northern US Rockies (west of Glacier National Park); my knees balked at having to pedal up some of the steep grades here. Since installing electric power assist, I’ve put far more miles on my e-bike than my truck. I love it and I can ride without worrying about my knees. I’ll not be able to go car-free where I currently live, but I am definitely becoming car-lite. I applaud your commute by bike, you are courageous; congestion and aggressive driving worried me enough that I gave up riding my bike on the streets while living in the D.C. area and limited my riding to the bike trails there. Enjoy your e-bike and be careful riding the wild, overly-congested streets of D.C.

    Ann

  36. Catherine says:

    @G.E.
    That’s mostly what I love about Old Town. It functions very much like small town America but is very firmly within one of the largest metropolitan areas in this hemisphere (or if you subscribe to the megalopolis idea–THE largest metropolitan area in the hemisphere).

    Old Town is the kind of place with a main street, complete with farmers’ markets, butchers, bakers etc (no candlestick makers, though). Everything for blocks and blocks off the main street is either (relatively) small single family houses in the form of very old townhouses, many of which are now one-apartment-per-floor deals (most built before 1850–my first apartment here was the attic of a townhouse built in the 1780s!). Independent retail thrives here, right alongside major national chains.

    It’s the kind of place where you see neighbors on the street, randomly meet friends of friends in the pubs, where everyone’s up-to-date on major goings on, it’s very much a “six degrees of separation” kind of place….it’s just cute, and fun and nice. And right outside DC.

    I think that if new developments were built more like towns like this, rather than sprawling, endless tracts of culs-de-sac and strip malls, we’d all have better environments for walking and cycling (see http://www.walkscore.com…an interesting idea), and I think the majority of people would be happier with that arrangement.

    As it is, though, we can all do the best with what we’ve got, and I think that you and most people on this site are doing more than that. I can’t imagine tackling mountains–even with pedal assist!

  37. Catherine says:

    Oops, first of all, that post got a little messed up at the end, and also, the mountains comment was directed at Ann, who I’m glad loves Old Town. We get a little overlooked in the greater DC area, but I (obviously) can’t think of a better place to live :)

  38. G.E. says:

    @Catherine – Very cool, Catherine! Thanks for the link to the Walk Score site, and it sounds as though you live in a great area for being able to be less car dependent, which is wonderful. It’s funny that you mention the six-degrees of separation in your area, because we were just discussing at home recently the fact that even though we’re in a relatively small town (not horribly small, but smaller than a city), we never run into anyone we know on the street, at the stores, markets, and so on. I think part of it is that the Denver metro(ish) area is highly transient. A lot of people seem to come here and move within 2-10 years. Not everyone is this way, but it seems that no one really wants to stay here, which seems odd. It’s beautiful with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, and one can do just about anything year round with our roughly 275-300 days of sunshine (I swear I’m not on the tourist board for Colorado). I think a lot of people come either to go to college, or just after college for their first job(s), and then either move back “home” (wherever that is for them) or decide to make home in another state. It causes making friends to be a bit more difficult (I have found) because once you develop a friendship, they are off to another state. I wonder if it’s that way everywhere, or if I’m just more aware of it in our present location?

    Old Town sounds wonderful though, and one of these days I’m actually going to make a trip to the D.C. area. I would love to see it first hand, and not just believe (both the good and bad) I read about the area.

    Sorry about my rambling. Once I get going, it’s difficult to stop. :) Thanks again!

  39. Eileen says:

    Way to go, Catherine! I didn’t know that I knew a local celebrity! And great pictures!!

    eb

  40. Anne says:

    I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was in my 20s. I had a trike and a bike with training wheels as a kid, but rarely used either. I was a sedentary kid in a car-dependant town, and grew up recently enough that my parents would never have dreamed of letting me go anywhere unsupervised. So biking was up and down the driveway, or on the odd family trip down the street when they had time between car errands. I just never had the urge to learn how to ride because it wasn’t fun. They only wanted me to learn because it was something all kids were expected to know, but it never came up again.

    I went to university in a very green city with a mild climate, and had lots of cyclist friends, which got me curious. I was mortified at not knowing how to ride, so I would secretly go to a park at night and after some wobbling, taught myself. Biking along the water-front became my favourite thing to do, and biking because a way to supplement walking everywhere once I graduated and lost my free student bus pass.

    I spent a year teaching in northern Germany, not far from the Danish border. Everyone bikes there, from my Kindergarten students to the principal of the school I taught at. The sidewalks are divided into cobblestones for pedestrians and red pavement for cyclists. That is what shifted me to seeing cycling as a fun, efficient and green mode of transportation. Far more convenient that waiting for the bus or searching for a parking spot in the city core, which is where I choose to live.

    Now I live in Ottawa, which has extreme weather similar to Chicago. People cannot imagine how I am able to ride all winter through snow and cold. I tell them if I, who didn’t learn to ride until I was an adult can do it, I am sure they can. It also puts a halt to the regular jokes I get about being from the warmest part of Canada, the west coast. I might have grown up rarely seeing now, but I’m not afraid to bike in it now!

  41. Julia Dahl says:

    I just sold my car and bought an e-bike; I wanted to get around my hilly college town (State College, PA) without sweating like a marathoner!

    Regularly activity for me: I go to farmers markets and normally bring home 15 lbs of produce, I like to shop, and I carry a lot of text books. It just isn’t practical to carry around an extra forty pounds up really steep hills every day!

    I have a Schwinn Tailwind. I have to carry the charger with me (4-5 lbs. and about 9x3x2 plus the cord), and charge the battery about every 6-10 miles, depending on how often I use the “pedal assist.” It takes 30 mins to charge in a regular outlet, and 7 mins to charge in a commercial outlet (like at the cafe where I study) and uses less energy to charge than the extended battery for my laptop. I can also use it like a regular bike with the pedal assist powered off. And most importantly, I still get a very good workout every day.

    I love this bike like it’s my own child. It allows me to do what I’ve always wanted to do (bike commuting) without the intimidation of painful exertion or embarrassment. The best part is, unless they are really looking, people can’t see that it is even an e-bike.

    I highly recommend e-bikes. They cost about the same as a Dutch commuter bike, are more practical (I think) for hilly areas, and still “green.”

  42. Robert Ahmed says:

    Lead Acid batteries should be replaced with a new type of battery that weigh less ~~”

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