In the modern world of gizmos, rapidly advancing technologies make life easier or at least faster. Lots of technologies mean we spend a lot let time being active. Computers enable us to pick and order our food, clothes, books and other purchases from our sofa to be delivered to our door; cars take us from point A to point B with the gentle press of a pedal. And unfortunately commuting distances and time constraints dictate the need of some vehicle. Electric bikes are the middle land between green, sweat-inducing bicycles and brown cloud polluting, gas-guzzling cars.
Electric bicycles have a rechargeable battery or power pack they can be used in the same way as normal bicycles in the lanes. An ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’ does not need to be registered to the road or carry insurance as long as it has pedals, the motor is electric (and not run on petrol) and weighs under 40 kg.
They provide the balance between draining your energy – making you sweat your way to your desired destination or exhausting the energy from earth’s resources – using up fossil fuel reserves. Safer more controlled road experience, without the hum or roar of a moped or motorbike you can not only enjoy the quiet but have the ability/option to listen out for danger signals. You can travel longer distances before your personal battery runs down, you can use the bike when its battery runs out and you can accelerate quicker away from traffic lights for example. And when or if the battery runs out at the bottom of a hill you have some extra weight from the dead motor to haul up.
There are age restrictions in some places, riders have to be older than 14 years of age.
This upgrade on the traditional push pedal bicycle makes cycling to work a viable option. Lycra shorts are a no-no on any occasion, let alone the daily commute. Electric bikes make for less sweat and therefore the opportunity for more clothes. The expense will be repaid within a month or two if not weeks. The intended use is an important element to consider to help you chose the right bike for you. Mountain, road, cruiser or hybrid think about the frame, the weight and the battery.
If you aren’t into the market for buying a new bike, but want to convert your favorite bike to an electric bike you can do that to with a conversion kit. This video demonstrates what a mountain bike would look like and ride like after being converted to electric.
Once you have your shiny new bicycle there are a number of maintenance issues to be aware of. Fortunately the motor looks after itself, just keeping it dry – or drying it after it’s been in the rain – and away from the sun will do the trick. Ensuring the tyre pressures are correct and there’s no dirt in the gears will help with the battery performance. Watching the battery use and charging when required (portable and solar panel chargers available). The rest is regular bike maintenance, brake cords and pads. I certainly want to ride an electric bicycle, don’t you?