From the monthly archives:

December 2012

Riding an Ebike in NYC

by Jack R. on December 22, 2012

Electric bike

Electric bike

An Electric Bike may seem like a recent invention, as a kid I associated them with “futuristic technology” like flying cars and lasors- sure George Jetson owned one, but would I live to see the day?   But really electric bikes have been around for a long long time, much longer than I have, and have been long recognized as a viable form of transit.   The first prototypes were introduced in the beginning of the 20th century and likely formed the basis for early motorcycle designs.  Since then Ebikes have appeared, in one form  or another, all over the world, used by all different kinds of people in all different kinds of ways.  The advancement of technology, of course, has brought about some changes.  The E-bikes of old were much bulkier and heavier, using large and inefficient batteries.   Ebikes today are much lighter and much more efficient, making them accessible to a much wider range of riders.

So who rides E-bikes today?

I’ve lived in New York City now for about 6 years, and during that time the number of people riding an Ebike in nyc has drastically increased.  As is usually the case, the restaurant deliveries guys were pioneers of the movement.  Before I ever saw recreational riders, Chinese delivery guys were edging me off sidewalks, and scaring the living daylights out of me going the wrong way in traffic.  Well, who can blame them, that General Tso’s chicken’s not going to eat itself.   But commercial use doesn’t really bring out the real potential of the e-bike. At the hand of General Tso, an Ebike is just a means to an end, but to many others it can be so much more- a shift in lifestyle and perspective.

Electric bike

Electric bike

Here at NYCeWheels we don’t deal with many customers looking to use Ebikes commercially.  Instead we find people are riding Ebikes because they want to improve the quality of their life—they want to get outside more, commute to work in a more healthy way, or find an exciting new way to explore the city.   One customer we had used to commute to the financial district from harlem on his road bike, but after he and his wife moved to queens his commute increased from 10 miles to 30 miles round trip.  He ended up buying the Kettler twin electric bike, a lightweight and very efficient electric bike which looks and feels like a regular bike but has fully automated pedal assist. For him riding an ebike in nyc, was a way for him to commute to work via bicycle without being totally exhausted at the end of the day.

We also sell many Ebikes in nyc to people who are planning to bike purely recreationally, who just want to have a great time.  Older couples who used to bike, but now need a little electric assistance to help out; working professionals who want to unwind on a nice ride around central park; hip college students who want to take joy rides down to Williamsburg to visit their slightly hipper and more fashionable friends, these are some of the people we see come through the shop.

Be safe but have fun!

Kettler Twin electric bike

Kettler Twin electric bike

Riding an Ebike in nyc can be fun and exciting, but you want to make sure that you’re being safe on the busy streets.  If you’re e-biking mainly just to have fun, a good way to go is to get something lightweight and portable like a folding e-bike.  This way you can take your ebike with you on the subway, take a few rides around central park out of traffic, and then even store the bike in your apt when you get home.  If you are going to be riding in traffic, just make sure to follow all traffic laws.  Although it can be tempting to bend the rules a bit on a bike, in my experience it’s always best to be a little cautious.  As time goes on, it will be interesting to see how ebike technology and culture changes even more.  Already it is possible to charge your ebike with solar panels, and recharge your phone via the battery.  Not even George Jetson boast as much… In the meantime, try out an electric bike for yourself, and start to imagine the new possibilities offered by our increasingly modern landscape.

Jack

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