I have to make a confession: throughout the last year or so, I’ve gone from knowing nothing about e-bikes to becoming obsessed with them and knowing I need to own one. And it seems like I’ve got lots of company on this journey: a recent New York Times article looked at the exciting rise of e-bikes over the past several years, citing the statistic that sales of electric bikes went up 145 percent in 2020, and are outselling electric cars.
We talk about e-bikes a lot on BikePortland, and have for a long time. But I suspect there are other people out there like me who know why e-bikes have the power to be so transformative — but are overwhelmed with the details of acquiring an e-bike of our own.
“I started pedaling and was startled by a thrilling little whoosh of energy. I found myself meandering around the streets, and was actually disappointed by how fast I managed to get to my destination, because I wanted to keep riding!”
My personal electric bike paradigm shift came when I accidentally rented one in Chicago earlier this year, thinking it was just any old bike share bicycle until I started pedaling and was startled by a thrilling little whoosh of energy. I found myself meandering around the streets, and was actually disappointed by how fast I managed to get to my destination, because I wanted to keep riding!
Later that night, standing outside in the pouring rain, I had the brief temptation to (groan) call an Uber. But then I remembered how fun it was to ride the electric bike, so I happily allowed myself to get drenched so I could spend some more time riding around on it. This is a story I imagine is replicated all the time, even by people who aren’t as plugged into the merits of cycling as I am — people who we should be wanting to bring along on the shared-use path toward a better biking society.
So, I want an e-bike. And I have a lot of questions, but I am in luck: with the encyclopedic knowledge of the BikePortland readership, I think a lot of world problems could be solved — least of which is the relatively simple task of figuring out what electric bike I should get.
This is just an introduction: as I continue on this journey, I’ll update you on my progress. But for now, please tell me about your e-bike! Or, if you’re like me, the questions you have about them! I’ll round them all up and try to get answers for you in a future post. If all goes according to plan n serve as a liaison between the e-bike newbies and experts so more of us can experience the joys and benefits of riding them.