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.
Taylor has been BikePortland’s staff writer since November 2021. She has also written for Street Roots and Eugene Weekly. Contact her at email@example.com