Electric bikes could be the way to increase bike commuting - Mobility Lab
It’s too early to tell if electric bicycles hold the secret to grand pronouncements such as “the future of transportation.” But there’s definitely something interesting happening.
Anecdotally, I researched e-bikes for years before I felt comfortable enough to buy one as a way to improve my mobility options in a ridiculously congested place like the Washington, DC region. There weren’t enough retailers who could also repair the bike as needed,
something that is more complicated than with traditional bicycles. The battery technology wasn’t good enough to carry an adequate charge to get back-and-forth across the city. The first e-bike I bought ended up being too difficult to get repaired and I returned it, thankfully (after lots of headaches), for a full refund from the German company, with a California wholesaler and a DC retailer.
But earlier this year I tried again. After test riding many e-bikes and researching online (and, despite the excellent Electric Bike Reviews site, with so many manufacturers and models, it’s still an intimidating decision), I purchased an excellent Magnum Metro from Hybrid Pedals in Arlington, Va.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t agree that, after riding an e-bike, it changed their life. The problem is that so few people have actually ridden e-bikes. The U.S. market grew by 25 percent in 2017, to 263,000 e-bikes sold. At that rate, it will take a long time to make much of a dent in the still-small percentage of people who bike for utilitarian purposes like getting to work, going to eat, or meeting friends.