By Jillian Goulet
I am a firm believer in the e-bike revolution, and in March 2021, I bought my own. At that time, I was living car-free in Arizona. My e-bike felt like it opened up a new world. I was more comfortable going farther faster, and it gave me more flexibility, on top of the wonderful public transportation options that were available.
E-bikes in Colorado are a hot topic as well, with the latest round of e-bike rebates in the City of Denver being claimed in only 9 minutes (Read more here). Due to its popularity, the state is developing a similar program for all Colorado residents (Booth, 2022). As a new Fort Collins resident, I am very excited to see support for getting more people on e-bikes.
Now that I’ve had my e-bike for a while, I want to share the good and not so good aspects of an e-bike and give you some tips to make your experience even better!
- Distance: I feel like I can comfortably bike so much farther and get places so much faster.
- Carrying weight: I’m a lot less worried about carrying groceries home on my bike. If I’m carrying a heavy load or going up a hill, I just bump up pedal assist.
- Outdoor activity: Commuting via e-bike forces me to get outside, even on busy days.
- Peace of mind: When I am tired after a long day or am leaving the gym, I have the electric assist as a backup to make sure I get home.
- Financial savings: Charging my e-bike battery is a lot cheaper than putting gas in my car.
- Emissions reductions: This study reports that if 15% of car trips were replaced by e-bikes, emissions would drop 12%.
- Fun: I once heard riding an e-bike described as “how biking should be” and I absolutely agree. I bike for transportation and because I enjoy it, and an e-bike feels like an even more fun way to get around.
- Bike weight: My bike is heavy, so I prefer having a low level of pedal assist on at all times.
- Charging: One time (just one!) I forgot to charge it and the battery died on my way home from work.
- Make sure to check in your area so you know what levels of e-bikes can be ridden on trails and in bike lanes. For example, in Fort Collins, e-bikes aren’t allowed on any unpaved trails, which can impact how you get around town.
- Learn about battery care to make sure your bike lasts as long as possible. Click here to read an article about it.
- Brake earlier and softer. E-bikes are generally heavier and faster than non-electric bikes. E-bikes usually have strong brakes, but they still may take longer to stop than on other bikes.
- Find a bike shop that will service your bike before you need it. I’ve found that most bike shops are willing to work on the non-motorized pieces, so you can still support your local bike mechanic!
E-bikes are constantly improving in range, availability, and weight. There are loads of e-bike options out there, and there are a variety of tools that can help you compare different e-bikes, like this one from Electric Bike Reviews. My e-bike has made my life exponentially better. I hope you get to experience this joy, too! You can find more information about e-bikes in Colorado here.
Booth, M. (2022, June 14). How Colorado plans to spend $12 million in new funding on an e-bike program. Retrieved from Colorado Sun: https://coloradosun.com/2022/06/14/e-bike-colorado-rebate-program-statewide/
About the Author – Jillian (she/her) brings two years of experience in local government sustainability and climate planning to Brendle Group. Her knowledge of greenhouse gas accounting practices, stakeholder engagement, and equitable deep decarbonization efforts shape Jillian’s approach to sustainability analysis. Jillian’s educational background in both psychology and climate science enables her to bring a critical combination of mitigation and resiliency analysis and planning to Brendle Group’s projects. Jillian is passionate about understanding the needs of individuals and communities and this shines through her work.
In her previous work for municipal governments and nonprofits, Jillian created successful volunteer training programs, managed large-scale community engagement activities, secured funding for sustainability improvements, and contributed to community-wide climate planning efforts. This experience gives her insight into the relationship between nonprofits, government organizations, and the private sector.