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Replacing My Car with an E-Bike: The Health Benefits

As if I needed further motivation to ride the Juiced Bikes’ CrossCurrent X electric bicycle instead of my car. Last week, Brigham Young University published a report claiming that riding e-bikes was as healthy as riding conventional bikes. In the report: “e-bikes appear to be an excellent form of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, even for experienced mountain bikers who regularly engage in this fitness activity.” Hey, as I said in my first blog about replacing my car with e-bike, I’M SOLD.

In honor of that quest to get into better shape, I decided to lower the pedal assist level on my e-bike last week. One morning, I was in particularly dire need of a cardio workout but was suffering from painful plantar fasciitis and an old knee. So running wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, I lowered the e-bike’s pedal assist to Eco mode -- the lowest form of assist -- and pedaled away for about 40 minutes. Got a great workout. And my body wasn’t hurting afterward, as it often does after running. It felt so good that I’ve kept the pedal assist at level 2 or less since. For those of you who haven’t tried an e-bike, turning off pedal assist on an e-bike can be demanding because the bike is heavier than a standard bicycle (this model weighs 58 pounds). So riding it without assist is a little tougher yet completely manageable. And it’s great knowing I can always bump up the assist level or even throttle when I’m tired. 

I’ve only taken out the Juiced for 48 miles the past two weeks -- due to a three-day golf trip. But around town, I rode to a Redbox kiosk at 7-11 twice. Loved that I rolled right up to the machine, conducted my business and left -- without ever getting off the bike. Same thing when I went to a FedEx drop-off box. It’s especially satisfying when there are no parking spots available anywhere near the kiosk.

Wherever I go now, I’m always looking for bike racks so that I know where to park next time. I'm still surprised by how many places are rack-less, so I’ve gotten resourceful. At the local hockey rink, I locked the bike to a railing; I also secured it to a tree at a brewery, and a signpost at Costco. Plus I flew past 30 cars waiting in an amusement park parking lot line, and saved the $25 parking rate. Also, I went to the fitness club to work out, seven or eight times during the two weeks. Again, its parking lot is typically so packed that you have to park far away from the building -- which is fine because people are going to get exercise. But parking my bike right next to the front door probably affords me an extra 10 extra minutes to add to my workout.

For safety, I’ve decided to get a side view mirror for the left handlebar. And since I feel like bike helmets generally look dorky, I added my favorite NFL team’s logo to the side of mine and have scored a few looks and comments (all positive, at least to my face). 

So yeah, riding the e-bike instead of my car for four weeks now has begun to feel more routine. Just like I always checked the fuel gauge in my car, I’m now cognizant of the battery level before I leave the house. The Juiced gets about 70 miles per charge, so I haven’t needed to plug it in very often. It’s just a matter of planning ahead. Honestly, I am no longer intimidated by the prospect of doing this permanently. Check back here for my next blog in a few weeks, where I will quantify the benefits of my endeavor -- in terms of miles logged, money saved and pounds lost. We may all be pleasantly surprised how quickly this adds up.