My cold feet kick in almost immediately after agreeing on a price for my Hyundai with the car lot manager. She’s headed to her office to prepare the paperwork and write me a check, and I feel instant regret. My son’s coming home from college next summer and will need a car. I chase her down, apologize for nixing the sale, and can’t get out of there fast enough. I will sell the car — eventually. For now, I’m parking it in the garage with no plans to use it.
Frankly, I really don’t need it. For two months now, I’ve been getting around town primarily on the Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent X e-bike. As a car replacement, it’s extremely easy (and fun) to ride. Seriously. I’ve already ridden it 200+ miles — mostly to run errands within short distances of my house. Thanks to its powerful 750-watt geared hub motor and 75+ miles riding range — not to mention all of its other upgraded components — I have come to rely on my new e-bike on a daily basis. It has the single-best torque I’ve every experienced on an e-bike, so it effortlessly climbs my hilly neighborhood. Into the wind is no problem, either. And when I don’t feel like pedaling, I just engage the throttle.
Here’s the thing: In my time riding it, I’ve realized it’s faster getting most places than my car. I can avoid most red lights, take backroads and not have to worry about parking. It accelerates up to 28 mph easily. Although I hit the brakes when it happens, it easily achieves 35 mph going downhill. I consider this an upgrade from my car, of which I drove only 3,700 miles last year. Since I’ve had the Juiced, I’ve solely taken my car for long drives and when I needed to shlep my golf clubs around. So effective as of now, I’m fully immersing myself in the electric bike world for transportation. Screw the $4 per gallon gas prices, road construction, traffic jams, and parking spot searches. If all goes well, I’ll sell the car soon, also eliminating the insurance and maintenance costs. And open up our garage for storage — while pocketing the money for my car. All the while, I’m going to get into better physical condition by pedaling, reduce my carbon footprint, breathe some fresh air, and get to know my city a little better by experiencing it from a new perspective.
So far, I’ve encountered just two drawbacks. One, drivers sometimes don’t see bicycles very well. I’ve become extra alert and vigilant — having had four near-misses with cars. I now wear bright-colored clothing, and turn on the bike’s head and rear lights before leaving the house — even when it’s sunny out. Secondly, now that it’s been getting cold in the morning, my hands have been freezing. Quickly solved that issue by simply wearing gloves. One other observation: I’ve gotten some sneers from bike riders who wear tight spandex while pedaling around on their road bikes. They’re fun to pass, I admit. Most of them have been pretty cool, though. Several gushing over the Juiced CrossCurrent X, asking questions about its performance and availability. I’ve also noticed — at least in my community — the growing number of people now riding electric bikes. And I really enjoy that.
Writing about e-bikes for Forbes.com the past three years, I’ve had the chance to test nearly 20 models. I’m no newbie. I’ve been fantasizing about the opportunity to replace my car with an electric bike for quite awhile. In fact, I think I’m realistic in foreseeing no major trade-offs in keeping the car parked and eventually selling it.
I’m excited about this new journey. Check back next month for an update on my progress. I’ll keep track of miles logged, how much money e-biking saves me, and any unexpected incidents or comments I encounter — among other observations. Should be a fun ride!