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Ebike car free question.

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Ebike car free question.

Old 12-23-18, 07:29 PM
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Domromer
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Ebike car free question.

Hey Guys, Just curious have a lot of car free or car lite people bought electric bikes? Just curious if this market segment were into ebikes. It seems like it would make car free living that much easier. If this subject has been beaten to death here already I apologize. I've not been on this forum in the past few years.
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Old 12-23-18, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Domromer View Post
Hey Guys, Just curious have a lot of car free or car lite people bought electric bikes? Just curious if this market segment were into ebikes. It seems like it would make car free living that much easier. If this subject has been beaten to death here already I apologize. I've not been on this forum in the past few years.
I would say it's practically at 0, or about 1% of the people here have E-Bikes as an alternative to cars, or as a help to not drive cars as much... So far, it's a fail in general, even for me, I want to use my E-Assist as a way to not use my vehicle, and, it is failing me,/I am failing... Why...??? I suspect it is because of the infrastructure/the way it is looked on as a last ditch way to get around by society, and my 60+years of indoctrination as to how things work/supposed to work... The weather doesn't help either...
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Old 12-24-18, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
I would say it's practically at 0, or about 1% of the people here have E-Bikes as an alternative to cars, or as a help to not drive cars as much... So far, it's a fail in general, even for me, I want to use my E-Assist as a way to not use my vehicle, and, it is failing me,/I am failing... Why...??? I suspect it is because of the infrastructure/the way it is looked on as a last ditch way to get around by society, and my 60+years of indoctrination as to how things work/supposed to work... The weather doesn't help either...
Anybody is welcome to decide that the lack of support for cycling is why they aren't car free. But if you want to be car free and at least seriously entertain doing it or practicing it then wouldn't e-bikes make that "easier"? I use quotes because in my particular case e-bikes defeat some of what I want from a bicycle including physical fitness and the pure simplicity and earth-friendly aspects of human power.
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Old 12-25-18, 12:59 AM
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I don't know if it's having any impact on car-free people, but almost all of the new in-town riders I see are on e-bikes. At present, I would say they are a significant, double-digit percentage, of all riders here in Eugene and growing (while the use of bikes in general is plummeting here and is on track to get to zero in 2024). My wife is interested in her next town bike being an e-bike, and I will likely follow suit not too many years later.

What's not to like? they're a mature technology that effectively makes you younger (assuming you were stronger when you were young). The price isn't too awful much more than what a decent none-electric bike would cost either. From conversations with my local bike shops, it appears that the only one that isn't seeing declining sales is the one that specializes in e-bikes.
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Old 12-25-18, 03:30 AM
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Thanks B Carfree for some insight into the situation in Oregon!

The other thread on e-bikes was shut down but I was going to add that I was in a local bike shop the other day and one of the mechanics mentioned that e-bike sales have basically taken over and are selling in bunches through word of mouth. All of the bikes at the front of the shop are e-bikes.

He did not say but clearly implied that standard bikes were on their way out. He was already talking about them in the past tense.

As far as the maturity of the technology, I would say that 2019 is the first year when all of the major manufacturers have e-bikes designed from the ground up as e-bikes. In years past, many or most were simply standard bicycles with a large battery bolted on. Just slap your forehead "doh!" Homer Simpson type designs. Now, frame designs fully integrate the battery and motor and e-bike specific components are the norm: chains and tires for example. Specialized is charging a mint for their e-bikes and standard bikes but at least their R&D budgets are yielding good results: they've achieved a 40% increase in battery capacity with the same sized battery.

The tech curve is going to shoot sharply upwards from here on out with e-bikes entering the mainstream, available budgets ballooning and nicer and nicer designs becoming the norm.

This is not to say that all designs are uniformly impressive. There are clear duds and not quite there yet designs abound still. These are still early days. But it's relatively easy to find an e-bike which you would be proud to own and significantly fewer which are a distinct embarrassment a la Trek's Springboard rear suspension bikes.
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Old 12-25-18, 05:10 AM
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I have seen a lot of people planning to go car-free considering adding an e-bike because once one is car-free, practicality takes over. If a person needs to haul a big load of groceries or laundry, needs to go somewhere important while sick, tired, or injured, and if there is not a good public transit system or an Uber/Lyft option ... having a little help getting up the hills can make a difference.

An e-bike seems to be considered as a back-up/safety net, something to fall back on when a person needs a little help.

A lot of car-free folks seem to be retired, so obviously age is an issue. For some, it is that any good car-free plan should include a bail-out option. I have not seem many people considering replacing a car with an e-bike, but I have seen quite a few people going car-free planning on having an e-bike backup.
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Old 12-25-18, 09:33 AM
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I haven't bought one yet...but I really like this one:

New Yorker Fat Tire
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Old 12-25-18, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I don't know if it's having any impact on car-free people, but almost all of the new in-town riders I see are on e-bikes. At present, I would say they are a significant, double-digit percentage, of all riders here in Eugene and growing (while the use of bikes in general is plummeting here and is on track to get to zero in 2024). My wife is interested in her next town bike being an e-bike, and I will likely follow suit not too many years later.

What's not to like? they're a mature technology that effectively makes you younger (assuming you were stronger when you were young). The price isn't too awful much more than what a decent none-electric bike would cost either. From conversations with my local bike shops, it appears that the only one that isn't seeing declining sales is the one that specializes in e-bikes.
Why do you think the riders will be zero? We were just there and saw plenty of people commuting to work and riding on the river path.
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Old 12-25-18, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Domromer View Post
Why do you think the riders will be zero? We were just there and saw plenty of people commuting to work and riding on the river path.
I posted the links before but Grant Petersen predicts that e-bikes will constitute 60% of e-bike sales in 2 years. I also posted an interview with Chris Cocalis of Pivot who says that e-mtb's make up 70% of the mtb market in Europe already (as of early to mid 2018). I spoke to a local bike shop employee in the past few days and he nonchalantly implied that standard bikes were already being phased out.

I was very dismissive before as well, but once you start riding e-bikes there is no going back. It's immediately addicting.
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Old 12-25-18, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
I posted the links before but Grant Petersen predicts that e-bikes will constitute 60% of e-bike sales in 2 years.
I predict that e-bikes will constitute 100 percent of e-bike sales always.
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Old 12-25-18, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Domromer View Post
Hey Guys, Just curious have a lot of car free or car lite people bought electric bikes? Just curious if this market segment were into ebikes. It seems like it would make car free living that much easier. If this subject has been beaten to death here already I apologize. I've not been on this forum in the past few years.
With some notable exceptions, the percentage of people in the US who are VOLUNTARILY car free is vanishingly low. Those notable exceptions being a few large cities like SF and NYC. Other than that, most people who are car free are in that state because of their financial, legal or medical situation or age, with the last two overlapping significantly, or a combination thereof.

It's more a fantasy or a pipe dream of e-bike shops and/or eco-social justice warriors. While I'm a fan of bike lanes obviously, and of encouraging greener forms of transportation, the efforts to promote cycling infrastructure are often so invasive and disruptive, it makes me question the intentions behind these efforts.
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Old 12-25-18, 07:37 PM
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I would add that for a cyclist who wants to go car-lighter or car-free, an e-bike might look like an appealing option ... but for most people for the price of an e-bike they could get a junk car which would offer ten times the utility. The idea of laying out serious money for a scooter or an e-bike would never occur to most people---unless they had a good job and multiple DUIs---Just the people you'd want on an e-bike.
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Old 12-25-18, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Domromer View Post
Why do you think the riders will be zero? We were just there and saw plenty of people commuting to work and riding on the river path.
There's a distinction between bikes that are in use vs annual bike sales. Every indication points to e-bike sales taking over in the next few years. Petersen says it's two years in the states, Cocalis says it's already 70% for mtb's in Europe. The bike industry has tried just about everything but sales have been flat or declining in every category except e-bikes.
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Old 12-26-18, 12:29 PM
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I'm going car free in January and am getting a kit for my bike. However, it is easily and fully removable so most of my riding will be sans motor. I will use it when I pull my trailer with 40 pounds of dog food on it to get up the one hill. The motor will allow me to do the few errands that require more effort than my 69 year old body can comfortably put out. And also allow me to do long distance errands by bike in a more reasonable amount of time. Would I go car free without it - yes, but this should make it easier and more efficient.
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Old 12-26-18, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I would add that for a cyclist who wants to go car-lighter or car-free, an e-bike might look like an appealing option ... but for most people for the price of an e-bike they could get a junk car which would offer ten times the utility.
Purchase price, maybe, but within a week the e-bike would show itself to be the cheaper option. Running costs, gas, and insurance, even on a cheap beater car, are somewhere north of $200 a month in my city. My $3000 e-bike has made no detectable difference in my household electricity consumption and has saved me $600 in hypothetical vehicle costs (had I purchased a $3000 car 3 months ago, and that's assuming I could even GET monthly car insurance premiums rather than having to pay the whole year up front, which is much more likely).

Now, I did start off as a cyclist in this scenario, rather than an average citizen, but I'm a cyclist *because* I really, REALLY hate driving. I'm capable, I just hate it. And an e-bike I enjoy riding, versus a car I dislike that ALSO costs more, is no contest!
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Old 12-26-18, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
Purchase price, maybe, but within a week the e-bike would show itself to be the cheaper option. Running costs, gas, and insurance, even on a cheap beater car, are somewhere north of $200 a month in my city.
What you fail to see is that you are a freak ... like me and most of the other people here. We would Rather be out on a bike, fighting traffic armored only in spandex, braving heat and cold, wind and rain ... and having zero passenger-carrying capacity.

Also, most of us are in shape for a long ride, or a ride carrying a big load of groceries. Most of us ride bikes.

That is why i mentioned "utility." For most people whose exercise consists of walking to the car and then to the job or store from the car, facing a ten-mile ride with 40 pounds of groceries or gear is a non-starter. And in most cases, those people don't have a couple months to prepare----the car died or whatever, and they need transport Today. Sure, they'd be better off if they got some exercise, and it wouldn't take long to develop the capacity ... but they A.) don't have the time and B.) don't have Any Such Desire.

Add to that that most people seem to have children, and a lot of people carry friends in their cars, to work and for errands. Add to that the weather---which in a lot of the country requires expensive gear to survive through a portion of the year (Try riding in New England or Wisconsin or any where in the top northern third of the nation in the winter without studded tires and Really good weather gear.)

Yes, the car costs more to operate---but that is not an issue. if a person can afford a beater car or n e-bike---generally the beater car can be had for less. Add the first insurance payment---poor people don't pay the whole year up front---and the car allows the person to keep going to work to pay for the car. And the car allows the person to go to the store, to take the kids to day care, to operate in any weather---and the car works when the body doesn't.

A few decades back I separated my shoulder in a bike wreck. I bought a really crap car, the cheapest possible insurance, and managed to stay mobile, fed, and employed for about a third of the cheapest e-bike---which is good, because the really crap car and the rest drained my bank account. An e-bike was never an option--they didn't exist---and in any case i couldn't ride Any kind of vehicle which required use of the injured arm.

If we are going to Rationally discuss social trends, we have to use a point of view closer to the majority of people and Not our own. If we want to wonder if e--bikes will become wildly popular ... well, most traditional cyclists seem to loathe them. A few see the possibilities as they age, or as a weaker cycling spouse can stay involved and the couple can ride together. So wanting to cycle-commute in terrain or at an age where that is extremely challenging like them---and all that is about one percent of the population, the remaining 99 percent of which sees anything to do with cycling as silly, dangerous, or both.

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Old 12-26-18, 09:45 PM
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Totally depends on where you live. Weather and culture matter. In areas that are already dense and maxed to capacity, biking is faster and easier and way less expensive. Will e-bikes replace trucks in mid-America, heck no. But I do believe they will supplant many commute vehicles in dense urban areas, in combination with public transit or on their own. I see it already in the Bay Area, where bikes are currently strong commute substitutes and e-bikes are becoming even more popular. In particular, retired folks here are buying up some pretty expensive e-bikes to ride around the Bay Area.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:54 PM
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Didn't know retired folks commuted.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:56 PM
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Double post and typos, deleted, see post 20!

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Old 12-26-18, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Also, most of us are in shape for a long ride, or a ride carrying a big load of groceries. Most of us ride bikes.
(Snip)
Add to that the weather---which in a lot of the country requires expensive gear to survive through a portion of the year (Try riding in New England or Wisconsin or any where in the top northern third of the nation in the winter without studded tires and Really good weather gear.)
You haven't looked at many of my posts, have you? I have been a year round cycle commuter in CALGARY - which is considerably farther north than your examples - for over a decade. And I wasn't in good shape when I started - I hadn't been on a bike in ten years. But there was a bus strike, and I could not afford a car - more on that in a minute - and I just figured stuff out. People can do that. I bought my winter clothing a bit at a time, and saved up for my studded tires, and made do.

Then I rode a little further each day, and carried a bit more, and became stronger.... right up until a couple of invisible disabilities bit me in the ass, hence e-bike, but that is a long story.

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Yes, the car costs more to operate---but that is not an issue. if a person can afford a beater car or n e-bike---generally the beater car can be had for less. Add the first insurance payment---poor people don't pay the whole year up front---and the car allows the person to keep going to work to pay for the car. And the car allows the person to go to the store, to take the kids to day care, to operate in any weather---and the car works when the body doesn't.
Here you HAVE to pay a year's insurance up front, and it's a couple of thousand, unless you can qualify for monthly payments, which I don't because I haven't had car insurance in this province before.

And I disagree vehemently with your "that is not an issue", but I have no idea where to even start, because it seems we are coming at this from totally opposing worldviews. To me, purchasing a car makes no sense whatsoever if I literally DO NOT HAVE the budget required to run it. I've been offered cars for free and have turned them down, because when I have $300 left out of my monthly pay after rent and (minimal) utilities, as has been the case for most of my life, I am using that to buy a bus pass ($100) and food; or I am going to use my bike and buy slightly more food, as well as clothing/equipment for said bicycle.

Do not tell me that can't be done, because that is my actual lived experience.

i was responding to the question of the thread, which was about e-bikes and being car free. I have not owned a car in 12 years and I do own an e-bike, which I believe qualifies me to chime in.

I work in a store which sells and services e-bikes, so I have had a lot of conversations with people who are thinking about going car-free or car-light, many of whom are not cyclists. (They also aren't people living in poverty, and I will absolutely concede that those are not going to be the same conversations, but that wasn't the question, I don't think). The people I am talking to are considering cycling as a viable transportation option *because* of the the availability of e-bikes.
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Old 12-26-18, 10:19 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
Here you HAVE to pay a year's insurance up front, and it's a couple of thousand, unless you can qualify for monthly payments, which I don't because I haven't had car insurance in this province before.
And in places where there are no roads, people cannot drive. Where I lived when I separated my shoulder, I could make insurance payments--four in a year--with a financing fee.

Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
And I disagree vehemently with your "that is not an issue", but I have no idea where to even start, because it seems we are coming at this from totally opposing worldviews. To me, purchasing a car makes no sense whatsoever if I literally DO NOT HAVE the budget required to run it.
You need to read my posts before you comment---as you suggested I do.

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
If we are going to Rationally discuss social trends, we have to use a point of view closer to the majority of people and Not our own.
You work in an e-bike store and prefer to cycle to work. Potentially you have noticed … most people do Not work in e-bike stores, or even bike stores---and for every bike you pass, 500 cars pass you? And to all those drivers, the increased cost of owning a car is Proven not to be an issue—because they operate cars, not bikes.

Also … yes I come from a different mindset than you. I live in a Shared reality, filled with people who drive and who think I am crazy because I bike everywhere. Actually, you live in that same reality ... but apparently you ignore all the other people.

So, to me, buying a car is not crazy … not for others, and not for me. I keep a car in my driveway because it is more convenient to have it, in case I need it, that to try to rent a car for occasional use. I have only driven once since April …. (and had a bike on the rack, to ride when I arrived) but the car allowed me to do what I needed, and I didn’t have to take time to arrange a rental, drop-off and pick-up, and all that. Worth it to me.

Difference between you and I? I don’t assume everyone who thinks differently is wrong. Just different.

E-biking Might grow, but it will still only serve a very small percentage of the population. Most people Prefer cars for reasons of comfort and utility, and don’t mind the cost.

You can out as big a trailer on your e-bike as you like, but you aren’t going to get four kids to different day cares and schools, along with all their sports equipment, book bags, and handhelds, and still get to work on time in most parts of North America.

All you have to do is stand on the side of any road anywhere in North America and you will see that the automobile or some variation thereon is by a HUGE margin the chosen form of transport. Motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, and now e-bikes are all options—chosen by what one percent of the road users?

Anyway … people here love to argue. People don’t like to listen to one another and synthesize new points of view. It is always “With me or against me.”

You win.
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Old 12-26-18, 10:40 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
You haven't looked at many of my posts, have you? I have been a year round cycle commuter in CALGARY - which is considerably farther north than your examples - for over a decade. And I wasn't in good shape when I started - I hadn't been on a bike in ten years. But there was a bus strike, and I could not afford a car - more on that in a minute - and I just figured stuff out. People can do that. I bought my winter clothing a bit at a time, and saved up for my studded tires, and made do.

Then I rode a little further each day, and carried a bit more, and became stronger.... right up until a couple of invisible disabilities bit me in the ass, hence e-bike, but that is a long story.



Here you HAVE to pay a year's insurance up front, and it's a couple of thousand, unless you can qualify for monthly payments, which I don't because I haven't had car insurance in this province before.

And I disagree vehemently with your "that is not an issue", but I have no idea where to even start, because it seems we are coming at this from totally opposing worldviews. To me, purchasing a car makes no sense whatsoever if I literally DO NOT HAVE the budget required to run it. I've been offered cars for free and have turned them down, because when I have $300 left out of my monthly pay after rent and (minimal) utilities, as has been the case for most of my life, I am using that to buy a bus pass ($100) and food; or I am going to use my bike and buy slightly more food, as well as clothing/equipment for said bicycle.

Do not tell me that can't be done, because that is my actual lived experience.

i was responding to the question of the thread, which was about e-bikes and being car free. I have not owned a car in 12 years and I do own an e-bike, which I believe qualifies me to chime in.

I work in a store which sells and services e-bikes, so I have had a lot of conversations with people who are thinking about going car-free or car-light, many of whom are not cyclists. (They also aren't people living in poverty, and I will absolutely concede that those are not going to be the same conversations, but that wasn't the question, I don't think). The people I am talking to are considering cycling as a viable transportation option *because* of the the availability of e-bikes.
Interesting case study. Thanks for sharing! What e-bike do you have? What are it's pros and cons?
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Old 12-27-18, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Didn't know retired folks commuted.
I define commuting as going the same place daily or near daily, regardless of whether it is for paid work or not. In that case, I commute. I do have somewhere I need to go every weekday - and set times I need to be there. Granted, the reason is unpaid but it's just as much fun as my work was =). Whether scheduled volunteering fits your idea of commuting is up to you. I get there by 9:30 a.m. every day, it's a 7 mile ride. Of course, I do leave earlier than I left work.

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Old 12-27-18, 10:36 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
And in places where there are no roads, people cannot drive. Where I lived when I separated my shoulder, I could make insurance payments--four in a year--with a financing fee.

You need to read my posts before you comment---as you suggested I do.



You work in an e-bike store and prefer to cycle to work. Potentially you have noticed … most people do Not work in e-bike stores, or even bike stores---and for every bike you pass, 500 cars pass you? And to all those drivers, the increased cost of owning a car is Proven not to be an issue—because they operate cars, not bikes.

Also … yes I come from a different mindset than you. I live in a Shared reality, filled with people who drive and who think I am crazy because I bike everywhere. Actually, you live in that same reality ... but apparently you ignore all the other people.

So, to me, buying a car is not crazy … not for others, and not for me. I keep a car in my driveway because it is more convenient to have it, in case I need it, that to try to rent a car for occasional use. I have only driven once since April …. (and had a bike on the rack, to ride when I arrived) but the car allowed me to do what I needed, and I didn’t have to take time to arrange a rental, drop-off and pick-up, and all that. Worth it to me.

Difference between you and I? I don’t assume everyone who thinks differently is wrong. Just different.

E-biking Might grow, but it will still only serve a very small percentage of the population. Most people Prefer cars for reasons of comfort and utility, and don’t mind the cost.

You can out as big a trailer on your e-bike as you like, but you aren’t going to get four kids to different day cares and schools, along with all their sports equipment, book bags, and handhelds, and still get to work on time in most parts of North America.

All you have to do is stand on the side of any road anywhere in North America and you will see that the automobile or some variation thereon is by a HUGE margin the chosen form of transport. Motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, and now e-bikes are all options—chosen by what one percent of the road users?

Anyway … people here love to argue. People don’t like to listen to one another and synthesize new points of view. It is always “With me or against me.”

You win.
This really does all depend on where you live. Cargo bikes and bakfiets haul multiple kids and their crap around here and get most places faster because traffic is a snarly slow mess. I always reach my destinations faster than someone driving from the same starting point - especially if one factors in parking. Not only are e-bikes becoming more popular, but tiny e-cars are as well because everything is so close together here, you don't need to go very far (but it takes can take hours to go 12 miles!!!). In wide open spaces with lower density, e-bikes will remain a novelty. In tight urban spaces, they will be common. We have very easily accessible dockless car share for those that sometimes need a roof and doors. If you live where it's not set up with car share and bike share and e-bike share and road infrastructure and distances are very long, it's definitely not going to fly.
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Old 12-27-18, 10:49 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
This really does all depend on where you live. Cargo bikes and bakfiets haul multiple kids and their crap around here and get most places faster because traffic is a snarly slow mess. I always reach my destinations faster than someone driving from the same starting point - especially if one factors in parking. Not only are e-bikes becoming more popular, but tiny e-cars are as well because everything is so close together here, you don't need to go very far (but it takes can take hours to go 12 miles!!!). In wide open spaces with lower density, e-bikes will remain a novelty. In tight urban spaces, they will be common. We have very easily accessible dockless car share for those that sometimes need a roof and doors. If you live where it's not set up with car share and bike share and e-bike share and road infrastructure and distances are very long, it's definitely not going to fly.
I suspect the use of cargo bikes and bakfiets, and tiny e-cars "hardly flies" even in SF, if the actual percentage of the population who own or use them is considered. I can't imagine even 1% of the population in S.F. area use any of those items on a bet, let alone as a regular means of transportation. I find it unlikely that will change in the foreseeable future.

You are correct that elsewhere their use is probably unseen, if not unknown.
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