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Why you guys prefer ebike to bike?

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Why you guys prefer ebike to bike?

Old 10-29-19, 07:09 PM
  #101  
CodyDog
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I prefer my ebike when I'm running to the store or going down town with my wife for food and fun. I prefer my MTB for the trails and prefer my gravel bike for road exercise.
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Old 10-30-19, 06:15 AM
  #102  
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So, my interest in cycling is almost entirely for sustainable transportation.

Sustainability takes many forms. It's usually used in terms of pollutant emissions (whether we're talking about greenhouse gases or more local pollution like particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and smog precursors), but there's also safety, space utilization, public health, and even societal factors regarding sustainability.

So, moving from internal combustion engine cars to electric cars does reduce pollutant emissions (unless you're moving from the most efficient ICE vehicles, in the most coal-heavy regions, but even then, it reduces local pollutant emissions). That is more sustainable, but is it truly sustainable? It's still a car. This means that it still can have a whole lot of kinetic energy (yes, EVs do tend to have more crumple zone (due to a much more empty front section) and a more rigid passenger cell (due to the battery), but an EV can still inflict a lot of damage. It's the same size, and therefore takes just as much space on the roads and when parked. It still gives you zero exercise. It still enables far-flung suburban and exurban commuting patterns that contribute to the societal decay that we see in the US, and results in the isolation of people who are unable to drive.

Moving from cars to bicycles is an interesting one. Safety-wise, a bicycle user is in more danger than a car user... but everyone else is in less danger. A bicycle obviously uses far less space, allowing space to be used more efficiently in communities. Wide bicycle usage means people are exercising, reducing health issues for the society. And, making communities more compact and bicycle-preferential can improve societal cohesion, and keeps people from falling out of society due to disability, old age, or poverty.

But I didn't say anything about pollution.

Human diets have pretty shockingly high greenhouse gas emissions, to the point that bicycles can end up with similar emissions to electric cars. I ran some numbers a while back and found that a roadster-style bicycle at 20 km/h, ridden by someone eating just rice and lentils, has similar CO2 emissions to a Tesla Model 3 charged on upstate New York electricity. The car gets worse in all other grid regions of the US unless it's specifically being charged from renewables, but then the bike gets worse on more realistic diets, too (especially if they're not vegan, especially if they're beef/lamb-eating (non-ruminant meats are only about as bad as dairy and eggs) - ruminant meat diets may even rival internal combustion cars on GHG emissions).

Note that the bike can also get better if it's a more efficient bike, but there's reasons why countries with high bicycle mode share primarily use roadster-style bicycles, instead of more efficient styles. Road bikes have comfort and utility limitations, recumbents have various issues depending on the style but parking compatibility and ease of handling in stop-and-go conditions are a couple common to various styles (and, frankly, my recumbent trike is less efficient than my very upright step-through near-roadster-geometry (seat tube isn't quite roadster levels of slack) Dutch e-bike that weighs a good 7 kg more, so that's a thing).

An electric bicycle has an order of magnitude lower electricity consumption than the Tesla, though, very neatly solving that problem. If it's a Class 2, it doesn't necessarily do much for the public health side of things (because you can just twist the throttle instead of actually putting effort in), and if it's a Class 1/EPAC or Class 3/S-Pedelec, it doesn't do as much to reduce GHG emissions (because of human power input), but either way, it's an improvement over cars.

And that comes to another point for transportation cycling, on the public health side of things. If you're out of shape, it becomes even harder to use just human power - you need more of it to move a heavier body, but you have less ability to deliver it, and you're more likely to overheat or just get worn out. And, quite frankly, you're likely to be slower, which means it takes longer to get from point A to point B. All of this encourages using a car, and continuing to be out of shape. (And, of course, utility bicycles need more power for a given speed than road bikes or high-performance recumbents, too, meaning electric bicycles can do more jobs in more comfort at the same speed.)

An e-bike at least gets you out there on a bicycle, and even a Class 2 may need you to help out some (especially if it's a hub motor system) to get up hills. A Class 1/EPAC or 3/S-Pedelec makes you work a little for it (to get the full 490 W peak power output, I have to put in at least 188 watts, and to get the 250 W nominal power output, I have to put in at least 96 watts), while still getting you to work quickly, and without too much sweat.

So, e-bikes end up being lower emissions than conventional bikes, they end up being more accessible for many riders, meaning that they improve sustainability.
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Old 12-04-19, 07:04 AM
  #103  
YuriyLogvin
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I've done my first e-bike conversion about 7 years ago for my elderly in-laws. They heard about e-bikes on TV or something. Since they really loved riding but it became physically harder for them to pedal, we decided to make an e-bike.
I'd say, interest in electric bikes has always been there. Nowadays it's just a lot easier to do this. We have a lot more accessible parts, reasonable prices. So, it's definitely more fun to be an e-bike enthusiast today.
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Old 12-04-19, 07:59 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by YuriyLogvin View Post
I'd say, interest in electric bikes has always been there. Nowadays it's just a lot easier to do this. We have a lot more accessible parts, reasonable prices. So, it's definitely more fun to be an e-bike enthusiast today.
There has always been an interest in motorized bicycles. They've been around all my life, but for much of that period they had to be gasoline powered and those machines were just never practical enough to catch on. Small electric motors have tremendous advantages, but only in this century has battery technology improved enough to make them practical. We will likely see even more advances in battery technology, so I think e-bikes will get better and become more popular over the next decade or two. I suspect we'll also see more transitional two wheeled vehicles that have no pedals but look more like a bike than a motorcycle.
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