Bike to work without the sweat

If money talks, it’s easy to see electric bikes are the next big trend. A quick search revealed two high grossing electric bike crowdfunding projects: Sondors Electric Bike raised over $5 million in Spring 2015, and the more recent Wave Electric Bike has raised over $560,000 in just one month and still has 20 days left. The good news is, Dallas has the opportunity to be a leader in this sustainable trend.

With our flat topography and close proximity to work, Dallas is perfectly suited to embrace this sustainable way of travel. Bike to Work Day hit the nation on Friday, May 15, 2015 making it a great time to think about changing up your daily commute with a fun alternative.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to test ride an electric bike. I must admit, I wasn’t excited because I enjoy a traditional bike ride, but I completely underestimated the fun aspect of the electric bike. One pedal and the electric engages, boosting your speed, bringing you back to your childhood with your parents racing behind pushing your bike forward. I whizzed around the parking lot joyfully smiling the entire time. I was hooked.

Test riding an electric bike from Small Planet E Bikes in Oak Cliff, Dallas.

Test riding an electric bike from Small Planet E Bikes in Oak Cliff, Dallas.

In Texas, the heat can be the most challenging aspect of biking to work. Most Dallas area residents work in an environment, where it may be looked down upon, to show up drenched in sweat. If your worry about biking to work is that you will work up a stinky sweat on the way, an electric assisted bike can be the answer to your problems. The electric bikes allow you to dial up or down the electric assisted push so you can take it easy on the way to work and get more exercise on the way home, if you so choose.

Luckily, we have a local shop, where you can test out and purchase your own electric bike. Small Planet Electric Bikes is a shop established in Colorado with a new location opened about a year ago, in Oak Cliff. Zach Arnt, Small Planet Electric Bikes Manager, is excited about bringing the nationwide energy for electric bikes to Dallas. Arnt wrote in an email to me, “We ALL share one, increasingly small planet, and E-bikes are a responsible, fun, and economical solution to traffic and pollution. Every E-bike we sell takes a motor vehicle off the road.”

If you weren’t interested in the bike for physical reasons the cash reasons may be worth it. The average car on the market gets about 24 miles per gallon, while an electric bike can get about 2,000 miles per gallon. If you live 10 miles from your job, biking to work could save you about $9.20 per day based on the calculator.

There are numerous options for purchasing an electric bike. You can buy a do-it-yourself kit to convert the bike you own to an electric bike, or buy a specially designed electric bike. The electric bikes range from $500 to high end over $6,000. A bit expensive, but a lot less than a new or used car, the weekly gas, and vehicle maintenance fees. Besides the financial reasons, standard and electric bikes create less vehicle traffic on the roads, combat noise pollution and can greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.

Electric bikes can significantly lower your environmental impact on the planet but they do still take a power outlet to charge and manufacturing of their batteries should be taken into account. It does take resources to make the bike but the more people that choose a bike over a car, the better for our planet. In the 2011 study “Life Cycle Assessment of Transportation Options for Commuters”, Shreya Dave of MIT found an electric bike to be about equal energy efficient to create as a conventional bike, and an electric bike to be 18 times more energy efficient than a SUV.

Electric bikes are catching on around the country, don’t let Dallas fall behind. This Friday, or any day, get your bike out, or try an electric bike, do something good for you and the environment and pedal to work.

As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly. 

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