This has been a whirlwind of a month. Commuting solely with an electric bike has been a very interesting experience, and now is a great time to reflect on my initial goals and expectations.
Initial goal = Decrease our family car need from two to one
Status = Failure
Mary (The Wife) was quite right about how hard it is to go cold turkey on dropping down to become a one-car household. Despite my best efforts, twice this past month we found ourselves absolutely having to use both cars at the same time.
Moving forward, I would still like to greatly decrease the use of our second vehicle and put it into storage in our garage. I do, however, believe that the “convenience” factor of having a second car available may greatly undermine my willpower.
Initial goal = Improve health without significantly impacting my “normal” schedule
Status = Success!
This is probably where I have noticed the most impact on my everyday life. Building in an hour or more of physical activity most days has been great. I have trimmed down a little, and I feel more energetic than I have in years. My mornings are an adventure instead of a chore.
Moving forward, I would like to keep this up indefinitely. I do not see a significant downside other than getting wet/cold a few times (although those are often the most thrilling rides!).
Initial goal = Decrease fuel/maintenance costs associated with driving a car
Status = Success!
I keep track of all of our expenses, and I can say we easily saved around $125 in fuel costs alone during the last month. That — along with decreased insurance rates from putting the second car in storage — should equal a net gain of (minimum) $1750 per year, which will pay off the e-bike purchase in just over one year. Vehicle maintenance costs will greatly slow down as well, but I have no way to reliably estimate those gains. As for electricity cost to charge the bike’s battery, I compared our electricity bill to last year and I believe it increased by about $4.
All in all, I am very pleased with the challenge and the bicycle. I was able to work through some unexpected road bumps with minor mechanical issues without derailing my life. I am very excited to see this technology continue to improve and slowly move into mainstream America.
Turning the frown upside down
My first blog post “Selling it to the Wife” was almost completely dedicated to the decision to move towards an electric bike and my adventure in convincing my skeptical wife that this was doable.
To quote her on more than one occasion during this challenge — “I am going to have to drive you everywhere!” But this evening I finally got her onto the e-bike to take the kiddos out for a ride. In addition to seeing her wearing the classic “e-bike smile,” I believe the ride (and my persistence) convinced her that I am committed to using bikes as a viable mode of family transportation.
I would like to thank family and friends who have supported my little adventure and, of course, EVELO for making it possible.