I was 33 weeks pregnant the first time I got on an electric bike.
I went to ride up an incline in a 100-pound cargo bike; I had the thought “Oh no, I will not be able to do this.”
Then the electric assist kicked in, and I fell in love.
E-bikes or electric bikes or electric-assist bikes are a growing market in Europe and an emerging one here. (Click to the New Wheel, a fabulous bike shop in San Francisco, for this little primer on E-Bikes 101.)
Typical e-bike users in the US are either delivery people…or parents. I am here to chat about the latter.
Why are e-bikes so popular amongst parents? Well, carrying ever-growing cargo – i.e. kids and their stuff – to all the activities families participate in is hard work (think: school, work, grocery shopping, after school activities, etc).
Electric-assist bikes makes it possible for families to go further distances, carry more weight, and go up bigger hills. But don’t confuse us with your idea of lazy.
My e-assisted cargo bike allowed me to ride until I was 41 weeks pregnant.
My e-assisted cargo bike empowered me to ride at 5 weeks post partum.
My e-assisted cargo bike empowers me to do 15 miles a day (10 of those miles with kid cargo) while going up three large hills (yes, we live in the one Philadelphia neighborhood with hills).
So please don’t mistake me for lazy.
Electric-assist bicycles allow you to go to work less sweaty – or not sweaty at all.
For cyclists with bad knees or legs, e-bikes gives them the freedom to ride a bike without pain anymore.
For a lot of people electric assist makes riding fun again.
Currently, electric assist laws in the US are quiet muddled.
That being said, it is important for all of us that are bike riders to support the use of e-assist bikes – within certain parameters, of course. No one wants a 50mph motorcycle zooming along in the bike lane.
The League of American Bicyclists is conducting a survey on e-bike perceptions and use.
Please lend your opinion, and please remember the families who rely on this new technology to live car free or car light.
Dena Driscoll is a family biking advocate who lives with her two kids, two cats, and husband in Philly (all of whom have ridden in her cargo bike). When not riding or writing about family biking she can be found working at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse.