Chapter 2: Why Electric Bikes?

Often people wonder why they should purchase an electric bike, compared to a regular bicycle or even a scooter. And it’s a valid question. As we mentioned before, an electric bike provides additional power beyond leg pedal power. However, it offers less power than a moped, so it’s not classified as such. It’s this sweet spot that has helped electric bikes thrive.

 

Comparison: Electric bikes / regular bikes

Regular biking has been enjoyed by people for hundreds of years, but because regular bikes solely rely on leg power, some people have not been able to ride as far as they like, or simply can’t ride at all. Some simply can’t ride the long distances they would like to travel because of hills, or they simply lack the physical fitness required to bike long distances. Elderly people, those getting back into shape, or people with injuries can see traditional bicycling as unrealistic. Many times, biking is considered an inconvenience simply because of the effort required, compared to cars and other transportation options.

 

Most electric bikes have pedal assist, which allows the rider to set how much power should be given by the electric motor. Thus, when a rider is pedaling, the motor automatically kicks in to feed power to the bike. Some bikes also have a manual throttle - much like a motorcycle or scooter has - that allows the rider to access power on demand.

 

Electric bikes remove the barriers that limit some people from bicycling, simply by providing an additional source of power through an electric motor. A Blix electric bicycle provides the same experience as a regular bike - allowing the rider to pedal for power - yet with an additional boost that allows people to ride father, overcome large hills easily, etc. with less effort and sweating. Riders of electric bikes can easily start after stopping and can also carry additional items without worrying about the extra weight.

 

Comparison: Electric Bikes and Cars

While cars are the most popular form of transportation, it doesn’t make them best form of transportation. Heavy traffic, lack of parking spaces, high pollution, fuel/maintenance costs and lack of exercise of drivers are all negative effects of cars.

 

Electric bikes provide an alternative to cars, especially in highly congested urban areas, or simply to run an errand. An estimated 33 percent of each person’s vehicle miles were shopping or running errands, according to the EPA[1]. Plus, 60 percent of all car trips are 5 miles or less[2] and 50 percent of all trips are 3 miles or less[3].  

 

Electric bike vs. Public transportation

Public transportation can be a viable alternative to using a car, especially when attempting to avoid traffic. Yet one of the barriers for many people to use transportation to get to and from work, or to simply get across town, is that public transit doesn’t necessarily deliver passengers to their destination, forcing people to travel an additional distance.

 

Electric bikes provide a way around this. Since many busses and trains provide space for bicycles, many commuters are finding they can use public transit to get to a stop, then hop on their eBike to travel to their destination. Foldable ebikes, such as the Vika+ and Vika Travel from Blix Bikes, allow riders to easily fold and store their electric bike on a bus or train, then unfold the bike and go. Multimodal transportation combines the efficiency of public transit with the freedom of the bicycle.

 

[1] EPA 2009 National Household Travel Survey

[2] Columbia University Study: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1071688_95-of-all-trips-could-be-made-in-electric-cars-says-study

[3] National Household Travel Study: http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/2009_NHTS_Short_Trips_Analysis.pdf