Do you own a two-wheeler in the city? A scooter perhaps? Something that can effortlessly cart you to work, get groceries when needed or drop kids to school…
What if I told you that, you could do all of this at a fraction of cost, without having to worry about insurance, registration, parking or rising fuel prices? Sounds a bit unbelievable doesn’t it. Well, I have been testing the PuREnergy Pure 2.0 electric bicycle (e-bike) on the streets of Chandigarh for a month now and I’m utterly convinced that there’s no better city commuter than an e-bike. So why is an e-bike better than the scooter you have parked outside your house?
1. Saves Money
An Ebike is cheaper to buy than a scooter. The daily cost of running an e-bike is between under 5 to 10 paise/kilometre. This running cost is 1/10 of what of the most fuel efficient motorcycle, or 1/20 of most gear less scooters.
2. No need for Insurance/Registration/PUC Certificate
Do you love spending time looking for the cheapest insurance, or when the cops pull you over to see the pollution certificate. I know I don’t. An e-bike doesn’t need registration, there’s no insurance involved and there’s no need to get a pollution certificate every few months.
3. No Parking Woes
Most bicycle parking is free or costs a fraction of what a scooter/car parking does. No-one minds locking your e-bike to any fixed object – electricity pole, railing right outside the store/mall/ pub you want to visit. Try doing that with your scooter.
4. No Petrol shock
Ever had that Gut wrenching feel when the global petrol prices go up? I know I do since I run a fuel guzzling Maruti Gypsy. But that doesn’t matter with an e-bike. Also, you never have to worry about adulterated fuel from your local fuel station.
5. No arriving at office sweaty and out of energy
If you cycle to work, I am sure you’ve had that instance where you’ve turned in huffing and puffing in a sweaty shirt only to be told there’s an important meeting you must attend. With an e-bike, the office commute can be as easy as you want it to be. Don’t feel like pedalling on a hot day – cruise along in throttle mode.
6. Beat the traffic
An e-bike is far nimbler through dense traffic than a scooter. In the worst case, you can always pull it up on the pavement and walk with it, something you can’t do with your scooter. Throttle assist means you can still cross that traffic light when there are 5 seconds left for it to turn orange. A 25 kmph top whack means you will be faster than any four wheelers in rush hour traffic.
7. No “cop” woes
How many times have you been pulled over by cops on a bicycle, vis-a-vis a scooter? I have been pulled over once in Chandigarh in the last 21 days only by a cop who was curious as to why my bicycle was moving without me pedalling it.
8. The coolest dad/neighbour
Unless you own a really expensive motorcycle, an e-bike will make you the coolest person in the neighbourhood. I know in Chandigarh there was not a kid in the colony who didn’t give me an appreciating look me or asked to ride my e-bike.
How many passionate groups do you know that cater to a scooter? Now look for the number of cycling groups in your city. There’s great camaraderie to be had in a cycling group and when you ride with them you will forge bonds for life. Go for group rides, make friends, discover places in your city that you never knew existed. I know because I’ve had the opportunity to ride with Cyclegiri and Chandigarh Cycling Club in Chandigarh and have discovered places that I never knew existed.
10. No extra slice of cake guilt
Now that you’ve ditched your scooter for an e-bike, you will never feel guilty about binging on that extra slice of cake. Just dial down the pedal assist to its lowest level and burn off those extra calories on your jaunt home from the bakery.
11. Save Time
Compare these three experiences: Get in the car, wait in traffic, queue to get into the car park, park, pay to park, arrive or b) Walk to bus stop, wait for bus, complain about bus being late, get on bus (pay), watch as it takes you via the most roundabout route possible, arrive, about half a kilometre from your destination or c) Get on the bike, filter past traffic, lock the bike, arrive. Which of these scenarios seems faster?
12. Save the Environment
If you live in Delhi NCR, Hyderabad or Bangalore – Need I tell you what you’re inhaling. You could be making a positive step to reduce emissions by riding your e-bike. Remember it’s not just for you but also for what our children are inhaling. AN e-bike has no exhaust and it’s as clean as the electricity source that powers it. Before you tell me that electricity in India is generated in coal power plants, check this out. Renewable energy account for 34.4% of the total installed power capacity in India.
Yes, I did say 12. But here’s the whopper! If I had to pick just one reason to ditch a scooter for an e-bike it would be this.
Fitness – Lose Weight/Build Muscle/Fight Disease
While you can ride the e-bike using the throttle mode, you always have the option to pedal along. Excuses not to bike melt away when you know you always have the fallback option of the electric motor if you get too tired or need to get somewhere quickly. On days that you want to really shred those calories you can ride an e-bike like a normal bike – just turn off the power assist. Do it often and you will find that distances that seemed impossible to reach yesterday are within your reach today. Yes, it’s because you’re much fitter today than on the day you got your e-bike. Also if you’ve got weak knees as I do, remember that cycling is extremely low impact sport.