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Responsibly evangelizing electric bicycling
Submitted by reikiman on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 10:43
Bike-to-Work day is this week. In the past I barely recognized it because I bike to work so often it wasn't out of the ordinary for me. However there's a big deal made about it seemingly. At least here in Silicon Valley there is active promotion of the idea.
How to Live with Insufferable Cyclist Syndrome seems to be assuming a bike-to-work person might sway over to over-hyping or over-evangalising the idea of biking to work. Y'know, scraping their keys along the sides of the hummers in the parking lot, or blocking the hallways when they bring their bicycle inside etc.
Interesting thoughts.. As he said perhaps the best evangalism of bicycling to work (electric or otherwise) is to simply do it and demonstrate with actions rather than words.
Here's a few electric bicycling centered thoughts ...
Why oh why is it that bicycling advocates ignore electric bicycles? It's like the thought is only non-power-assist bicyclists are pure enough to be called bicyclists. In truth for me anyway the goal is transportation with a smaller power / energy / ecosystem impact, and any kind of bicycle is a huge improvement over driving a car to accomplish the same solo commute to work. Seems to me they should acknowledge that both non-power-assist and power-assist bicyclists are chasing the same rainbow, that we can get to work w/o driving a behemoth that stinks up the atmosphere.
An electric bicycle is more practical for commuting to work as it decreases the concern over being stinky when you get there.
Because an electric bicycle is more practical perhaps it's not required to wear the lycra and all that stuff. BUT, wear your helmet and who cares if it makes you look like a dork. The helmet can save your life, even the skimpy bicycle helmets.
Pay attention to the commute time required for the e-bicycle commute. In my experience my (former) commute took 10-15 mins by car, 20 mins by motorcycle, and 30-45 mins by e-bicycle. Your boss won't appreciate that you're saving the planet if you show up to work late or work less hours because of your longer commute. But you can balance the longer commute by knowing you're getting exercise and becoming healthier.
Pay attention to safety, as it's no good to be using a more wholesome commute process and get creamed by an SUV because you weren't practicing safe cycling. That finger points at me too, because I got knocked over by an SUV while e-bicycling to work one day. Fortunately the SUV was going low speed and I was able to immediately get up and start yelling at them. In any case there are bicycle safety training programs, motorcycle safety programs, and they can teach you about good bicycling safety etiquette.
It's such a shame that most businesses and stores have so few bicycle parking slots. That's part of the overbearing normalthink (prevailing consensus opinion) that the only valid way of transportation is using a car. It impedes the success of using a bicycle for transportation.
It seems most people think of a bicycle as a toy for recreation, and e.g. they'll strap the bicycle to an SUV and drive to a park to spend an afternoon bicycling around, then drive home. Uh? What a crazy picture that is in my mind. Anyway bicycles can be perfectly adequate for regular transportation, and electric bicycles are doubly so.