Friday, 9 December 2016

The Psychology of EBikes

The Psychology of EBikes


For the cyclist who is less fit, aging or wants to haul heavy loads and  EBike is an obvious choice. It will do some of the work for you whilst enabling you to do what needs to be done. Alternatively you may be opting for an EBike becuase you wish to use you car less. Each situation produces a certain set of considerations in terms of  how we may think about the Ebike.

Do you get the same buzz from riding an EBike that you do, when riding a normal bicycle?
Is an EBike better for the Environment?

The answers to these questions and therefore how you feel about the switch will depend on whether you are considering an Ebike as an alternative to a car or or bicycle  . . . or perhaps some other form of transport.

As an alternative to a Bicycle


Sense of Achievement

When returning from a 10, 15 , 20 mile ride on a normal bike you think:

"Wow I got all that way under my own steam. . . well done me"

When you do the same (or further on an EBike) how much have you achieved? In terms of effort certainly less, and therefore should you take less satisfaction from the journey?

Chill Out Time

Riding a normal bike is a very organic experience, and it is quiet too. This is relaxing.  Perhaps you will not feel the same after listening to the whine of an electric motor for 1/2 an hour.

An EBike ride is still a lot more  relaxing and invigorating than driving car, but isn't an EBike just a slow motor bike?

Environmental

I can cycle 15 miles on a pizza. However the fuel for my EBike is rather more complicated. I need to charge it up. . .where does this electricity come from. In nearly all countries around the world, some of the electricity will be provided by fossil fuels, the burning of which contribute to climate change. In france for example charging my bike will create 5 times less CO2 than in the UK.

A green electricity tariff will help lower these impacts and promote new renewable energy infrastructure.

There is also the impact of manufacturing the bike. There are few electrical components in a normal bike, whilst there are printed circuit boards, copper wire, and solder contained used in the manufacture of an EBike.

As an alternative to a Car


Sense of Achievement

You get a higher sense of achievement from making a journey on an EBike than you do than using a car. After all being out in the elements on a bike (Ebike or normal bike) is still more of an adventure than if you went in your metal box on wheels (car).

Chill Out Time

This depends greatly on your attitude, if you choose to follow a direct busy route, travelling mixed with speeding cars, then you will be worse off then if you drive.

The key here is to accept the fact that an EBike takes a long time to get anywhere, and plan to take an indirect quiet route on minor roads. This way you will get some chill out time.

Environmental

Unless you car is electric, then this is where an EBike will win hands down. A bike creates a lot less environmental impact in its manufacture then a car, and charging uses between 20% and 100% renewable energy depending on your source.

For a 1 mile trip your carbon footprint for fuel would be:

ebike_carbon_footprint
Carbon Footprint - Car vs Bike vs Ebike
However, how you fuel your body make a big difference. For example a Vegan driving a small efficient car will produce less CO2 per mile, than a meat eating cyclist. 

Conclusions

The benefits from moving away from a car to an EBike are plain to see. You should feel awesome. 

Whilst you get less exercise, and create slightly more environmental impact riding an ebike as opposed to a bicycle, don'y worry too much the differences are marginal.

Staying chilled out whichever route you are on depends on your attitude. 


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