Friday, January 25, 2008

The Lectric Bike

This is a copy of the post that I wrote today for the Practical Pedal Electric Commuter Blog

Now that I’ve had the Snugg prototype for a few days, and put thirty or so miles on it, I have some thoughts. These thoughts, fortunately, are quite contrary to some preconceptions I carried into this experiment. One of those preconceptions, given the weather of late, was that I would not be working much on the bike, and would therefore feel cold. Another was that riding something with a motor would be the equivalent to riding a scooter or a small motorcycle, which while not completely antithetical to my philosophy about transportation, still not my first choice. I am after all a cyclist, not a motorcyclist.

Fortunately neither of those concerns turned out to have any merit, essentially for the same reason. This bike feels like exactly that, a bike. When I take off in the morning I have the exact same feeling as if I were riding my xtracycle, I’m riding a bicycle to work. The only change is that it is much much faster than a conventional bicycle. Now granted, I could if I chose, put it in a low gear and pedal the modicum rate that would engage the motor, and therefore let the motor basically push me down the road at around 20 miles an hour. But the emotion evoked while riding the Snugg commuter is the same as while riding a good downhill section, or home from the bar with a brisk tailwind. That extra sensation of speed is so exhilarating that I find myself pedaling much harder than I normally would unassisted. Now, instead of increasing my cadence to catch and pass another cyclist that has turned onto the road a block ahead, I am trying to chase down that Escalade, and more often than not, I catch it. Because now I can maintain a speed for several blocks that is greater than the speedlimit in most instances. I therefore arrive at my lab every morning, slightly out of breath, sweating just a bit (even this last week with temps in the single digits, that’s well below zero for the Canadians and Europeans out there), and with a small smile on my face that I lack on the few and regrettable days that I drive my car. Cuz I just rode a bike to work, I just did it in about half the time it would normally take.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Interesting to know.