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Five Reasons to Buy an Electric Bike

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Electric bikes (e-bikes) are not new to the transportation scene but they are here to stay. With gas prices on the rise and an overall trend toward environmental sustainability, they can be a smart investment that offers a bounty of added benefits for the rider.

If you’re new to e-bikes, they make biking easier by supplying electric assistance when you need it (or want it). E-bikes work pretty much like regular bikes except that the small electric motor engages when you push the pedals to assist so you can zip up hills and handle tough terrain. Think of how fast you can get back home if you get caught in a rainstorm on your ride! For those who are on the fence about making the purchase, we’ve got five great reasons to jump off the fence and onto a new e-bike:

YOU’LL SAVE MONEY ON COMMUTING

As gas prices rise, an e-bike is a low-cost alternative to using your car to commute to work or school, or to take care of errands. E-bikes can help you cover greater distances than you might travel by regular bike or by walking. You can charge up your electric-assist battery using a regular electric outlet.

HILLS? NO PROBLEM

Steep and long hill climbs may be the #1 barrier for those who would love to bike to work or school. By the time you get there (or back) you’re sweaty and probably need to change your clothes—not ideal for regular commuting. An e-bike helps you tackle hills. Just crank up the motor and you’ll find you’ve arrived at your destination in less time and with a lot less effort.

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YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR DAILY EXERCISE AT YOUR PACE

Opting to travel by e-bike rather than by car will increase your fitness. You will probably choose to e-bike to work or shop over walking or taking a regular bike since you can cover more miles faster and more efficiently. You’ll get out more frequently during the week and may find yourself on longer rides. Before you know it, you could begin to notice changes in your overall health and physical appearance. And once you see how easy it is to ride with a little help with hills and added acceleration, you may just begin to look forward to your commute.

YOU’LL FEEL SAFER IN TRAFFIC

Intersections and rotaries are the sites of most bike accidents. This is due to the few extra moments it takes to get up to speed after stopping or slowing down. Getting up to speed quicker with electric assistance can give you the few valuable seconds you need to safely navigate through traffic. Almost all major brands are equipped with an intuitive pedal-assist system and high-quality (usually disc) brakes to reduce speed or stop efficiently.

YOU’LL REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

Reducing the miles we drive has a positive impact on the environment, but due to the rural nature of the state, Vermonters drive more than any other New Englanders. Transportation causes up to 40% of Vermont’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We can also reduce our impact by switching out a gas-powered car or truck for an electric vehicle, and an e-bike can replace some car trips. As we grapple with the effects of global warming on our planet, our efforts to move to clean energy options are essential.

E-bikes can be a safe, efficient, and fun mode of transportation. They make sense in Vermont where the hilly terrain can be challenging for those of us who aren’t high-performance cyclists. Visit your local bike shop to try out models, make sure you do your research on the features and functions, and check to see if there are rebates and incentives. If you live in Vermont, you’ll find some great information and resources at Local Motion and Drive Electric Vermont.

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About Laurie Fielder

Laurie directs VSECU’s statewide VGreen energy savings loan program. Previously, she worked for the weatherization program at the Central Vermont Community Action Council (now Capstone), and for a successful residential solar installer. She enjoys helping Vermonters learn about efficiency and renewable financing options that maximize the savings of these smart investments. She lives in Woodbury with her family and enjoys the outdoors, walking the dog, and tackling home improvement projects.
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