Ebikes & Slate

Jamelle Bouie’s Tern cargo e-bike

So I noticed that both Jamelle Bouie and David Plotz seemed to advocate for e-bikes on the latest Slate Political Gabfest! Well known for his writing/commentary for the NYT/CBS News, Jamelle Bouie also spends time riding his Tern GSD , a well outfitted cargo e-bike, which he uses to transport his kids and run errands around town.

Great minds cruise down the same roads…my RadWagon has done the same for several years now! His Tern has bunch of upgrades from mine: mid-drive Bosch motor, suspension fork, hydraulic brakes, and 20″ wheels, and it is somewhat foldable. But to my surprise, no throttle, power assist only! I am not sure that it is worth +$3000 over the Radwagon, at least for me. But he is a young man, I am not, and I rely on the throttle to get me going in tight situations (stop signs and traffic lights are but one example.)

Jamelle gives a good rationale for buying even this well made e-bike: it is cheaper and easier to use than a car for most trips in town!

(I was tempted to edit the grammar, but he writes for the NYT, I figure he wants his tweets informal):

“the reason for this particular bike — an e-assist cargo bike — is that we need a second vehicle but i absolutely do not want to own another car. so for far less than a car (to say nothing of insurance and fees and taxes and such) i get something that i can do 95% of trips with”

IMHO e-bikes are a new catagory of transportation (and recreation): they take the sting (and sweat) out of bike travel, yet massively reduce the carbon footprint of gas powered vehicles like mopeds, scooters, motorcycles and cars. (A charge cycle on an e-bike battery costs less than a dime at today’s electricity rates.)

They are fun to use, so people use them more to do day to day tasks, and thus use their cars/trucks less. Each e-bike in use is one less car on our already overcrowded streets and parking lots, which I see as win/win.

Rad Wagon Venus
Rad Wagon Venus