The electric bicycle isn’t about exercise, but getting from place to place, especially commuting to work.
For those who can’t stand getting stuck in traffic on a short commute, the bicycle could be the perfect answer. You can get to work on time, enjoy the fresh air [we hope], avoid tolls and public transportation and spend zero money on gasoline. If there’s one problem that this doesn’t address is the inherently sweaty condition that you arrive to work in, since your bicycle doesn’t come equipped with air conditioning. If you ride an electric bicycle, you can still get to work without having to take a shower when you get there.
Some might point to scooters and motorcycles to solve this problem, but then you’d have to still have to deal with traffic, even if the dangerous practice of lane-splitting is permitted. An electric bicycle however, in some places, is even more maneuverable and portable, allowing you a degree of freedom not found with other modes of transportation. Micah Toll, founder of Pulse Motors, has set out to address the costs of this new freedom, and looks to be releasing a new book to help DIYers convert their conventional bicycles to electric.
Toll notes that a good electric bicycle can cost as much as a used car, while cheaper electric bicycles aren’t that good. When a bicycle starts getting in the realm of $2,000 or more, it becomes hard to justify the expense. On the other hand, a little bit of know-how can change a regular bicycle into an electric bicycle for as little as $800 in parts.
I have a 1995 Giant ATX 760 I bought new in 1995 as a commuter for about $600, so as little as $800 today to convert this same bicycle to electric actually sounds like a great idea. I already know how this bicycle handles, and it’s practically indestructible. If it wasn’t for the fact that I use this bike for exercise, it would be an excellent candidate for electrification.