The two week e-bike challenge
First a bit of background... in my previous role at Bauer Media I was able to take advantage of some great facilities and the location at CityWorksDepot to run or cycle to work on a regular basis. This was perfect as it meant I was getting some exercise as well as reducing petrol consumption, so it was better for me - and the planet!
Fast forward to today and I'm enjoying most of the challenges of running a new IT services business - but being stuck in traffic isn't one of them!
A lot of our work can be run remotely, but there is nothing better than working closely with people to better understand how they work, and the technical challenges and opportunities they might be facing, so I like to get out to see the businesses we work with as often as possible.
I'm also determined to run the business as efficiently and responsibly as I can, so when Maurice at Electric Bike Hub mentioned they run a 14-day bike challenge I decided it was worth a try.
I wanted to find out whether I could get around the city by bike, visit clients and partners, without losing too much time or inconveniencing anyone.
How did it go? Well suffice to say I almost felt guilty cruising around on the bike, it was so much fun!
An e-bike has a lot of advantages and the bike I was trialling (eZee Forza) was a particularly well put together example.
The things that really worked for me were:
- Able to wear smart casual / business clothes and arrive ready to meet with clients.
- Getting a bit of exercise without overdoing it.
- Easy to use and charge the bike.
- The integrated lock and lights make it straightforward and fast to rock up somewhere and park the bike, and then get going again when you're done.
- No parking hassles, and virtually no traffic hassles either. You do need to plan your route, especially if you are not confident in traffic with cars and buses, but Auckland is constantly improving in this regard, and I can't speak highly enough of the new cycleways.
- The e-bike also felt safer because you have the assisted acceleration to get started at lights, and you are sitting upright with great visibility.
- The ferries are also well set up, getting to Devonport by bike and ferry was simply a joy compared to the woes of negotiating Lake Rd by car.
- Battery life was fantastic. On my longest day on the bike (well over 30kms on full power) I still had over 20% battery remaining.
Things to be aware of:
- Waterproof bag / panniers are essential.
- Timing is everything when it comes to Auckland weather - I did get caught out once but if you have a bit of flexibility in your schedule you can generally wait the rain out.
- You do need somewhere undercover to store and charge the bike at night.
- e-Bikes are an investment in the region of NZD$3k and upwards for a decent battery and kit. That being said, I didn't spend a cent on public transport or parking while I had the bike! (Asides from the ferry of course)
So will I be buying an e-bike? All I can say is I learnt that I'm a lot happier when I can ride rather than be stuck in traffic, so watch this space!