This is a Confession, not a Bike Review

Revolve Business Casual
Revolve Business Casual | Photo: Pete Prebus

Pete Prebus is writing our series on The Rise of the Commuter & E-Bike Specialist Shop (parts 1, 2, & 3).

Yesterday I borrowed an e-bike from Pete. It was the Revolve Business Casual that he reviewed last month.

The bike’s power is a little underwhelming. But gutless as it is, it made the hills on my commute home much easier. I had to pedal to maintain or exceed my usual unassisted speed on hills.

But this is not a bike review.

This morning, as I was getting ready to head in to work, I remembered that I still had this bike.   At that moment, I felt a little bit of dread melt away.

Dread, you say? Yes. It was like seeing something out of the corner of your eye, and when you turn your head it’s gone.

But I can’t deny it was there. This e-bike offered me minor relief from something to which I was not   looking forward wholeheartedly: my bike commute.

Let the introspection begin.

Do I embrace the e-bike as something that could make my bike commute easier? Or do I reject it, like a slippery slope that leads down to the seat of a car?

I think I have my answer. As penance, I’m going to take home a single speed bike, and take those hills the right way.

Let’s pretend this whole incident never happened.

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9 thoughts on “This is a Confession, not a Bike Review”

  1. Rob E. says:

    This is why I shun e-bikes. Not because I think that they are useless, evil, or a bad idea, but because I’m afraid I would love them too much, and unassisted rides would become more and more rare. I can’t quite see them leading me into a car. I’ve already been led into a car, and I’ve come back, but I can easily see where I became so reliant on a motor that that last hill on my commute, the one I used to walk up, went back to being something I couldn’t pedal up under my own steam. Don’t tempt me, electric assist, you cannot rob me of the only exercise I get.

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      I didn’t take the single-speed home. My wife picked me up in the car and gave me a ride home. I had no idea the slope would be that slippery.

  2. Josh Lipton says:

    Perhaps we should start up

  3. I am torn about e-bikes. Once they become as affordable as non-e-bikes, and can take me much further (say, two or three times) on a charge than I can ride, and let’s say at a similar or faster pace, and there are more places to charge them when you need a charge, they may appeal to me more. For now, though, I like riding too much to start sliding down the slope at all.

  4. Hey Ted, I have a couple more e-bikes to tempt you with!

    @Josh, I like that idea! Might be a funny Facebook page 🙂

  5. Bob P. says:

    My bike commute is my exercise time, although I can get too warm on the ride in. I am experiencing dissonance when I think of one. Maybe I should take one for a test spin.

  6. Cars and e-bikes provide no temptation to me whatsoever. I love riding my bike and I would not get to work any other way. With that said, I am intrigued by e-bikes. I figure that when I get to an age (hopefully a long time)that I am unable to bike unassisted, this will provide me a way to continue to bike.

  7. peteathome says:

    On a pedelec ebike – the type that only assists your pedaling – you still get plenty of exercise. But you can avoid heavy sweating, so they are great for going to an off-site meeting at work without having to change or shower again. Or for going to work without having to change or shower.

    I think they have the opposite effect of a slippery slope leading to a car. Instead, you end up with fewer excuses to take a car. A large load of groceries – no problem. Can’t get too sweaty – no problem. Don’t want to get too tired – only a slight problem. Running short of time – the ebike might help.

    I have a Bionx add-on kit on my bike. Top speed 20 mph, typical range on a charge, using level 2 assist, about 35 miles. And the kit is light enough that I can easily continue without assist power ( I typically have to go one gear lower than with my regular bike) so no range anxiety. I think I actually get more exercise with this assist kit than before because I do ALL my transportational trips by bicycle. I also achieve a higher over-all speed with the ebike than an unassisted bike, so longer trips of, say, 15 miles are more doable.

    I still use a regular bikes for recreational rides or when I just feel like getting out there and bicycling because it is just more fun than the ebike. But for utility, the ebike wins.

  8. Todd Waddell says:

    I’ve had a BionX equipped cargo bike and a non-assisted commuter for 3 years, now. In addition, my wife has a pedelec and a non-asssisted commuter. In my experience, they are very different bikes and neither replaces the other.

    Certainly, the pedelecs are easier, but they are not as much fun. After a while with pedelecs, we realized that we ride bikes because we like riding bikes and that the expeience of the pedelecs isn’t quite the same.

    The pedelecs provide some exercise, but not nearly as much. If you usually ride a non-assisted bike and then switch to a good amount of time with a pedelec, you will loose tone, and you will absolutely feel the differenec in effort when you get back on your non-assisted bike.

    I would say that if the thought of the effort required keeps you off of your non-assisted bike, then yes, you will get more exercise on a pedelec. But not a whole bunch more. And if you’re thinking that the pedelec will keep you in shape or help with your cardio endurence, it really won’t.

    I ride my e-assist cargo bike when I’m hauling kids or things. But I’d rather be on my regular bike any day of the week. Similarly, my wife–who started riding regularly on her e-assist bike–now prefers her regular bike, unless there’s it’s a particularly windy day.

    For us, our ebikes are handy low environmental/exertion utility transportation. But our traditional bikes are fun transportation.

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