Sep 8, 2021 Putnam County News and Recorder
By Krystal Ford - Climate Smart Coordinator
E-bikes Are A Smart Choice
E-bikes can counter our community's dependence on petro based transportaion while helping citizens stay fit
When we first moved 12 years ago to Philipstown I frequently rode my bike on 9d from Garrison to Cold Spring. Ten years, two kids, and change of address later, just thinking about biking uphill from 9d to 9 left me breathless. I sold my road bike and resigned myself to driving, even short distances.
That changed recently when we became a one-car family, and I started using an electric bike. I wished that I had known about them sooner because I actually enjoy riding again. E-bikes are fun, convenient, and great for the environment.
How do they work? An e-bicycle has a 750-watt motor that can power the bicycle and a handy thing called pedal assist. Once activated, the motor kicks in while you are pedaling. It has a variety of settings that will allow you to effortlessly ride along at your desired speed, and can get up to 20 mph.
I opted for a RadRunner which has fat tires and is great for riding on dirt roads. It’s also very comfortable, can be accessorised, and has a range of 45 miles.
Whatever type of bike you’d want, there’s an e-bike version: Mountain bikes, cruiser bikes, road/commuter bikes, cargo bikes, folding bikes and fat bikes. You can expect to pay between $1000-$2500 for a good quality bike.
There are many benefits to using an e-bike instead of a car. Carbon emission reduction topping the list. Travelling 2500 miles by e-bike, instead of in your gas car, you’d reduce your carbon emissions by 1 ton.
E-bikes are efficient and cheap to operate. A typical eBike achieves somewhere around the 2,000 MPGe on the EPA’s electric vehicle fuel economy rating, about 20 times better than a Tesla and 100 times better than a typical gas-powered auto.
And eBikes still let you get a little exercise. You can pedal as hard or as gently as you’d like, but any work you do is exercise you wouldn’t get in a car. Not to mention, using a bike to get around puts a lot less wear and tear on your car.
It turns out, I am not the only e-bike fan in the area. Village of Cold Spring resident Sonia Ryzy-Ryski loves using her e-bike for quick trips around the Village, like going to Foodtown or downtown Cold Spring.
Richard Corio, Owner of Barber and Brew, has been riding his Haibike for 3 years. Corio used to bike frequently in New York City and missed it when he moved to Cold Spring, but he didn’t have much choice with the 1000 ft elevation between home and work. That changed once he got an e-bike and started using it for his commute.
The new commute also provided exercise, and he no longer needed to worry about finding a parking spot on Main Street.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the biggest reason why many of us in Philipstown don’t or won’t bike: Safety.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. Drivers need to pay attention to cyclists and pedestrians, and vice versa. Drivers need to make sure there is no one in the roadway before opening and closing the car door into traffic, and when passing on the road, they should pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear of the cyclist.
As a cyclist, it should go without saying, always wear a helmet, never ride with headphones on, and stay on the shoulder when you can. Wear bright reflective clothing and consider having flashing lights on the back of the bike to make yourself visible.
We happen to live in an incredibly beautiful (and hilly) area. Experiencing it by e-bike can be a very relaxing and enjoyable way to get around. Hopefully more residents will discover the benefits of e-bikes, and drivers will learn to share the road with us.