Sunday, May 12, 2019

Thinking About Going Electric ...

Not electric guitar, or electric car. Electric bicycle.

I loved cycling for both exercise and transportation, but my knees just can't take it for more than a few weeks (yes, I've tried glucosamine supplements, etc., and they didn't help much -- I think it probably has something to do with having broken both of my kneecaps in the distant past).

I don't really need a car. Or, rather, if I did, I could just share one with Tamara. Transport-wise, I'm interested in having something to get around town on when she and/or the car aren't available, and it doesn't need to have huge cargo capacity.

I thought about a motorcycle, but I'd probably kill myself on one of those. A scooter is more attractive ...

... but either one would mean getting a driver's license (I think my last one expired in 2004 and I haven't bothered since because I stopped driving around that time due to a hand tremor which has long since disappeared) and paying for insurance, which seems like it's going overboard to dispose of an inconvenience rather than fill a dire need.

An electric bicycle wouldn't entail a driver's license or insurance payments.

It looks like the current "reasonable price" crop (if you consider $500-600 "reasonable") can hit 20 miles per hour and have about a 20-mile range on one battery if you're not doing any pedaling at all.

My plan would be to carry an extra battery. A 40-mile battery range would presumably be plenty to get me all over the Gainesville area and around the parts of the countryside I like to visit, even if I didn't want to do some actual pedaling myself (and I would want to do as much as I could, just not so much that I start having knee problems again).

When there's substantial traffic, that 20mph will stand me in better stead in bike lanes and on bike trails than a car will on the street. I've biked from my rural digs into town and found myself seeing the same car at each stoplight, until that car stopped catching up with me. And IN town, a bike ride is often a straight shot with few stops while a car ride is almost always bunch of detours with lights at each intersection.

So: Cheaper to buy than even an old beater of a car, especially since I wouldn't be making monthly insurance payments. Faster transportation than a car to many of the places I go. Maintenance, probably mostly stuff I could do myself rather than having to hire a mechanic for.

Other than it kind of sucking to bike in the rain (I can deal with that), seems like the winning solution. So now I just have to locate an extra $600 or so and I'm off to the (20 mph or less) races.

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