As I prepare to fly out of NZ yet again for work, I’m contemplating how much my personal transport has changed over the years. These days I most ride a e-bike.
I used to drive a lot. For work, for family, for education and even for the simple pleasure of just going somewhere.
I got the net in the days of usenet which reduced the need to travel. I could satisfy most of my insatiable curiosity without going anywhere to find things out. Especially as I no longer had to think of NZ as being a information prision with the long delays of printed materials locking me away from the fields of technology, thought and facts that I was interested in.
It also meant that as email and other cheap forms of digital communications progressed, that I simply didn’t have to travel to stay in contact with other people who I was interested in knowing.
Over the years, my car mileage has plummeted from more than 30 thousand kilometres per year in 1990 to less than 3k this year and still falling fast. In the last few years, I started allowing my employers to send me to customers (I stopped international flying in 1991). Most years I now fly an order of magnitude more kilometres per year than I drive around NZ. It is to help to implement the export of the code that I write. Tedious, but I consider it to be a useful minor contribution to our burgeoning tech exports.
My car kilometres will fall lower. I have a newly purchased e-bike to ride the safe Auckland cycleways faster than I can drive a car in Auckland traffic. My commute to work is a reliable 10 minutes each way. That is the same as the best I can do in car in the unlikely event that all of the traffic lights fall my way. The car usually takes 15 minutes and up to 45 minutes.
It is just a simple pleasure to ride. Especially since I don’t have to do all of the work myself pushing my 58 year old butt up the hills of Auckland. A small 300 watt electric motor and a 21ah lithium battery add the extra oomph to assist me in moving my weight, the bikes weight and that of the computers in the saddlebags up hills.
It is too small to actually do all of that work itself – I have to help it. Something that my body is starting to appreciate. But it is a hell of lot easier than than having to dismount and push the frigging bike.
It gives an exhilarating sustained burst of speed on the flat. I pedal and the motor adds my cyborg speed. Great fun !
Sure there is rain. But these days with breathable fast drying water resistant fabrics, that is nowhere as much of hassle. A good towel and some spare clothes in the saddle bags take care of that.
It replaces the lost walking that I used to do for exercise and pleasure. A clogged aorta that made it a wheezing nightmare for years. After heart attack and a stent that got slowly better. However increasing Hallux Rigidus in my right foot now makes walking long distances painful.
Not a problem with my red assistant under me. I dial up the amount of assistance I want or need and then add my contribution to the energy and select the gear. My foot doesn’t hurt because I’m pedalling with the ball of my foot rather than the big toe.
Now if I could just figure out how to stiffly dismount from the bike after a longer ride without looking like I am attempting to demonstrate how to fall off. I could have gotten a step through so I didn’t have to get my aged back to swing the leg over the dratted seat. But my back is getting less stiff as a result. And I really couldn’t give a shit about what others think anyway. I am sure everyone knows my personal philosophy by now. It is on my tee-shirt right.
With enough practice and a lot of ignored embarrassment, I am sure it will get easier…
Otherwise no-one else assisted in anything to do with this post. There are a lot of electric bikes around with varying styles, prices and quality.