Saturday, November 13, 2021

This Year's Eco-Event: An E-Bike

If last year's eco-event for me was installing solar panels on the roof of my house, this year's event was the purchase of an electric bike (e-bike). I have to admit I am not completely virtuous when it comes to my carbon footprint. While my time spent in airplanes has reduced dramatically during the pandemic, it is likely to increase, although probably not to pre-pandemic levels, as we all return to travel.

But one thing I do hope as there is eventual return to working in the office is to commute in all but the worst weather by e-bike. One of the challenges for bicycle commuting for me is that although I only live 4-5 miles (depending on the route) away from my office, I must ascend over 500 feet vertically to get between my home and office. (Those in Portland know the Fairmount Loop just below the Council Crest hill that sits above Oregon Health & Science University.)

Likewise, a similar hill separates my home from the short distance to downtown and other parts of Portland that would be wonderful to leisurely ride to on a bicycle. I sometimes do this ride on a regular bicycle, but it is a real workout. There are other times when I would just rather get somewhere without breaking a major sweat.

After doing much online research, I decided to test drive, and eventually purchase, an Aventon Pace 500 Step-Through e-bike. There are many e-bike options, and the market for these products is not yet fully mature. But I have enjoyed my e-bike, and I have to say it is actually quite fun to ride. There is nothing like a little electric assist when riding a bike, especially in the hills of the west side of Portland.

My e-bike
Another aspect of the Pace 500 I enjoy is it being a Class 3 bike, which allows it to have a throttle. While I use the throttle sparingly, I do find it of great value when I need to accelerate quickly, such as at a traffic light turning green or starting up a hill. The Class 3 status also allows the motor to speed the bike to up to 28 mph in its highest (5) pedal assist level, although I try to ride at no higher than pedal assist 2, which gives me plenty of power even up hills.

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