Sales of electric bikes are expected to soar this summer, driven by rising fuel costs, expensive bus fares and frustration with traffic jams. Commuters are also looking for a healthier way to fill otherwise ‘wasted time’.
Time, money and health are proving to be the three leading reasons why car and bus commuters are making the switch to electric bikes. The benefits were clearly demonstrated during a ‘commuter challenge’ broadcast on Central News. During a typical 6 mile rush hour commute from Enderby to Leicester city centre, they compared the time taken by three commuters using an electric bike, a car and a bus.
The six mile route was easily covered by electric bike in 22 minutes, using mainly cycle and bus lanes. Using a virtually silent 250 W motor, the bike used about 2p in electricity. Bikes generally have a range of at least 30 miles, so a full battery charge will give several days of commute before it is necessary to recharge it.
The car was the next to complete the challenge, with a journey time of 32 minutes. A lot of this was spent stationary in traffic whilst bikes and buses benefitted from bus lanes. Typically the car will use about £1 of petrol for the same journet, but city centre car parking will also add at least £5 per day to the cost. This does not even include all the other costs of running a car such as insurance, road tax etc.
The bus passenger finally arrived after 45 minutes. Although the bus could benefit from the bus lanes, it had to make frequesnt stops to pick up and drop off pasengers. The cost of a single ticket was £2.80, although it could be cheaper to buy a bus pass over a longer period of time.
The health benefits of 20 minutes of gentle exercise each day are well know; lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, burning of body fat, weitht loss, improved stamina, and fewer viral infections. Cycling (as well as swimming) is regarded are one of the best forms of exercise as it is ‘low impact’ with little risk of damage or styress to bones or muscles.
Time: A typical 3 mile ‘door to door’ urban commute in rush hour by electric bike takes about 15 minutes. This is usually faster than a car, and almost always faster than a bus.
Cost: A typical 3 miles commute cocst about 1 pence each way by electric bike. This works works out at 10 pence per week, or £5 per year.
If you spent only £5 per year on your commute, what would you do with the money you save?