As you know by now, Downsize my Space is dedicated to discussing, thinking and dreaming about the process of downsizing, and that also means looking towards our individual transportation footprint. Bikes have played an enduring role in the history of Portland, and continue to be part of our future.
There are so many options for biking in Portland! Nike’s Biketown rideshare program allows you to check out a bike for the day, and return it at one of 100 stations around the city. This past spring saw another installment of Bike Month, put on by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. This event is a great example of how much fun it is to get people together and celebrate our beautiful city, while spreading awareness about the benefits of choosing an environmentally friendly option like a bike or a scooter.
So, now that Bike Month is completed and the summer drawing to a close, how can we keep this trend going forward?
Scooters and E-Biles: The Future of Transportation?
Now that the City of Portland has brought the infamous E-Scooters back – this time with stricter regulations on riders and operators – it will be interesting to see whether they are welcomed by its residents with more enthusiasm. During last year’s 120-day pilot, these scooters logged 6,000 trips per day, providing a great solution to mobility challenges that many face, especially related to parking and getting around downtown.
Sadly, the scooters were misused by many, resulting in decreased accessibility for disabled people, among other problems. The companies have since been incentivized to find a solution, and have been promised additional permits if successful. PBOT has claimed that we could have 15,000 scooters in use by January 2020 if all things go according to plan!
E-Bikes as a Better Alternative
Recently, I started thinking of purchasing an e-bike. The benefits are substantial, including health advantages related to commuting by bike more often, coordination skills and spending more time outside. Most notably, they allow us to be a part of the great outdoors while still allowing us to actually get somewhere! Oh, and did I mention free parking??
If you’ve spent time researching eBikes, you’ll know that there are a lot of options to choose from. Where to start? Here are some ideas.
People for Bikes gives some great background on the policies and laws behind the use of e-bikes, broken down state-by-state. If you are unsure about rules pertaining to your state and want clarity before making a purchase, this is a great resource. Their page also includes rides and routes by state, along with other stats about the industry.
Organic Transit has fun and funky solar-powered electric vehicles, designed to travel at about 20 mph (or 25 if you pedal!). These bikes protect you from traffic and the elements, and look pretty snazzy to boot! According to their site:
UPDrive is the most efficient vehicle on the planet. It delivers unequaled cycling performance with smoother torque, uninterrupted acceleration, quicker response and lower maintenance.
These vehicles are built in North Carolina, and have financing plans available.
Cylergy E-bikes has an extensive FAQ page that gives a great overview of potential questions and information for those interested in purchasing an e-bike. You can also test bikes out at their store, and even rent one to see if it’s a good fit for you. The cost is $30 for four hours. Be sure to contact them in advance to ensure availability!
My first e-bike experience was on a tour of Portugal two years ago – I suddenly felt 20 years younger and could keep up with my husband! They are everywhere in Europe when I travel. And though they are not quite ubiquitous here in the states yet, it seems like more and more people are investing in this mode of transport. Check out my Portland trainer, Farzin Tavakkoli, who also got on the e-bike bandwagon! Even my massage therapist just bought an e-bike. This is a sign that the public is ready for this new mode of transport, and I am feeling the wave and acceptance.
Are you ready to e-bike? I’d love to see your suggestions on which e-bike to purchase!