Sunday, 31. May 2020
I have very recently decided to reduce my carbon footprint by not driving to work in my car any more. Instead, I’ve been riding an e-bike every day for the entire month of May and so far I really like it. It’s like having another 40 minutes of quality me-time before and after work to sort through my thoughts in peace, instead of a 10 to 15 minutes quicker drive in the car where you have to watch out for all the crazy people. During rush hour it’ll be more like a 5 to 10 minutes longer drive with the car, since my bike route doesn’t take me past all the traffic heavy places, so I’m actually not losing any time there. Of course, I could also ride my ordinary bike for those 16 kilometres, but that would mean getting all sweaty and out of breath, whereas the e-bike is more like a personal transporter that you don’t have to work so hard. The other cool thing about riding the bike is that my route leads through what we call garlic county, which sports a ton of fields and green houses where farmers grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs. As a result, the entire area releases a wide range of scents and smells that are quite pleasant and enjoyable.
But getting an e-bike wasn’t my first choice at all, and I was really aiming for one of those electric long range scooters in the beginning. That idea just never took off because there is literally no way to have a small kid on the same ride, and eventually I’m going to have to bring my son to day care before going to work. However, I did a test run in my home city with one of the rental scooters to figure out if it’s really that good of an idea. The purpose of the test was to figure out whether I really want to stand on a scooter for 16 kilometres at a time, which will take at least 50 minutes due to the 20 kilometres per hour speed limit. I choose a cold and windy day with a good amount of rain, making that trip as miserable as possible in order to try to simulate winter conditions as well.
It turns out that riding such an e-scooter for a longer distance is a blast and I can recommend it to anyone as transport to and from work. The Tier rental scooter I was using has been doing a stable 20 kph for the majority of the ride, with at least 18.5 kph on steep hills. In fact, I’ve been chasing a bus for the better part of the trip without losing it, so the speed limit isn’t much of an issue in a city. I should note that Nuremberg is not the most bike-friendly city in the world and the bicycle lanes along the main ring road are nothing to write home about, especially in the south. But neither was the suspension on my ride, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was pretty scary at full speed over some rougher tarmac and absolutely horrible on cobblestones. A proper suspension on both wheels would fix that easily, and I’d love to repeat the test with the model I had in mind.
I don’t regret having replaced my car with an e-bike and I hope to stick to that decision in the future. An e-scooter would have been an equally good decision with a little less speed, a more comfortable ride and much smaller price tag. Given the requirements of child transportation, the bike is the better choice for my situation, and it also opens up further options for weekend activities. One way or another, riding a 20 kilogram bike or scooter is bound to have a much smaller environmental impact than driving a car that weighs 1.8 tons.