Is There Bike After e-Bike?

Steve Benning has been using an Ohm XS 750 e-bike for four weeks leading up to Bike to Work Week. And he’ll use it during Bike to Work Week too. But then what?

Steve Benning at Campfire CyclingWhat will happen after he has to give back the e-bike?

I’m very satisfied with Steve’s willingness to try this experiment, and very pleased to see him take it on with such enthusiasm. Even more, I want to see Steve still embracing bike commuting in the weeks and years to come.

Which puts me in a dilemma. If I encourage Steve too much, am I being manipulative? Is the subtext, Keep doing it for me? or, You’ll disappoint so many people if you backslide?

Is this what happens when scientists get too emotionally involved with their lab rats?

Maybe the experiment was flawed from the start. Was the objective was to convert a car commuter into a bike commuter, or to just observe what happens when you give a car commuter an e-bike?

Me: What do you think your life as a bike commuter is going to be after [you no longer have an e-bike], if at all?

Steve: I’m curious myself. I will definitely give it a shot. Going back up the hill, back up to the house might be a challenge. But I’m definitely going to give it a try.

At 02:25 I say, “Well, we’ll be interested to see how that goes.” And I’m not proud of the doubting look that flashes across my face.

Steve faces the prices of e-bikes pretty bravely. I’m certainly familiar with the cost-benefit calculations that prove that e-bikes are worth it–as long as what they are replacing is a car, or replacing many typical short-distance car trips. I think there’s an economic case to be made for someone like Steve to get a an e-bike.

Steve Benning at Campfire Cycling
So close, yet so far. The low-end on this lineup is $2199

But what about someone like me? I’m a lab rat too.

I’m already a bike commuter. I’ve already given up a car. I have a stepcar–a car owned by my wife before we were married.

Furthermore, I’ve never paid more than $400 for a bike. (Shocker! There goes my credibility with some readers.)

So I look at those prices and think, I’d really need to see some hard number crunching to make the economic case for myself and my family. I’d need to cut into the use of the stepcar in a way that isn’t being covered by our regular bike use.

What are your thoughts on this experiment?

Especially you pedal-power purists out there: Have you learned anything you didn’t know before about the minds of non-cyclists and new cyclists?

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