Publicola: What the e-bike growth means for Seattle

E-bike gross sales are outpacing electrical automobile gross sales two-to-one in the USA, and e-bikes now make up 20% or extra of bikes offered in Seattle bike retailers. And as Josh Feit (with Maryam Noor) wrote for Publicola, all indicators level to a continued improve in e-bike use.

Feit lately purchased an e-bike after a buddy supplied him an opportunity to attempt his bike “like we had been 14, and he was providing me my first hit of pot.” Like so many individuals, that’s all it took to be satisfied. E-bikes can flatten town in a approach that makes many extra journeys in our hilly city each sensible and handy.

I used to be one in all a number of folks Feit spoke with for the story, and it was an important excuse to consider how a lot has modified lately. For a few years in current many years, folks prognosticated that e-bikes had been about to interrupt into the mainstream. However it simply by no means appeared to occur at scale. That has lastly modified. The actual query now’s: When will we drop the “e” and begin simply calling them “bikes?” I already typically confer with non-e-bikes as “pedal bikes” or “pedal-only bikes,” and I usually hear folks name them “acoustic bikes.” The electrical help will sometime be thought-about simply one other optionally available bike element, like having a multi-gear drivetrain as a substitute of a single velocity.

All these Lime and Bounce electrical bike share bikes most likely additionally supercharged curiosity in e-bikes in Seattle. Everybody who rides one for the primary time can also be form of test-riding the thought of e-bikes. We already famous (earlier than the pandemic) that Fremont Bridge bike journeys continued to develop even after bike share journeys leveled out, and a promising speculation was that many individuals found (or rediscovered) metropolis biking via bike share after which went out and purchased their very own bikes. It is smart that individuals have performed the identical with e-bikes.

However perhaps probably the most attention-grabbing realization I had throughout our dialog was how far we’ve come from the times while you couldn’t have a dialog about e-bikes with out somebody calling them “dishonest” or “lazy.” Resistance to e-bikes from individuals who already bike has actually melted away lately, and now it’s on the level the place hating on e-bikes sounds antiquated or pretentious. I like how Maya Ramakrishnan put it in a current tweet: “You can’t cheat at transportation as a result of it’s not a contest. It’s good that extra individuals are in a position to make use of Not Automobiles to get round and do errands.”

Be sure you learn the entire story on Publicola, which incorporates fantastic quotes like:

“When somebody says, ‘Oh, you realize, biking is nice for individuals who don’t have youngsters,’” Davey Oil, proprietor of G & O Household Cyclery in Greenwood, quipped, “I’m identical to, ‘Maintain my juice field, I’ve three children on this bike.’”


Whereas $1,500 for a motorcycle nonetheless might sound Workforce Bourgeois versus Workforce Budweiser, “it’s additionally lots cheaper than a automobile,” mentioned Anna Zivarts, native bike advocate and Director of the Incapacity Mobility Initiative at Incapacity Rights Washington. “And,” she added, “it is my automobile.”


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