I sold my car, an EV (electric vehicle) no less, because insurance and repair costs were more than I was willing to pay. The car was 10 years old, and between my wife and I we had two cars. Hers is a Prius, so without my car, we still have one for road trips. I was using my car only for around town, anyway, so without it I only needed something with a short range.

I bought an electric bike, a cargo bike, and since then I have met many people who have made the same transition from car to e-bike, many of them carting children and dogs in their extra seats and bins or trailers. My particular model can even carry Valerie on its padded rear rack. I especially benefit from the aerobic exercise as part of running errands and going to meetings, and rarely a day goes by that I haven’t felt the breeze on my face and the oxygen in my blood.

I actually feel safer on my bike than in a car because I can see and hear more of what’s going on around me in all directions. Eugene is especially favorable for bikes because of the expanding network of protected bike lanes and paths. There are some caveats, however. The extra pedal-assisted power can easily seduce me into going too fast, and I once fell because I was in a bit of a hurry and failed to watch the details of the pavement in front of me. I have since disciplined myself to allow extra time to arrive, including the time it takes to “saddle up” with the right clothing for the weather and the time it takes to “dismount” at a bike rack, lock up and turn off the flashing lights.

I bought a quality rain jacket and pants as well as merino wool shirts for all-weather comfort. I also purchased full coverage insurance for $109 per year that has already paid for itself in roadside assistance when I had a flat tire. I’ve learned that e-bikes have a complexity requiring a skilled mechanic for most of their maintenance, aside from oiling the chain and checking tire pressure. A tuneup every 1,000 miles is important for checking things like the pads on the disc brakes. 

Overall, I am very happy to have down-sized my personal transportation “device” and am willing to answer any questions about my experience.

Today’s Personal Green Choices article prepared by David Hazen.