Recently I moved from my 2000 square foot home (not counting the basement / garage) to a 680 square foot apartment. The difference in living space was unbelievable and I had to learn to make a rapid adjustment. Gone was the ability to spread out my stuff, to buy in bulk, and to have close to unlimited storage. It was more like living in a boat where everything had to be small and in its place at all times.

The apartment was in a good location, close to many restaurants and services, a drug and grocery store and to most of my friends. In fact, it was close enough to most of these places that using a car to get there was totally ridiculous. I wanted to use my electric bike as my main means of daily transportation but there was no place for me to store the machine when not in use. The answer was an electric folding bike.

The bike I chose had 20 inch wheels, a 250 watt electric hub motor, a lithium ion battery and weighed 42 pounds. It would operate at about 15 miles an hour and go 12-15 miles between charges. When not in use, the bike folded in half, the handle bars folded down and parallel with the frame and the pedals folded up so that the entire thing would easily fit in a closet. I attached a large plastic box to the rear luggage rack and was able to do just about all of my local shopping and other business without ever moving my automobile. In fact, for the last two weeks I have only used my car on weekends.

As I pedal smooth past the clogged and standing traffic, I often wonder just how many of the cars I pass could have been replaced by electric bicycles. Most of these cars seem to be going to the same places I am and are usually carrying only the driver. If a fraction of the cars on the road today were replaced by electric bicycles, we would reduce air pollution and the related health issues, help fight the rise in obesity and the associated health care costs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the hostile foreign powers that provide it.

When I bring up this issue to people who stop to admire my electric bike, I find only agreement with my position. But, when I ask why they themselves do not acquire a bike, the universal answer I receive is a fear of the traffic. The answer to this is to me a no brainer. Simply pass a law that any roads built or improved using Federal funding must include a bicycle lane. I am being rather broad here. Obviously I do not mean to include interstate highways and other inappropriate venues but most city and state roads can be designed to become bicycle friendly. Here is an opportunity, with one small piece of legislation, to contribute to the solution of a number of problems plaguing our society while at the same time improving our overall quality of life,


Source by Steven Bodenstein