Undriver #4,267: “My e-bike is my Excuse Eliminator”
Undriver BOB EDMISTON commutes to work on a bike, clad in his business clothes, without sweating. How does he accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? Read on…
By Amelia von Wolffersdorff
Last summer at the Redmond Eco-fair, Bob got licensed to Undrive and pledged to eliminate driving trips by increasing the use of alternatives such as biking, bussing, walking, and carpooling. His Undriving pledge motivated him to reconsider his ten-mile roundtrip commute.
Driving to work was costing him $9 per day, between gas and parking fees. Why not sell the car and find a cheaper, more time-effective commute method?
And thus Bob, a number-savvy researcher, embarked on a record-keeping extravaganza, meticulously comparing his different commute options.
Here’s the log of Bob’s commute experiment, step-by-step (see charts below for Bob’s complete data):
1. First option: the electric car. While fuel costs went down, Bob still had to pay for parking. Next…
2. How ’bout a motorcycle? Despite better gas mileage and lower parking rates, the motorcycle required a special stop to buy the parking permit each day. Nope…
3. Bob then tried out the bus — only to find that it added significant time to his commute (even though it was the cheapest alternative thus far). Next…
4. A traditional bike? Bob got great exercise as he rode to work (especially up the big hill from Madison Park!). But cycling cost him more time — partly due to the added shower and change of clothes necessary upon arriving at work sweaty. So he gave up on that idea…
5. And finally, what about an e-bike? Bob found one on Craigslist for $150 that needed just a few minor repairs. Now, his commute time is reliable — and like any other bicyclist, he’s immune to traffic jams and bus schedule variances. The handy veltop cover protects Bob from Seattle’s rain & wind.
Unlike regular bicyclists, he can effortlessly cruise up hills — thanks to the electric assist. So now Bob arrives at work all set to begin the day — no change of clothes, parking permit, or bus transfer necessary!
The e-bike brings efficiency and ease to Bob’s commute.
“My Undriving journey over the course of the last year has reduced my commute cost from $2,250 to $5 and reduced my [cumulative] time commuting from 9.5 days/year to 6.9 days/year. Now I just have to decide what to do with that extra $2,245 and three days of my life I have back in my account.”
He now has no excuse to not ride his e-bike.
Update on Bob: He’s now 100% Solar-Powered! “I’ve installed solar panels on the roof of my house which charge a pair of golf cart batteries. When I get home, I charge the bikes batteries off of the golf cart batteries using an 12VDC to 120VAC inverter. This way, I can collect solar electricity at home while I’m at work, and then transfer it to the bike overnight, making my commute 100% powered by the sun.”
Bob’s Graphs: The Costs of Commuting
Amelia von Wolffersdorff interns as Undriving’s Program Coordinator for the summer of 2011 and studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.