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Change in your Transportation Future | A TEDx Talk by Zach Krapfl

Electric bikes get over 500 mph equivalent. Really?  Yes, really. 

A very interesting discussion of transportation efficiency by Zach Kapfil.

Zach has been a design engineer involved with electric bike design and other projects that maximize efficiency, lowering the amounts of energy, water, and other resources used.

This fascinating talk compares various methods of transportation, by mpg, including just pedaling a bike.  Amazingly, pedaling an e bike, still providing 25% of the energy used is far more efficient than pure pedaling, powered by non local food.

Most people are unwilling to travel by bike, unless the trip is under 5 miles, and really, truth be told, under 2 miles. But the magic of the electric bike is that you can easily ride 5 times the distance you’d ride normally, by using an electric bike.  I know from from my own experience this is true.  I was riding a bike on weekends or evenings for my health, but no longer young, I was not riding much more than 4 miles per outing.  The instant I got my first electric bike, I started commuting to work, 15 miles one way.  I went from riding 12 miles a week to between 100 and 150 miles a week.

How is this possible?  After all, I live 1000 vertical feet above my workplace, so the ride home was 15 all uphill miles to ride.  The key thing is no more sprinting into the red zone to get up a hill, cross a busy intersection, or worst of all, riding into the wind.  All  became easy. Not zero effort, that was never my goal. But without those hard bits, I found the only reason to stop riding was an empty battery.  I found my health improved, because I was riding more hours per week, despite the much lower level of effort.  Sure, I could just take up walking, but that’s just boring.  Any bike trip beats walking the same mile near your house over and over.

8 years later, I’m now semi retired, and still own a car. To be honest, I don’t want to ride my bike in the rain, or when it’s below freezing.  But I go everywhere I can using my electric cargo bike, and my car is going to last almost forever.  On weekends when the weather is perfect, its not at all unusual for me to go on a 20-60 mile ride just for the pure joy of it.  The most typical trip is to the grocery store, 5 miles away. But I usually take a 10 mile scenic route to the store.  I still love that perfect e bike ride distance of 15 miles.

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