We have teamed up with the amazing guys at Electrify and we are trialling E bikes!

Firstly I will introduce myself and admit to my abilities.
My name is Liesel, I am the projects manager at Envirohub and I am obviously quite a greenie so you could argue there is a bit of bias in this blog.
I live out in Te Puna and am ashamed to say, I am one of the many people here in the Bay of Plenty (and sadly New Zealand) who drive a car with only myself in it every day. However, because I live out in the country, there is no public transport for me to use (I would love to take a train if I could!) and biking is out of the question as there are some massive hills and it would take me upwards of 45 minutes each way. I would consider myself relatively fit, but that is pushing the boundaries!
I am an experienced cycle commuter battling the wind, hills and narrow streets of Wellington for a year but Tauranga poses its unique challenges.
I aim to ride into work 3 times a week for the next two weeks as 2 days of the week I have my puppy Baloo (pictured) who I bring into the office.

Week 1

Day 1

I will admit, my first ride into work I was a little nervous, I had to bike out on the notoriously dangerous State highway 2 which I was not looking forward to.

However, the state highway proved to be a breeze with such a wide berth the traffic came no way near me, and at that time of day, the traffic is usually crawling.

The E-bike itself was fantastic, I breezed up the hills at 30km/hr with no effort. In fact, I anticipated exerting a little more energy than I did and sufficiently froze as I flew through the freezing morning air in just a t-shirt! It is so comfortable and straight forward to use that I really have no qualms.

I ended up absolutely loving my first ride and was counting down the hours to go home to enjoy another bike ride! The notion of this being a push bike is really not accurate, it is as fun as riding a motorbike! I averaged between 30 and 45km an hour and would cruise past the traffic feeling incredibly smug!

Day 2

My second day started out really positive, I was confident how long I would take and how easy it would be and this time I was kitted out with warmer clothing.

However, on my way home, I was feeling very smug as I was overtaking a regular bike up Waihi Road hill when my battery went flat. Thankfully my partner had his phone on and promptly came to my rescue!

The issue being, yes you can bike these regularly as a bike but they are much heavier and I still had a fair distance to tackle and some big hills.

Note to self- charge every day!

That leads me onto charging- It is as simple as charging your phone, I have my bike set up in my garage, there is a powerpoint and so once I am home, I just put it onto charge for the night.

Day 3

I am learning a few more tricks with this bike, I have a throttle which  I have not used yet. I heard a tip that you should use this when going through intersections and that has been a game changer. Largely because to start the motor if pedalling, you need to get up a bit of power, i.e about half a pedal to get the motor going. When in an intersection you generally want to be right out in front so cars can see you and will follow you without problems. You don’t want to be a slow cyclist at this point and getting started can be a bit slow at first- problem solved with the throttle! Why didn’t I use this before! I feel so much more confident heading into intersections.

 

Week One Summary

I have learnt a few things about how to improve my commute as so as far as I can tell I should have smooth sailing into week 2!

The whole week has been incredibly easy and I have found this to be a really great way to get to work! Getting out in the fresh air for the equivalent exercise of a brisk walk is a fantastic way to start the day whilst feeling good about my impact on the planet.

 

Week Two

Day 1

The first day back went great. I was looking forward to my morning bike ride.

I have come to really appreciate the step-through frame I have. It makes getting on and off the bike really easy, particularly when coming up to pedestrian crossings (yes I use these on busy roads). I imagine if I ever wanted to, I could ride in a skirt no issues!

Today was an incredibly warm day for May which is almost worse for riding in as you can get pretty hot quickly and I do not want to start the day sweaty! Easily solved by removing my outer jacket and I was pleased there was proof I do exert some energy riding this bike, maybe I can justify it as exercise?

Day 2

Today I had to run some errands from work. I managed to get to the post office fine. I would argue that an e-bike is even more convenient than a car for such situations. It seems more of a faff to walk out to my car, unlock it get in and then find a park on a busy street than to just get onto my bike and cruise there.

However, I will have to admit for the next of my errands, I needed boot space and could not do this with my bike. I had to head home and come back into town with my car- definitely not convenient. However this is not something I need every day, most days it is a matter of going into work and straight home.

This day I also went for a run in the evening with my friend in town. If I had biked I would not have been comfortable riding back in the dark. For most of the ride I would have been fine (the bike comes fitted with lights) however, I do not want to take any risk on the state highway.

Day 3

My last day on the bike! 

I have been lucky over the last fortnight and have had lovely weather. and today was just the same despite the weather forecast.

A perfect day to finish!

Summary

I have to admit there was more than a tinge of sadness as I gave this bike over to my colleague- I have really enjoyed it. I notice a difference to my attitude as I get that active morning start to my day, and I love racing my dog down the driveway to our neighbours (doggy daycare) every morning and afternoon.

So would I recommend one? Absolutely, for many biking and public transport is not an option but the E-bike definitely worked for me and I imagine for many could be an alternative way to get to work, at least some days of the week.

It is incredibly fun, takes away many of the hassles of riding a regular bike and most importantly, takes one more car off the road!

I look forward to hearing about Emma’s experience as she has different challenges to myself!

Emma’s turn…

Following in the tread marks of my colleague Liesel, I’ve had a turn on the e-bike. It was with excitement and trepidation that I took on this challenge to commute on the e-bike from Electrify.

Day 1

Today I started off by riding my mountain bike to work. Well this was an adventure of epic frustrations! I had a strong headwind all the way and ended up on the old K-valley path and had overzealous dogs race up to me on the Waikareo estuary. The ride took over an hour, way longer than I had expected! One thing it did prove to me is that I work with super nice people, as Laura had been trying to contact me because she was concerned I hadn’t turned up to work and knew I was riding in.

My lengthy ride to journey to work did help me make the choice to not take the e-bike home the same way…

The trip home

The e-bike took a little time getting used too. For starters it lurches forward as the motor kicks in and for a newbie to e-bike riding this was a surprised, but one that was quick to adapt too. Next I tried out, ok I played with all the six different power setting. With full power assist on I found myself cruising along at 35km/hr! It was fantastic.

I had an errand to run on the way home. So off I rode down Cameron Road using the pedestrian crossings to safely, and slowly, cross the road. Compared to other areas around town, the stretch of dedicated cycle footpath along parts on Cameron near town felt safe to use as you’re not on the main road. I can’t say the same about the on-road cycling strip around most of the city that has you wedged between parked cars and moving cars on the road. These ‘token’ cycling areas do not feel safe at all.

Day 2

This was my first full day of riding the e-bike to and from work. By now I’d got used to the lurching sensation when the power kicks in. Although I probably shouldn’t have pedalled at the exact moment I was exiting my drive and connecting to the road – I ended up bouncing down the kerb and on the road way faster than I was prepared for. Rookie mistake!

I took the ride nice and easy today and went the main trunk routes down Waihi Road and along Cameron Road to get to Historic Village. Hands up – I was nervous on the bike, so I cruised along slowly with the one goal in mind of making it to work alive. Afterall, I have kids to look after. Even with cruising along, it took me less than 30 mins to get to work, considerably faster and far less sweaty than the day before on the mountain bike.

The highlight of the ride home was overtaking cars going uphill, yes uphill, on Waihi Road. I was going around 30 km/hr using the full power assist of the bike. I found out the difference that makes, when I mistakenly pressed the button too many times and ended up turning off the power assist and damn it’s a heavy bike to try and push up a hill!

Day 3

I’m getting more confident on the roads now and claiming my right to be there. I now stay on the main road while turning from 11th Ave onto Cameron Road. This may seem trivial, but with the power assist function of the e-bike you can pretty much keep up with the cars and it slices off a good 5 minutes from the trip time not waiting for pedestrian crossing lights.

Day 4

I really looked forward to riding to work today. Day-by-day I have started pushing myself more to go faster and shave more time off the commute. Today’s trip only took 15 minutes and I had fun. I chatted to fellow cyclists at lights and enjoyed challenging myself to do more of the workload myself by decreasing the power assist function.

Summary

I love this e-bike. There is no mind-set barrier about the physical exertion or how much of a headwind there may be like when using a non-powered bike.  My initial apprehensions and worries have abated, and I can confidently say that I think e-bikes are fantastic. They are a great option for commuting and I would be keen to get one.

Electrify NZ has an impressive range of e-bikes and you can take them for a free test ride. Contact Electrify NZ for more details.

Remember Electrify has a trade-in deal for the month of May. You can get $500 off your purchase if you trade in