In climate change-sensitive California, hybrid cars took off like wildfire. They use less gas, produce fewer emissions, are better for the environment and driving them costs less.
In the same spirit of environmental awareness, bicycles have become trendy in the last few years. Bicycle shops have sprung citywide. There are special bike lines and routes, even bicyclists’ clubs. Of course, there is also Ciclovía, an organization and a day-long event – that closes streets to cars while opening them to foot traffic, skateboarding and yes, biking – taking place several times a year.
With the recent emphasis on biking, which today represents as much a commitment to fitness as to the natural environment, many non-athletes have taken a step back. Let’s face it, not all of us are in top shape and the utility of a bike in everyday living is limited at best: who wants to come to work wearing athletic gear and being all-sweaty…
A relatively new industry is booming as we speak, developed specifically with the non-athletes in mind, hybrid bikes. They go by several names from “pedelecs”, “power- assisted” to e-bikes and “human-electric hybrids”. The sales of e-bikes are EXPLODING!
Since the make of the car you drive is seen as a status symbol in California, many are looking at e-bikes the same way. There is the issue of brand recognition (some of the better known brands are: Italjet, Haibike, Kalkhoff, Evelo and Stromer) and state-of-the-art technology. That explains the prices of high end hybrid bikes, the best ones sell for $3,000 to $5,000 and up.
But there are less costly options as well. One of the popular brands right now is the Electrobike locally advertised as a “convenient transportation solution for Los Angeles”. There are several models to choose from. They differ by body style, battery power and are available in many trendy colors. As far as the technology goes, for a biker used to traditional bycicles, WOW! Electrobikes range in price from about $1,000 to $2,100 and come nearly fully assembled.
E-bikes aren’t mopeds or scooters; they are very much hybrid bikes and leave the choice of pedaling, cruising on electric power alone or power-assisted pedaling to the rider. In other words, an e-bike is like a bike with benefits. The electric battery (rechargeable) makes it possible, in theory at least, to ride an electric bike to work and arrive presentable.
Athletes may look down on electric bikes, for the rest of us hybrid bikes are another mode of green transportation that could – for shorter trips – replace cars.
Hybrid bike facts:
- Range: depending on the brand and model, a hybrid bike can go from 20–50 miles on a single charge. (Electrobike models go for 20-30 miles)
- Average speed (depending on the brand and model, again) is 10-25 miles per hour.
- Electric assistance can be turned on and off with a twist of – or toggle on – the handlebar.
- The battery can be recharged from any standard electric outlet.
- E-bikes made by Electrobike use nickel metal hydride batteries which are not only recyclable but considerably less toxic than nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries.
- The looks? Actually quite impressive, the battery is usually well-concealed, in most cases in the bike’s frame.
- Sound? Yes, it’s perceivable. But e-bikes are not noisy.
Advantages of hybrid bikes:
- you won’t waste time stuck in traffic
- you won’t spend money on gas
- you won’t deplete fossil fuels
- you won’t spend money on parking
- you won’t contribute to our carbon footprint (e-bikes produce zero emissions)
Bottom line? Hybrid, electric bikes are:
- cost-effective to operate
- save riders money and time
Side effects of riding an e-bike?
- getting fit
- reducing stress
- being seen as cool
- a slight possibility of developing… superiority complex
Electrobike (the brand hails from Mexico) has many locations throughout South America and its presence in the United States is expanding. There are currently two Electrobike stores in Los Angeles area. (Three additional stores will open in Downtown L.A., Pasadena and West L.A. / Hollywood, soon.)
Electrobike Santa Monica
2665 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Electrobike Sherman Oaks
15301 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Phone: (844) 743-3353
Written by Anything L.A. Magazine’s Lifestyle Reporter, Jason Berberyan