We northern New Englanders drive more per capita than most other Americans, and transportation is our biggest producer of greenhouse gases. So it’s great when people find ways of getting around the Upper Valley that don’t involve driving by themselves. Bikes, e-bikes, buses, carpools – what’s your transportation story? Here’s one:
Many of our staff members are proud e-bike owners, five to be exact. The e-bike styles are as varied as our staff members and their needs. We have e-cargo bikes for hauling kids, foldable e-bikes for easy traveling, road e-bikes, and step-throughs. When Becky Bailey, our communications manager, bought her e-bike in spring 2020, she had to absorb and weigh a lot of information about the pluses and minuses of all the options. “Afterwards, I felt like I could have written a term paper,” she said.
She would have liked to be able to try some of the pre-selected options that are now available through the Upper Valley E-Bike Lending Library. With four different e-bike styles available to test drive, the library offers a great opportunity to figure out which e-bike fits your lifestyle. For individuals like Thomas Pryzby, his experience with the lending library led to him purchasing a 2022 Surface604 Rook. Read below to hear his thoughts in his own words as he contemplated the purchase.
“A few weeks ago, I had pretty much written off biking as something that was out of reach, geographically (the good places to ride around here are hilly). I’d barely heard of e-bikes, though my daughter had rented twice and liked the experience. Having the lending library in Windsor made it easy for me to dip my toes in the water and get a broad understanding of e-bikes in a short amount of time.
1) A good “fit” for your needs is important. I test rode four bikes from the library – it was important that they were different from each other. That got me interested in learning more and served as a basis for my visit to four dealers, and testing five other bikes.
2) I immediately picked up on the difference between cadence sensors and torque sensors, and found the cadence style unacceptable due to surging.
3) Since the torque style adds about $1000 to the cost of a bike, I considered renting instead of buying. Later, I ruled that out due to not only the inconvenience, but the low likelihood of a bike being available when wanted.
4) Internet bikes are tempting due to their lower cost, except:
- It goes against the idea of buying locally
- Unless you can find a dealer (unlikely in these parts), you are buying blind, and they are essentially not returnable.
- Local bike shops will not/cannot service the electric parts. Understandably, they don’t want to support their competition but also, practically, they wouldn’t have the knowledge and spare parts that providing such a service would require.
5) “Must-haves”, for me:
- Torque sensor
- Local service
- Good supplier customer service
I ultimately ended up ordering a 2022 Surface604 Rook. Additional selling points for me were:
- Large display
- Solid build
- Wider tires for a smoother ride
- Easy to assemble
- Mirror (I bought a glass mirror – the camera models got bad reviews due to the wide angle making it difficult to see traffic until it was on top of you)
- New helmet, lightweight. (They all say they are lightweight, but they range from 0.5 lbs to 1 lb (too heavy!)
- Skull cap for under the helmet for cool weather
- Insulated riding gloves
I am most grateful for this program and appreciate all the effort that everyone has put into it, particularly, Diane Foulds in Windsor. It was well organized and managed and the resource materials were very helpful.”
This interview is part of our Getting Around transportation series, where we interview individuals who are seeking alternatives to driving by themselves. If you would like to share your story, please reach out by emailing Leona.