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:
Recently, we had an opportunity to talk with Steve Hender, an E-Bike rider and father of two about how his bike fits into his transportation habits. This interview has been edited for clarity.
As an E-Bike owner, what first interested you in an E-Bike and how did you envision it fitting into your lifestyle?
I was interested in biking to work more often but the many hills made it difficult to do routinely with a regular bike. An e-bike was key to integrating biking into my commuting routine. I was also able to get a trailer for the bike to be able to drop my two kids at daycare on the way to work which meant not disrupting my family’s routine and being able to continue sharing the drop off/pick up duty with my wife.
What was your first experience with E-Bikes?
I started with online research and then test drove a few before purchasing mine. I had heard about the E-Bike Lending Library and would have also checked that out, but ended up purchasing my bike before the lending season started.
Are there any surprises that you did not anticipate that have come up with having/using your E-Bike? These could be pros or cons.
My bike has done exactly what I want it to do. I wasn’t sure how pulling a trailer with the kids would work, especially going uphill, but I have been extremely pleased with how well it works. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised with my commute time. It really only adds five minutes to my commute. Driving takes me about 15 minutes, a regular bike takes me about 30-35 minutes, and the e-bike only takes about 20 minutes.
How has the E-Bike changed your commute/transportation habits?
I try to default to biking when it’s nice weather. With my regular bike I would probably bike to work once every two weeks and now my goal is biking to work at least three days a week, if not more. As a family we’ve been able to have days, and the occasional week, where we don’t drive at all. We’re lucky that our daycare is only a mile away so my wife can walk to pick up the kids on nice days too.
What type of E-Bike did you choose to purchase and why were you drawn to that model?
I had a particular set of needs and desires which narrowed down my options. I wanted a bike that was pedal assist (no throttle) with a torque sensor and up to 28 mph, therefore I was looking at a Class 3 E-Bike. And because of the hills I live on I wanted it to be a midmount motor. That led me to the Yamaha Civante.
Do you have recommendations for individuals considering an E-Bike purchase?
Go for it, they’re awesome. It’s been a seamless introduction to my routine. There are so many different options out there so you really just need to talk to someone who has a good grasp of the options to figure out what type and style of bike fits your needs. There’s some incentives out there too that bring the cost down a bit. I also track my rides with Strava just for fun and I’ve connected that to the Go! Vermont app. There’s some nice rewards that I’ve used, just for biking to work!
Interested in a E-Bike for yourself? Check out these local, state, and federal incentives for Vermont residents for electric vehicles, including E-Bikes.
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.