Could an e-bike help you be less dependent on automobiles? Could the Upper Valley E-Bike Lending Library help you make a choice? Since the Library began in 2020, more than 65% of e-bike borrowers who responded to surveys said they have already bought an e-bike or are planning on buying one. One is this Sutton, NH, couple, who chose a cargo e-bike that lets them run errands, extend the life of their cars, and cut down their emissions.
Lee Booker, a retired postal carrier in Sutton, NH, had been interested in e-bikes for some time, but he and wife Karen were hesitant. “I really couldn’t justify one for the area we live in,” he said. “It’s isolated. We’re too far from anything and it’s hilly.” While physically active, he was never a hard-core cyclist, he said. “I did some riding but I wasn’t one of those who put on the uniform and went out riding.”
Through an article in Green Energy Times, he learned about cargo e-bikes, which are built to carry loads and yet still mount the hills.” Once we saw the cargo bike that he could use, with a place to put groceries, he was more interested, said Karen. (Due to knee problems, Karen does not plan to ride the e-bike.)
He was interested but not sure – until he was able to try a cargo e-bike through the Upper Valley E-Bike Lending Library, which was stationed in New London for nine days in August, thanks to the New London Energy Committee. “I tried it on the hills, and I could make it up the hills here with a little peddling. And there’s a local farm that grows vegetables that’s a couple of miles away but there’s a hill in the way. Market Basket is 10 miles away, so we saw I could take a run to Market Basket on the bike, avoiding the major highways. So we decided to get one.” They purchased an Lectric Xpedition e-bike.
Interviewed when the bike arrived, the Bookers looked forward to replacing some of their driving, said Karen. “That’s what we plan on. Our cars are old and are getting a lot of mileage on them so we would like to keep them a little bit longer and keep down the mileage. We’re not ready to turn them in. We feel we can get a few more years out of them.”
Meanwhile, they will also cut their carbon emissions and get more exercise and fresh air. “I enjoy going to pick up the vegetables. I look forward to it,” he said. Added Karen, “In permaculture, they say one of the principles is that a plant has to have at least three uses, like looking pretty, being edible, providing share. That’s a way to look at e-bikes. They aren’t just recreation. They have a practical use.”
Postscript: Four weeks into owning the bike, Lee told us: “I like just about everything on it [the bike]. I was a little concerned about the tires handling the dirt roads, but they are good. I don’t do off-road biking. I bought mirrors for it. They are a major help in traffic. As for dislikes, I would like a softer seat and I don’t like the way the cables from the brakes and controls stick out in front of the handlebars. However, after over 200 miles I can say I am very happy, overall.”