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Finally dump the car and cruise to work on an ebike!
A friend of mine was complaining to me recently about his daily drive to the office. He felt he was wasting his life away sitting in traffic jams morning and night. Then there was the road rage from his fellow commuters. Oh, and don’t forget the endless pollution he was sucking up whilst he was sat, not moving, on the tarmac…
His 15-mile commute was taking over 90 minutes each way, every day of the week. On a good day.
But what could he do? It was obviously too far to walk. The buses were old and unreliable, and the train stations were nowhere near his home or office.
I suggested that he could dust off his old bike and travel in on the fantastic network of cycle paths that go all round his neighborhood and into town. But this suggestion was greeted with a look horror and another long list of excuses (sorry, reasons) why he would love to, but just, y’know, couldn’t. He was too old (at 36!), too chunky round the middle (cycling might help…) and he’d get too sweaty and there were no showers at work.
Then I showed him my new electric bike and that was when he started getting excited…
Short on time? Here are my top recommendations:
E Bike Pros and Cons
We all know that cycling is good for you. It’s low impact, it builds muscles and it burns loads of calories.
Plus, biking to work on cycle lanes or quiet back roads takes you away from all the traffic pollution and into the fresh air. A whole world away from those grumpy car addicts and their rush hour road rage. Into a peaceful place of countryside, trees and tweeting birds.
eBikes deliver all the benefits of cycling and, with a dash of electrical magic, let you go further, in less time, and arrive fresh and relaxed. Unlike the sweaty, angry, overweight drivers creaking out of their cars in the office car park.
I’ve researched the best available ebikes for a 15-mile commute and have detailed my top recommendations below.
Ready? Okay, let’s go.
Factors to consider in choosing your commuter eBike
These days it’s hard to go too far wrong with an e bike. There have been massive developments in battery technology, which has made bikes lighter and given them longer range. More and more companies are now producing electric bikes, from long-established bike brands like Schwinn (see below) to car manufacturers.
There are a few areas to think about before you choose your new ebike. Let’s take a quick look:
• Distance – how far is your commute?
• Terrain – will it be flat or hilly? Paved or rough tracks?
• Charging opportunities – can you fill up at work?
• Luggage – how much gear will you need to carry?
• Accessories – is your kit sufficient to keep you safe?
Is your commute a 15-mile roundtrip (15 miles total travel) or 15 miles from your house to the office 15 miles back (30 miles total travel)? You’ll need to make sure that your battery has sufficient charge to cover the distance you need, otherwise you’ll be doing more pedaling.
Will you be covering the whole distance by bike or are you going to do a portion of the commute on public transport? If you’re going to be getting on a train, then it might be useful if your ebike can fold up.
Will you be cycling on paved roads or rough tracks? If you’re traveling on smooth roads, then you should be fine on cruiser style or urban bike. If your commute takes you off road, then you’ll be needing suspension, possibly both front and back, to give you a comfier ride.
If the gradient is fairly flat then your battery will last longer, but if you’re going up steep hills then that power-assisted climbing will drain the battery faster.
Electric bikes can take 6-8hrs for a full charge from a standard wall socket. That should be fine if you’re doing a full day at the office and you can then have a fully-charged battery for the journey home.
It’s worth considering bikes that have a removable battery. That way you only have to take the battery into the office and not drag the whole bike in.
If you aren’t able to charge up your battery at work, then look at bikes that you can buy an additional battery for. That way you can charge both overnight and use one for the way in and the second for the way home.
Many bikes have options to fit luggage racks on the front and rear of the frame. Whilst these are intended for long-distance touring, they’re also handy for a change of clothes, lunch and a laptop.
Although bear in mind that extra weight will sap the battery faster, so it’s worth keeping the wardrobe to a minimum.
If you’re new to cycling or returning to it after some time off the bike, you may need to upgrade your kit.
A good helmet is essential on any bike, but especially on an ebike as you’re likely to be going at higher speeds.
Also get a good set of front and rear lights (so that car drivers can see you as you come cruising past them!) Look out for a set that is USB rechargeable so that you can top it up at the office.
Best Electric Bikes for 15-mile Commute
Sounds good? Okay, let’s dive in and take a look at my recommended ebikes for commuting.
Schwinn Sycamore: Best hybrid ebike
The Schwinn Sycamore is a fantastic value bike. With an upright riding position, this bike is great for cruising in comfort along quiet country roads and cycle paths as you head into the office.
Look under the hood though and you’ll also see that it’s got some quality features:
- SR Suntour NEX front suspension to smooth over the lumps and bumps in the road
- Front and rear disc brakes to keep you safe
- Powerful 350W rear wheel motor to let you sail up those hills without raising a sweat
- Comfort seat and handlebar grips
- Removable battery that will get you around up to 60 miles depending on the level of pedalling you do and the gradient of your route
Whilst the Schwinn doesn’t have luggage racks pre-fitted, there’s plenty of space to fit them. I’ve been trying out a great rear rack recently. I’ve found in the past that some pannier rack/bag combinations tend to bash against your heels as you cycle, but there’s obviously no problems like that with this one as it keeps everything well away from your feet as you pedal. Team it up with a quick-release bag and you’ve got streamlined storage for everything you need.
An excellent bike for riders who are new to ebiking, from a company that has been building bikes since 1895.
Antlers Lane Retro S: Best for Style Conscious Riders
The polished stainless steel frame and Italian leather accessories make this possibly the most stylish thing ever on two wheels. It’s also got the tech to complement the style:
- 350W motor that delivers up to 25 miles of travel
- Super light frame at only 46 lbs – ideal for when you need to load it onto a bike rack or carry it up to your apartment
- Fast charging battery – 3-4 hrs to full charge, so you can easily top it up during the workday
Forget the spandex, this is a bike that is made for commuting into work on whilst wearing your finest Italian suit.
ANCHEER Folding Electric Mountain Bike: Best Folding eBike
This folding ebike is a great option if your commute includes public transport like buses or trains. It’s also very practical for easy storage once you get home.
The battery is stored on the front handlebars, so bear in mind that this reduces the amount of storage space you have to play with.
For the price, this is a very good bike for a daily commute, particularly those with some rough tracks.
- No-frills specification to keep the price affordable – a great first ebike
- 250W motor giving up to 31 miles of travel between charging
- Molded wheels so no chance of busting a spoke miles from a bike shop
This is a fantastic entry-level ebike that is easy to store, either at home or in your office.
NAKTO Electric Bicycle: Best Low Step Through Bike
Step-through bike frames were originally designed for ladies wearing skirts and so are ideal if you’re commuting to work in a skirt suit or dress. They’re also great for anyone (myself included!) who isn’t as flexible as they’d like to be and struggles to swing their leg over a high crossbar.
- This bike comes with a range of accessories as standard including front basket and rear rack
- Upright riding position which can be great for relieving pressure on sensitive wrists
A fantastic value ebike, with a long list of accessories, that’s ideal for men and women. What more could you want?
Final word on ebike commuting
So, what’s stopping you from ditching the car and cruising into the office on an ebike? Electric bikes really are great fun and a fantastic way to get fit, healthy and avoid all that road rage.
They can also save you a lot of money. The average cost to own and operate a car in the US is around $9500 a year. Wow! If you could downsize to a smaller car or even get rid of a car altogether, just think what you could do with that sort of extra cash?
Now, what are you waiting for? Go buy that ebike and get commuting!