I figured that I should write something more positive about cycling to and from work, seeing as my last post was pretty depressing. It’s really not too bad, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m not a martyr, and I hope to remain that way! Because I’m a bit of a data nerd, I crunched some numbers about riding an e-bike and how it stacks up.
Every day I ride my e-bike to work and back instead of driving a car, I stop 7.8kg of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. According to the Onya’s manufacturers, a full battery charge costs about 10c, so 50c a week compared to $25 for the same amount of petrol at a rough estimate (depending on what scandalous overcharging or undercharging or smart card we’re all talking about this week)
There’s a lot of discussion about the energy someone on an e-bike uses compared to someone using a mechanical bike, but even assuming about 50% like this blog here, I’m happily burning through a large meal’s worth of energy every day I ride to work and back. I’ve been riding for four weeks now, and my legs have more muscle in them than they have since I did crossfit, only without the extra piles of stinky washing and the five hours a week I needed to find in my schedule to attend classes (not to mention the fees!). Because of the pedal assist, I get to work without being particularly sweaty, so ride to work in what I’m going to wear at the office. Taking out the faff of showering, changing clothes, drying hair etc removes another “I can’t be bothered” obstacle to using the bike.
Door to door, it takes about 50 minutes to get to or from work. That’s 100 minutes a day where I’m alone, outside, exercising, without my phone or social media or anything else to distract me. I cherish those 100 minutes, I really do. I’ve stopped to watch tūi having pitched rap battles amid cherry blossom in Epsom, kereū defying stereotype and elegantly swooping under telephone lines in Mount Eden, and more blackbirds and sparrows and mynahs and gulls than I care to count, even in the industrial backlots and sideroads of Penrose. I get kids waving at me from their own bikes as I pass by, I get time to think and usually by the time I get either home or to work I’ve blown out whatever cobwebs were there when I set off and I’m ready to step into being a wife and mum or employee without needing much decompression time at all.
Yes, there are some stretches of my commute where I don’t feel that safe (and I may have started using the very sparsely-populated footpath on afternoons where the traffic is particularly noxious, which helps a lot), but the benefits are pretty undeniable when you break it down.
Speaking of unsafe stretches I have found, I think, a reasonable compromise between “make it home alive” and “get to work on time”. Just FYI, if you find yourself having to navigate the Bermuda Triangle, then I’ve found this cheeky little hack that misses the utter hideousness that is the motorway on-ramp and Penrose junctions without adding too much to your travel time. Rockfield road has a cycle path, O’Rorke and Industry Roads could have paths with minimal disruption to anybody. Just a thought!