Electric bikes becoming another option for commuters

3 years 3 weeks 4 days ago Tuesday, November 18 2014 Nov 18, 2014 Tuesday, November 18, 2014 5:59:33 PM CST November 18, 2014 in News
By: Tiege Dooley-Panko, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Tom O'Connor said he whisks by other cyclists in the bike lane as if to say "see you guys later." But it's not because O'Connor is a superhero cyclist, in fact he said he's the opposite. He's able to get more places quicker than ever before because of a new addition to his bike...a battery.

O'Connor recently invested in an electric bike starter kit. He ordered the kit on the internet for about five hundred dollars and retrofitted his old mountain bike with an electric battery.

O'Connor charges the electric bike in his garage. It takes about 2-6 hours to be fully charged.

He was originally turned on to the concept by his friend Ted Curtis, former GetAbout manager.

"Once you try it, you really get it," O'Connor said. "I rode the bike around a little bit and I thought I've gotta have one."

Assistant director of PedNet Lawrence Simonson said electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and Missouri.

"It bridges a gap. A lot of people say the physical exertion of biking to and from work can be exhausting, you get really sweaty, it messes up your hair all those type of things," Simonson said. "So the number of people that bike to work for transportation is increasing because these bikes are essentially erasing the hills for them."

An electric bike still has all of the same features as a regular bike but if a rider is feeling tired or wants an extra push, there is an option to press a throttle and get added assistance riding. Some electric bikes can go up to 20 miles per hour.

O'Connor said he tries to use the bike as much as possible because he finds it to be efficient.

"Pretty much every trip around town less than four or five miles from the house I tend to go to the bike first if the weather is good and if I don't have to carry a TV set or anything. I'll take the bike whenever I can," O'Connor said.

And he said the trips on his bike are virtually free and help to conserve energy. O'Connor charges the electric bike in his garage. It takes around 2-6 hours to be fully charged. 

"It's like a penny a trip in electricity," O'Connor said. "Oh, actually it's free because we make our own electricity. So it's pretty much free and pleasant transportation."

The O'Connors have solar panels lining their yard to create the energy used in their home.

Simonson said the savings from using an electric bike can be great for a family.

"Its roughly estimated between $7,000 and $9,000 each year to own a motor vehicle," Simonson said. "Most homes have more than one motor vehicle so if you could reduce even one motor vehicle from your home and have someone biking some of the year or car sharing, and using public transit, I don't think many people would argue that yes I would like $7,000 to $9000 more each year."

Columbia received a grant in 2005 to make the city more bike-accessible. Since the grant, the city has put in bike lanes around town and added several sidewalks to try and encourage biking or walking as forms of transportation.

Simonson said the more "bikeable" a community is, the more economically viable.

"The more people want to be there, young people want to be there, businesses are attracted to those locations with bike accessibility."

Cycle Extreme is one of only two bike shops in Columbia that offer electric bikes for sale.

"It allows us to take away some of the objections people might usually have to riding a bicycle," Owner of Cycle Extreme Tom Brinker said.

Brinker said people usually complain about getting tired before or after work or living too far away to ride in to work but he said an electric bike takes away all of those complaints.

Despite the growing popularity, sales for the electric bikes haven't been as large in the United States as they have been in European countries.

According to The Guardian, a UK newspaper, 150 million people had electric bikes in China in 2013.

"I think it's a learning curve at this point," Brinker said. "I think people need to know and understand that there are other options out there to get around."

He said communities in the United States tend to be more spread out than in European countries as well so that could have an effect on the amount of people who are willing to bike as a form of transportation.

More News

Grid
List
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A criminal investigation was underway Tuesday after a man's death and a vehicle fire. Foul play was... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 5:08:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 2018 Jefferson City council elections only have one contested seat: 5th Ward Council member. Incumbent... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Cover Missouri, a coalition promoting sign ups for the Affordable Care Act, held an open-enrollment event at the... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Truman VA’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) went live with a new Tele-ICU technology on Tuesday. Tele-ICU... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:46:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Police are still investigating the death of Augustus Roberts, the man found dead at a home in the... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:46:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Troopers arrested a man on Tuesday after a high-speed chase which started south of Ashland and ended in... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:38:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
VERSAILLES - Prosecutors filed charges against three employees of the Morgan County Jail on Monday, including a nurse accused of... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:37:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri has become the 34th state, in addition to two territories, to accept a nationwide public safety network.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:35:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
NEVADA (AP) — Two inmates who were captured soon after breaking out of a western Missouri jail face new charges.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:20:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ASHLAND – Those who live around Ashland were able to avoid paying an online convenience fee or driving to Columbia... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:16:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation for a primary seatbelt law has been filed by the Missouri House Transportation Committee chairman. This... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 1:03:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters have found two bodies while battling a blaze in a Kansas City, Kansas, home.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:53:16 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Rabbi Avraham Lapine and his wife, Channy, dreamed of dedicating their lives to the Jewish community. In... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:46:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
CARTHAGE (AP) — A former employee of a Carthage rehabilitation center was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:38:59 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police found 23 individually vacuum-sealed plastic bags of marijuana on Monday in a package delivered by FedEx. ... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:22:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri woman has been charged in the drowning death of her 6-month-old son. The... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:54:03 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An Illinois man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in the fatal shooting of... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:43:49 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Janesville police say the victim of a homicide was stabbed at least 30 times. ... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:37:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 34°
11am 36°
12pm 37°
1pm 36°
2pm 37°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:00a
Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
10:00a
Jerry Springer
11:00a
Jerry Springer
12:00p
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

6:30p
Football Night in Indianapolis
7:20p
Thursday Night Football
7:00p
iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2017
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld