An electric bike is a convenient replacement or alternative to driving. But just how convenient will depend on how well the ebike is designed and what features it includes. For example, can the ebike carry groceries and/or kids? Does the battery and motor give enough oomph to keep the journey sweat free? Is there a belt drive to keep your clothing clean and grease-free?
The Tiller Rides Roadster was designed from the ground up with the goal of being a convenient alternative to driving. Beyond its environmental credentials and cost-saving potential, it is packed full of features that make riding an ebike just as – if not more – convenient than driving. In this post, we will look directly at the convenience of using a Tiller Rides Roadster eBike versus a car for everyday use.
To compare the convenience of a car vs an e-bike, we looked at a typical commute in Perth, Western Australia. The observations from this comparison equally apply to a shopping trip, a night out to a local restaurant, or a trip to the doctor or dentist. They are also highly transferable to other countries where the car is the dominant form of transport.
The Average Car Commute
An average commute to work by car might go something like this:
You grab your car keys, house keys, and bag. You leave your house and jump into your car to head off down a quiet suburban street. After weaving through a few quieter streets, you reach a busier main street and join the flow of peak hour traffic. When you reach the first traffic light, there is already a queue of 10 cars in front of you. You wait for one minute for the light to change and then hope that everyone moves off fast enough so you can get through the intersection.
As you get closer to work, the queues at the traffic lights get longer. Towards the end, it takes a few light changes before you can get through. You start looking at the clock, wondering if you will get to work on time. To keep the stress at bay, you play some music or listen to the radio… but neither can stop your mind from churning and wondering “is this a good use of my precious time?”
As idle in traffic, you look at the dash and realise, to your dismay, that you will need to fuel up immediately. You pull up into the next station you spot. As the hose pumps away, you watch the traffic (that you were once in front of) roll past and slow the flow even more.
Eventually, you make it through the traffic and begin searching for a parking space. With the stop for fuel, you arrive a bit later than usual and all the free street parking is taken. You drive around the block a couple of times before realising that you will have to pay for parking.
Heading into the parking garage, you grab your $12-per-day ticket. After countless turns up and around, you manoeuvre into the tight parking space. Finally! You grab your bag and carefully open the door, only barely avoiding banging into the adjacent car. As you lock the door and walk away, you send a little prayer to the parking garage gods that the driver of the cars next to you will be careful getting into their cars.
Finally, you get to the street and commence the walk to work. This morning’s fuel stop costs you the time and budget required to get your morning coffee and so you arrive at the office slightly flustered and rushed.
What a start to the day!
But at least the commute home will be slightly easier, you tell yourself; after all, you’ve filled up and don’t need to worry about parking… Until you remember that you'll be sitting in peak hour traffic the whole way back. Sigh.
The Average eBike commute
In comparison, the average commute to work by e-bike might go something like this:
You grab your pannier bags and slide your phone, keys, work laptop, and lunch into it. You head to the garage where your eBike is locked and charging. You disconnect the charger, grab your helmet and head off down your quiet suburban street.
A couple of houses down you see your neighbour taking in her bin and so you wave to say hi. You ride with ease through your regular backstreets and eventually reach the bike path along the river.
With the sun shining on your face and the fresh air in your lungs, you ride 15-20 minutes on the bike path at a continuous 25 km/h (the maximum assisted speed of an e-bike in Australia and Europe). You make a few stops for traffic lights and street crossings.
Eventually the bike path ends and you take a few more quiet backstreets and footpaths to your workplace where you park your bike in the dedicated bike parking space under the building. As you grab your pannier bag and walk into work, you wave to a colleague who has ridden his racing bike in and is heading to the end-of-trip facilities to get clean and ready for the day.
You walk to your desk and begin the day feeling energised, refreshed, and ready to crack on with your day.
The trip home is a reverse of the morning trip, cruising back streets and enjoying some fresh air after a day in the office. This time, however, you rely a bit less on the power assist and pedal a bit harder to get a bit of exercise before heading home.
The Roadster Makes Commuting Even More Convenient
Based on those two narratives of a commute to work in Perth, it is pretty obvious which transport is more convenient (and fun!).
The above comparison illustrates what the average electric bike can do. The Roadster eBike is built with features that make the electric bike option even easier.
The Roadster Anti-Theft System
The Roadster includes an integrated cable lock behind the seat. The Quicktether cable easily pulls out, wraps around the parking rack, and locks into the frame. You can then simply press a button on the handlebars to arm the ebike’s motion-sensing alarms and GPS tracking.
If an opportunistic thief comes along and cuts the cable lock, they still have to contend with the motion-sensing alarms and GPS tracking. With these advanced security features, if your Roadster ebike is moved, you will get a notification on your phone and be able to track its location.
Compare this with a regular eBike where you will need to carry a heavy lock with (possibly) a physical key. This will be sitting heavy in your bag, or hanging on the frame from an awkward location. Even after this heavy physical lock is secure, there is no peace of mind. When you walk away, you will be hoping that the lock is strong enough to deter thieves. If it is not, its up to good luck and CCTV to hopefully locate and recover your bike.
The Roadster’s Built-In Lights
Another convenient feature of the Roadster is the built in front and rear LED lights. These lights are fully integrated into the frame and charged by the main battery. With this convenience, you will no longer need to waste time searching for your lights, ensuring they are charged, or remembering to take them off when you park so they don’t get stolen.
More than just convenient, this feature is also safe: you will never have to ride home after dark without lights!
The Roadster’s Greaseless Belt Drive
Instead of a greasy chain, the Roadster uses a carbon fibre belt drive. This means you can use a Roadster without fear of getting your clothes dirty or stuck in the chain and ripped. The belt drive also requires no maintenance – say goodby to messy chain cleaning or greasing sessions!
In general, riding an ebike is a healthier and more convenient way of commuting. It saves time, money, and provides the positive mental health benefits of getting outside and getting a bit of exercise. By integrating anti-theft security, LED front and rear lights, and a greaseless carbon-fibre belt drive, the all Tiller Rides Roadster is more convenient than your average electric bike.
By Julian Ilich - Co-Founder of Tiller Rides