Green Team 2021: Jacob
For my about section: Jacob is a second year commerce and law student at the University of Sydney.
In his spare time you will find him (slowly) thrashing up bobbin head with mum and dad, or spending time with his mini-dachshund.
An advocate for green-transport and with an interest in sustainable living borne from his geography studies in highschool, Jacob is keen to demonstrate how easy it is to ride to work on an e-bike.
Wednesday, 9 June 2021
With the 6th week of the challenge coming to a close, I thought I would share how my experience on the Cube NatureOne 400 has changed over the past 50 or so days.
Having been fortunate enough to be able to ride the Cube NatureOne 400 for so long, I have become increasingly confident on the bike. As a natural occurrence of more time on two wheels in traffic, you start developing a sixth sense for where you should and shouldn't be on the road as well as of what is happening around you. Even if you drive on the road, by riding on the e-bike you can almost sense when a driver is going to turn irrespective of their indication - just watch their front tyre. Most drivers will position their cars to the side of the lane that they want to eventually turn, then signal, then turn. Almost always in that order. As my confidence has risen, so has my enjoyment of being able to commute on the bike. I think the entire 99bikes green team can attest that an early morning ride to work is one of the highlights of their days. For me, the experience has been much the same. Especially during winter, where air-conditioned rooms are stuffy, the cold air in the mornings against your face is more refreshing (and with even less calories) than that first cup of coffee.
Somewhere I have begun to recognise that a 400 Watt electric motor is a great asset at stop-lights and junctions, especially those on a slight incline. The additional power is incredibly reassuring as you pull away from a kerb or light allowing you to stay in front of or at least with traffic. I find myself cruising to a stop either un-assisted or on the lowest power setting ("Eco") and then clicking my way up to either "Turbo" or "Tour" in anticipation of a take-off. Also as I roll to a stop, I will click through the gears so that I am in a relatively easy gear for when I need to put my foot back onto the pedal. The perceived assistance you receive from the bike at a standing start is much greater if you are able to reach that lower gear and spin your legs a little quicker when you get going again.
The other thing I have noticed over the past few months is the repeated attention the bike receives either as I lock it up at University or even just as I pedal along on the road. The funniest interactions I have had with other cyclists is up the bobbin head classic climb as I overtake cyclists who seem to try and keep up to me. Usually I'll be on the middle power mode just to make the climb that much more pleasant, so I am generally not exerting myself too much. Other cyclists who now seemed determined to catch-up to me will come grinding up from behind. They'll usually ask a couple questions as they pant between sentences, I will reply with a normal tone and voice, not exerting myself at all, and when that small exchange is finished, I click onto turbo and zoom away.
The Cube NatureOne 400 is a joy to own, and a joy to ride. I look forward to the second part of the 99 days commitment to see what else I will learn and where else I can take this bike... Maybe some gravel riding next?....
Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021
Monday, 10 May 2021
Monday, 12 April 2021
Should you get an e-bike or a motorcycle? I have just finished my third week of riding my e-bike to work. Using the e-bike is an incredibly fun way of getting around town. Being out there on two wheels is liberating and such a great way to destress from the "work-from-home" era that we seem to be transitioning into. The past 3 weeks of riding the bike to commute has meant that I haven't been driving my car at all, this is the primary objective of the green-team and I am proud of the environmental impact that our 15-strong team has already had! But an incidental effect of riding the e-bike is that I have totally lost the impulse to ride my motorcycle. The e-bike is in so many ways just better than a motorcycle. In this blog I hope to go through some of the reasons for why if you are thinking about getting a motorcycle (or even currently ride) you should seriously consider making the switch to an e-bike.
Sense of freedom: The greatest single moment I've had on the bike yet far was on my first day taking the bike to work. There was no waiting for the engine to warm up, there was no smells of exhaust, there was no double-checking that I had bought fuel that week. It was just me being pedal-assisted out of the driveway with the birds chirping and wind rustling through my hair... which was of course under my helmet. The ability to be exposed to the elements may be something that our car-dwelling brothers and sisters define less as an ability and more as something to be avoided, but for those that appreciate the fresh morning air and bird-chirping it is something that we enjoy. Being on an e-bike, much like riding a motorcycle lets you live in the moment of the ride, allowing you to appreciate the elements and respect nature itself. In our concrete jungle worlds where "taking a break" is switching from your computer screen to your TV to watch netflix, we should all find a way to appreciate nature, even if it is just on your way to work.
Ease of parking: You may or may not know this, but motorcycle parking is one of the biggest perks of riding. With dedicated zones, most often with unlimited time on them, you can park your bike in the middle of the CBD without even the smallest concern of coming back to your car with a chalk mark on the tyre and a ticket on the windscreen. Well on an e-bike, we share even better luxuries. Dedicated bike parking and secure bike storage is something that many workplaces and residential areas are adding. Even where there isn't dedicated parking for your e-bike, any light post, railing, eyelet or pole becomes your very own parking spot. Granted you will need to be mindful that people still need to move around your parked bike and that may have to invest in a decent bike lock, these are minor costs for being able to park your bike anywhere!
E-Bike's are also much smaller than their combustion-counterparts. This means not only do they take up less room in your garage, but it means you can put them on the train if you need to super long-distance. Keeping the e-bike inside is something that may appeal to those of us without dedicated garage access, something that may not be able to be done with a motorcycle depending on which level you live on. That leads me onto another point: you can literally carry your e-bike anywhere. I routinely find myself carrying my e-bike up stairs and sneakily fitting it into lifts. Again, that isn't something you can do with a motorcycle. Parking on the rooftop of your building was never so easy (or possible)!
Traffic defeator: Lane filtering is a benefit that motorcycle riders enjoy. This is the ability to weave through stationary traffic at a speed less than 30kmph. Guess what, you can do this on your e-bike too! Just make sure that you feel confident in the situation and that the traffic is safe to move in. An additional bonus on top of motorcycles is that unlike a motorcycle, your e-bike doesn't weight 150kgs. This makes it much easier to maneuver in tight spaces and if you drop the bike, you don't need a helping hand just to stand the bike up!
Cost: Yes, motorcycles are cheaper than cars, but guess what's cheaper to buy, run and service than both of them? Yep, you guessed it; an e-bike. For the cost of a smartphone, you can be riding your e-bike with all the necessary lights, protective equipment and style that you could want! Charging the bike will cost little more than the energy cost of boiling a kettle of water and service fees are miniscule compared to those of registered vehicles. As a student myself, I do appreciate marginal savings here and there, but with an e-bike the savings aren't marginal, they are great and quite noticeable. As fuel prices continue to rise, why keep paying for fuel? The switch to electric doesn't have to mean electric car, think electric bike!
Carbon footprint: Motorcycles, despite their loud exhausts and ability to zoom away from lights are actually up twice as carbon-efficient per kilometre than a standard car. This is a product of their more efficient engines and reduced dead weight. They also take less resources to build. But what about e-bikes? Well, and I know, this may come as a surprise to you, e-bikes are essentially carbon neutral. Because of their lighter weight and lack of a combustion motor, e-bikes are more carbon efficient (and also more energy efficient) than any other powered mode of transport. There may be various reasons for why you want to reduce your carbon footprint: ethical responsibility, reducing your impact on the environment, reducing air pollution, slowing global warming etc. Although riding an e-bike instead of your car won't immediately stop the polar caps from melting, it would definitely be a start in the right direction. The first step to getting everyone to use carbon-neutral transport is to get some people using carbon-neutral transport. So why not make the switch?
TL;DR: An e-bike offers a range of benefits that a motorcycle would also grant. However, e-bikes offer greater benefits when compared to motorcycles when we consider the society and environments we live in today.
Monday, 5 April 2021
So! I have had my commuter e-bike Cube NatureOne 400 for a week now and here is how my impressions has changed over the past 7 days!
I originally thought that the large weight of the bike would be an issue, however you only seem to feel the weight of the bike when you are trying to carry it around and maneuver the bike when you are not on it.When you are at speed or even sitting on the bike stationary, if you are sitting right above the centre of gravity of the bike - you really can't feel the above-average weight of the bike. Even at low speed maneuvering such as S-turns or U-turns, the weight of the bike doesn't feel like it is hindering your confidence. In fact, if anything, the weight (and the added front suspension) makes the bike feel really well planted on the ground and at no risk of sliding out.
I am yet to have a low-side on the Cube NatureOne 400, it seems to have boundless amounts of grip on the tyres it comes with, not plasticky at all like I first thought they would feel like.
Friday, 2 April 2021
Monday, 01 March 2021