Effortless and eco-conscious: exploring e-bikes | Notes on the Valley | Monith Ilavarasan | DanvilleSanRamon.com |

Local Blogs

Notes on the Valley

By Monith Ilavarasan

E-mail Monith Ilavarasan

About this blog: My parents, brother, and I moved to Pleasanton when I was in the seventh grade. I then graduated from Amador Valley High School, went to college at UC Davis and started out a career in tech. After several years working in large co...  (More)

View all posts from Monith Ilavarasan

Effortless and eco-conscious: exploring e-bikes

Uploaded: Jul 5, 2023
While living in Davis and then San Francisco I became an avid biker. I would bike to work and to places around town when doing errands. A practice I try to maintain to this day. I remember one dreary day in San Francisco after work where I was struggling to get up a particularly steep hill.

On this day, I saw someone breeze by me on my left and I was astonished. They weren’t even standing up on their bike, they were leisurely pedaling while sitting down. I was incredibly discouraged until I saw that they were actually on an e-bike. On that day I became a bike fundamentalist and vowed to never ride an e-bike. Riding them didn’t provide the “authentic” bike experience of being exhausted when reaching home with cramped calves.

That was until I rode my friend’s e-bike. It was an incredible balance of being able to pedal when you wanted to and coast when things were more challenging. In addition, I saw how it could really motivate individuals who weren’t avid bikers to get outside. I quickly converted to bike modernism and became a fan.

E-bikes offer an assisted pedaling experience, with an electric motor providing a boost when needed. Bikers can more easily overcome challenging terrains, tackle steep hills, and arrive at their destinations. With e-bikes, people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy cycling as a convenient and practical means of transportation.

Moreover, e-bikes enable riders to cover longer distances, extending the range of their travels while allowing them to decide how much effort they want to put in. Improved motor systems offer variable levels of assistance, allowing riders to customize their riding experience according to their preferences and terrain conditions.

Many models now offer pedal-assist sensors that respond to the rider's effort, providing a natural riding experience that balances assistance with getting your workout in.

Modern e-bikes now also feature more efficient and lightweight batteries which enhance their overall range and reduce charging times. Smart features like regenerative braking, integrated navigation systems, and smartphone connectivity have made e-bikes more user-friendly and convenient.

As concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability continue to grow, e-bikes emerge as a greener transportation alternative. By substituting short car trips with e-bike commute individuals can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet.

E-bikes produce zero emissions and consume substantially less energy than motor vehicles, making them an eco-friendly mode of transportation.

By getting people out of cars and into more efficient forms of transportations, they help alleviate traffic congestion in cities. This has a positive side effect of reducing air pollution and noise levels. By embracing e-bikes, individuals can actively participate in building greener and more sustainable urban and suburban communities.

A recent Pleasanton city council meeting had the discussion of allowing e-bikes on trails in the agenda. City staff made the following recommendations:

1. Allow all classes of e-bikes on trails and pathways where regular bikes are allowed
2. All bikes would be subject to a 15 mph speed limit unless on a bike lane on a public street
3. All bikes continue to yield to pedestrians and e-bikes are not allowed in BMX parks

Both the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Committee as well as the Parks and Recreation commission agreed with staff and voted to recommend the City Council adopt staff’s recommendation.

I’ve also noticed recent changes in street infrastructure to further shield bike lanes from oncoming traffic, such as the reflective cones on Stoneridge. These changes are a start in making it less intimidating to use bikes to get around the city.

I hope this expanded access motivates individuals to use e-bikes as alternative sources for transportation, both on trails and through the city. I look forward to sharing the road with my e-bike brethren and seeing more people outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by sjd, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 5, 2023 at 3:42 pm

sjd is a registered user.

1) As a longtime bike rider, I recently got my first ebike. Class 1, torque-pedal-assist only, no throttle, comes with lights, under 40 lbs. No big tank, just a speed up. Wow, it's great. Way easier to get lunch and get back to work efficiently and effectively. Added a trailer hitch and looking to do some special things with it in the future.

2) Thanks for the call out on West Las Positas near Hacienda. It's hard to describe just how nice it is to ride without close passing from cars at 40mph. The bollards don't protect against every situation, but the space really matters. Now it just needs to connect with the future project phases to be more useful.

Posted by Sharon P, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 6, 2023 at 3:42 pm

Sharon P is a registered user.

Thank you for this article. As we build out more and more protected bicycle infrastructure on our streets and trails I hope more people will try an e-bike. They are fund to ride and anyone can do it. Even if you have balance issues you can find a 3 wheeled bike.
If we want a future for our children and grandchildren we have to get out of the habit of driving everywhere - even a few blocks to school or the market. E-bikes are the answer!

Posted by Jason Peck, a resident of another community,
on Jul 7, 2023 at 9:14 am

Jason Peck is a registered user.

Adolescents riding e-bikes pose a traffic nuisance and an endangerment to the riders themselves.

Most do no adhere to the rules of the road and being unlicensed motorized vehicles, many kids seem to think they can go about as they please, cutting in front of cars, riding on the roadways instead of bike paths, using the left turn lanes, zipping past cars backing out of parking stalls.

E-bikes might be cool for adult riders but adolescents should be banned from riding them unless the DMV establishes additional protocols.

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from DanvilleSanRamon.com sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 1,611 views

Reflecting on lives this Thanksgiving Day
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 969 views