600 days, 10,000 kilometres
600 days ago, I took my inaugural ride on my e-Bike. At the time, I didn’t realize it would be such a big part of my life. It was the beginning of multiple epic adventures, commuting with an ebike. It’s reignited my love of cycling and made it possible for me to cycle 365 days of the year. Even on the days that I’m tired, I still get my exercise in. I just use more motor power than I normally would!
I became a cycling infrastructure advocate
When I was in London, I became a board member of the London Cycle Link. This allowed me to advocate for better bicycle infrastructure there. After moving to Toronto for my new job, I was no longer part of an advocacy group. Even so, just by being a cyclist on the road during rush hours, I’m advocating for better cycling infrastructure again.
On September 18, 2019, on my 51st bike ride to work at my new job, I passed the 10,000 KM milestone! To celebrate the occasion, I want to tell you how I did it. I rarely take public transit and don’t own a car, so this is my primary mode of transportation now. Some people say it’s crazy, but so far it’s working out just fine for me!
Here’s the video that goes right along with this blog post! (Ya know, if you’re more of a fan of watching YouTube videos than of reading.)
So, how did I get to 10,000 km?
I got excited!
It sounds easy, but the first thing that I did was get excited about riding everywhere I went! It was like driving a two-wheeled Tesla! The torque from electric motors is just so much fun! That, plus the savings of not driving (both environmentally and financially) keep me coming back for more.
I made sure cycling was part of my life
I was already a utility cyclist. I already biked a lot because I sold my car back in 2017 (because of the lack of use). At that time, I was living with my parents. If I really needed to use a vehicle, I paid to use it. As time went on though, I noticed that I rarely drove even though I could have. And for environmental reasons, I didn’t see the need to use a vehicle for distances under 10 km. Over the last two years, I haven’t been living with my parents and have gotten along just fine without a car. Just in case you thought “living with your parents” was a requirement for you to bike everywhere as well!
I upgraded to an e-bike
Once I electrified my bike, everything I was already doing by bike was easier to do every single day. Do you know those times when it’s incredibly windy? I sure do. Headwinds were the NUMBER ONE REASON I electrified my bike. My second top reason was hills. Both headwinds and hills prevented me from loving bike commuting. “Cycling purists” would say that the electric assist is cheating, but to that, I say “I’m one less car on the road.”
I overcame the typical excuses and found solutions instead
Cycling every day is probably one of the harder things to make happen. Why? Because things come up and there are many great excuses to not bike:
- I didn’t get enough sleep last night!
- It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I don’t want to get wet!
- It’s too hot and I don’t want to sweat (haah, wet and sweat unintentionally rhyme)!
- It’s too cold and I don’t want to freeze!
- It’s snowing. ARE YOU CRAZY?!
Just like any other excuse in the world, I overcame them because I really wanted to. Especially knowing that I do it day in and day out. Electric-assist helped me overcome those excuses by giving me the convenience of a motor on the days I’m not really aren’t feeling it. The cool thing is, I can’t help but peddle… So by the time I’m two minutes into my ride, I’m happily peddling along during my morning workout…errr… commute!
I developed habits and routines
Once I overcame my excuses, I started developing a rhythm to my routines of commuting with an ebike. Habits started to form and before I knew it, I had people asking why I was always so happy at work (a nod to everyone at work asking me why I’m always so happy)!
I turned the whole biking commute into a game really. I got to “play” two or more games per day on my commute to and from work – sometimes with bonus errands to run, like groceries or shopping. Throughout all these “games”, I kept fit by continuously getting moderate-to-extreme levels of exercise every single day.
I maintained a spreadsheet as a pet project of mine. Even though I’m probably the only one to ever really do it as extensively as this, I’m okay with that! It’s my little game that I play every day for a whole 60 seconds. Checking the voltage and tracking my mileage is fun for me, but it’s definitely not something anyone else needs to do! I’m doing it for the long run. Once my battery finally starts dying in a year or two from now, I’ll have all the data points needed to draw some interestingly nerdy conclusions!
I found efficiencies
When I started biking, things weren’t as smooth as they are now… As you can see in the video above, the routine is slick. I’ve found what works and what doesn’t. But there’s always room to improve in one way or another. And that’s what keeps me going! It’s way too much fun thinking of ways to become faster or more efficient.
I think I’ll always be a cycling infrastructure advocate and cyclist. With congestion becoming more and more of a problem in big cities around the world, things need to change. Alternate modes of transportation need to be considered on a global scale.
I hope that by writing a bit about my experience, readers will realize the benefits of year-round bike commuting. Whether or not I choose another mode of transportation in the future for off-peak hours, I’ll be commuting by e-bike. I’m only benefiting from it. It’s good for the planet, good for my health, and saves me a ton of time.
To read my other DIY e-bike blog posts, check out the links below! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below! If you haven’t already watched the associated video, check it out here, subscribe to my channel, and Like the video! It helps the YouTube algorithm know what people like 🙂
- My DIY eBike – 1000km Update (April 2018)
- DIY eBike – 4500km Update (October 2018)
- Q&A Session – UberEATS in London, Canada via DIY Electric Bicycle
- Building Natalia’s eBike (my 2nd eBike build)