General

Electric vehicle good, cargo e-bike better

Electric vehicle good, cargo e-bike better

“One bike that can do almost everything – commuting, trips to the store, drop-off at daycare, leisure rides and more.” So says e-bike maker CERO, which recently released its CERO One cargo e-bike to the public. It’s all true! CERO One feels like silk in motion to ride, and it also gets your local errands done. I know because they lent me one for a while. Thank goodness women are still allowed to ride bikes in my state, at least for now.

Checking the boxes: the fun ride

CERO sent his cargo e-bike to me, complete with front and rear baskets. It was easy to put together and after a few minutes of getting the feel of a nearby parking lot, I was on my way to the Hill of Doom, shot straight up to the top of a mountain a quarter mile. It’s a small mountain, but still a mountain, and the road is a busy three-lane road with a 40mph speed limit, no bike lanes, no sidewalks, and no chance to drive back and forth.

I had to try some e-bikes up that hill once or twice before I figured out how to maximize power and minimize effort, but that wasn’t the case with the CERO One. On the first try, he flew up the hill in no time.

“The efficient Shimano E6100 motor system boosts your pedaling speed to 20 mph and gives you up to 105 miles of range on a single charge,” CERO promises, and it came through on the Hill of Doom.

“And with the Gates Carbon Drive™ belt and Shimano Inter-5E internal gear hubs, your bike will be smooth, quiet and nearly maintenance-free,” they also promise. I would have to keep the bike for a while to confirm the maintenance aspect, but the smooth and quiet parts are all true.

The quiet part was especially enjoyable as I continued my first ride, a 13-mile loop through a local wildlife sanctuary with many more opportunities to give the CERO One an uphill workout, all done seamlessly, and all without an electrical whine in the background, even if the power is pushed all the way up.

Box #2: Commuting on an e-bike for cargo

The next test was my usual 20-mile round-trip from suburban to city commute to work and back, which really puts a bike to the test.

The inbound journey is a mile down the same small but still mountainous mountain, then seven hilly miles on a 4-lane main road with trucks and buses and stuff, and a mile of clogged urban stop-and-go.

The return journey is an 18-mile roundabout back home that avoids the evening rush hour on the County Road, although it does involve a brisk mile uphill climb on a winding road to get up and over the other side of the Hill of Doom.

The CERO rates each step an 11 out of 10. It achieved uphill climbing, bus dodging, intersection scooting and avoiding random pedestrians-in-the-road without turning a hair.

The CERO One is also a big, bold bike that stands out in traffic, which helps from a safety standpoint. The roomy front and rear baskets also allowed me to clear some clutter from my office and haul it home, all with no hassle.

Box #3: Shopping locally on a cargo e-bike

To be clear, commuting on an e-bike isn’t necessarily a daily occurrence on a 20-mile round trip. When the days get shorter, a mile-long ride in the dark with no bike lanes is a no-go. The same goes for rain, snow or cold. A few minutes’ drive in the dark or in bad weather wouldn’t be a problem, but on a 35-45 minute commute, the risks pile up.

That’s something to keep in mind for using e-bikes in the suburbs, where commutes tend to be longer and bike paths are scarce. Nevertheless, you will certainly save a lot of gas on the days when you can use an e-bike.

You can also save a lot of time. Shopping locally is a piece of cake on an e-bike, because the parking problem evaporates. If you’ve never lived in a suburban city with virtually no public transportation, you may not realize how much time and energy goes into managing local parking. Well, it’s a lot. Being able to zip in and out on a bike is a huge plus.

That goes for any bike, but a cargo e-bike really benefits from the situation because you can load more stuff on it.

For example, there is a hardware store just a 15 minute walk from my house, but I have to use the car if I need something too big and heavy to carry for 15 minutes. Also, the return goes up a very steep, annoying little hill. On the CERO, the same message was effortless and time-saving too, even with a load of potting soil and some other stuff in the rear compartment.

Don’t take your ride for granted

As for being allowed to cycle in your own state, we all need to think about that these days. No really. Not so long ago, women weren’t allowed to ride a bike anywhere in the US. Incidentally, in the US women were not allowed to do many things, such as voting or taking out their own car insurance.

Some praise new technology – that is the invention of the bicycle – to fuel the women’s suffrage movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In an interesting twist, our friends at Condé Nast Traveler point out that a major change in cycling technique has tipped the balance (break added for readability):

“Bicycles have done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world,” wrote Susan B. Anthony in 1896. It may sound surprising, but her statement reflected a new reality. A cycling frenzy raged across the US and elsewhere, thanks to the launch of the Safety Bicycle, the diamond-framed model from which today’s bikes emerge.

“And unlike its dizzying and risky predecessor, the High Wheel, it was much easier to ride, which in turn offered a new freedom to women who had little autonomy over their lives and few legal rights.”

In a number of countries, women are still not allowed to cycle. Since Iran became the focus of attention for the brutal enforcement of female fashion codes, let’s take a look at the rules for cycling out there. Here is the National Council of Resistance of Iran on the subject:

“In the regime’s judicial laws, there is no law prohibiting women from riding bicycles. But marjas or religious scholars in the velayat-e faqih regime have enforced this ban every year and routinely. preventing women from using bicycles in urban public space.”

If you think that can’t happen here, guess again. Banning individuals of childbearing potential from participating in activities that pose a potential risk to uterine well-being is the next step in a move that has revolutionized women’s rights in the US. Strict abortion bans are already in place spread from state to stateand Republican officials are already paving the way a national ban.

Ride that bike while you still can.

Follow me on twitter, @TinaMCasej.

Photo: Shopping locally is a breeze with the CERO One cargo e-bike (photo by Tina Casey).


 

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