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Google Earth's path function lets me measure routes travelled.
Google Earth's path function lets me measure routes travelled.

E-Biking the Banking Loop

The mission involved depositing several checks into two different banks, then stopping by the post office to pick up any accumulated mail, so why take a 3,000 lbs pickup, when a 60 lbs e-bike could do the same job?

After a week of powerful winds, rumbling thunder, barrages of lightning, and often torrential rains - but no tornadoes, thankfully - today the weather has turned out gorgeous, with moderate temperatures, a pleasant southerly wind and crystal clear skies.

Finally, I could get to the bank -- two of them, actually, spaced three-quarters of mile apart along our town's 'main drag.' If you could ask for perfect cycling weather, this is it. It doesn't get any better than this, so I threw the gram or so of paper into my messenger bag, strapped on my helmet, dropped my post office box key into my pocket. Out in the garage, I slipped on my sunglasses, climbed aboard my M750 e-bike and set out through our subdivision, taking a shortcut through the nearby high school parking lot. An easy coast down the hill brought me to the first bank.

From there, I headed north on 84th, riding on the sidewalk, in the absence of bike lanes. Maybe five minutes later or less, I was at the second bank and my business completed in minutes. The teller commented it was a nice day to bike, to which I agreed. Dropping the receipt in my bag, I now headed back south, briefly detouring over one block West to stop by the post office to pick up the two pieces of mail waiting inside.

From there, it was an easy ride back up the hill, past the high school where Matthew Broderick filmed 'Election' in 1999, and back into the subdivision and home. The trip took maybe 30 minutes? I do know the entire trip was 3.65 miles, thanks to Google Earth's path function, a screen capture of which I have published above.

The point here is that I was able to leave my pickup parked and get some exercise by using my e-bike instead. Those times when my knees and muscles told me I needed a little assist, I got it, but I found that I was able to pedal more of the trip on my own and use the e-motor a bit less, a promising sign I am getting a little fitter; that's less ethanol burned and more muscles worked.

Many of the trips we all make every day are just like this, a few miles to pick up or deliver small items that could easily fit in a backpack or basket. The National Household Travel Survey found that 50% of all trips are under 3 miles. In fact, 28% are under 1 mile, easily within walking distance, much less bicycling.

So, next time you have to run out to deposit a check, pick up dinner rolls, buy some bolts at Lowes, think about leaving the gas buggy in the driveway and going on two-wheels instead, at least on those days as glorious as the one I am enjoying right now.

Posted By: Bill Moore [31-May-2013]