Every day, rain or shine, Paul Turner blasts through his 19-mile commute from his home on the Sandy River in Troutdale to his office on Marquam Hill in southwest Portland. Aboard his electric-assisted bike, the journey takes him about an hour and ten minutes. He recently captured the highlights of his ride with a GoPro on-board camera and shared it on YouTube.
One of the seemingly obvious benefits of electric-assist bikes is how they expand the range of a bike commute. There’s no set definition for a long bike commute; but my hunch is that most people will start to look at other options once the distance gets beyond six or seven miles one way. My commute is about four miles each way and it takes me about 20-25 minutes depending on various factors (about the same time for the average American commute, regardless of mode).
For Paul Turmer, time is only one factor that figures into his choice to ride an e-bike instead of a standard bike, a bus, or a car. Here’s more from Paul:
“I ride up Terwilliger and Campus Drive – no Tram for me – 38 miles round trip. The advantages are obvious, takes an hour and ten minutes from my back door near the Sandy River to my office door which is a good 30-45 minutes better than the best TriMet can do, and an hour better than I can do on a non-assisted bike. I leave when I want and I don’t mess with transfers or waiting other than at stop signs and stop lights. Driving the same distance would save me some 15-20 minutes but not having to deal with parking at OHSU, the cost of gas, and rush hour traffic made the e-bike an easy choice. Compared to the alternatives the $2500.00 for the bike was a bargain from where I sit – it’ll be all paid for in less than a year. In 6 months I’ve logged over 2000 miles and I expect to get 10-15000+ miles.”
Paul says even with his motor running, he’s not always the fastest person in the bikeways; but he faster than most. One problem he has is that his speed is so much greater than other riders on hills, that he’s forced out of the bikeway and into other traffic to avoid them. He’s also noticed that there are added dangers that come with the rapid acceleration e-bikes provide. “So far I’ve been right hooked once in part because the driver, who knew I was there, did not expect me to go so far so fast and I got clobbered.”
Ride along on Paul’s commute by watching his video above or on YouTube.