Kommuting on the Katu-E: A Week of Electric Assist Bliss
- Hills trembled in my wake - I go to school at the University of Utah and live at the bottom of the hill. The e-assist bike cut time from my commute simply by allowing me to streamline my route; instead of taking a zig-zag route that made climbing more gradual, I went for the straightest route possible. I was just as tired at the end, but I cut a significant five minutes off of my 20-minute commute; not bad for 1000 feet of climbing over two miles with a full load of food, notebooks, and a laptop.
- Stop lights aren’t so bad - Stoplights are the bane of my existence. I work and work to get up to speed in the city, but a block later there’s another stoplight to stop the bike’s momentum. With pedal assist, I could effortlessly sail away from each stop, regardless of how much I had with me.
- Alvin, the brazen bicyclist - It was a brisk Friday night, cold enough that gloves were of the utmost necessity if I were to stay outside longer than a few minutes. I had just agreed to meet someone in Holladay, an eight-mile commute from downtown SLC. The only issue? If I went home to grab my car, I would be late. Instead, I decided to go by bike. Long story short, outside of my frozen nose, I arrived to with time to spare, unflustered and energized by my endorphin-driven bike ride.
- More bikes, more friends - My friends were much more willing to park their car in favor of the bicycle when they had access to pedal assist. No longer were they discouraged by distance or pace; rather they were enthusiastic, and even happier when they realized that they didn’t absolutely need their car for every journey.
- Overall commute times - My commuter has drop bars and places me in a fairly efficient position. Most pedal-assist bikes offer a 20 mph max assist (and 28 mph in the case of Class 1 bikes from companies like Stromer), so my average commute times weren’t drastically cut. But in the city, where there is a stop sign or stoplight at every block, or when I have 20 pounds of gear on a long, steep climb? It was a serious boon to a weary body and mind.
- My overall laziness - Detractors claim that these bikes make us even lazier, but I disagree. I didn’t work any less; my effort was just spread out over longer distances. I was sparked to ride more frequently instead of driving, prompted by the ease of traffic-free bike lanes, infinitely free parking, and the simple smile on my face. At the end of the Katu’s stay, I hadn’t driven my car in over two weeks.