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I ditched my car for a month of e-biking. Here’s what I learned

Aventon Abound rider with plants and store bought items on road.

Since settling into my life as an “e-bike guy,” I’ve been testing new bikes left and right. So when someone suggested trying to replace my car with an e-bike for a month, it didn’t take much to convince me. With a growing variety of bikes at my disposal, it sounded exciting to challenge myself and to find out just how much of my normal routine could be maintained with two wheels and a battery.

Though I live in a rural county just outside of Atlanta, my townhome community is located right beside a commercial strip packed with restaurants, department stores, banks, and gyms. So while I’ve historically used my car to get around, I’ve always known I could easily reach anything I need on foot or by bike in a mere few minutes if needed. Now, it was time to put that knowledge into action.

Week 1: Growing pains and happy kids

Aventon Abound
Digital Trends / Billy Givens

We live beside a paved trail that spans more than 60 miles, and intersects with nearly all of the major roads in town. Because of this, the first week was probably the least exciting of them all, as I heavily relied on the trail to avoid busy streets while I acclimated to cycling more frequently. 

Unconstrained by this experiment, my wife was occasionally still picking up dinner and groceries with her car, especially when the weather was rough (more on that below). But after a few days, I finally opted to try a grocery run with my Aventon Abound, a cargo bike that came with some optional panniers for just that type of occasion. I had no issues strapping on a few cases of sodas or water and stuffing the panniers with food, and I was back home and unloading it all in just a few minutes.

My Abound came equipped with an optional bamboo board and handrail for the rear rack, which allowed me to take our friends’ small son — who is always eager to join in on any fun there is to be had — on a ride around the neighborhood. Since they live only a few doors down, this rapidly became a routine, and this helped me realize that cargo bikes are excellent options for folks who need to bring little ones with them on their trips.

Now that I was in the swing of things, it all felt so simple and seamless. Would switching to a bike full-time really be this easy?

Week 2: rain or shine, but preferably shine

Digital Trends / Billy Givens

After a week, I started gravitating more toward versatile bikes like the Velotric Nomad 1 and Rad Power Bikes Radster Trail. Though they’re classified as off-road bikes, I loved how they were also exceedingly capable commuter options. Their wider tires and better suspension were preferable for some of the poorly maintained roads in my town, and they offered me a moderately longer range than some of the other bikes.

I was spending a significant amount of time out and about with each of them for both errands and trail rides, and it was keeping me energized — even if my leg muscles were reminding me of how out of shape I’d become.

Fenders and fat tires also made them better for riding in Georgia’s typical spring showers. But that didn’t change the fact that getting rained on is one of the biggest downsides to exclusively using a bike for travel. The two times I ran errands in some rain, I found that the sensation of being soaked and having my clothes stick to me was utter torture. 

Rain gear could no doubt have mitigated at least some of my comfort issues, but it still felt dangerous to ride in heavier rainstorms due to visibility being reduced for everyone on the road. It also wasn’t fun contending with puddles without knowing if a deep pothole was lurking beneath them. And since braking required more lead time and lower pressure to ensure I didn’t skid, I had to be even more mindful about my speed and surroundings. 

During my month of e-biking, I opted to just postpone anything else I planned to do on rainy days. While taking off in a storm is definitely viable with the right gear and an abundance of caution, this guy is happy to go back to the comfort of four wheels and a windshield when the weather is looking grim.

Week 3: everyone has a type

Bruce Brown / Digital Trends

I started running errands with my Himiway A7 Pro during the third week. It was an excellent commuter bike option that was enjoyable to ride around town, but since my wife was smitten with its dark orange color and smooth ride, it didn’t take long before she co-opted it. Suddenly, a couple trail rides per week turned into nearly daily outings.

Watching my wife become increasingly interested in getting out and about once she got her hands on “the prettiest one” taught me a valuable note about choosing an e-bike: aesthetics matter. While there’s no denying that function, safety, and comfort should be top priorities, picking a bike that fits your vibe as much as it does your mechanical needs is likely to make you want to ride it even more.

All of that being said, as someone with chronic pain issues in less-than-ideal places, I’m a comfort-first kind of guy. And though I found most of the standard e-bikes I’d been testing had cushy seats that didn’t cause as much pain as I was used to on cheap department-store bikes, I was thrilled when a Ride1Up Revv1 showed up on my doorstep with its motorcycle-style saddle.

The Revv1 almost immediately became my favorite of all the bikes I had been testing, as it offers the most comfort and a genuinely thrilling riding experience. I was also frequently getting stopped by folks around the neighborhood and in town asking me about the bike due to its old-school moped-style design, proving even further that looks play a big part in an e-bike’s appeal. 

The downside to the moped form factor, however, is that it makes pedaling less comfortable, due to the lower seating position that can’t be adjusted. So I was still breaking out my other bikes for family trail treks and fitness-focused outings. But when I was tired and didn’t feel like putting in much work on a hot day, the Revv1’s throttle-focused ride was just what I needed.

Week 4: picnic dinners and no clear winners

Aventon Abound
Digital Trends

By week four, my wife and I had fully settled into a new routine. Our post-work evenings were rarely just eating dinners in front of the TV like days past. Instead, we were typically riding to grab dinner on a patio or taking advantage of panniers (bike bags) to bring meals for picnics. Whether intentionally or subconsciously, this incentivized us to eat healthier in general, too — which was good because riding a bike after a huge, greasy meal isn’t particularly pleasant.

And that leads me to my biggest takeaways from 30 days of e-biking: It’s not only fun and convenient — it’s a great entry point for improving your health. I spent significantly less time indoors, found fun new ways to enjoy my town, and even lost some weight. Sure, I was excited to return to the comfort and convenience my car provides, but I no longer see it as my only feasible (or even preferred) method of travel. 

Though I had a few favorites, every bike I’d tested was a joy to ride, and I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to experience them all and learn even more about how each stands out in specific scenarios. Whether it’s holding down a throttle to zip around town, using a cargo bike to grab groceries, or just setting off for leisurely trail rides with my lovely wife, e-bikes have completely changed my life for the better. Here’s to many more years of two wheels and a battery.

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Billy Givens
Billy Givens is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience writing gaming, film, and tech content. His work can be…
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