I am shocked by the number of people in Durango riding electric bikes. This is bike-town USA! Home of world-class athletes and a biking mecca. We don't need a motor. All the young adults now gliding along on their e-bikes used to push the pedals on a bike. Yeah, I have read the articles about how a person gets more of workout on an e-bike. Really?
I am disappointed that many Durangoans have been duped to think e-bikes can have a tangible reduction on greenhouse gas emissions. This ruse is making it feel so "green" to buy an e-bike. They are not zero emission! Most of the electricity to charge them comes from fossil fuels. Studies have shown that optimistically e-bikes could replace 10% of car trips. The Environmental Protection Agency says transportation causes 27% of our emissions; cars produce around one-half. If 10% of all car trips were replaced by e-bikes, they would reduce emissions by 1.3%, not considering the emissions they produce. This is nothing.
The attraction to e-bikes was stated in a recent guest column: Riding up a hill (at 18 mph!) is "exhilarating" and "while barely pedaling" you will reach the top "without breaking a sweat." It is easy. And the e-bike industry will make a lot of money. There are other alternatives for the environment (mass transportation, bikes, walking, small gas scooters, etc.). And why don't people who buy a bike, not get some of that $12 million rebate?