Electric bikes: An efficient way to get outside and see the city

According+to+the+Chicago+Tribune%2C+the+City+of+Chicago+plans+to+have+10%2C500+more+bikes+arrive+by+2021.+

Malcolm Taylor

According to the Chicago Tribune, the City of Chicago plans to have 10,500 more bikes arrive by 2021.

Louis Auxenfans, Reporter

In the city, people rush past trees and buildings on bikes as the world slows around them. They sprint down the street on hefty blue and black bikes with a large battery pack attached to the underside of the vehicle, oblivious to the slow pedestrians around them. It takes no effort to propel the cyclist to a high speed as they glide along the concrete, exhilarated by the wind rushing behind them. 

Throughout the pandemic, people have found electric bikes as an efficient and exhilarating experience to get outside, an effortless escape from staying at home all day. Many cities, including Chicago, have implemented electric bike programs that encourage a socially distant physical activity.

The City of Chicago Department of Transportation partnered with Lyft to roll out 3,500 electric Divvy bikes across the city in July, according to the Chicago Tribune. After some initial setbacks due to stay-at-home orders and bureaucratic hurdles, electric Divvy bike stations have sprung up, allowing people to travel faster and farther than before.

Senior Zach Sharp, who rode a Divvy electric bike over the summer, said he was surprised by how little effort was required for him to speed down the street.

I just got on that bicycle and I just pedaled two or three times, which didn’t take any effort at all, and I was going about as fast as I would if I was working really hard on my regular bicycle”

— Zach Sharp

“I just got on that bicycle and I just pedaled two or three times, which didn’t take any effort at all, and I was going about as fast as I would if I was working really hard on my regular bicycle,” Zach said. 

While Zach said that the experience was strange at first, he got used to it and could see why people prefer to ride an electric bike over a traditional one. 

“For one, if you are trying to use it to commute, it’s so much easier, you don’t have to work as hard, you don’t sweat as much when you bike,” Zach said.

Ethan Kucera, a sophomore, also saw benefits to riding an electric bike.

“I think they could be a popular activity because people want to go outside,” Ethan said. “It allows people to get out of the house, so I think people can use electric bikes during the pandemic just to get exercise or go outside.”

Zach Sharp also added that Divvy bikes are easy to ride during the pandemic and convenient for non-bike owners. 

“All you gotta do is maybe rent one,” Zach said, and “you can also just go out for an outing and just get out of the house to just ride along the lakefront without having to pay $300 for a regular bike, especially if you don’t bike that much.”

As the city plans to roll out 10,500 electric bikes by 2021, it is clear electric bikes are here to stay. They provide an efficient method of getting some outside exercise during a pandemic and allow people to travel greater distances with less effort. Cyclists can glide along the street, thrilled by leaving their claustrophobic house behind.