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We agree, it IS easier than ever to go carless in Seattle. Services like ridesharing, public transit, and dockless bike sharing (the newest entry into the mix) means Seattleites have more options than ever to ditch their cars and add a little variety into their morning commute.
Recently, the popular technology news site GeekWire published an article testing various forms of transportation to see which one was the fastest. Their route took them from their office in the Fremont neighborhood to Flatstick Pub in Pioneer Square, a 5-mile route through the heart of downtown Seattle during evening rush hour. They tested options like a car, bus, rideshare, pedal bike, and an electric skateboard, but we noticed they left out a very popular and efficient mode of transportation; the electric bike!
Don’t worry, GeekWire! We noticed your (assumed accidental) omission of the ebike and we wanted to help make your test as complete as possible. Luckily, our company headquarters is just two miles from the GeekWire office so it was very easy for us to pop on over and do the test ourselves.
We rode the same route and started at the same time to keep consistency with GeekWire’s test. Our participants (all RPB team members, two male, one female) all have varying athletic abilities and they have lived in Seattle for between 1 month and 3 years.
Here is what traffic looked like as we started our trip.
Here is a quick glance at the numbers from the GeekWire test. Our time to beat: 31 minutes.
|Method||Time in Minutes|
Mode of transportation: RadWagon, RadCity, and RadRover
Total trip time: 25 minutes
Years getting around Seattle: between 1 month and 3 years
Cost: None, but ebikes from Rad Power Bikes cost either $1,499 or $1,599 depending on the model. It can also be financed through Affirm and payments start at $125 per month for 12 months.
Requirements: Know how to ride a bike. Also, we highly recommend a helmet as well as appropriate safety/rain gear including reflective clothing, close-toed shoes, a rain jacket, etc.
On positives: Ebikes are practical, efficient, and allow you to arrive at where you’re going without being exhausted and sweaty by the time you get there. Our electric bikes can easily carry everything you need for the day in pannier bags so you don’t have to worry about carrying a backpack or being stuck with the clothes you have when you reach your destination (which is particularly handy when it’s raining).
Ebikes can be ridden in normal bike lanes so you can avoid all of the stop and go traffic. When a street doesn’t have a bike lane, you can feel confident knowing the electric motor can help you keep up with the speed of stop and go traffic for when you need to merge onto the road for small stretches.
On negatives: Riding any bike in congested traffic can be a little intimidating. While our ebikes have lights, reflectors, and a bell, you never know if the car next to you doesn’t see you.
Occasionally being forced to ride in the road can be a downer when the road you have to go down doesn’t have a dedicated bike lane. Luckily, you can plan your route ahead of time to significantly cut back, or remove completely, the chances of this happening.
On riding an ebike in Seattle: Our route was almost entirely in bike lanes and on the road. This is a great benefit of ebikes as you can ride in either, so popping into the road briefly is no problem (especially when a giant truck is blocking the bike lane).
Seattle roads have never been known to be the best, so having a front suspension fork (like on the RadCity and RadRover) or fat tires (like the RadRover) makes the ride significantly smoother.
The electric bike was the fastest mode of transportation for this test, beating out every method GeekWire tested in their original article. We were able to easily knock 6 minutes off their fastest time on the Onewheel+, which we are confident we could do even faster with route optimization as a road closure forced us on a slight detour.
Ebikes are a truly wonderful form of transportation, especially in a bike-friendly city like Seattle which ranks among the highest in the country. The expansive network of bike lanes and trails means you can easily find a way to get where you need to go without dealing with traffic while also enjoying the amazing views Seattle has to offer.
Rad Power Bikes offers four different models of electric bikes to fit almost every need. We’re conveniently located in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and we offer free test rides on all of our models, meaning you can find out first-hand which model works best for you.
We’re glad we were able to complete GeekWire’s test to include EVERY legitimate form of transportation. ;)
At the finish line waiting for Tim to show up on the Onewheel+.
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