ELECTRIC DREAM Sustainable, reliable, enjoyable – what’s not to like?
Since joining 15 Minute Westport, my interest has really been taken by the lot of the cyclist and sustainable travel. Especially when pondering cycling’s many benefits for our group’s exhibition in Westport Town Hall Theatre, called ‘Freewheeling – to a better future’. The bicycle is, after all, one of the most efficient machines that man has ever invented. In recent years, this has been improved upon with the advent of the electric bicycle.
Having heard so much about the e-bike, and having had a trial run on one during Bike Week, it was an easy decision to get my own. No words on this page can convey the positive effect this has had on my attitude to cycling. Why? For the simple reason that it’s become a really enjoyable experience. So much so that the need to get on my bike has become habit forming, almost like an addiction, and I look forward to getting back on the local greenway on my way into town time and time again.
The convenience and reliability, the quality of each component and the certainty that the e-bike can carry the load puts the equation ‘e-bike = no worries’ into every journey.
And using the greenway is no load to someone who enjoys how the bike bring the journeymaker closer to nature. I can look forward to the spin, immersed in the 3D experience, the sights and sounds of nature, on the Great Western Greenway.
Last summer, the wildflowers along my journey were fabulous, and many thanks were given to South West Mayo Development for delaying the grass cutting and thereby allowing for a greenway full of blooms.
Battery and motor work together to effortlessly carry the bike’s weight in a modern world – a gift when so many challenges are potentially just over the horizon.
E-bikes can help you achieve a reduction in your carbon footprint, as they’re a form of transport that doesn’t release dangerous chemicals into the air like a car or van. I’ve been able to replace a diesel-van journey of 20 miles a week – that’s over 1,000 miles a year – with an enjoyable electric bike journey.
If I was still making that journey in my van, and I wanted to offset the amount of CO2 the journey was creating every year was creating every a year, I’d have to plant 22 Sitka spruce trees and let them absorb carbon for their entire 35-year life span, without harvesting them. That’s a lot of trees for planting – methinks instead I’ll stick to the bike.
Cycling an electric bike makes for easier exercise too, flattening those hills. By setting the bike at its lowest power setting, it still counts as meaningful exercise. And of course there’s a tendency to get out on the bike more often.
Cycling through green spaces is also proven to reduce stress levels. Our 15 Minute Westport exhibition was launched by nature filmmaker, cameraman and television presenter Colin Stafford Johnson, and during his speech, he told us that he finds cycling the best way to sort things out in his head. He explained that by the end of a cycle a problem has either been begun to be solved, been solved completely or been identified as unsolvable and allowed to flutter away – and he arrives at his destination happier.
There always was a beautiful simplicity to the bicycle, and increasingly it’s being rediscovered as an elegant solution to some of modern life’s maladies. Maybe you’ll find out it’s for you and an elegant solution too….
Pat Fahy is Biodiversity Officer with Westport Tidy Towns.