Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's That? Wednesday: E-bikes

E-bikes lined up outside a store.

Electric bikes, or e-bikes as they're known here, are an essential tool for daily living here for most Chinese and several expats as well (but not for me).  E-bikes are a fairly inexpensive mode of transportation.  It’s possible to buy one for under a few hundred dollars, which is about one month's salary for many Chinese.  
As the name suggests, the bikes run on electricity, which is much cheaper than gasoline.  There are lines of electrical outlets in our garage for charging the E-bikes.  However, because the motor doesn’t use gasoline and is so quiet, they have been dubbed as "silent ninjas" on one blog I found.  You cannot hear the e-bike coming, so unless the driver uses his or her horn, it's possible to be run over.  The probability of this is pretty high because the e-bikes aren't just found on the road, people drive them on the sidewalk, into the ground floor of our apartment building, and anywhere else they can squeeze them into.  It is frustrating that E-bikes are driven all of the place.  No one in our family has been run over yet.  We do worry about the girls, especially when we are walking at night.  In college if someone was hit by a bike we called it being “schwinned”, as in someone was hit by a Schwinn bike.  Not sure what the verb would be in this situation, maybe “E-biked”?
Delivery bike.  I also see the Amazon delivery man often.
Just like rush-hour with cars, E-bikes tend to be out in full-force when people are going to and coming from work.  To keep the bikes secure when they are parked, drivers use something that looks like a traditional bicycle lock through the tire.  But, it’s not always a strong deterrent.  Friends have had their E-bikes stolen and I’ve heard that it commonly happens when they are left at the subway station for long periods of time.
I enjoy watching couples ride on e-bikes.  It’s cute to see the couples snuggling up to each other and giggling.  It also fun to watch friends drive down the e-bike lane going slow enough that they can carry on a conversation.  And, don’t underestimate the size of an e-bike!  An entire family can ride on an e-bike with their day’s shopping bags!

Melrose pizza delivery E-bike.

Wagon hitched to the back of an E-bike.

This man had an entire crate of eggs on his E-bike.

It's hard to see, but this woman was wearing her coat
backwards so her arms don't get tan.

Riding side-saddle on the E-bike.

There's plenty of room!

Water delivery e-bike.  Notice the hand warmers on the handlebars?

One of our favorite E-bikes, the Sherpa food delivery bike.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post- and all the different pictures!!!