The humble bicycle was once the staple of the Indian transportation system. Then, motorized vehicles took over and the bicycle was lost on us. The main reasons were its ‘dated-ness’ and physical effort. Nowadays, it is a hobby and that too for just a handful of people. Forgotten and left behind, the bicycle is back in the form of E-cycles and this time, it is primed and ready for the future.
Technology took away a lot of things and cycling was one of them. But because of the efforts of some people, technology is willing to give it back. E-cycles may still be a novelty but they are a quirky solution to quite a few of the problems that humans both, as individuals and as a species, face. But how and after all this time, why cycling? Why E-cycles? Questions are aplenty so let us find some answers.
Today’s age has made us realize that our health is just as important as reaching the office on time. Knowing the benefits, a lot of people are willing to go back to cycling but they refrain because it seems too tiring. After years of environmental degradation and the decline of our health, just picking up a bicycle and heading out is not that easy anymore.
Cycling is a great exercise and for that very reason, it is an intense one too. So we cannot simply switch. E-cycles are the solution. E-cycles by definition are regular bicycles that, in addition to being pedalled, can be run via the onboard electric motor too. The one trouble most people have in adopting cycling is the effort and with the tech used on E-cycles, that factor is left nearly insignificant.
Not too long ago, we used a Townmaster (C8) E-cycle from Hero Lectro for our commute and it was a revelation. It had riding modes (beat that, bikers!). The Pedal Mode was just that, pedal. Then there was a hybrid mode called Pedalec where you pedal and the motor assists you. And then, for those dreaded flyovers, there is the Throttle Mode where you simply twist the throttle and it goes.
The health benefits are nearly endless and the only negative is the minimal effort that you have to put in which, if we’re being honest, is compensated by the feel-good factor that cycling imbibes in you.
While ease and good health alone are enough to make for a compelling answer to the question that is why E-cycles, there are more. Cost is one of them. See, we’re all trying to earn money and as they say, money saved is money earned.
To prove that point, we pitted our conventional means of transport against E-cycles for commuting to work. The route chosen is one of the most common ones in our region… and the most dreaded too. Delhi to Gurgaon.
The distance that we measured was around 35 km to and fro. Now, in a car with a fuel efficiency of around 12 km/l, the cost sits at around 200 bucks a day. That does not include parking charges and the harrowing quest for a parking spot.
Next up, metro. 80 bucks a day for the metro itself and on an average, 60 per day for reaching the metro station. Finally, motorcycles. For 30 kilometres in a litre of fuel, the motorcycle costs around 90 bucks a day.
In contrast, our E-cycle will blow your mind. It costs less than 2 rupees a day! A full charge of the battery used around 0.25 units of electricity. That is mind-boggling. And with a Throttle Mode range of 25 km, a full charge is all you need.
Then there’s maintenance cost which is substantial in the case of cars and motorcycles. The only maintenance an E-cycle may ask for is the battery. In the case of the Townmaster (C8), the battery lasts around 12-15 months and the cost of replacement is around INR 6,000/- So even in the worst-case scenario, the running cost of an E-cycle does not exceed 20 bucks a day! Remember, money saved is money earned.
Another important factor is the time consumed. With a car, the same route takes around 50 mins (if you’re lucky). The upside is AC, music, ‘comfort’ etc and the downside is the eternity for which you are cooped up in there every day.
Metro, the upside is you can watch movies during your commute which may take around 40-45 mins and the downsides are people… a whole lot of them. Motorcycles fare a little better and the time taken is around 30 mins but the heat, the gear and the relative difficulties in case of a traffic jam are also significant factors.
Our E-cycle got it done in around 40 mins with all the ease that you can expect when it comes to traffic. Just you, your helmet, your shorts, your tee and the wind in your face… and everywhere else!
Last but not least and perhaps the most important part of our attempt to answer the question- Why E-cycles… Environment. See in this race for technological advancement and industrialization the one thing that we took for granted the most was our environment.
We humans only pay attention to something when we absolutely have to and when it comes to the environment, I think the optimal time is past us (yes, it is that bad!) but we can still make today the right time.
The ‘green’ attribute of commuting on an E-cycle and making it a general part of our lives is the most compelling one in our books. The lockdown showed us that nature can reverse most of the damage that we have done to it if we let it. E-cycle is the way with which you can cut Mother Earth some slack and show your gratitude towards her for all that she has provided.
Despite being lost in the shadows for a while, it is not difficult to see that the bicycle can be a solution to a few of the greatest problems of the world. And E-cycles are the solution to the small niggles associated with going back to bicycles.
So that was our attempt to answer the question asked in the beginning. Why E-cycles? For your health. For the environment. For ease and convenience. And, of course, for the pleasure of cycling.
Know more about the Hero Lectro range of E-Cycles here.