E-bike just as quick as a car on inner-city commute

E-bikes are an attractive transport option for commuters.

While the Scott E-Spark bike I tested might seem expensive for commuting, it could be just the thing for someone wanting to ride to work during the week, then hit the trails at the weekend.

I decided to put the bike to the test with a commute from Andersons Bay to the Octagon. I started from the Marne Street Hospital, on the corner of Marne and Somerville Sts, and took the path across the park beside the Andy Bay Inlet before linking with the Portsmouth Dr cycleway. This is one of Dunedin's original bikeways and is a joy, especially on an e-bike when you can belt along at 31kmh past lines of cars held up by red lights. I mention 31kmh because US e-bikes are speed-restricted so stop providing assistance at 31kmh.

I stayed on cycleways all the way to the Dunedin Railway Station, then rode up Lower Stuart St to the Octagon, pulling a trick not available to car drivers at the Moray Pl lights: the long Barnes Dance pedestrian phase had just started, so I jumped off my bike and walked briskly across the intersection.

The 4.7km ride had taken me just 13 minutes.

The next day I did the same route in my car at the same time of day and found the shortcuts I was able to take on the bike meant cars had to travel 5km to complete the route. The time it took me in the car: once again, 13 minutes.

To complete the test, I rode my trusty Scott Spark leg-powered bike on the commute route. I managed to hit 26.8kmh on the Portsmouth Dr path and my time for the commute was a pleasing 16min, which, I guess, showed that for a flat commute, an ordinary bike is still a good option.


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