My Commute Is Actually Enjoyable Now With This Top-Rated Electric Bike
While there are many things to look forward to when returning to the office, my commute isn't one of them. Trains, busses, transfers, multiple boroughs — it's a mess. I've considered commuting on a regular bike before, but I'd like to actually make it to work on time, sweat-free, or just full stop (considering my clumsiness). Then I was introduced to Rad Power Bikes aka the brand that's building electric utility bikes to take commuters, adventurers, and anyone in-between further, faster, and in style.
In New York, electric bikes are synonymous with the superheroes on the front lines of food delivery services. At any given time, a stroll around Manhattan will afford you countless sightings of delivery drivers rushing the cravings of New Yorkers right to their front doors, bags of take-out hooked to the handles of their speedy electric bikes. The extent of my electric bike knowledge is that they're fast, agile, and compact — but I quickly learned they're also the perfect method for city commuting. (Not ready for an e-bike? Try these cruisers instead.)
I discovered this while testing the RadRunner Plus (Buy It, $1,699, was $1,799, radpowerbikes.com), a top-rated e-bike designed for quick trips. From the unboxing, I was seriously impressed. The model came about 90 percent assembled, and I only had to remove the zip-tied padding, slide on and secure the front wheel, and charge up the battery. Once fully juiced, it gave me over 30 miles of travel, all while exploring seven levels for speed and pedal-assist options.
I was also able to attach a very cool matte black aluminum and light wood front-mounted basket, which has room enough for everything I typically pick up at the weekend farmer's market (or up to 22 pounds of cargo). Other customizable accessories include options such as side-view mirrors, child seats, and an attachable phone mount that allows you to keep your phone screen in view for directions — or even filming your adventures. You can also splurge on a center console, which makes transporting essentials for the gym, beach days, and camping trips that much easier.
The RadRunner Plus comes in at just under 75 pounds sans accessories, so it's not exactly lightweight. If you happen to live in a walk-up apartment or intend to lift it often, I'd opt for the RadMini 4 (Buy It, $1,299, was $1,499, radpowerbikes.com), which folds in half (literally) and is a friendlier model for city-dwellers at 67 pounds. (Check out more folding bikes here.)
However, if you're hoping to transport two people, stick with the Plus model. Its back seat saddle, reminiscent of vintage motorcycles, gives space for a second and is wrapped in a sleek imitation leather that even I thought was real as a professional product tester. In fact, the swap makes the bike more durable — and further proves my theory that the bike could be in my family for at least another generation. Basically, it's the e-bike for anyone who wants something that's family-friendly and beautiful enough to show off.
An unexpected side effect of using this bike? Working out is easier than it's been for me in years thanks to the e-bike. Not only does it allow me to race from classes to work without overexertion — so I'm able to integrate group fitness workouts into even my busiest days — but the bike is actually a workout itself. One study showed that the heart rate increase associated with riding an e-bike is equivalent to workouts of "moderate intensity."
I know what you're thinking: Peddling is unnecessary when riding an e-bike. As it turns out, the pedal-assist feature gives you the option to control your movement as you would while riding a regular bike, but with the benefit of a little boost. This means you can e-bike, explore, and be active for longer without wearing yourself out too fast. On the other hand, it can also become a serious workout by opting out of the e-bike function altogether. Simply turn the pedal-assist to zero to ride like a normal pedal bike. (Just don't forget to wear a helmet!)
Not only does my new beloved e-bike get me around faster, but I love that it's an active form of transportation. Without even realizing it, riding an electric bike contributes to my fitness goals while I'm commuting, running errands, visiting friends, exploring the city — or venturing out to escape it.