Getting around by car may be the easiest form of transportation, but it’s certainly not the most economical … especially when parking and gas is costing you an arm and a leg! Nowadays, there are plenty of options to choose from that will not only save you money and time, but also amp up the vitamin D in your daily commute. Here are a few of my favourite alternative personal transportation methods worth checking out:
With Spring in full force, it’s already noticeable that there’s been a surge of bicyclists on the road, and who can blame them? As an outdoor enthusiast, I’m always looking for an excuse to take my bike out on a ride, but for long and uphill commutes, I must admit that a standard bicycle does have its limitations.
That’s where the electric bicycle (or e-bike) comes in handy. Equipped with a powerful motor, it has the capability of taking on all the “groan” factor of biking uphill, or even accelerating you to 32km/hr when you have the need for speed. Speaking of speed, electric bicycles also make for a safer mode of transportation over standard bicycles as they lower the differential speed between you and passing cars on the road. Besides, you never know when you’ll need the speed assistance to accelerate yourself out of the face of danger.
What about using an electric bicycle for personal fitness? Probably the coolest part of owning an electric bicycle is that you still have full control over using it like a standard bicycle to get a solid workout out of it. For instance, you may prefer utilizing its electronic assistance to help power you to work sweat-free, but decide to manually bike home assistance-free for a full workout on the journey home.
While an electric bicycle, like the iGO Electric Tour 55cm 8 Speed Electric Bike, may seem like a hefty investment, it’ll certainly save you a great deal of costs in the long-run through parking, gas, and maintenance that tends to add up with car mileage. No wonder e-bikes are such a big hit in Europe!
If you’re going for a less expensive, alternative personal transportation method, you may want to consider an electric scooter (or e-scooter). Typically you’ll find them sporting a simple design, like the GIO Rogue 350-Watt Electric Scooter. This model in particular struck me as being very versatile as its orange and black finish can be seen as both masculine enough to fit a guy yet feminine enough to fit a girl.
Powered by an electric motor with the capacity to travel up to 30km/hr, electric scooters are also highly practical for running errands or even taking a relaxing stroll around the mall. At my local farmers’ market, I always run into older riders on their electric scooter with their basket full of goodies—great functionality on the go! Come to think of it, the electric scooter may be the only vehicle you can ride inside a store without getting in trouble… talk about stealth!
Another great aspect of electric scooters is that they tend to be more compact and lightweight than electric bicycles so you can easily toss it in the trunk when you need to store or transport it. In terms of safety, electric scooters are generally very safe to ride, especially as they’re extremely low to the ground and easy to dismount from in case of an emergency. Finally, as it’s battery powered, you can imagine that owning an electric scooter is probably just as cost-saving as owning an electric bicycle. Consider it a functional investment that’ll never go out of style.
This last one is suited for the more adventurous riders out there: an electric unicycle (or e-unicycle). It’s a really nifty personal vehicle that just recently hit the market. If you’ve been keeping up with the Plug-in Blog, then you may have already heard of the Sologear Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle by now through Shelly’s review of it … really exciting stuff! Fast-forward a few weeks later and I was psyched to get my hands on the Sologear Unicycle to see first-hand what all the hype was about. Here’s my take on it:
First things first, balancing has never been my forte and I have no prior experience from riding a standard unicycle, so if you can relate, don’t worry at all. I was a bit skeptical and intimidated too. After unboxing the e-unicycle, I plugged it into the wall and I was quickly impressed that it came to a full charge in less than an hour. Ready to ride!
Included with the Sologear Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle are also a set of training wheels and a training strap, all of which I manually attached to the e-unicycle. As I didn’t know what I had in store for me, I made sure to also strap on my own helmet for safety precaution. With one foot placed on the e-unicycle, and one hand pulling the training strap up to lift the vehicle to a balancing stance, I simply pressed the ON button and voilà! I just placed my remaining foot on the e-unicycle and I was cruising in motion.
Now that I was fully balanced, I released the training strap and started maneuvering around by shifting my body weight. The on-board gyroscope worked seamlessly to match every body movement and lean to the acceleration and direction that I intended. All in all, it was a lively experience of cruising around the neighborhood, and of course being a new product to hit the market, I received a lot of inquisitive stares from people passing by. The only difficulty I had was in making sharp turns, but perhaps it just takes a little more practice to master that.
Overall, I was very pleased by my experience with the Sologear Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle. It’s a bit heavier than I expected, but once you’re cruising, that’s all out of the picture. With the capability to reach 18km/hr, the e-unicycle has a lot of potential, but personally I’d prefer using it for leisure and entertaining purposes. Finally, the e-unicycle focuses on your core strength. In other words, you’re in for a mini ab workout!
And there you have it! It’s always nice to add some variety to spice up your daily commute or trip of running errands. Why not go for an alternative form of transportation that’s lightweight, energy-efficient, cost-saving, genuinely sustainable, and just plain fun? With the weather warming up, there’s no better time than now to start thinking about it!