As a way to celebrate Bike To Work Week here in Whistler, we thought we would celebrate by sharing some tips and tricks we have learned.
We have two boys, three and six years old, and we ride them to school on the bike every day. We sold our car and travel around Whistler almost exclusively by e-bike, with the occasional cab ride.
We told ourselves that if the conditions are so bad that we don’t feel comfortable biking to school, we will call a cab: we have used a taxi only five times. Our mobility costs have plummeted.
[Last November] we bought our first e-bike, in February we bought our second e-bike, and in March we sold our car. We found we weren’t using our car to get around Whistler, so why pay so much to keep it parked? Our first bike has now travelled 2,500 kilometres in six months.
We tow a trailer behind the bike, as this is our trunk; a place to put backpacks, groceries and kids—having a trailer is a must for replacing car trips. When we bike somewhere, we know exactly how long it will take, and that we will be able to park in front of our final destination. We could bike to the snowline at Magic chair with the kids, or park at Marketplace for as long as we want, for zero dollars.
- Wardrobe: go to the Re-Use-it Centre and purchase a used pair of snow pants and the most waterproof jacket available; many of us also have older ski jackets that could be used for this new purpose. No need to take off your jeans before putting on the snow pants!
- Gloves: because cruising quickly on an e-bike creates lots of wind-chill, I find I’ve been wearing ski gloves every day.
- Footwear: full winter boots are best for most of the year. Biking on an e-bike means you are going fast, and creating wind-chill, so best to be prepared.
- Eyewear: always wear something.
- Year Round Routing: Avoid Highway 99 at Lorimer. All our sketchiest bike moments have happened at that intersection—so many lanes of cars turning, and strange sightlines—best to cross Hwy 99 anywhere else; we actually recommend jaywalking at Whistler Cay Heights entrance over using that intersection.
- When crossing at intersections, beware of the grooves made by the intersecting traffic, it’s easy to toss stuff (kids) or spill your drink going over those woop-de-doos.
- There is no safe way to e-bike around the village, so you need to take a lane of traffic. Grit and bear the invariable backlash from drivers who have to move their hands and feet a tiny bit to avoid you!
- E-biking with kids: They need the same outfit as you, but more! Kids need multiple pairs of gloves, pants and jackets. Kids tend to play outside after we get home, so they get wet and dirty.
It seems like every time we go out, we see more people riding e-bikes as a form of transportation. The revolution in mobility, part of the disruption of the 2020s, is upon us. E-bikes are exploding.
We look forward to seeing many more of you out and about on our e-bikes over the next year.
Amanda and Brendan Ladner // Whistler