TEAC MEMBERS GO ELECTRIC
FOR MANY OF US IN TARRYTOWN, biking can feel like a daunting adventure. Much of what we need to bike to is less than a mile away, but when you face hills like Neperan Road and Cobb Lane, or even Main Street from the train station to Broadway, it can seem further.
TEAC members, committed to using their cars less, have invested in pedal-assist bikes to get around town. They’re also using their bikes to get outside more, get their kids to activities, and ride to work.
Here’s what they’re doing, what they use to get around, and what they’d like to see to encourage bike-riding in hilly Tarrytown:
David Kim, TEAC Member:
“I ride an Urban Arrow electric pedal assist cargo bike and my cargo are two young kids mostly and groceries/odds and ends.
“It is our primary way to get around town whether for grocery shopping, visit to the farmers market and/or to the library, getting the kids to a friends house or sports practice and to church on Sundays.
“I ride all year round except when it is extremely cold (< 20 deg F). I have a cover to shield the kids a bit on the colder days.
“I would like to see a shift in our culture where drivers are respectful of the most vulnerable users (pedestrians as well as bicyclists) of our village streets especially along Route 9. I believe we as a community need to commit to safe streets for all by raising awareness and sustained enforcement of speeding while making physical improvements to intersections, crosswalks and introduction of separated bike lanes.”
Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-Chairman:
“I switch between my manual bike (for when I want to have a workout on hills or a longer ride on a rail-trail or flat road) and one of my two electric-assist bikes for easy rides to get somewhere quickly regardless of hills.
“I used my earlier (2010-vintage) e-bike to commute to work up McKeel and down the South County Trailway to Yonkers, so I could get to work without getting sweaty and tired. I’d turn off the electric-assist when on easy, flat, paved sections to save the battery.
“I use my newer (2017) e-bike to run errands to, say, Bridge Plaza or down to Pierson Park. I usually use my lighter manual bike to ride recreationally on the OCA or on longer trips on distant trails.
“I ride mostly in warm weather, though I stretch the seasons as much as possible and have taken a bike out in winter warm spells we’ve had in recent years, as an alternative to using a car for short trips. I don’t like to ride on wet or slippery streets. (My car is also a plug-in hybrid/EV, so I can drive on short trips around the Village without using gas.)
“The primary thing that defines a well-designed e-bike is the way the electric-assist is applied: it should be tied to the *pressure* you place on the pedals, not just to the movement, so it acts like additional muscle power and only goes as fast as you pedal. Many cheaper e-bikes apply a constant power (in several fixed levels) when they sense pedal motion, which makes them harder to start from a stop, and less responsive to your changes in cadence.
“I’d like to see readily-found and easily-used bike parking adjacent to the most popular car-parking areas (streets and lots); we shouldn’t have to scour the area for a free post or railing we can tie up to that is both secure and unlikely to block pedestrians. In the space of one car, you can park 10 bikes!”
Suzy Allman, TEAC Member:
“I have an ElectronWheel, which is an electric wheel that replaces your bike’s front wheel. I like it, because you can take it off and recharge it in your house, in your car, or wherever. Also, detaching it from your bike makes it easier to drive your bike to the start of a route or trail, because you can just throw everything in the back seat.
“I use it whenever the temperature is above 40. I’m chicken about riding on ice patches and skidding out.
“I ride my bike more than ever because of this wheel, because of the sensation of the motor kicking in and pushing you along. In warmer weather, riding into town instead of driving (or walking, when time’s short) is a real pleasure, and of course that’s one less car driving around. My favorite way to use the wheel, though, is to use Google Maps to plan a loop trip on backcountry roads, especially if I can have a place to camp and recharge midway on the loop. The Hudson Valley is actually perfect for pedal-assist bikes: not so mountainous that you wear out your battery going over one mountain, but just rolling enough to be interesting while keeping your battery power.
“I’d love to see Tarrytown install some charging places in town. At the Briarcliff Manor library, for example, they have a bike rack with a power outlet right next to it, so you can lock and recharge. This would be great in Tarrytown, especially with the shared-use path coming over the Tappan Zee Bridge. And, I think more people would take the plunge with electric bikes if they could see the supporting infrastructure for them in town.
Want to test-drive an electric bike? Sleek Ebike, at 37 Main Street in Tarrytown, rents electric bikes as well as selling them. Give it a try on the hills and bike paths around town! The bikes rent for $25 for an hour, $45 for 3 hours, $65 for the day. Call: (203) 252 4804.