By Tiffany Recede & Chris Cassidy
Being able to bike her groceries uphill is a must for Wendy Scheffers, who lives with her husband, Howard, in the steep hills above Noe Valley.
“At first, the main motivator for having an electric bike was to keep up with Howard’s faster pace, so that we could enjoy riding together,” Wendy said. “The surprise was that the e-bike makes cycling much more fun for me, especially in hilly San Francisco.”
Wendy first learned about e-bikes in 2015 when she stumbled into The New Wheel, a friendly bike shop on Cortland Avenue that specializes in e-bikes. In 2016, she gave one a try during a trip to France.
“It was so successful — and fun! — that I then purchased an e-bike after returning to San Francisco,” Wendy said.
E-bikes are increasingly popular in San Francisco, including for families hauling younger kids to school and extracurricular activities. And they are more widely available than ever before through Jump’s dockless bike share fleet. Ford GoBike is also adding e-bikes to their system this year.
Studies show that most people who acquire access to e-bikes see their amount of physical activity increase. Wendy is a shining example of that.
“I rode my e-bike almost 1,800 miles this past summer of a 4,000-mile road trip with Howard between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans,” Wendy said.
And it’s not just epic adventures her e-bike has made possible. For Wendy, it makes biking for everyday transportation more enjoyable and convenient.
“I’m much more inclined to head out on my bike for fun or errands,” Wendy said. “And I can carry lots of cargo in my panniers and on the back rack without feeling the weight because I can always just dial up the e-assist if I need to.”
Studies also show that when more people acquire e-bikes, private auto use decreases, which aligns with Wendy’s experience.
“Without my e-bike, I’d generally drive my car,” she reported. “But I love how the city seems so much smaller by bike than by car.”
The SF Bicycle Coalition advocates for safe, inviting streets, opening up the fun and freedom of biking to more people. Want to know the secret behind every campaign we win for more and better bike lanes across our city? It’s our 10,000-plus members like Wendy supporting that work. If you’re overdue to do your part for a more livable, bikeable San Francisco, make a difference by joining as a member today at sfbike.org/membership.
The Tube Times is published quarterly as one of the many benefits to members of the SF Bicycle Coalition. For a complete list of membership benefits, or to join/renew today, click here.