As part of our #BeTheButterfly Campaign, we've partnered with Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes for the chance to win a state-of-the-art electric bike! Rad Power Bikes is a local direct to consumer business with global impact: It grew from a one-person operation to become an industry leader in the field of ebikes, with stores in the US, Canada, and Europe. The company is a natural ally: Grown in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, inspired by the passion of a small group of people determined to make a positive change. Their vision of accessibility — that everyone deserves energy-efficient and enjoyable transportation — resonates strongly with our belief that everyone deserves the right to know what's in their food.
When it comes to positive impacts, changing up some of our daily tasks can have huge benefits. According to Rad Power Bikes, "for every mile spent driving, the average car releases 404 grams of CO2, a greenhouse gas that builds in the atmosphere and wreaks havoc on the climate." That's each car, each mile driven, each day. Consider for a moment that the things we do every day are where the greatest opportunity lies. How we move through the world, the food we eat, and how we move that food from the grocery store to our home — these are basic human needs and fantastic opportunities for positive change.
Biking is FUN
I've never had a driver's license. I'm jumpy by nature, and having a ton of steel and fuel at my highly strung fingertips seemed like a bad idea. I've made do with walking and public transit. A few years back, wanting a bit more variation in my commute, I shifted toward cycling, and what I found was unbridled joy: the wind, the glide, the zoom of it! I started making my own sound effects as I went (something that is actively discouraged on the bus). If I'm on a particularly fluid stretch of road, I might burst into song. Is this odd? Yes, yes it is. But there are many odd things in the world, and spontaneous expressions of joy are the sort we need more of.
Those healthy and happy cyclists are taking cars off the road, reducing fuel consumption, air and noise pollution. And — my favorite cycling fun fact of all time: Cycling makes the streets safer for everyone who uses them. Drivers are a bit slower and a bit more cautious when they share the road with cyclists, which means that up ahead if a kid runs out into the street, that same motorist is better able to stop. Good cycling infrastructure, like separated bike lanes and traffic-calmed roads, calls more riders to the fellowship of the wheel. The whole system of getting people from point A to point B improves, becoming more energy-efficient and quieter (except for the singing).
At the time of writing, Washington State is still mostly locked down. But when I travel, I do so on my bike. Non-GMO Project staffer Lindsey Rieck uses her RadWagon electric cargo bike to reduce her car use: "I love that it has pedal assist but still lets me get exercise if I want to." Ebikes dramatically increase the number of trips taken by bike by making cycling more accessible: There's an assist level for every fitness level.
About those hills...
We have hills in Bellingham. These are the kinds of hills that make you lean your whole body forward to resist the pull of gravity. Quads are worked, Achilles tendons are stretched. I live on such a hill. Lean and Lycra-clad individuals on racing bikes as light as a baby squirrel come to MY neighborhood for a challenge. I can't pedal these inclines without slaloming wildly, and that ain't safe. Add a load of groceries and it feels like I'm towing an elephant behind me. Enter the ebike, with pedal assist. Pedal assist offers a little help on steep roads or with heavy loads, and the rider controls how much help and when. Here's a stretch of bike lane to keep cyclists safe on a long, inclined arterial road, and here's NGP staffer Kathy Weinkle climbing it with ease.
When we make changes to our daily lives, changes that benefit us, the people around us, and the planet we share, it doesn't have to be hard. Ebikes are a change for the better that feels like it, and we need as many of those as we can find. Positive change can be about empowerment, about figuring out how to do things better. Taking more trips on a bike enhances our connection to our community, makes our neighborhoods safer and allows us to tread lightly on the planet. Empowerment rides a bike.
Enter to win an electric bike from Rad Power Bikes!
Rad Power Bikes generously donated three electric bikes for #BeTheButterfly giveaways. Enter to win and share your butterfly effect!