On March 23, 2019, about 5.5 million people used New York City’s public transportation network. On that same day this year, that number fell by 87 percent. In San Francisco, ridership fell that same week by 92 percent.
In these cities and others, like Seattle and Los Angeles, public transit administrations are reducing and even canceling bus, train, metro and ferry routes as ridership plummets due to shelter-in-place orders enacted to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Not everyone is able to stay at home, as those workers deemed “essential” continue their routine visits to worksites. Meanwhile, others are unable to avoid public transportation—some have no other way to commute or pick up essential items, like food. But millions of American city dwellers are foregoing public transportation as they practice social distancing.
If you’re a public transport patron who’s now lost their way, without means of getting groceries, or to an essential job site with proper social distance, now might be the perfect time to invest in an e-bike. In many of the states that have shut down, bike shops have been deemed “essential business,” equated to auto repair shops as a service that supports transportation needs.
We rounded up five e-bikes that suit various types of urban commuters: the fitness fiend who wants to keep his or her heart rate elevated, but still carry groceries home; the weekend warrior searching for a way to get around town and get off trail (where it’s still permitted); the parent with kids to haul outside for some fresh air; and, the general commuter just trying to connect the dots from home to work without an errant sneeze on the subway.
One day, this pandemic will recede; by then you might be so in love with biking around town that you incorporate your fun, low-emission, exercise-friendly transportation method into your normal routine.
Please, if you shop during this time, practice social distancing and sanitization protocol. And if you get a bike delivered, say thank you to your hardworking delivery person.
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