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View Poll Results: Which is "greener"?
electric bike 14 37.84%
human powered bike 23 62.16%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-26-08, 09:11 AM   #1
SeizeTech
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Which is greener? electric bike or human powered bike?

I've been having this debate on another forum, and frankly there are several people that are offended with the idea that an electric bike might be greener.

check it out if you like, but out of respect to this website, please keep all your comments here

http://www.freecbc.ca/cgi-bin/backtalk/backtalk.cgi/abalone/read?conf=general&csel=&nosee=1&item=538&isel=539-$&rsel=new&tmprsel=218-$
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Old 08-26-08, 09:24 AM   #2
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http://www.ebikes.ca/sustainability/Ebike_Energy.pdf <----- if you havent already seen it
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Old 08-26-08, 09:25 AM   #3
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Human powered is greener. But my co-workers might not think I smell very "green" when I get to work which is why I'm sticking to electric.
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Old 08-26-08, 09:38 AM   #4
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They are both 'greener' than anything else out there, except maybe walking.
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Old 08-26-08, 10:03 AM   #5
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Human powered is greener. But my co-workers might not think I smell very "green" when I get to work which is why I'm sticking to electric.
electric is greener...factor your food for fuel for your body...

peace wasp
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Old 08-26-08, 10:16 AM   #6
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electric is greener...factor your food for fuel for your body...

peace wasp
Depends on where that electrical power comes from. If from solar, then I agree. If from the power grid, maybe not.

Even if from solar, you have to weigh in all the manufacturing and transportation and setup of your solar charging station. Stick with it long enough to pay down the pollution caused by that, and you'll be greener.
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Old 08-26-08, 10:21 AM   #7
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Depends on where that electrical power comes from. If from solar, then I agree. If from the power grid, maybe not.

Even if from solar, you have to weigh in all the manufacturing and transportation and setup of your solar charging station. Stick with it long enough to pay down the pollution caused by that, and you'll be greener.
yes just like if my power was say coming from coal and you were growing you
own food...there are variables

peace wasp
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Old 08-26-08, 10:25 AM   #8
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electric is greener...factor your food for fuel for your body...

peace wasp
Doesn't compute. You're still eating food even if you ride an electric bike.
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Old 08-26-08, 11:01 AM   #9
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did you guys even bother to read that PDF I posted a link to? your arguments are answered with citations!
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Old 08-26-08, 11:28 AM   #10
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After a 25 mile ride doing errands just pedaling I need some calories and a couple beers With the ebike just one pop or beer will do plus about 3 cents of electric charging Seems cheaper than human powered to me.
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Old 08-26-08, 11:36 AM   #11
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did you guys even bother to read that PDF I posted a link to? your arguments are answered with citations!
I did and it's nonsense. I eat the same quantity and the same foods whether I bike or eBike.
Human beings are incredibly energy efficient machines. No eBike battery/motor combo can beat it.

And like I said before: When a human rides an eBike, he still eats food.

Keep in mind that I'm only looking at moderate cycling. I don't race or train on my bike. I just ride it as a means of transportation or leisure.

So in my case, the human powered is "greener". But I don't care. I still use electric. I'm not an environmental hippie but I like to do my part where possible without compromising too much.
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Old 08-26-08, 12:34 PM   #12
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I eat the same quantity and the same foods whether I bike or eBike.
If that's true, you are very unusual. In general, you must eat fewer calories to maintain your weight, if you burn fewer calories during exercise.

And if you gain weight by burning fewer calories, the extra fat your body puts on will also burn calories, believe it or not. (fat cells require a small amount of energy to keep themselves alive).

The energy contained in your food goes somewhere and it's unlikely that it simply goes through undigested.

So, assuming you eat extra to power a human-powered bike, the energy is going to come from food. If the food is the typical, buy-it-at-a-grocery-store, "industrial agriculture product" that people eat in developed countries, then human powered biking is far greener than car-driving but still less green than coal powered e-biking.
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Old 08-26-08, 12:48 PM   #13
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Electric is greener - folks who are turned off by the distance of their commute for human powered bikes are probably using cars instead. Electric bikes makes it easier for the average person to decide not to use cars at all, and IMHO this far outweighs any cost that electric bikes have on the power grid.
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Old 08-26-08, 01:26 PM   #14
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normal bike=greener if you grow your own food.
electric bikes fill landfills with batteries and other more disposable parts than a regular bike.
Its not all about consumption, much of it is what you leave behind
Even with a solar charger, there are more parts to put in the landfill year after year.
This argument is silly, what is greener a small fan or blowing your own wind?
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Old 08-26-08, 01:48 PM   #15
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normal bike=greener if you grow your own food.
electric bikes fill landfills with batteries and other more disposable parts than a regular bike.
Its not all about consumption, much of it is what you leave behind
Even with a solar charger, there are more parts to put in the landfill year after year.
This argument is silly, what is greener a small fan or blowing your own wind?
show me a landfill that allows me to throw out sla's?
your speaking nonsence lead bats are recycled
and it's not a argument it's a discussion!
your words speak volumes if you want to argue
argue with your wife most people are DISCUSSING...

peace wasp
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Old 08-26-08, 03:11 PM   #16
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show me a landfill that allows me to throw out sla's?
your speaking nonsence lead bats are recycled
and it's not a argument it's a discussion!
your words speak volumes if you want to argue
argue with your wife most people are DISCUSSING...

peace wasp
ar•gu•ment--noun
1.) A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong : there is a strong argument for submitting a formal appeal | [with clause ] he rejected the argument that keeping the facility would be costly.

2.) An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one : I've had an argument with my father


dis•cus•sion--noun
The action or process of talking about something, typically in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas. See agrument

syn•o•nym--noun
A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language.
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Old 08-26-08, 04:03 PM   #17
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ar•gu•ment--noun
1.) A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong : there is a strong argument for submitting a formal appeal | [with clause ] he rejected the argument that keeping the facility would be costly.

2.) An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one : I've had an argument with my father


dis•cus•sion--noun
The action or process of talking about something, typically in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas. See agrument

syn•o•nym--noun
A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language.
couldn't answer could ya...
your words and lack of a answer shows
that your just trying to argue
wife not home?

peace wasp
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Old 08-26-08, 04:10 PM   #18
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couldn't answer could ya...
your words and lack of a answer shows
that your just trying to argue
wife not home?

peace wasp
I'm not Bikingtoteach.

Lead acid batteries should be recycled.

Argument and discussion are synonymous.

Last edited by Allen; 08-26-08 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 08-26-08, 04:18 PM   #19
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I don't want to vote because the question is too vague.
What do you mean by 'greener?' What is the source of electricity?

If human power is greener, what diet does the human eat and where is the food sourced?

It all comes down to far too simple questions to answer very complex issues.
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Old 08-26-08, 05:52 PM   #20
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Electric is greener, since it takes electricity to power the bike. And to recharge the battery, a power plant must burn fuel and give off CO2. Vegetation grows bigger with more CO2, so electric is greener.

Sounds silly, but so are people who believe that politicians are doing this to better the planet.

I vote for choice C, insignificant to the planet and focusing on the wrong global goal.
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Old 08-26-08, 06:53 PM   #21
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I was going to spend about a grand on a cheap bike and some batteries and a good hub motor for the front wheel.

Then, the more research I did, the more I realized what a pain in the butt it would be, dealing with burned out motors, batteries, charging, weight, etc.

I came to the conclusion that for a thousand dollars I could get a pretty darn nice bicycle. So I did. I spent 700 on a nice Trek Soho and then purchased some accessories like a helmet, riding outfits, lights, a rack, and a few more things.

I ride four miles each way to work, with some hills, and am loving it.

No electricity, no batteries, no worries, and my butt is getting firmer. My wife has noticed a difference in my body.

It's a no brainer.
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Old 08-26-08, 09:44 PM   #22
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anything around the 5 mile range is a great commute by regular human powered bike. You're very lucky to live so close to work, I on the other hand live 13.5 miles from work and there aren't any bike paths between me and work. Speed saves lives or at least i think so. I think I read somewhere that most Americans live within 15 miles of their jobs, im not sure what the spread is on that but, The human powered bike + the electric bike could dramatically change the world around us. Or we could all just sit around and argue about who's greener.
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Old 08-27-08, 05:42 PM   #23
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anything around the 5 mile range is a great commute by regular human powered bike. You're very lucky to live so close to work, I on the other hand live 13.5 miles from work and there aren't any bike paths between me and work. Speed saves lives or at least i think so. I think I read somewhere that most Americans live within 15 miles of their jobs, im not sure what the spread is on that but, The human powered bike + the electric bike could dramatically change the world around us. Or we could all just sit around and argue about who's greener.
I agree that bicycles could dramatically change our lives... except for one thing:
People want convenience. And they're willing to pay for it. They're willing to pay with their money and their health. But bikes.... especially electric bikes... will not work for one main reason. Commuting by bicycle is not convenient for the vast majority of us, and people WILL NOT pay money to be inconvenienced. And good quality electric bicycles with enough capacity to be really useful are VERY expensive.
I commute by regular bicycle 10 miles each way to work on an Air Force base with 16,000 people coming to work every day. And I pass another bike commuter about once every other week or so. It's not convenient to bicycle to work... so people won't even pay $400 for what we consider an entry level bike... do you honestly think that they'll drop that much or more on batteries alone? Great idea, but we're only talking each other into doing it here on the forums.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:41 PM   #24
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Your question is broad, which when broadly answered, neither is outright "greener". They both have ways you can go about it which are highly varying in their environmental impact.

You would need to do some serious data collecting and number crunching to figure out the averages, which the ebikes.ca article attempts to do nicely. Keep in mind that large, simple factors such as the type of diet of the rider, the source of the energy, and whether or not the battery is properly disposed of and/or recycled can tip the scales easily.
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Old 08-27-08, 07:47 PM   #25
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I'm more inconvenienced when I have to pay $70 to fill up my car. I save a full tank of gas every month just doing errands with the ebikes. That can make a $1000 ebike free pretty fast, especially if you can commute with it.
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