A week before Christmas 2015 my wife and I moved from our flat in the very centre of Brighton to the picturesque Brighton suburb of Bevendean.
My commute to work became very different. Gone was the casual 10 minute stroll to the Ocasta office.
Thus ensued a few months of experimentation, starting with buses, then, cycling, a long period of walking and eventually settling on an electric moped.
If you just want to read about the E-Rider Model 30 electric moped, I’ve written a post about the process from buying one to getting it on the road, and will write a post about the first 1000km.
The bus was great at first. I tried out a few different bus routes and found that if I put on some sturdy shoes and walked 10 minutes along a country path, I could get a fantastic view, say hello to some horses in the morning and encounter the smell of urine and sick much less frequently.
The peace and opportunity to sit, think, and pray was great initially, but the novelty wore off and the reality of the unreliability hit. Sometimes they don’t turn up, sometimes they drive past you, sometimes they are so full you have nowhere to sit – or someone sits on you (true story).
The whole journey was taking 45 minutes when everything went smoothly. A full 4.5 times longer than my previous commute. After trying this experiment for 4 months, it was time for something else.
A quick Google Maps search showed that I could apparently cycle the route in less than 20 minutes. Cycling didn’t last long.
There’s nowhere secure to keep the bike at work (I’ve had at least 3 bicycles stolen or majorly vandalised in Brighton in the past). Hills, which means arriving work drenched in sweat and smelling like the 48.
Another tap on the Google Maps app claimed that I could walk to work in 52 minutes. Normally I’m a bit quicker than than Google Maps, so this was putting walking at only marginally more than getting the bus.
I walked for many months, got slightly fitter and developed some nice muscle definition on my lower legs. This was great. Physical fitness is also great for mental well-being, so there were benefits there too.
But maintaining a 45ish minute walk meant keeping a quick walking pace up the whole time, twice a day, five days a week. Even after a long day at work, or when feeling tired in the morning.
Walking experiment over. Time for some sort of powered vehicle. Google Maps reckons 20 minutes journey time.
Options that aren’t electric mopeds
What about an electric bicycle? I still had the issue of where to store it when at work. Despite this, I borrowed a friend’s electric bicycle to try it out. Brighton’s hills were still a problem. The electric part of the electric bicycle would frequently conk out on steeper (but common) inclines, leaving you with a very very very heavy bicycle to haul up the hill.
A car? Don’t be silly. Parking, petrol, traffic.
A petrol moped? I didn’t really consider this option, once I decided on an electric one.
So why an electric moped?
Tesla cars are cool and I hadn’t even thought about electric motorcycles until I read an article in 2015 about Gogoro electric scooters.
Electric vehicles seem like the future. Less maintenance needed as there’s less moving parts. They can be charged at home. The electricity used to charge can be generated in many different ways, some using finite fossil fuels, but some not. Petrol etc will run out eventually.
Why an E-Rider Model 30?
Cost, and Google search result ranking.
When you search for “electric moped” the first result was the E-Rider website. Their forums have just enough people talking about their bikes to make them seem legit.
When you break down the total cost of ownership over three years (which I’ll do in another post), including buying the bike, equipment, MOT, CBT etc it works out only slightly more expensive than three years of Brighton bus tickets. And at the end of the three years you’re left with an asset.
Now my whole commute takes just over 20 minutes. That’s from walking out the door to arriving at my desk!
(Only 2x as long as before my move, but now I get to live in more beautiful part of the city, and afford a house)