As I already told in this post about what I have learned as a cyclist in a big city, before working in Xataka I did it from an office. As I was lucky enough to have a place to store my bike and showers in the work space, I decided to use this means of transport on a daily basis, as alternative to the meter and the car.
Except for a short visit to Amsterdam during my Interrail, I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a child, although I have always loved cycling. And it didn’t take long for me to know that I had done well. In less than a week I had fallen for my bike. I was in love again.
After two years of teleworking, the use of the bike has obviously decreased. And although I’m sorry to admit it, every day he gave me more laziness put on my helmet and encourage me to use the bicycle frequently as a means of transport.
To this we must add that in recent months I have had the Vässla Bike, the BMW i4 and the Niu KQi3 PRO in my hands to analyze them in depth (of which you will have all the details very soon). For one thing or another, my bike has been more lonely than Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.
Today I finally got back to circulating with her.
Now I don’t want anything else.
It’s okay, but…
During the Vässla Bike test I emphasized that the concept is fine, it can have its audience, and, in fact, for some specific cases it can have very few rivals. But being classified as a moped, I felt like on some occasions I was giving a unnecessary detour with a bike.
I took the Niu KQi3 PRO with enthusiasm. I haven’t been on an electric scooter in years. So many that, back then, those first artifacts were so soft and insecure that I promised myself never to pick one up again. Since I don’t like being a slave to my words, I’ve been using one for a whole month to get around town.
And yes, I can tell you in advance that Niu’s scooter He has convinced me And that is a great device. But it just isn’t for me. I have rediscovered this means of transport. The stability and weight of its frame have allowed me to circulate with a security that I did not feel years ago, but here all the attractions end for me.
It has been to pick up the helmet again and hit the pedals to immediately forget all the congratulations of an electric scooter (and a moped and a car). I’m talking about moving around the city, let it be clear. Each one will have their social, family and taste needs, but I do not conceive of a better means of transport than a bicycle for the urban environment.
My Orbea Carpe on one of the Casa de Campo walks
“Doesn’t catch you too far?”
The first day I visited the Xataka offices, I asked my colleague César Muela if there was somewhere to park my bicycle. His answer: “I ask, but doesn’t it catch you too far?” And the truth is that yes. I have the Xataka offices about 40 minutes pedaling.
Now, I open Google Maps: it takes a while 40 minutes by public transport. By car, I don’t even consider moving around the center of Madrid first thing in the morning. And it is that, as I have been using the bicycle for more and more journeys, I have discovered that to most places it takes the same or less than in public transport. And depending on the case (especially if it is to go to the center of Madrid), it also takes less time than by car.
To my previous office it took 40 minutes by public transport, a similar figure by car… and I never exceeded 20 minutes pedaling. The reason is a mixture of two factors: I can drive on asphalt, parks and bike lanes (blessed Madrid Río) and by car, although it may not seem like it, it takes much longer than we imagine.
I had the feeling that with an electric scooter that was going to change. And I even thought about it. But on a journey that I do on a scooter in 15 minutes, it takes less than 10 on a bicycle. The stability and the feeling of security that I have pedaling I have never had on an electric scooter.
The immediate and very powerful response of a good electric scooter also has its counterparts. On a dirt road you have to be very careful with the accelerator to avoid losing traction. And although I have been taking the point, overcoming the bumps are a real headache.
In addition, the vast majority of the curbs to enter or leave a park I can overcome with the bicycle without difficulty, on a scooter I had to get off. Not to mention a pothole or a section with a bit broken asphalt. What is a nuisance on a bicycle, on an electric scooter is an obvious risk of falling.
The value of simplicity
My bike is an Orbea Carpe. Although now you can not find new for less than 600 euros, about five years ago it was sold for much less money. In fact, mine cost around 400 euros and it was a little whim. I am sure that with less money I can go to exactly the same places.
If we compare it with a scooter of a certain level, we have to invest little more to spend those 600 euros to circulate. But it is that, in addition, if we compare it with the price of gasoline, in just six deposits we will have amortized the investment.
And another advantage. the bike has no battery or any other electronic element. Maintenance will be minimal. In fact, we can do it ourselves with very little knowledge and, furthermore, we will not lose autonomy or effectiveness because we are tied to a battery.
We also don’t have to charge it at home. It seems silly but for those of us who are clueless, this can be a handicap. Up to two times I have gone to get hold of the scooter and I have discovered that it only had a few kilometers of autonomy left.
And that we are comparing it with a bicycle of 600 euros. For much less money you can get one of second hand, which to circulate around the city is more than enough. In addition, it has another advantage, it will attract less attention if we leave it parked and, in the worst case, we will have lost much less money if someone ends up stealing it from us.
Not forgetting the weight. Tired? You can easily transport any urban or road bicycle within the Metro or Cercanías network. We can’t say the same for a scooter like the one I’ve been testing. Its weight is so important that it can be lazy to put it in and take it out of the trunk of the car. In fact, as you will see in the test, I had to lower one of the seats.
Although I would not part with my bike now, I am very clear that I would use it even more if it were cheaper and older. First, because I don’t think that using a U-lock, there would be someone who would show enough interest to steal it. Second, because, if it were to happen, the money lost would be so low that it would take several more bikes to recover the investment of a more expensive one, so I would not worry more if I am having dinner in a restaurant and I have left it parked at the door.
It’s not circular, it’s flowing down the street
Returning to the bicycle has given me back that feeling that I move with great ease within the city. A mix between the agility of the vehicle, the certainty that I can use a multitude of paths and the feeling of flowing through traffic, that with my feet and hands I have full control of my movement. It is an incomparable feeling.
Neither is feeling the air on your face (pleasant in summer and remarkably cold in winter) and, above all, starting the work day with renewed energiesfeeling like you’re awake while the rest of the world is still waking up.
It’s not by chance. With physical exercise, the body relaxes. In addition, I have verified that when I use the bicycle first thing in the morning, I wake up sooner than in a car or on public transport. In this last one because I don’t have to think, the subway or the bus take me alone. In the second because, although my attention is triggered, I lack the extra energy that pedaling gives me.
With the electric scooter I had more or less the same feelings as with the car. Perhaps worse because, although it is true that I gained in agility and took less time to my destination, I had to stay more alert and pay more attention to my surroundings. Especially to the asphalt because, as I said, a pothole or a bump can end up with our bones on the ground. That is to say, I have circulated more stressed and, in addition, I have not gained that extra physical activity that pedaling gives.
And although it is true that riding a bicycle in Madrid can serve to earn you some anger, using public transport or the car (especially the latter) is not synonymous with this not happening. The most common is that in a morning in the car in Madrid we end up deranged and with an important mosqueo. Against everything and against everyone.
It may sound romantic but there is nothing like my bike. For the freedom of spaces that I can move around, for the ease of moving forward where traffic is stuck and for how easy it is to overcome obstacles that, on a scooter, forced me to get off the ground.
No, there is not nothing like a bicycle to move around the city. And now, every time I get on, I remember it.
Foto | Maximalfocus
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