E-Bike Evolution: Lifestyles and Lifecycles
If e-bikes are the answer, what’s the question? It all depends. We caught up with one Arlington mom who has solved many of her evolving daily transportation challenges by e-bike. Learn about how e-bike ownership checked all the boxes and simplified daily tasks for this Arlington commuter.
Have you been considering an e-bike but need a little convincing? No urgent need or desire to change your routine? Hard to justify the cost? Lack the bandwidth for another learning curve? Looking for a compelling testimonial to bring you around? Read on…
Judging by the number of e-bikes already in use, whether as delivery vehicles, as a Bikeshare option, or as a primary transportation mode, many riders are already convinced. That’s the case with Christiann, whose lifelong love of bicycling has informed her transportation decision-making through every age and stage.
Christiann and her daughter have logged quite a few miles on one bike or another. But the pathway to e-bikes for this veteran cyclist has been anything but direct. If you follow the throughline, her story might just provide you with some incentives for moving/e-volving? in the same direction.
What’s your biking origin story?
I started biking for fun as a kid, then for exercise in my late teens and early twenties. I lived in Reston and would bike the W&OD Trail instead of taking public transit to DC. After I moved to Arlington, I started biking to DC more, but I never felt safe enough to commute to work during rush hour.
Around 2010, my husband and I bought matching Trek hybrid bikes. I’m a small person, so I got a small bike designed for people from 5’ 3” to 5’ 6” tall, but in my opinion, fine for riders as short as 4’10”. That extra-small bike was a game-changer. Then I got pregnant and decided to play it safe and take a break from biking for a while.
What brought you back to biking?
I returned to biking when my daughter was a toddler, adding a front-mounted child seat to my cute Trek bike. That worked great until my bike got stolen at the start of the pandemic in April 2020 – a very sad time. I rebounded and got myself a new folding bike, which I could keep in my small, townhouse-style condo. It actually fits under a table! Of course, with the pandemic, we were getting a little crazy. Biking was a great way to get outdoors and get exercise, while staying socially distant—all possible thanks to my folding bike and front-mounted child seat.
When did you first try an e-bike?
By the time my daughter weighed 40 pounds, I knew I needed to change things up if we were going to keep biking. That’s when I decided to get an e-bike. Once again, I was looking for a small bike, under 65 pounds, that could fold. I managed to find one that’s only 56 pounds. It doesn’t take up much room in the house, it fits in my Honda Fit, and it’s light enough that I can lift and carry it without much trouble. Now I have another one that’s even smaller – 38 pounds with 14-inch wheels! It’s not as fast, but it works for me to run errands and short trips.
How does the e-bike work with your daughter?
So far so good. I take her on it about 3-4 times a week. We’re not ready for her to bike to school on her own yet – it’s three miles away and a hilly, high-traffic route. But we use the e-bike for fun outings, like riding to the National Mall, out to eat, or anywhere we want to go together. Now that she’s bigger, the e-bike makes it easier for me to carry her too. Some people might prefer cargo bikes, but for my urban neighborhood and tiny house, the foldable e-bike is best.
What matters most to me is that I can carry my kid on a bike that’s safe — plus my kid feels safe on it, it fits in my house, and it doesn’t weigh a ton!
Can you offer any tips for parents and other folks who are still on the bike seat/fence about e-bikes?
I could nerd out on bikes, but here are my take-aways:
- Go to a bike store and talk to a person.
- If you are looking for a bike that can carry your kid, try a bike store that specializes in family cycling.
- If you want to do research first, check out online resources like
- Look for videos featuring riders who are your size and fitness level
- Look for videos featuring locations similar to where you will be riding (urban, trail, etc.)
- Spend some time near a busy bike trail and observe e-bikes in use; if possible, ask if you can take a photo of their bike and use the opportunity to ask questions.
- Consider a refurbished e-bike to save money.
Judging by Christiann’s experience and endorsement, there’s an e-bike to fit every lifestyle, with opportunities for evolution throughout every lifecycle.