Urban and inner-suburban living doesn’t have to rely on cars and buses and trains any more. With so many choices for personal vehicles – both human-powered and electric, you can zip around town at a moment’s notice without getting caught up in bumper-to-bumper traffic. For a morning commute of only a few kilometres, it makes sense to invest in something lightweight, portable, and low-cost (plus low emissions!) Here are some the alternatives to cars you may want to consider.
With so many urban centres adopting bike lanes, buying a road bike may be the best way to commute as well as keep fit each and every day. Road bikes can range between $1,000 for more entry-level models all the way up to $4,000 for those with aluminium or carbon-fibre frames. If you want disc brakes, higher speed cassettes, and double cranksets (all good things we assure you) it will nudge the price into $7,000 or more.
Much like road bikes, electric bikes come with a motor that can be charged when you pedal and let you coast along without pedal-power or assist you up hills, so you aren’t a giant sweaty mess when you arrive at work. (Well, we can’t guarantee that.) Some road bikes and electric bikes are comparable in price, though an “apples to apples” comparison will usually mean the electric bike, with added electric motor, comes in a little higher. Plus, some come in folding configurations, making for easy storage.
Motorbikes and electric motorbikes
Far more compact and portable than a car, motorbikes and their electric cousins are often the choice of urban commuters and weekend day trip enthusiasts. Of course, you’ll need to find a motorbike or electric flavoured one that suits your needs, sign up for riding classes and gain your licence as required by law. You also need to invest in leathers, helmets, accessories, and safety equipment. These are by far the most expensive option but give you enough flexibility for most situations.
E-scooters are found almost everywhere for hire in urban areas, thanks to Uber’s Lime scooter hire service. E-scooters are also the most cost-effective ride in the pack, with entry-level scooters coming in at a mere $500, with higher speeds, range, and features going up from there and into the low $1,000s. They are slow (topping out at about 25km/h) compared to e-bikes and the rest, but for dashing between work, the coffee shop, and home, they really can’t be beat.
Financing your ride
If you plan on using your chosen method of transport for a few years, financing it is usually far kinder on your hip pocket than buying outright (or using your credit card.) With so many options out there, don’t just front up to your bank and hope for the best. Consult with a broker to gain access to a wider range of lenders all competing for your business – which could just save you a bit of money!