👋 Hi, I'm James.


I occasionally write about lessons learned on the journey to live a healthier, happier and more intentional life. 


📍 Austin, TX 

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  • James von der Lieth

Millennials' Newest Status Symbol: E-Bike Commuting

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Each generation has their own ways of measuring status.

When I was growing up in the 90's, baby boomers would one up each other with who had the bigger house, nicer car, and fancier degrees.

Similar to how the kids growing up in the 60's and 70s rejected the staunch conservatism of the earlier generations, millennials are rejecting the status symbols of their parents' generation. There is less value put on overpriced degrees and wasteful material objects, and more value put on experiences, freedom, wellness and quality of life.

Ways to Commute to Work Ranked

The other day I was telling someone how I had started biking to work and it was actually quicker and less stressful than driving the same 3 miles. She said, “The next city I live in, I want to be able to bike to work.”

“How do you get to work now?” I asked.

“I drive. I hate it.”

It got me thinking about my preferred methods of transportation. In my opinion, these are the best ways to get to work from best to worst:

Commute Methods Ranked From Best to Worst In My Millennial Opinion

1. Helicopter

2. Electric Bike

3. Normal Bike

4. Electric Scooter

5. Walking

6. Private Driver

7. Private Rideshare

8. Carpool Rideshare

9. Ferry

10. Train

11. Driving Yourself

12. Bus

13. Subway

Kobe Bryant's commute to every Laker home game

Let’s be honest, a personal helicopter would be a killer way to get to work. Unfortunately, the sad truth is not all of us can be like the Black Mamba.

Bike Commuting Benefits

  1. Biking is the ultimate form of commuting freedom. You can coast through stop signs, and bike against traffic if you want. You can slip in between cars stuck in soul-crushing traffic. You can color outside the lines without having to worry about getting pulled over by a police office.

  2. Biking is a form of meditation. You have to be present or else you could hit something and potentially get very injured. This makes biking a great way to break up the day before and after work.

  3. Getting extra movement is essential for knowledge economy workers who sit most of the day

  4. Easy to stop and get food or do errands without having to worry about parking

  5. Very economical: no gas, insurance, parking, tickets, etc

"I fantasize about Reed getting a job in Palo Alto and riding his bike to work" - Steve Jobs talking about his son Reed

Electric Biking takes these benefits to the next level

When you're on an e-bike its very hard to break a sweat. Not walking into work with a sweat is essential.

Not to mention, you also go a lot faster than a regular bike. Some E-Bikes can go as fast as 28 mph. Now all of the sudden, you can live pretty far from your office and still make a reasonable commute via bike.

Electric Biking Trend Is Heating Up

With dock-less e-bikes like Uber Jump flooding the market, e-biking is becoming more accessible than ever. These e-bikes are a great way for someone to cheaply try out e-bike commuting before investing in their own private e-bike.

In the Netherlands, the bicycle capital of the world, E-bike sales now make up nearly 30 percent of the market, by volume.

E-Bike Economics Tailwinds

Although E-Bikes first appeared in the 90s, longer-lasting batteries and new technologies are breathing new life into the concept.

The industry is benefiting from improved batteries as suppliers over the years developed technology for laptops, smartphones and electric cars. In 2004, lithium ion battery prices fell low enough to be used on electric bikes, spurring European sales...Most E-Bikes now cost between $1,000 and $3,000, with high-end models exceeding $5,000.- CNN Money

Investing in E-bikes

Although this is a great trend to follow, its hard to find a stock that is a pure play on the e-bike trend that isn't going to be affected by Trump's China tariff negotiations. You could invest in Uber's IPO, but even that is very far from a pure play since e-bike is such a small part of their business right now.

In my opinion, the best way you can invest in an e-bike at the time of this writing is to try one out if you're in a city like Austin, Montreal, Denver, New York, San Francisco, etc (full list here). It's an investment in your wellness, and potentially will save you a lot of money on commuting.

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