A challenge that started and is taking place in a small French town.
Everything started with a simple calculation. It could also be like one of those math problems that made me dizzy in the fourth grade. I live in the city center of Portel, I work in Grande-Rue Boulogne, and I often go home for lunch. Taking into account the distance from the garage where I park in Boulogne, this represents a journey of 4.3 km, or 344 km per month.
Knowing that my car consumes on average 6.5 liters per 100 km on this hilly course, how much does it cost me each year? A calculator quickly gives the answer: 400 €. Not to mention obviously the wear of the car, it’s washing, and maintenance, bank loan, etc.. All of this will make the total bill jump further. In the end, it is the wallet that heats, and also the planet!
Not so crazy idea
However, there is now a solution to eradicate the car on small trips: a little gem of technology named electric bike. When I talk about an electric bike with those around me, I am often called “little old man”. But those who have already tried riding an e-bike know that it is not a moped and that to move forward, it is necessary to pedal well. But to climb the Portel coast twice a day, this boost changes your life!
I have tested an e-bike for the first time a few months ago on the occasion of Cycleco’s “open house”. And the experience was amazing! From that day, the idea of using the “little gem” for my everyday journeys never stopped tickling me.
The only thing that was left to be done – is to find a good model for my taste and needs. Decathlon, Intersport, Giant Store, Cycles Berquez … There is no lack of offers in the area. So I went shopping around, and my choice was finally a “B’Twin” proposed by Decathlon.
So, now I am ready to take up the first “Green Challenge”. My objective: to get on the bike as often as possible to for commute to work. Preparing myself, I invested in rain pants, gloves, bag, and waterproof jacket. No more excuses!
To meet this “green challenge”, we gave ourselves three months … knowing that we have already tried our e-bike for a few weeks. We will check in once more early June, and in mid-July for the final assessment.
With the “green challenge”, we are ready to act!
Faced with the climate emergency, we decided to take action and help the environment. Several journalists from the Boulogne editorial team have set themselves on the “green challenge”, which they will try to meet in the coming months: use an electric bike for their commute to work, organize an eco-friendly run, engage in the “zero waste”, try to reduce waste in local restaurants and more.
Each of us will give between three and six months to achieve the set goal, regularly sharing the experience with our readers. Are we going to succeed? See you in the coming weeks and let’s find out!
An investment amortized in less than four years
To buy my “B’Twin” electric bike in Decathlon, I had to pay 1,500 €. I got a deal to pay in three payments without additional fees. I also negotiated a free helmet and a bike lock. I then added another € 100 as insurance of covering potential problems and breakdowns for the coming two years. Including my new accessories (bag, rain pants, jacket, gloves …), all have cost me about € 2,000.
Not a cheap investment, this is true, unless you are then sure that you will use your bike (almost) every day. A quick calculation tells me that, if compared with equivalent car costs, this investment could be amortized in less than four years. This is especially true, since I have chosen an e-bike alternative rather than replacing my aging car, which would have cost me much more.
According to the manager of the Giant Store brand in Outreau, more and more Boulonnais are buying an electric bike in the same spirit. Could this be the beginning of a new trend?
This post was translated from French. The original version was published on La Voix du Nord. Photo credit – La Voix du Nord.