Your next car could be an e-bike

The United Auto Workers union has once again escalated its strikes against big Detroit automakers, this time adding a factory that makes Ram pickup trucks for Stellantis. As a result of the monthlong strike, experts have suspected car prices will increase and parts may be harder to locate.

Some people in the D.C. region think it might be a good time to switch to a more eco-friendly mode of transportation, like an electronic bicycle.

“A few years ago, e-bikes were a novelty product. But now, over 50 shops in the DMV area are selling e-bikes,” said Gregory Maassen, the founder of “E-Bike Lovers,” an almost 1,000-member meetup group for e-bike fanatics in the D.C. region.

Maassen described e-bikes as better for the environment — and better for your wallet.

“You can already buy good ones for $1,500 to $2,000,” he said.

Some e-bikes can be found online for even less than the prices Maassen quoted. However, he recommends prospective buyers do their homework: “It’s very important that people educate themselves before buying an e-bike. I was positively surprised by the quality of what is available to us as e-bikers.”

For a full checklist of what type of e-bike to purchase, you can visit the E-bike Lovers website.

For Maassen, traveling by e-bike makes more than economical sense. He credits e-biking to improving his health and keeping him active.

“E-bikes bring me further into nature,” said Maassen. “I can go to places that I cannot go with a normal bicycle. So it has opened up a whole new world to me.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a regular bike or an e-bike, according to Maassen, “as long as you’re active and you’re out there.”

“It’s good for your body, but it’s also very good for your mind,” he said. “You meet people you will not meet otherwise, and you are in nature.”

Maassen also emphasized the importance of safety, and choosing an e-bike that meets your individual needs.

“I like to repeat: Go to a local bike shop, and support your local retailer,” he said. “Educate yourself, look at all the different models, invest in your safety and invest in your well-being.”

Maassen biked over 4,000 miles across America last year on an electric bicycle. He filmed the experience in a soon-to-be-released documentary.

For now, he sticks to trails around the D.C. area.

To meet up with other e-bike enthusiasts in the DMV, check out the E-bike Lovers meetup page.

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