How I Ditched My Car for an eBike
Founder of Free-to -Roam eBiking, LLC. A story of eBiking, healthy and sustainable transportation.
Hi, My name is Susan Gautsch. I'm the founder & owner of Free-to-Roam eBiking in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
My passion for electric bikes – or e-bikes and e-biking – started 30 seconds into my very first ride. I didn't want that ride to end. A few years into owning my own e-bike and even ditching my car, I still have that same exhilarating feeling of not wanting my ride to end.
Why?... It’s so much fun.
I ride farther than I ever imagined I could. I see things I'd never notice from inside my car. I'm feeling more grounded within my neighborhood, broader community and the great outdoors. I'm healthier, stronger, and more physically toned than I've been in the last two decades. I've lost my excess weight. I sit up straighter and stand taller. I breathe deeper, yet I rarely break a sweat when I'm riding thanks to my e-bike's pedal-assist system. Even on hot summer days, my 15-20mph pace fans my skin oh-so-nicely.
Since my e-bike has a cargo rack, my daughter and her friends ride comfortably and excitedly on the back – as do several bags of groceries and sometimes Gobi the dog – and I’m still able to climb the hills at the same pace without breaking a sweat. Even her friends’ dads now call to schedule playdates with us, “Hey MamaSue, can we schedule a day at the park? Are you bringing your e-bike?” they ask nonchalantly.
I ride my e-bike to work – even in a skirt and heels. I ride home too. A few years ago, I’d always be dreaming of hopping on my (non-electric) bike after I got home from work. But truthfully, after a long stressful day, then slogging along in my car, I confess… I’d get home and reach for a beer, then blow-off my bike. Not now though! That ride home is the perfect de-stressing activity. My mental health has improved as much as my physical health has. In fact, longitudinal studies of e-bike riders show I’m no different than most e-bike riders. *
Most significantly for me today, I've dramatically reduced my spending on transportation, health and fitness AND my fossil fuel consumption and overall carbon footprint. Shortly into the pandemic, when it became clear that e-biking was also the perfect social distancing activity, I knew I had a new calling. More accurately, my partner recognized how my new passion (aka “Sue’s obsession") could serve others well and enable me to contribute to the ever-growing enchantment of my hometown and state.
For the last twenty years, I've been a professor teaching in two of Los Angeles's top-tier schools of business and public policy. As such, I've launched and directed multiple
e-learning degree programs for mid-career and executive-level professionals. It's been my job to empower people with new technologies that enable significant life-transformations. In that sense, launching an e-biking business isn't that different. At the same time, it's a significant yet welcomed shift off the screens and back to the Earth. I have a hunch I'm not alone in needing this now.
With Free-to-Roam eBiking, my goal is to enable New Mexicans and visitors alike to experience the same joys and profound lifestyle changes I’ve been blessed with on an eBike, while also contributing to the necessary transformation of personal mobility and our transportation infrastructure.
Our global pandemic and extraordinary wave of natural disasters have simultaneously amplified a mass departure from both fossil fuel-based vehicles and public transit systems. Across the globe, local governments, nonprofits and gobs of startups are quickly embracing new models of urban & suburban mobility with a range of vehicles operating at 20mph or less including traditional bikes, e-bikes as well as electric scooters and skateboards – collectively referred to as “micro-mobility.” Today, three different industries, bike (i.e. Trek, Cannondale, Giant), motorcycle (i.e. Yamaha, Harley-Davidson) and car-makers (i.e. GM, Jeep, Ford, Audi, Porsch, BMW) are now building e-bikes. They all know where this trend is going! Good for them. Good for us. Good for our planet!
My passion and professional purpose has always been to enable transformative experiences for people. Just like learning, being free-to-roam on an e-bike truly is a transformative experience. Today, my company’s mission is to enable YOU to be free-to-roam and to expand your world through e-biking.
* E-Bikes Are Getting More People Out of Their Cars - A NEW SURVEY TAKES A DEEP DIVE INTO HOW AND WHY PEOPLE USE ELECTRIC BIKES. SPOILER ALERT: THEY TEND TO RIDE MORE OFTEN AFTER THEY BUY ONE.