Biking to work?
Sure, I did that 20 years ago. But then, my journey to work was much shorter in those days –
4 km rather than 14 km – and I was, put it this way, much fitter too. Besides, showering and getting ready for work in the office and all the rest is a bit tedious.
Since the start of the pandemic I’ve been meeting with a colleague twice a week at 7.00 o’clock in the morning to go walking together. That’s simply a great way to start the day because you’re doing something for yourself. And then the fresh air! Besides, I get the impression that my husband, who cycles to work each day, thinks it’s a good idea too.
I’ve already started to take a more solution-oriented approach to previous “obstacles”. The first problem: Riding 14 km on a bike. For me this means sweating and somehow physical exhaustion as well. Well, the company has showers for its staff and I can also blow dry my hair there. In the main building there are also changing rooms available for the in-house Pilates course. So I can keep a toiletries bag there and don’t have to carry everything around with me all the time. All that remains is the fitness, which is still not sufficient for 14 km. But: I’m getting fitter and then, of course, there are also e-bikes.
An e-bike is great, but the price!
We’ve hired e-bikes twice on holiday before and I’m really impressed by how good they are to ride. Less so by the price.
Luckily the company agreement on business bike leasing was recently adopted. In Tractebel’s case the provider is JobRad. The terms are very straightforward. In addition to a price cap, also obligatory are insurance, an annual service, the use of a good padlock and the need to wear a helmet.
Most bike dealers have a cooperation with JobRad. That’s one problem less. I would insure an e-bike even without JobRad because we only have a shed at home to keep it in. I probably wouldn’t give that much attention to the check, but accept that it is important. After all, I have my car checked regularly. And wearing a helmet is self evident anyway.
I don’t need an ultra-expensive e-bike, just one that meets my needs. With the help of the JobRad calculator, which is really easy to find on the website, my budget was quickly established. For a leasing rate of around € 100 per month, a suitable JobRad can be found for me. That works out at monthly payments of around € 50. The monthly forfeit of € 1.50 pension sum is also something that I can manage to live with.
Looking for an e-bike
Of course, I first checked out what kind of e-bike I actually needed. On the basis of the hired e-bikes from the last holiday (me: city bike, my husband: mountain bike), I know that I prefer a trekking bike. On a tour to Linderhof Palace, I tested the e-mountain bike and didn’t give it back after that. The wide tyres and the gearshift really did it for me. My husband took the “abduction” of his bike with grace and was glad that I finally really had fun riding a bike.
The facts and my desires, therefore, told me: I need an e-bike with a 50 cm frame, ideally with great paintwork, low step-through, derailleur gear system and a 500 Mh rechargeable battery. So far, so rare. Because these bikes are currently very much in demand and therefore very rare.
Registration in the JobRad Portal was completed in just minutes and the search could begin. After hours in front of the computer I found a bike dealer in Mainz. According to his website he had testable e-bikes in his store. This proved to be incorrect. However, the nice salesperson let me try out other bikes so that I could find out which ones are best suited to me in the first place and which ones not at all. And before we could even ask, we were told that only what was there was available. There were waiting lists, we were informed, but these were full. New bikes would be coming out in the next months and I could try and order one of those, it was said. We drove home without an e-bike.
The next day followed with a trip to another dealer in Hanau. There, they actually did have the e-bike that was given on their website. Although the salesperson was somewhat reserved in terms of communication, the expert knowledge was definitely there and that was important to me. After having had a test ride on two e-bikes, I fell in love with one even though the colour isn’t really mine at all. But I felt totally comfortable on it, the support was really good and it was within my budget. An hour and a few modification requests later, I left the store as the almost owner of an e-bike.
Application, picking up and riding off
Within the next three working days, Tractebel and JobRad approved my application for the business bike. I was able to pick up the e-bike the following Saturday. The hand-over was very relaxed and the adviser answered all remaining questions. The 18 km from the dealer to our home were my first tour and that in bright sunshine. It doesn’t get any better than that.
In the following week I then rode the bike to work. And the great thing is: It really is fun!
When my husband is not away on weekends in some country on a business trip, we go out on smaller tours together. His face when I pass him on a hill is probably only amusing to me, but so far I’ve been able to make it up to him with cake or ice cream. Especially since downhill his bike goes much better.
For me, getting an e-bike was definitely a really great idea. Thanks to JobRad I’m getting fitter and collect karma points for the environment.