In a time of social distancing, closed gyms and parks, and stay-at-home orders, opportunities to get outside and take in the fresh air are limited. It seems like we’re all in it for the long haul and it’s easy to feel stressed, scared and stuck. However, despite the restrictions, exercise continues to be recognized as an “essential activity” and is especially important for your mental and physical well-being during this time.
5 climate-friendly actions you can take right now that will make a difference:
Around the world, our way of living is overheating the earth, contaminating freshwater, and polluting clean air and topsoil. That’s why so many dedicated climate activists are participating in rallies and marches as part of this week's Global Climate Strike. Through this movement, they are demanding bold and urgent action to solve the climate crisis and end the age of fossil fuels. But you don’t have to participate in a rally to make some significant changes.
From riding electric bicycles to using reef-safe sunscreens, RideSmart Maui Electric has 5 climate-friendly actions you can take right now that will make a difference:
1. Save the Ocean
Like all islands, the ocean is vital to life here on Maui. Whether you live in Lahaina, or exploring Kaanapali, or visiting Kapalua, you can help protect the health of the ocean by skipping the single-use plastics (shopping bags, straws, etc.) as they often end up in our waters, where they threaten marine life and destroy ecosystems.
And everyone who plans to swim in the ocean should keep the reefs safe by using sunscreens that are free of octinoxate and oxybenzone, which are extremely harmful to fragile coral reefs.
2. Consume Less Gas by Trading your Vehicle in For an Electric Ride
Our trains, planes, and automobiles are almost entirely fueled by diesel, gasoline, and other fossil fuels, but these fuels that we are so dependent on are a considerable source of pollution. The ocean alone has absorbed 90% of the excess heat from the burning of fossil fuels over the past half-century.
Research shows that decreasing or eliminating travel in a gas-guzzling vehicle that runs on fossil fuels is an incredible way to minimize your carbon footprint. So just how will you get around? Consider a car or bicycle that runs on electricity!
According to experts, there can be an 11% reduction overall in carbon emissions by 2050 if standard bikes and electric bicycles are used for 14% of travel in cities around the world. The environmental benefits are huge, as there are no greenhouse gas emissions that come directly from an electric car or an electric bike.
At RideSmart Maui, we provide an alternative to fossil fuels for both transportation and recreation. Our e bicycles are a solution that saves gas money, decreases pollution and global warming emissions, and riding them isn’t as physically demanding as pedaling a traditional bike.
By traveling on a Maui ebike, you can significantly reduce your individual carbon footprint while enjoying the sites. Curious if an electric bike might be a good fit for you? Call us or Book Now to go on an e-bicycle test ride.
3. Save Energy Through Water Management
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 9 billion gallons of water are used every day for residential outdoor water use in the U.S. alone, primarily for landscape irrigation. Water that should be used for human consumption is being wasted on watering lawns, but sustainable landscape designs can cut down on water usage and encourage a healthy residential environment.
For a more sustainable approach to water management, homeowners can use rain gardens and rain barrels to collect and purify water. Reclaiming or recycling water by transforming wastewater into water that can be reused for other purposes encourages more sustainable practices. The water is often reused for garden and lawn irrigation, or groundwater and surface water replenishment.
Through water recycling, you can save energy while helping your town or city conserve water.
4. Shop Local
Shopping locally really does have an effect on the environment! Local businesses make it possible for their customers to buy products and services without leaving their own community. Shoppers can ride their electric bike or even walk to their local market, conserving the air quality of their community rather than polluting it with emissions. While large retailers have substantial food waste due to items going bad before they are sold and have to package the items that are actually purchased, produce sold by local farmers requires little to no packaging and waste is minimized.
By purchasing produce locally, farmers in your community can stay in business. Their success decreases the chance that farmers will sell their land to developers, who often transform it into malls and office parks, devastating the local wildlife there.
5. Make Your Next Vacation a Sustainable Adventure!
As the negative impacts of mass tourism on beautiful destinations around the world are a growing concern, the interest in sustainable tourism is growing. Solving the climate crisis and ending the age of fossil fuels is not a one-week event. It is a lifestyle! And at RideSmart Maui, we are committed to more environmentally-friendly practices in the travel industry, protecting the natural and cultural heritage of Hawaii, and supporting our local communities and businesses.
Located on Maui, our e-bike shop rents and sells e bicycles to residents of Kapalua, Lahaina, and visitors to Maui who want to travel and experience the island while being eco-conscious. By renting a Maui electric bike, you can experience the sights and sounds of Hawaii on a green bike, and you won’t even have to spend money on filling up the gas tank before returning your rental!
March was full of adventure for John and Brenda Holder! Hailing from Knoxville, TN, the couple arrived on the island of Maui in Hawaii with an impressive electric bicycle to-do list. At the top of the list? Rent a tandem electric bike from RideSmart Maui’s location in Lahaina, Hawaii.
Equipped with their tandem e-bicycle, the Holders were ready to ride round-trip from Honokowai Beach, heading south to Launiupoko Beach. Passing through Kaanapali and Lahaina, their first day of exploring on their bike rental included a little detour (admittedly, they got lost in the Kaanapali resort area), a visit to the Lahaina Banyan Court Park to see the famed tree, and a bike ride down the coast, alternating between the Honoapi’ilani Highway and Front Street before heading north. Even with winds averaging 20-mph on their return trip, the electric bike had enough battery-life left to get the Holders back to Launiupoko Beach. The bike pulled through despite wind gusts of up to 27mph, and the Holders pulled off 22.5 miles of riding!
The Holders were excited to spend their second day on the e bike exploring Kapalua. Leaving the bike shop, John and Brenda took the scenic Lower Honoapiilani Rd. north to just past Fleming Park. After enjoying the view of Fleming Beach from an overlook high up on the hill, the Holders decided to turn around. Rather than head north on the narrow, curvy road ahead, they cruised south on the Honoapiilani Highway to the Lahaina Cannery Mall, which made the ideal spot for a picnic lunch. By the time the Holders returned to RideSmart Maui, they had climbed 948 feet and covered 21.5 miles. Fortunately, all that climbing didn’t keep them from enjoying their day, as the rented electric bike helped them climb up the hills, just as it had helped them ride in the wind the previous day.
If the Holders were going to get through their to-do list before returning the bike rental, their tandem e-bike had some work left to do. The couple was looking at a 32.5-mile bike ride on their last day, with 795 feet of climbing. But after seeing how the tandem e bicycle handled the day before, John and Brenda were confidant that the bike could handle their ride north to Pineapple Hill at Kapalua. With stunning, tropical views, the ride did not disappoint! The north end of the ride was behind them, so the Holders took their time enjoying lunch at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Olowalu on the south end, as well as a latte pit-stop in Lahaina before wrapping up a three-day excursion via tandem e-bike that they would not soon forget!
Electric bicycles are growing in popularity, surpassing all other categories of bicycles, and for good reason. With an electric bike, headwind, hills, and other obstacles are not as challenging, making it easier for you to travel a greater distance without getting as tired as you would riding a standard bike.
If you are shopping for an e-bike, here are a few tips from RideSmart Maui in Hawaii for finding the perfect bicycle for exploring Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, and beyond!
1. Research the various electric bikes on the market
E-bikes utilize the same parts as a customary bike, handling and pedaling the same as well. The electronic bicycle certainly has a lot in common with a traditional bicycle, but there are several differences as well. E bikes have electrical components integrated seamlessly into the design, including a battery, a controller, and a motor.
Before you purchase an e bicycle, assess your goals. Are you experimenting with a new hobby for the summer? Or are you investing in a long-term commitment to decreasing your carbon footprint and increasing your fitness? If so, look for a green bike that features a high-quality motor, as it will do a better job than many poorly-designed models that are popular online. Shop for electronic bikes with a long-lasting, reliable battery, which will deliver more power than inexpensive bicycles, retaining a charge for longer as well.
2. Research the retailer
After you’ve done your research, you may still be uncertain about which e-bicycle is the best fit for you until you see it in person, which makes it even more important to do research on the shop you’ll buy your e-bike from. You may find that several websites carry the electric bicycle you are interested in, as well as your local bicycle shop. Consider the following when deciding on a retailer:
For the bargain hunter, there are dozens of online electric bike shops and websites that often offer special pricing and other enticing bargains. Unfortunately, that attractive price tag often comes at a price, as inexpensive brands manufacturer mass amounts of poor quality e-bikes. In the event that something needs to be repaired or replaced, online shops selling generic electric bicycles can be more trouble than the deal was worth, as they are unable to provide the necessary service.
Buying a reputable e-bicycle brand from a local business that you can trust is worth the peace of mind, as they often offer financing, special manufacturer discount pricing, and reliable service.
3. Visit a local bike shop
Visit a local bicycle shop that specializes in electric bike rental and sales, as they will be well versed on e-bikes.
Whether you’ll be riding on the road or the trails, investing in a high-quality electric bike means investing in your safety. The professionals at your local bike shop can explain the features of various electric bicycles that they sell, ride, and service, so you can stay safe while enjoying your new bike. Once you find the perfect e-bike for you, the experts at a local shop will do a tune-up, and inspect specific items before determining that your new electric bicycle is ready to ride.
Still not sure which electric bike will fit your needs and lifestyle? Call RideSmart Maui or Book Now to go on an ebike test ride. It is a fun way to get a feel for the features and handling of the bike you are interested in!
In a perfectly sustainable world, vehicles that require gasoline for fuel would be extinct. Electric bikes and vehicles would transport us from point Lahaina to Kaanapali, and in between, we would consider how we have reduced our individual carbon footprint significantly by commuting on our electric bike. Or at the very least, we would not be worrying as much about the negative effects of climate change.
Can an electric bicycle really be a more sustainable mode of transportation?
According to experts, there would be an 11% reduction overall in carbon emissions by 2050 if bikes and e-bikes make up 14% of travel in cities worldwide. If you want to minimize your carbon footprint, research shows that reducing or eliminating travel in a gas-guzzling vehicle is a great way to do so.
Can an electric bike really replace your car?
For a more sustainable commute, consider taking an e bike to get from point A to point B. If you are concerned that the e-bicycle won’t get you there as fast as a car or truck could, that is technically true. Depending on where you live, you might legally be driving from 25 mph to 70 mph to get around.
On the other hand, most electric bikes stop providing electric assist while pedaling at 20 mph, however, some will provide assist going at speeds up to around 28 mph. But in the context of getting around a busy beach town, or bustling city, your bike might just be able to transport you from Kapalua to Lahaina
faster than a car!
Have you ever been stuck in rush-hour traffic, moving 5 mph for no apparent reason? You have been behind the car in front of you for so long, moving so slow, that you have memorized every bumper sticker on the back of it. And then it happens. Out of the corner of your eye, you see someone in the bike lane ride past your vehicle. You watch as this individual on a bicycle passes car after car until they are out of sight.
It might be your imagination, but it seems that they were smiling as they rode along on their motorized bike. It’s probably not your imagination. This individual was likely smiling, and for more reasons than the satisfaction they got from beating the other commuters home from work. They might be smiling because they don’t have to worry about the rising price of oil, and how they will afford gas at the pumps this week.
Or it might be the endorphins kicking in!
How many times have you driven your car to a gym or park for a workout?
What if you could skip the drive and your mode of transportation could also BE your workout? Well, it can! The physical benefits of riding an electric bicycle include burning approximately 350 calories per hour, and extending time spent outdoors. Being outdoors also has plenty of physical and mental health benefits, including increased doses of vitamin D through healthy exposure to sunlight, and decreased blood pressure.
Studies also suggest that spending as little as 20 minutes outside is enough time to lower stress levels, improving your mood and enhancing your health and wellness. And no, rolling down the windows of your SUV does not count as being outside.
The electrical bicycle is far more than just a bike with a motor. It is a sustainable means of transportation and recreation. It is an alternative to trying to find parking or being stuck in traffic. It is a more economical, ecological means of transportation that can decrease pollution, while increasing your daily dose of vitamin D. And the e-bike is a source of moderate exercise and a fantastic way to experience Maui, Hawaii!
So the next time you take your electric bike out for a spin, remember that you’ve chosen a fantastic option for sustainable recreation and transportation.
Remember when you were a kid, and the only way to get to your friend’s house was on your trusty 10-speed bike? Many of us relied on our bicycles as a form of transportation long before we got a license to drive. In our childhood, bikes weren’t just the vehicle that transported us to our next adventure… Riding itself was the adventure! And most of us were never motivated to get outside for a bike ride because we needed to burn some calories. Our reasons for riding were much simpler: We just wanted something fun to do on a Saturday!
As adults, our reasons for riding a bike can often be outweighed by our reasons not to ride: We’re not in shape enough to ride. We’ll arrive a sweaty mess if we ride a bicycle to work. And a car will get us from Kapalua to Kahului faster than a bike!
Enter the electric motor-assisted bicycle! Electric bicycles are similar to a bike that is strictly human-powered, but with several electrical components added to it, such as a battery, a controller, and an electric motor. With the electric motor, riders can toggle between a few levels of assistance, allowing them to choose between getting a workout in, or letting their electric bike do the work. The electric bike offers assistance to the user, so they can arrive at their destination faster than they would on a traditional bike. How fast exactly? If you are pedaling, you can ride as fast as you can pedal. While most e bikes stop providing electric assist while pedaling at speeds of 20 mph, some provide assist while moving at 28 mph.
Not only can e bicycles be faster than standard bikes, but they are also regarded as safer. E bikes give commuters the boost they need to take longer routes rather than shorter and possibly more dangerous routes. The e bike also enables commuters to get through risky intersections faster. Areas once regarded as challenging and even off-limits for cycling become more accessible with an electric bike!
Electric bikes may be slightly slower than automobiles, but they are a more eco-friendly option, as they are considered zero-emission vehicles. Unlike cars or even scooters, you don’t have to fill up your e bike at the gas pump, making it a more economical transportation option.
Whether you’re commuting on your e bicycle, or you’re just riding a rented e bicycle for recreation, you can avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot associated with owning a car, and feel good about reducing your carbon footprint too!
You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the health benefits of riding an electronic bike either. Around 50% of people who buy e bikes don’t consider themselves cyclists. Often, they are simply individuals who appreciate how the electric bike’s small motor gives them a moderate workout. Research suggests that comparing the energy used to pedal a standard bicycle versus an e-bike is like comparing running to brisk walking. Both burn calories, but the former happens to burn more.
So the next time you take your e bike out for a spin, remember that you’ve chosen a fantastic option for outdoor recreation and transportation. Riding an electric bike is a physical activity that will get you outside… and may just make you feel like a kid again!
On Saturday, May 18th, a silent procession of cyclists rode from Kihei to Kahului to honor fellow cyclists who have been killed or injured while bicycling on public roadways. While motorists are legally obligated to share the road with cyclists, the general public is not completely aware of the rights that bicyclists have. Those that are do not always take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians alike.
May is National Bike Month. As such, it presents a fantastic opportunity for communities to promote the many benefits of bicycling, encourage more individuals to try cycling, and raise awareness of bicyclists’ legal right to public roadways.
A subchapter of Hawai’i Bicycling League, the Maui Bicycling League (MBL) took full advantage of that opportunity, hosting a free ride on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The Ride of Silence is an event held throughout all seven continents during National Bike Month. Through MBL, Maui was one of almost 390 locations across the world to participate in this ride. This was the 17th anniversary of the worldwide event.
Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in 2003. The ride took place in Dallas, TX and honored endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz, who was tragically hit and killed by a bus while cycling. Although the first Ride of Silence was intended to be a one-time event, it quickly grew into a global movement in honor of cyclists who have been injured or killed while riding.
MBL’s memorial Ride of Silence took place on the Maui Veterans Highway (Mokulele Highway) bike path. The local event was in commemoration of Karl Hagen, a Maui resident and avid cyclist who passed away in 2014 after being struck and killed by an intoxicated driver. The cyclists rode from Boss Frog’s in Kihei to Target in Kahului and back. Participation was free to MBL members and non-members alike, and Maui residents and visitors rode in silence as a group, covering a total distance of 22 miles and making a statement about this important cause.
Cyclists practiced bike safety and etiquette by wearing helmets, following the rules of the road, and remaining silent to honor and remember the millions of lives impacted by bicycle accidents. MBL’s ride leaders led and trailed the group of cyclists, ensuring safety.
Advocacy updates and actions surrounding cyclist safety followed the event, along with refreshments, which were provided by the late Karl Hagen’s wife, Robin Hagen, and Karl’s family. Karl’s daughter Ariel Hagen also participated in the ride. Special guest Lauren Armstrong, the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization (Maui MPO) Executive Director, attended as well, providing updates on multimodal transportation projects on Maui.
“This ride takes place all over the world, but it is just as critical to support the biking community and educate cyclists to be courteous, safe riders right here on Maui,” said Saman Dias, Chair of MBL.“Whether we are individuals in cars, on bikes, or walking, we can all do our part to have safer roadways.”
Along with cyclists in locations all over the globe, MBL raised awareness for cyclists on roadways everywhere, and made a silent but powerful request that the roads be shared by all through its participation in the Ride of Silence. MBL also hosts a series of bike rides island-wide to provide a scenic, safe outdoor experience for those who call Maui home, as well as those visiting. This month they partnered with RideSmart Maui to offer ride support for the Ride of Silence.
For photos of Maui’s Ride of Silence 2019, visit the MBL Facebook page.
For more information on all of MBL’s upcoming events, visit www.mauibike.org/calendar.
Here at RideSmart Maui, we’re passionate about e-bicycles because they offer the best of both worlds. They’re better for the environment than a car, while also eliminating most of the common disadvantages to cycling including hilly terrain, longer journeys. and high winds. Whether your intention is recreational use, exercise or transportation, the opportunities are endless and we guarantee you’ll find a time and a place to utilize an ebike while residing in or visiting Kihei, Lahaina, and the many other beautiful places on Maui. Participating in one of our fun, self-guided tours is the best way to learn about their benefits.