The Green Commute: A Fresh Look at the New Eco Imperative

The Green Commute: A Fresh Look at the New Eco ImperativeI’ve had the pleasure of working with Best Buy’s Women’s Leadership Forum (aka WOLF) previously, and I was excited to be selected to participate in a study on the future of electric vehicles. Eight women in NYC were turned loose on the city streets with our own light blue speedster (check out yours truly below). Our mission: provide feedback to Best Buy on the bike and its viability as a mode of transportation within the city.

Before being approached by Best Buy, I had no idea electric bikes even existed. I was quite familiar with electric car options; however, most of my knowledge was concentrated in the office environment. I was amazed by the wide range of Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) available for consumers. The “sweet spot” for LEVs are trips less than 10 miles, which certainly fits the typical Manhattan lifestyle

Although I had read numerous articles citing the advantages of an electric bike, I was still a bit nervous about taking to the bike path alongside cabs, delivery trucks and the 16 million people who work and commute in Manhattan on a daily basis. After a few initial starts and stops (I had not been on a bike in 20+ years!), I was off and cruising at speeds up to 20 miles an hour! I felt like I was flying as I zoomed past hearty souls actually pedaling. What freedom! What power! I rode with reckless abandon right up till I found myself on the loop entrance to the West side highway! For anyone who has not been to NYC, that is a REALLY bad place to be! I survived, although not without a lot of horn-honking, squealing tires and colorful adjectives thrown my way.

All the frivolity and fun aside, if you’re looking for ways to increase your exercise (even just a little), save money on your commute, help the environment and easily find a parking space, it’s worth checking to see if an electric bike will work for you. My bike is priced around $900, although you’ll also need to purchase a helmet and bike lock. The battery (right) takes a few hours to charge, and lasts for eight hours. With the weather turning cold, I won’t be able to use it for much longer; however, it will definitely come in handy to commute to my clients once spring arrives. By using the electric power, I won’t get sweaty and an inflatable helmet won’t mess up my hair either! (BTW, watch the video of the inflatable helmet. It is the craziest thing I have EVER seen!)

Next week: Back to more traditional management skills. We’ll review how you can facilitate a meeting that gets the results you need, without wasting valuable time.

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