When we went car-free, we had thought that either borrowing our parent's Prius or a car-sharing program would be the way to go. There are always those trips that are just a little farther than you want to pedal, days that you're not up to riding, or appointments that you have to get to quickly/not sweaty. Those trips are the reason people get in their cars. Choosing to bike is difficult, even under the best situations. Throw a few more challenges on top--widely spaced destinations, headwinds, lack of energy--these will make biking seem downright impossible.
We're not perfect, either. There are going to be days that we are sick and tired of biking. Those are our BionX days. Jose has to get to work at 4am twice a week and we still can't sleep through the night without a little one climbing into our bed. Our dentist is in Natomas, 10 miles away, and we have to get there after work sometimes. I go to home visits to meet with potential host families all over Sacramento. Even the most dedicated bike-commuter has to work at making situations like these work. The BionX doesn't only make these trips work, it makes them fun! Also, I don't feel like I am compromising my morals or wimping out.
"Isn't that cheating?" Almost everyone who walks into Practical Cycle says that same thing. "I'd rather pedal!" Or so they say. Are they even riding their bikes? What/who are we competing against, anyway? There is a large bicycling population who believe bikes are to be used only for sport and entertainment. These are the folks who deny themselves the "luxury" of a kick-stand because they think it adds "weight." This is what keeps many bikes in the garage gathering dust. This is the mindset that keeps our transportation infrastructure geared towards cars and pushes bicyclers in the gutters. These are the folks who drive their cars to the bike trail, zip around for 60 miles, then drive home feeling accomplished.
I'm not entering any races with my BionX (although that would be fun, jeans amongst the spandex), I'm just trying to get to the dentist.
The BionX (or any electric bike) is just a bridge to get you out of your car a little (or a lot) more often than you once thought was possible. It cuts down the excuses--it's too windy/hilly/far/hot/exhausting/etc. and gets you back on a bike. That's a winning possibility to me. And I can still get as much or as little exercise as I'm up for.
We haven't had to borrow the car or sign up for a car-share program, yet. The BionX has become our car.