Meet Janelle: Bike Advocate and Triathlete

Janelle is no stranger to bikes. When she’s not focused on the financial stewardship of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, she can often be found training for a triathlon or biking around the city with her family. We caught up with her recently to ask how the Faraday eBike fits into her bike fleet.

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Which model are you riding?
I have the Porteur in White. I added the front and rear rack, Spurcycle bell, steam bent bamboo fenders, Brooks B17 saddle, and a leather U-lock holster. I am anxiously awaiting the extended battery for the Faraday so I can ride even further in the city.

That’s a nice set-up. What’s your daily commute look like right now?
My daily commute is anywhere from 5-7 miles one way and it is hilly for me on the way back home from downtown SF. The varying miles depends on whether I go to the gym that morning or not, I usually go to the gym in the morning about 4 days a week so my commute is about 14 miles per day, except Monday when it is 10 miles.

And how often do you ride your Faraday?
When I am not training for a triathlon or marathon, I primarily ride my Faraday eBike on the weekend when I am going grocery shopping or picking up and dropping stuff all over the city. This year has been one of my non-racing years (meaning no Ironman races) so I ride my eBike mostly on the weekends or for hauling stuff. When I am training for endurance events I do ride my Faraday about 3-4 days a week so that I can let my body rest a little and I can still use my bike as my primary form of transportation around SF.

Is this your first electric bike? 
No. My family owns a cargo eBike with pedal assist as well. The reason that I got a second one is so that my husband and/or I could ride it when we take the family out on the cargo bike. My husband rides the cargo bike fast and it is hard for me to keep up with a regular bike. Also, when we go places as a family we carry a lot of stuff, so this way we can divide the load.

We often hear that customers are surprised by how electric bikes change how they experience a city. Is that true for you?
I think so. I will take my bike and go over to Chrissy Field and will ride back through the Presidio and not really have to think about it. I also do not really think about it when I have to ride to other parts of the city like Bernal Heights or Portrero Hill. It just makes it easier if you use your bicycle as a primary form of transportation instead of a car. Also, as a woman, riding the Faraday home from night events really makes me feel at ease in terms of the speed that I can ride through the city at night.

That’s great to hear. When you think about the ways that riding an electric bike is beneficial beyond just commuting, do you think eBikes have the potential to reach a larger portion of the population?
Absolutely, there is a place in SF for electric bikes especially given the terrain of the city. I live on the west side of the city in essentially the Outer Sunset and it’s pretty hilly. I am a fairly strong cyclist, but most people aren’t. The electric bike allows for people that are maybe starting out biking to feel steady and fast riding a bike. Also, it may attract even more people that ride their bikes to work because you do not sweat as much on an electric bike and you can get to your destination faster than if you rode a non-electric bike.

Any other thoughts you have on your bike and what it means to you?
As someone who loves bicycles and races bikes, what I love most about the Faraday is that it still feels like a bicycle. The assist is just enough that you can still go the speed of a non-assist bike without getting all sweaty. There is no throttle, and it does not feel like there is a motor, it just feels like a bicycle.