Ambassador James Day - Commuting from Lynn Valley to UBC

Recent purchaser of an OHM Sport, James Day, shares his experience of e-biking to work.

1) Tell us about yourself:  What keeps you bustling at work? what's your life like outside from work?

I work as a research associate and, in practice, my job is to help graduate students progress through their programs. I am often moving about from one lab to another, helping to fix equipment, or assisting in decisions about what needs to be done next for an experiment, or guiding data analysis. Occasionally I get stuck on the computer for a full day but, thankfully, this is rare.
Outside of work, my life is full. My wife also works full-time and we have two very active, young kids (ages 10 and 7) who keep us busy with music and sports and just playing. When we find time to ourselves, it is likely spent reading or running. There is not a day that goes by for which I am not thankful to be living on the North Shore.

 2) Where do you live/work?

I live in North Vancouver, in the Lynn Valley neighbourhood. I work at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute on UBC’s Point Grey campus.

3) How have you traditionally commuted to work?

When I first moved to the Vancouver area in 2008, I was commuting to work by sea-bus and bus. My rides in took about 75 minutes, and my rides home took 90-120 minutes. Since 2009, I have been driving a small car to (45 minutes) and from (75 minutes) work.

4) What were your reasons for wanting to try an E-Bike for your commute?

I had started suffering some physical symptoms from spending so much time in the car daily: sore lower back, stiff shoulders, and achy hips. Being stuck in traffic and not knowing when I might get to my destination would cause mild stress. I needed a healthier way to get to and from work, and biking was an obvious option. I did the math and convinced myself that e-biking would additionally reduce my commute time.

5) Does your commute affect your performance/mental state at the office and/or at home?

Without a doubt, my e-bike commute has had a positive effect in my life. My mind is clearer when I get to the lab and I have been working more productively. A few friends have commented that I appear a bit trimmer and I have noticed an improvement in my cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, my sleep has been the best it has ever been; I fall asleep quickly, sleep soundly, and wake feeling well-rested on a daily basis.

6) What were the biggest obstacles to cycle commuting, and how have those changed?

For a number of years my primary obstacle was probably the inertia I had developed with driving. I was used to it, plain and simple, and making a change can be difficult. Friends and family had suggested I try biking but I was wary of the infrastructure in and about the city, especially given the distance I needed to cover. Biking from Lynn Valley to UBC was always possible, obviously, but it didn’t always seem straightforwardly easy or particularly safe. I think that the city and surrounding communities have done an admirable job in making Vancouver much more bike-friendly. There is still lots of room for improvement, but I am happy with the changes that have happened and that are planned to come.

7) Any particular thoughts/revelations you'd like to share?

E-bikes are surprisingly fun to ride: I still crack a smile every time the assist kicks in to help me up a hill or to start from stopped. Also, a good workout can still be had, even with 500W at your feet. My ride to work is easier on an e-bike, but I still arrive with sweat on my brow.

Josiane Vlitos