Like so many Americans, Keith and Mary Felch of Aliso Viejo, CA were deeply concerned about the rising cost of gasoline, their ailing health, and the amount of stress in their lives.
Keith, who drives a Honda CRV, and Mary who drives a Mitsubishi Spider, were used to spending $600 per month on gasoline and spending nearly 50 hours a month in their cars. “The stress from just sitting there driving for that amount of time was unbelievable.” The Felch’s story is a common one, according to the US Census, the average suburban couple spends over 40 hours a month just getting to and from work.
“Even with my medication, my blood pressure was almost 90- I knew I had to do something”, Keith said.
Keith started with the purchase of an elliptical machine. “We purchased a $4000 elliptical machine that sits upstairs. The cost of it was our biggest motivation for using it.” They are not alone, nearly 40 percent of those who buy home exercise machines say they use the equipment less than they expected, according to Consumer Reports.
After a few months, and the desire to climb on the elliptical machine waning- Keith and Mary decided to try some electric bicycles.
When Keith and Mary started looking for options, they were surprised at the wide range of options in electric bicycles. They found that most electric bikes were built in China and were not made well enough for the car replacement use that the Felch’s had planned. After an exhaustive search, the Felch’s decided to purchase two hand-made electric bikes from a company that manufactures their bikes in Colorado- Optibike. Their choice was based in part by Optibikes’ willingness to build them custom bikes that exactly fit their needs. Keith added, “I am a big guy, I needed a bike built with quality components that would hold up to the kind of mileage we were going to be putting on them.”
Now, Keith and Mary have replaced 500 miles of driving their cars per month with riding their Optibikes, at a savings of about $320 formally spent on gasoline and maintenance based on the AAA estimate of driving costs of $0.64 per mile in 2008.
When asked how much more time they have to spend riding their electric bikes over driving Keith said, “ I actually spend less time. I would normally spend about 30 minutes driving and then get home to spend an hour on my elliptical machine. Now, I spend only 1 hour on my Optibike and get to work, and get exercise. I save 30 minutes and about $15 a day on gas- and I arrive to work stress free, calm, and my mind is clear.”
In only 6 weeks, Keith lost 3 inches off his waistline, and his blood pressure is 18 points lower- hovering at 72.
Mary, a private practice family therapist, now looks forward to riding her Optibike home. Having “Time to think thoughts,” has replaced the hours every week formally spent sitting in traffic, talking on her cell phone, listening to the radio, or otherwise not thinking. Taking time to think while moving enhances your ability to process thoughts and reduces daily stress while improving your overall health.
A video of Keith and Mary can be found here: