Going 30 mph on an electric bike in NYC is terrifyingly awesome

Going 28 miles-per-hour (45 kilometers-per-hour) on an electric bike is both one of the most frightening and exhilarating things I’ve ever done.

28 mph might sound like the average speed limit on most roads – or optimistic if you’re used to living on the busy streets of a metropolitan city like New York City. However, I wasn’t in a car shielded by a foot of metal, plush lining and crumple zones. Nope I was on a 65 pound, $10,000 (about £7,765, AU$16,230) Stromer ST2 S eBike wearing shorts without a helmet and less than a year of biking experience.

“Just get on and take it around the block,” Stromer’s representative said casually.

“Uhhh, are you sure?,” I responded as my eyes widened at the suggestion.

“Yeah, why not?” he shrugged.

“I don’t have a helmet,” I said anxiously.

“Nah, but you’ll be fine,” he said.

“Okay, I’ve only been riding for a year now…” I sighed

“Yeah, you’ll be fine,” he responded reassuringly.

And so with plenty of reservations I gritted my teeth and started pedaling toward what I knew would my impending doom.

Although the traffic had thinned out since the morning rush hour, we were still in midtown where the streets are always clogged with shipping trucks, taxis and tourists. I was certain I would end up wrecking myself by either flipping over a car, getting run over or a wonderful door prize.

But before I could even consider the myriad ways I would end up in the hospital, the electric motor on the Stromer ST2 S kicked in an I was flying down the block. I was going so quickly that I passed several cars and by the time I passed my third motorist I was wearing a shit-eating grin.

I’ve pedaled decently fast on a regular bike going about 15 mph on any given day, but going 28 mph on an eBike is something else especially on a craggy, congested Manhattan street I wouldn’t dare attempt on my regular bike.

What’s more, despite going practically twice the speed than I ever had before, I felt like I was in complete control. The electric motor assist gives you the power to go faster and whenever you want.

This came in especially handy for the last leg of the block, where I almost careened into a car that decided to just stop and double park itself in front of me. In a split second, I came to a near abrupt stop and in an instant push over to the left side of the block before another vehicle cut me off.

Once I went around the last turn I had to maneuver quickly again to slip between two buses to get back to the Stromer representative. I reluctantly returned the bike to him, with that same shit eating grin still cemented on my face as I told him that was an amazing ride.

Beyond the Rift is a bi-weekly column where we take a look at  emerging technology that's just beginning to sprout up in the world.  We'll look at the newest tech like eBoards, eBikes, wireless headphones, 360 cameras and much more. 

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Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.