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Q. Dear Umbra,

When I got my bike a year ago, I had high hopes that I would use it all the time in place of my car. But where I live, it’s just too hard to go anywhere with a load of groceries — I have a hard enough time lugging myself around. And it’s just not a bike-friendly town. I’ve found compatriots, but they all bike for fun or exercise. I want to use my car less, I want to use a bike more, so … I’m thinking of getting a motorized bicycle. Is that OK, even though it feels like cheating? Do you have any recommendations for one under $1,000?

V.
Rockford, Ill.

The e-bike: a stylish addition to any outfit. (Photo by April Streeter.)

A. Dearest V.,

Purists might scoff, but I say yes, it is OK for you to buy a motorized bicycle, fondly known as an e-bike. I applaud your effort to de-car your life — we should all drive as little as possible, whenever possible, within the parameters of our daily reality.