SDG&E Annual Earth Fair & Alternative Fuel Vehicle Car Show—Getting the Word Out on E-bikes.
When I started my bike blog three odd years ago my idea was to share info on my vintage bikes and interests, tell about great bike rides and to spread the word on the fun and utility of E-bikes. Little did I know at the time what a strong advocate and educator I would become in the world of electric-assist bicycles. I was pleased and honored to be invited to introduce the employees at our local power company to the thrills and uses of E-bikes.
Although I rode my first E-bike in the mid 90’s, it wasn’t until about five years ago that I had one of my own. The pair my wife and I purchased proved (and keep proving) to be the perfect way to keep our cars parked during our work commutes, local errands and many fun rides. Spreading the word of their benefits started as a one-on-one quest, worked into larger things and has blossomed into speaking to large groups. My bi-yearly E-bike seminar (the next one is on April 25th) is just one example of my passion to spread the word.
At this large event I spoke to so many interested in alternative transportation choices. The three E-bikes I was able to bring got ridden by 50 or better of the people on hand. Many more were anxious to give them a try, but time constraints (several were on their lunch breaks), apprehension or their business attire kept them from experiencing an electric-assist bike for the first time. Of those, dozens promised to attend my up-coming E-bike seminar to learn more and turn the pedals on one of the 30 or better electric bikes (from many makers, at all price ranges and just about every different type available) that will part of that evening.
As you can see from the photos, the smiles were contagious as the E-bikes showed their stuff. With each person, I could see the wheels turning in their eyes as they contemplated exactly what benefits they could derive from having their own E-bike. The reasons are many—sustainability (one of the themes of the day)—heath improvements (important for the many who work from a desk all day)—money savings (big for most anybody)—just plain fun (maybe the best feature of an E-bike).
Of the three electric bikes I brought, you would think there would be a clear favorite. Such was not the case. Each of them are so different, sharing only the electric-assist and the fact they are bicycles. I wish I could have brought a mid-priced E-bike for them to give a try, but as luck would have it the bikes I am testing right now are premium examples of the selection of E-bikes available. Here is the run-down on each of the bikes and how they were received by today’s riders. Since the event included lots of electric and hybrid cars, I will use automotive references, something I normally avoid nowadays.
Fist up is the awesome E-Brompton folding bike from NYCeWheels. This H3L Brompton has been professionally converted to an E-bike by the crew at Nice Wheels, something they do on a steady basis. The up-grade to electric-assist doesn’t affect the fold, which is quick and brings the bike down to the smallest of packages. Even though it appears different from a full-sized bike, it rides solid and feels the part. The convenience of use and ease of securing it at your destinations is quick to see and understand.
Just like an electric Smart Car (the Car-to-Go version of these were on display and available for test drives at this event), it does everything needed in a small and fun manner. You can zip along with minimal energy exerted. It gives you the big bike feel without the bulk and storage issues you might expect. Although at first glance some of the people weren’t that impressed, after a ride and seeing the fold, their opinions changed as fast as the bike folds.
The big, bulky, powerful and go anywhere ability of the Pedego Trail Tracker was obvious to the eyes of the crowd. Just like a 4-wheel drive monster machine, the mere thought of what you can do on this E-bike rolled through the minds of the men and women alike. A few turns around the lot and climbing the ramp to the upper level confirmed that the looks of this bike are not deceiving. Coveting the over-sized tires brought many to say, “This is the bike for me”. The power of the motor had much to do with that too.
They had to believe my tales of all the rough and radical riding I’ve done on the Trail Tracker as there was no place on hand at the event to really test the off-road capabilities of this brand-new to the market E-bike. The bright red color attracted their interests, but is the overall look and the thoughts of wild places you can ride this bike that really dominated the talk of this Pedego. Some of the women were surprised to hear how much my wife has ridden it, so they climbed aboard to feel the thrill it offers.
If one was the compact and the other was the rock climber, then I guess we can consider the eFlow E3 Nitro as the sports car. Sleek, smooth and agile were words used in the comments of the attendees that rode it. The high-end components in the drive train and braking system are easily over-shadowed by the ’lets ride faster’ feel this E-bike’s handling brings to the table. The fantastic looks were mentioned more than once too.
The real draw of this bike came to the lips of each rider over and over. That draw is in the way it seamlessly feeds the power to the bike by sensing the effort added at the pedals without any thought from the person in the saddle. What I call intelligent pedelec control is actually a torque sensed system that has to be ridden to fully understand. It is the pinnacle of what you will experience when it comes to E-bike power systems. It does raise the price-point some, but each tester agreed that the effect was worth the admission.
One other subject was repeated many times, is Turbo Bob the salesmen of these bikes? The answer there is no. What you most likely already know, is that I do this because of my passion. A passion for bikes, a passion for our environment, a passion for spreading the word of these great world changers. I’ve never asked for or received any payments for what I do here with my bike blog. Sure I get great perks like spending time with these bikes, bike goodies and an occasional free meal or t-shirt. Just like my E-bike seminar, I am independent (free from outside influences) and un-paid for my services.
I feel more than anything else, the feed-back I give to the makers of these bikes is my biggest service. With very few exceptions, my recommendations and critiques are received with vigor as the companies strive to make the best and safest E-bikes possible. The fact that I get to present them to the public is the icing on the cake. And to be fully honest, a little ego boosting never hurts either. I love what I’ve been doing and people tell me all that time that it really shows.
See you at my E-bike seminar on the 25th in San Diego? I hope so, Turbo Bob.
“There is nothing, absolutely nothing, quite so worthwhile as simply messing about on bicycles.”—Tom Kunich.
Here’s where to find the E-Brompton
The Pedego Trail Tracker?—Look here
Looking for an eFlow?
Here is a link to the video I took that day
More info on my E-bike seminar in San Diego on April 25th