Introduction To Electric Bicycles, Fall 2014—A Full House Soaks Up the E-bike Spirit.
Since the day I envisioned this event, my goal has been to fill every seat with people wanting to learn more about E-bikes. Not only did every seat in the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center meeting room (170 of them) get filled, but the saddle of each E-bike on hand got plenty of use too. This 5th edition (three years worth, every spring and fall) was the best ever, including a big surprise. If you missed it, let me fill you in on some of the excitement.
Nowhere can I find mention of a evening like this one. I keep the event sales and pressure free, and the center lets me host it at a zero cost to everyone. This easy going night includes a meet and greet with the local E-bike shop’s personal, some bike accessory companies and many electric bike makers. A full hot catered meal is followed by an hour of me presenting E-bikes, the reasons they can be a great asset to people’s life’s and a discussion of their features. After that all the E-bikes are wheeled into the large parking lot and ridden till we can’t ride any more.
A big part of my passion to get people on bicycles is devoted to electric-assist bikes. I have talked many times about how great they are and this evening was no different. Much of what I do concerns getting people to know they (E-bikes) exist and the way to choose the best one for their needs. My event has this covered well and the turn-out proves it strongly. I did wish I had more time to cover all the details, but much of the evening revolves around getting them outside and ridden.
Even though it is a free event, let’s not overlook the time and effort it takes just to come. Many came from out of town, and even out of state. Whether they were guests or exhibitors, the desire to be part of the show is what brings them here. Also seen was a great show of generosity, as the door prize table was overflowing. There were a couple of those that wouldn’t even fit on the table, more an that in a minute. And true to the theme, there was no cost or obligation for the chance to win one of the great items.
Even though once I show up for the evening it flows smooth and easy for me, the lead time is hectic. I am able to set a date and reserve the meeting room about two months prior to the event. It is then I can start notifying the shops and E-bike companies so they can get it on their schedule. With a month to go I am presented a shareable flyer and the fun really begins. Messages to the media for calendar placement is next. And mix in bunches of emails and messages to so many people and sources it is hard to believe.
I was lucky once again to do TV and radio bits to help promote it. I was hoping for some actual TV coverage, yet like in the past they weren’t present. No matter, as the room was filled and that’s the important thing. I have, and will again, tell people to try and do an event like this in their own area. It isn’t easy, the biggest obstacle might be finding a venue as generous as the one I have found. SDG&E is dedicated to helping people learn how to save energy, help the environment and enjoy life. They even sent out email blasts to their own customers to help get the word out about the evening.
Here are the numbers—170 attending (approx 140 E-bike interested guests)—25 shops and companies (a couple that weren’t in attendance but fully supporting this event)—40 E-bikes for everyone to ride (of many makes and types). This is the first time I emphasized pre-registration and it turned out to be a good thing. To my knowledge no one was turned away, but I do expect that soon. The online registration was closed a day or two before the event, but some of those people came anyway and were able to be a big part of the evening. If you want to come to future E-bike seminars I host, make sure to register early.
Most all of the exhibitors on hand (and even a few that weren’t) helped fill up the door prize table. Right from the beginning I knew having door prizes would energize the crowd, and help break up the possible monotony of my talk. Over a dozen free E-bike rentals, many bike accessories and sets of wheel safety lights were awarded to the guests. Although there isn’t room to mention each gift and giver, there are a few that I will point out. ABUS locks sent me a package for the table that included 4 of their awesome bike locks. Kayman bikes in conjunction with Revolights brought two sets of their tech heavy wheel lights for the table too. Look below for a full list of the shops and companies with links to their websites and Facebook pages. Give them each a ’like’ if you can.
The big surprise of the night (to me even) was the 2 Kayman E-bikes that got awarded to 2 very lucky guests. They came to learn about E-bikes and wound up going home with one of their own. What a treat is was for me to be part of that thrill. I am sure you will learning more about E-bikes from Kayman, as this company is primed and ready for the moves it takes to get their name known. I can’t guarantee future guests at my seminar will have this same chance, but I do mention to each shop and company attending that binging nice bike oriented gifts can’t hurt.
One other part of the inside activities was my ability to have Rhonda Martin speak about her E-bike journey. To bring you up to speed here, E-bikes played a major role in her loss of half her body weight. Although it was more of a mental decision that brought her to this personal victory and health level, E-bikes figured in strong. Her talk at my last seminar was a important goal for overcoming speaking to a large group. Now as the new ambassador for Pedego Electric Bikes, she is on her way to completing many more speaking engagements and life goals. 12,000 + fans already ’like’ her FB page “Living Instead of Existing”. I suggest you do the same. We also heard the history of E-bikes from long-time E-bike dealer and adventurer Ken Kalb.
After all this food, info and gifts, we moved all the bikes outside for some massive riding. E-bikes of all colors and types were filling the parking lot. The bike lights and wheel lights flashed in every direction (really only one as I made sure everyone rode in a clockwise direction in the lot). This part of the evening is what I figure most came for. The smiles and laughter stood out even in the noisy large crowd, dimly lit by the over head free-standing solar panel’s lights.
Some already have E-bikes and yearn to learn and experience more. Most got their first time in the saddle this night to get a feel for what an E-bike is all about. These are the ones that keep my desire for hosting this event alive. Moments thinking about all the work and toil of putting this event together are squelched at this point of each event. My frail ego gets pumped to exploding levels from all the excitement, and with each person that goes out of their way to personally thank me. I do this as a passion, a personal mission to get people on bikes. That is thanks alone every time another person decides to saddle up. Helping to make this happen is priceless.
I do have to give massive amounts of credit to my lovely wife (who commutes on her E-bike everyday), for all the help and support she offers to make this event come to life. And thanks to all that came—what a rush, Turbo Bob.
“I had a friend whose family had dinner together. The mother would tuck you in at night and make breakfast in the morning. They even had a spare bike for a friend. It just seemed so amazing to me.”—Moon Unit Zappa.
Videos of the event
Links to all the exhibitors—in alphabetical order
A2B Electric Bikes
ABUS Bike Locks
Currie Technologies Road Show
Electric Bike Central
Electric Bike Company
El Camino Bike Shop
e-Joe Electric Bikes
LightMeUp Safety Lights
Lights Living Instead of Existing
Motiv Electric Bikes
Pedego Electric Bikes
San Diego Electric Bike
San Diego Fly Rides
SDG&E Energy Innovation Center
The Ultimate DIY E-bike Guide