Image: Raleigh Bicycles
As the e-bike campaigns manager at PeopleForBikes, I first rode an electric bicycle so I could speak directly about the experience. My reaction to that first ride was that I had no idea how fun e-bikes are, not too disimilar from what others reported to me.
Frequently considered a motorcycle by both the law and bike riders, e-bikes actually more closely resemble bicycles. They give you a boost, but you generally still have to pedal. Two of my favorite e-bike tag lines of sorts are that “e-bikes flatten your commute,” and “e-bikes let you dress for the destination, not the journey.” Admittedly though, it’s hard to imagine these benefits without trying one for yourself.
The Electric Bike Expo, an e-bike tour covering six cities between January and June 2016, gives interested individuals the opportunity to test e-bikes from manufacturers such as A2B, BESV, BULLS, Easy Motion, Felt Electric, Focus, Gazelle, Haibike, IZIP, Kalkhoff, Polaris, Raleigh, Stromer, Tempo, Trek, Xtracycle and Yuba. Participants can experience the ride on a variety of e-bike models from beach cruisers to street commuters, from mountain bikes to cargo bikes.
The cities—Tempe, San Diego, Houston, Palo Alto, Denver and Portland, Oregon—were chosen for their strong bicycling communities and advocacy efforts. Each weekend-long event is free and is an ideal spot to demo close to 100 e-bikes and talk to experts, manufacturers, suppliers and local retailers about their features and benefits.
Dates and details are available here.
E-bikes help reduce barriers to bicycling, including trip distance, terrain, time and rider effort, allowing people to ride more. It’s easy to dismiss e-bikes as a fad or even as cheating, but if you consider their potential to solve problems and inspire more people to use their bikes more often, they’re a pretty exciting development in the cycling world. If you’re in one of the expo cities, drop by to test one out, and let us know what you think!