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New shop hopes to stoke e-bike revolution

Posted by on April 13th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

The eBike Store on opening day-103
The eBike Store opened
last week in North Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Opening a new retail business in the midst of an historic economic downturn isn’t exactly a safe bet, especially when there’s not a very big existing market for your product. But that didn’t stop Wake Gregg from opening Portland’s first all-electric bicycle store, The eBike Store (201 N. Alberta), last week.

“There are a lot of people who would commute by bike…they just need a little boost.”
– Wake Gregg, owner of The eBike Store

According to his wife Ivy (who works at Columbia Sportswear but is also helping run the new store), Wake has always had a passion for bicycles, and he’s an, “entrepreneur to his toes”. Those two things combined in a lightbulb moment for Wake during a 12 week trip to Beijing, China last year. As part of an international business course at George Fox University (where he’s getting an MBA), Wake fell in love with electric bikes. So did all of his classmates. They all wanted one.

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But when he returned to the states, Wake realized that Americans haven’t caught the e-bike wave. Why not? One big reason, he says, is that they haven’t been marketed properly (large photos of healthy and hip urbanites zipping through traffic adorn his shop’s walls). Wake also says the bikes themselves are not readily available.

The eBike Store on opening day-108

“My first thought was, why aren’t these more popular here?,” he recalled. According to Wake, the idea of going 15-35 miles on about 3 cents of electricity, while also getting a bit of exercise, seemed like a no-brainer. Wake also believes there are a lot of people who would commute by bike but who choose not to because of just one big hill, a health issue, or they just “need a little boost”.

Convinced that he wanted to create a business, his first idea was to import the bikes from China. When that didn’t pan out, he thought he’d become a sales rep. But as he continued to research he realized the market was still only in its infancy. “These bikes are a completely new concept to consumers,” he said, “and at most traditional bike shops they’re mocked.”

Wake was referring to a problem with e-bikes that might be similar to that of recumbents — they’re not considered “real” bikes by most enthusiasts and bike shops employees, so anyone inquiring about them might not get the warmest, or most knowledgeable, reception.

The eBike Store on opening day-105
The eBike Store on opening day-101

Wake saw a major opportunity to create an all e-bike store, carrying a wide selection of models from top brands, in a comfortable and supportive retail environment. And that’s just what he’s done.

Thanks to a partnership with the oldest e-bike store in the U.S. — Seattle-based Electric Bikes Northwest — Wake was able to open The eBike Store. Currently, his shop features a range of models from the eZee brand (others will be arriving soon), an assortment of accessories and — in order to give customers as much time to learn about the bikes as possible — plush leather coaches and complimentary coffee drinks.

As for the bikes, I was impressed at what I saw: There was a step-through city bike with all the utility trimmings; an all-black, 26-inch wheeled mountain-bike/commuter/hybrid; and even a folding bike. Wake estimates the battery and other e-bike specific parts adds about 15 pounds of weight.

In exchange for that weight, Wake says his bikes offer “2/3 the power of Lance Armstrong”.

The eBike Store on opening day-110

Will promises like that, along with a retail storefront, a good business sense and a smart marketing plan be enough to turn Portlanders on to e-bikes?

Globally, electric bike sales are growing at a rapid pace. According to an article published last week in the trade publication Bike Europe, “The e-Bike was the driving force for the Dutch bike market in 2008″ and similar trends are happening in Germany. Euro bike industry organizations expect the e-Bike market to grow 25-30% this year.

In China, 90 million e-bikes are currently on the road. In the U.S., only 20,000 were sold last year. Despite that small number of U.S. sales, there’s definitely momentum in the market. The May 2009 issue of Bicycling Magazine (about as mainstream as you can get in the bicycle world) has a feature article about e-bikes. They reported that e-bike sales are up 60% in the U.S. and concluded that, “maybe it’s time to stop hating on e-bikes…for better or for worse, the e-bike is on the rise.”

Wake hopes Bicycling Magazine is right. He admits that the economy is “terrible” but he also seems remarkably confident. Portland’s dedication to being a bike-friendly city is “huge” he says, as is the 12-year track record of Electric Bikes Northwest.

When I was there on opening day last week, Wake — and his wife Ivy, who is helping around the shop — sold their first bike, before the sign was even on the door. It was an $1,800, sharp-looking step-through, internally-geared city bike. The man who purchased it was physician who commutes from Johns Landing to downtown Portland.

Maybe he just needed a boost, the same boost Wake hopes his store will bring to the local electric bike market.

– If you’re curious about how Oregon statutes treat electric bikes, Wake says there are four main laws to keep in mind: You can’t go above 20 mph unassisted; they are illegal on sidewalks; operators must be over 16 years of age; and they are legal on bike lanes and bike paths.

– The eBike Store is located at 201 N. Alberta and is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 – 6:30, Saturdays from 10-5:00 and by appointment on Tuesdays (they’re closed Sunday and Monday). Read more about the bikes they carry on ElectricBikesNW.com.

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  • John Lascurettes April 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Neat-o™. Looking forward to checking the shop out. Just curious:

    Does adding a dedicated electrical assist change a bike’s vehicle classification at all? Meaning, does it go from bicycle to motorized vehicle (clearly still not legal on the interstate) in any way?

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  • Dana April 13, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Well, if it can go 30 mph, you will need a motorcycle endorsement.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 13, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    814.405 Status of electric assisted bicycle. An electric assisted bicycle shall be considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute. [1997 c.400 §4]

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  • Paul Tay April 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    $449 ebikes at Academy.

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  • Paul Cone April 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Paul Tay, the closest Academy is about 2,000 miles from Portland, and from shopping there in my trips to Houston, and seeing that bike, I would say that one is in much different class — more like a Huffy with an electric assist.

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  • Dave April 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I could see this being a bit of a niche market, but potentially a strong enough one to sustain a shop or two.

    I suppose anything that would drastically reduce your energy usage is a positive step, so hopefully these will give a needed push to some people to give up a car for a lot of trips.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Here’s a key difference between a bicycle and an “electric assisted bicycle.” See (1)(e), below: Unlike a bicycle, you apparently cannot operate an electric assisted bicycle on a sidewalk at all.

    814.410 Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following:

    (a) Operates the bicycle so as to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

    (b) Operates a bicycle upon a sidewalk and does not give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and does not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.

    (c) Operates a bicycle on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.

    (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.

    (e) Operates an electric assisted bicycle on a sidewalk.

    (2) Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

    (3) The offense described in this section, unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §699; 1985 c.16 §337; 1997 c.400 §7; 2005 c.316 §2]

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  • DJ Hurricane April 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    @ #3: If it goes more than 20mph, it’s not even an “electric assisted bicycle”:

    801.258 “Electric assisted bicycle.” “Electric assisted bicycle” means a vehicle that:

    (1) Is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels;

    (2) Has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;

    (3) Is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;

    (4) Has both fully operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor; and

    (5) Is equipped with an electric motor that:

    (a) Has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts; and

    (b) Is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground. [1997 c.400 §2; 1999 c.59 §233]

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  • Mike M April 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Last fall I had an interesting encounter on the Hawthorne bridge with an electric assisted bike. I glanced over my shoulder, saw that the fifteen or twenty feet behind me were clear, and then made my move to pass the guy in front of me. Unfortunately, my glance didn’t see the guy moving at three times my speed and I nearly took out a guy on an electric assisted bike. (It really looked more like an electric mo-ped) I nearly knocked him into the car traffic lane as I never heard or saw him coming. Somehow I don’t feel that bikes traveling at that rate of speed should be on pedestrian/bike routes, as he could have easily exceeded the speed of other cars on the bridge.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of traffic changes these kinds of bikes bring about.

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  • toddistic April 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    There’s nothing human powered about them. It’s a motorcycle – it has a motor. It should require the same provisions as a motor vehicle.

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  • todd April 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    @toddistic … your ignorance is showing. there are many design variations. probably most don’t provide any assistance unless the rider is pedaling, contributing significant power. unlike motorcycles, these are low-speed, low-power, (relatively) low weight and fully operable on human power alone.

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  • steve April 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    todd said- “probably most don’t provide any assistance unless the rider is pedaling, contributing significant power”

    ‘Probably most’ huh? Who was ignorant again?

    I hate these motor cycles and wish they were not allowed into cycling infrastructure. The only thing worse are the gas powered mini bikes and scooters. People are so lazy, do you really need a coal powered bicycle?

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  • todd April 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Yes Steve, probably most. How many of the many hundreds of “ebikes” across world markets do you know squat about? How many major design variants have you ridden? How many times has an electrically assisted bike ruined your otherwise pure day, such that you hate them so indiscriminately? Do you use any kinds of motors in your life where there are human power alternatives, such as washing clothes or using public transport?

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  • Joe Adamski April 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    What are our goals in riding bikes? Its pretty subjective. Exercise,community,environmental..or that it just plain works better for us to at least ride some of the time. A certain percentage have gone car free,but not a majority of us. Would having a way to not drive, and get some of the benefits of cycling and some of the convenience of power assist be more to our liking,compared to another car on the road?

    I admit a certain predjudice about electic assist. I recently talked to a guy who lives in Tualatin and his stokemonkey allows him to leave his car in the garage several days a week. Not carfree,certainly,but a step in that direction.

    Before I turn my nose in the air,I have to consider that not everyone has my set of priorities. I

    I look forward to trying out an assist bike,if nothing else,but to see what they are all about.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Steve, you have made several statements to the effect that if something is powered by electricity, then it is “coal powered.” You repeat that above, at 13.

    It’s not that simple. The majority of Oregon’s electricity (54%) comes from hydro power. Only 32% comes from coal. The percentage of renewables is small (~3%), but increasing every day.

    So, perhaps you should say electric assisted bikes are “1/3 coal powered.”

    http://www.rnp.org/greenpower/sources.html

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  • John Lascurettes April 13, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    In the case of a stoke monkey, for example, type of device there is no plug-in charging of the assist. It’s all based on pedaling and capturing kinetic energy.

    I don’t see why anyone would be required to plug one in.

    These seem interesting to me in that I’d consider (especially if there was a cargo version available) ditching my car altogether and buying one for longer trips and heavy-haul errands. I’d still pedal on my commuter every day to work, but would consider an assist bike for the family’s utilitarian use.

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  • redhippie April 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    I tend to be dubious about these. I would be pretty stressed out at a fleet of these and their riders going down the bike lane at 30 mph. Seems like the sightlines and avaialb space are really not save for speeds in that range.

    Is E-bikes nw going to offer safty training classes that are going to ensure that the people on these things are experienced and safe? Are they going to work to educate the public on how to handle a bunch of 30 mph bikes zooming around town? Are they going to work out the pathways of disposal for the toxic metals-based batteries to keep them out of the land fills and our waters.

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  • Dave April 13, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    apparently steve didn’t know that the person to whom he was replying has designed an electric assist

    to me, electric assist makes a lot more sense on cargo bikes, but again, if it will get someone out of a car for a good number of their trips, they’re using a lot less energy this way than if they were driving.

    depending on the speed and the sensibility of the driver (and how many of these actually end up out in the city), it could create interesting traffic issues – we’ll see how that goes.

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  • KWW April 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    ++++1!
    I wish them the best, I really do believe that the future of bicycling is coupled with ebikes. Look at other countries for confirmation.

    In fact, check my thread that I started on the subject about a month ago:
    http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2818

    eBikes can get people that normally wouldn’t bike onto one, and can also extend the effective biking range. Imagine all those people from Vancouver and east of 82nd who would rather ride a bike, but don’t because they are beyond the 10 mile threshold.

    You wanna get cars off the road? Make room and find some acceptance.

    Some of you bikers are gonna have to swallow your snobbery, ignorance, and elitism to do that second part. Don’t worry though, I am sure that you aren’t as ignorant and elitist as those people in the luxury SUV’s, are you???

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  • jj April 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    #16:

    I spent all of this last week *unplugged* from my stokemonkey, in fact. Oh, sure, the engine was onboard, but after I made the run to the restaurant supply house on the 6th, hauling home 50lbs of rice, a bunch of cukes for summer salad, a case of TP and a case of paper towels, I didn’t *need* it.

    I was “unplugged” the rest of the week. Indeed, after that load, going “unleaded” was like riding a nimble racebike.

    I have used my stokemonkey to get between points very quickly, but its kinda not so good for that purpose. The battery aids in that acquisition of speed, but ultimately, you are working against the weight of the battery on the flats. Its the hills that are easier with a stoke, specifically, hills when you have cargo or a passenger.

    Or, if you are my wife, who is disabled, it means you can actually get out on the bike at all. Her fear of getting stuck at the bottom of a hill kept her off a bike for almost 30 years. We now drive once every few weeks or when things happen out of town.

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  • John Lascurettes April 13, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks, Dave. I see I was wrong about the Stoke Monkey as it uses rechargeable batteries, not stored mechanical energy.

    Still, for anyone that complains that these are contribution fossil fuels – would you really rather folks burn petrol in a motorized vehicle?

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  • Greg April 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I suggest folks try riding one of these before dismissing them. If they’re anything like the e-assist civia I tried a year or so ago they seem like a good idea. The bike didn’t go unless you were pedaling – felt more like being on a tandem with a strong stoker rather than being on a moped.

    I wouldn’t want to miss the fun of hill climbing – but there are a lot of people who feel differently and I’d rather have them on e-assist bikes than in their cars…

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  • todd April 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    @#16, no John, Stokemonkey does nothing in the way of “capturing kinetic energy.” You recharge big hulking battery packs of your choice by conventional means off the bike, which may or may not have “sustainable” processes behind them.

    Welcome, Wake and Ivy, and good luck! Not trying to turn this thread into a diversion. You can count on referrals from Clever, for the many inquiries we get from people for whom our highly specialized assist product is unsuitable.

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  • John Lascurettes April 13, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Todd, yup, noted above.

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  • [...] more here:  BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » New shop hopes to stoke e-bike … Tags: couple-years, oldest, oldest-e-bike, other-things, rally-which, scooter-shop, [...]

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  • Borgbike April 13, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    “similar to that of recumbents — they’re not considered “real” bikes by most enthusiasts and bike shops employees. . .”

    Now you’ve pissed off all the weird old men! Next you’ll go after the folding bike crowd. ;-)

    I’ve never ridden a recumbent but I would categorize most recumbent riders as pretty hardcore bike enthusiasts.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 13, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Borgbike,

    don’t mix up my words. as anyone who has read this site for a while can attest, I am an equal-opportunity bike lover.

    perhaps I could have written that more carefully, but I was simply trying to communicate how bents don’t exactly get the most enthusiastic response by some people.

    cheers.

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  • Ken Wetherell April 13, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Best of success Wake and Ivy! You will undoubtedly make a very positive contribution to those who are on the fence about getting out of their car and onto something that is 100′s of times more efficient, emits nothing into the air, provides an opportunity for exercise, is predestined for social encounters, and lots of fun.

    Smiles all around.

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  • Speedster April 13, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I rode one of these when I was in Taiwan. I can tell you there is a huge variance in e-bikes, from ones being more like a scooter, to ones you can barely tell it has a motor.

    As for the people that worry about safety of bikes/e-bikes co-mingling, I wouldn’t worry about it. E-bikes will have a positive impact of getting people out of their cars, which will make the roads safer, with more cars looking out for bikes.

    Plus they are fun to ride, my dad hadn’t ridden a bike in 40 years, but when he was in Taiwan he had a blast riding a simple e-bike for a week.

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  • Borgbike April 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Jonathan, You’re definitely an equal-opportunity bike lover and it’s evident by you having the guts to run this story.

    Your point is a good one: That electric bikes are a good idea that probably won’t catch on here largely due to pure-bike bias. I probably wouldn’t ride one myself but 90 million Chinese certainly see the value in them.

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  • Riversiderider April 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    When I’m in my dotage if this is the only way I can still ride I will be grateful that this option exists. Until then I will pedal.

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  • Sarah Bott April 14, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Thanks Jonathan for the great article on a neat new store.

    I was talking to a friend of mine who was feeling sorry for his neighbor, a fellow who used to ride his bike everywhere but now is quite a bit older and doesn’t have the same stamina he once enjoyed. I suggested he check into an e-bike. Could give him a boost when he needs it and he can get back out there enjoying cycling.

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  • Curt Dewees April 14, 2009 at 11:13 am

    E-bikes are an idea whose time has come, and Portland is a good city for this type of niche market. There is a wide range of options available between the “pure” gas/diesel-powered car and the “pure” bicycle: hybrid cars, electric cars, smaller “Smart” cars, three-wheeled enclosed cars, motorcyles, mopeds, cargo bikes, electric bicycles. Having a wide range of choices is a good thing. Not everyone can (or will) choose give up their pure car and switch to a pure bicycle. But a lot of folks could reduce/minimimize their car usage by choosing another option for a majority of their urban trips, with better environmental and liveability results for all of us. (If this belief makes me more of a “realist” than a “purist,” so be it.)

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  • Daniel (teknotus) Johnson April 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I know that when I started bike commuting I was in horrible shape. After riding to work I had to take the bus home, and actually take the bus for a few more days to recover before I could bike home. If I had had one of these bikes at the time I could have just rode a little bit each day until I could do the whole trip on my own instead of having to convince myself to be a bike commuter again every few days.

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  • Zaphod April 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    My electricity is 100% renewable, wind I believe.

    If we skip the supposed high moral ground of pure carbohydrate and fat power and consider transport along a spectrum with a light fast human powered bicycle on one end and a single person driving a mobile home on the other, where does the e-assist bike fit?

    For now, I don’t have any e-assist because I cannot afford it. But if my delivery needs have me taking too much time or I’m damaging the transmission (aka knees), I’ll unapologetically throw on some wattage. A bike that weighs 2-3% that of a car is somewhere in the range of 100 times more efficient. And if it’s wind powered then…

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  • [...] here to see the original:  BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » New shop hopes to stoke e-bike … Tags: arriving-soon, ezee, fprc, hate-these, not-allowed, oldest-e-bike, powered-mini, [...]

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  • Tora Harris April 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I am an Olympic athlete (track&field) and been riding for 1/2 a year. I ride an e-bike every day to the track. I love cars but I even sold one cause I don’t need it anymore and it cost a lot of money when the e-bike does just fine for short trips.

    Sometimes i am too tired to pump up the big hills after training. I been all around the world and I found that we waste a ton of resources supporting the automobile -all while rubbing out other modes of transport. Its the fault of the car that everything is so darn far apart in the first place. And then the ebike gets resistance from folks riding Lance-clone bikes with something to prove in bike lanes… Everyone should have an Ebike and obey the rules.

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  • Laura April 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    We saw quite a few of these in Florence and Rome last fall. Most seemed to be used by parents transporting children by bike, or office workers not wanting to get too sweaty in their Italian finery.

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  • mykle April 14, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    As long as they stay under 20mph, I think they’re legit. but i worry about letting people go wild with electric mopeds on the ped/bike paths.

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  • 007 April 14, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    I am all for these bikes if it means fewer cars, including hybrids, SUVS, scooters, etc. And if I had money to throw around I would buy one for my partner.
    I was out walking last week and heard a whirr.. behind me and saw a guy on an electric assisted recumbent. I thought it looked like fun. It was a lot quieter than a car, I’ll say. If lane splitting is allowed in Oregon, two e-bikes could share a lane. I just don’t want them in the bike lane.

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  • Julian April 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The motor/controllers in the bikes this shop sells (we have a sister shop up here in Seattle) are designed to comply with statute by not propelling them beyond 20 MPH. Of course, you can find ways to exceed that, if you try, under human or modded-electric power.

    I don’t see a problem with such bikes in bike lanes. For cargo and kid-hauling, over distances or hills, it’s pretty tempting. I’ve been looking into electric assist for our Madsen, for example. The only thing holding me back currently is cost for a quality solution. Bikey purity or pride is not a big factor for me, when the alternative is a minivan.

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  • Mike Read April 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hi everyone; I have had an ebike since last Thanksgiving,(father of Ivy Read,partner in Portland’s new ebike store), and I use the bike every day to go back and forth to the community college where I teach.I love the bike,I can pedal whenever I want to yet it also has the power to work on its own – great for when I am tired or in a hurry.With the relatively short distances I travel I only need to charge the battery once every 5 to 6 days (takes about 4 hours, give or take).I believe the ebike with become a very strong component in our transportation system.
    Good luck Ivy & Wake

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  • Bill Stites April 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Dropping in this note kind of late, but just wanted to make one point – ebikes are not that powerful. It feels like someone pushing on your seat.

    The bottleneck for years has been the batteries, and while they are getting better, they’re still not anywhere near what gasoline provides [in the way of energy density].
    In order to carry enough batteries for ‘whiplash power’ … you’d have a prohibitively heavy battery pack.

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  • Stef April 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I stopped by the new store last weekend to give one of these bikes and spin. The bikes were faster, more stylish and way more fun than I expected. As primarily an endurance/fitness rider, I’ve never quite understood the appeal of the cruiser bike. Why would anyone want a slow heavy bike when you could have a fast light one? But I also don’t take my carbon bike to the store to pick up groceries. One of these e-bikes just might change my mind. I train hard but sometimes I just want to be lazy and I don’t want to take a car everywhere. The ebike was just plain fun to ride and now I’m trying to figure out how to justify one of these.

    Wake was incredibly friendly and even passed out free vanilla lattes to everyone that was looking around. Cool store and a cool product.

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  • Electric Bikes are Subject to Law April 21, 2009 at 2:21 am

    [...] New shop hopes to stoke e-bike  [...]

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  • El Biciclero April 21, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Are there ever problems mixing electricity with Oregon weather? I know I’ve shorted out “waterproof” light batteries before by riding in the rain; how weather/water-resistant are the batteries/housing on a typical E-bike? If there is ever a time I would want to get somewhere faster but pedal with less intensity, it’s when I’m wearing rain gear in a downpour.

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  • John May 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I have owned a electric assisted bike since Oct 2008 and use it to commute about 14 miles one way to work, a couple of times a week. I no longer use it on popular bike paths because I and many others in my Ebike forum (Optibike.com) do not wish to become an issue in the event of any kind of accident. I only ride in bike lanes or , rarely, take the auto lane. There is significant resistance to E bikes , including one death threat on the Cycle Oregon Forum (from a recumbent rider) and numerous insults or warnings on other sites as well. I have been warned by other riders that if I interfere with another cyclist I will be “U-locked” ( struck with a U shaped bike lock) at the next red light. Oddly, I have been scolded by road bikers that I don’t need an Ebike to go 20mph, I should be able to do that on a road bike, on the bike path. They do.
    Every issue has its zealots. Time and context will weaken them.

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  • Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    If some of you folks don’t like electrically assisted bikes, then lobby your lawmakers. I ride one, safely and courteously, and offend no one except car drivers who don’t like two wheeled vehicles that don’t travel as fast as they do. Perhaps we all should recall the days when cyclers were scorned for scaring the horses.

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  • Andy June 11, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Best thing to do is to go to a proper electric bike dealer, they can give you all the pointers you need.

    I recently got one of the wisper 905se’s and im well chuffed!

    Try speak to matt, he will sort you out!

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  • Michael July 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I have been a bike commuter for 30 years. I am now 55 years old and have discovered I have a heart condition. This makes heavy exertion dangerous, even though I can still it. My legs are strong, but the ticker can no longer cope. If you saw me on an electric you would wonder why that old guy who looks in shape is riding that thing. The answer is because I can. The pedal power bike is still important to me. I don’t yet own an electric, but soon will just to stay alive a few decades longer, and stay on a bike for the most part.

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