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Electric Bikes

Welcome to our coverage of e-bikes.

Portland is home to many electric-bike makers, tinkerers, riders, and enthusiasts. We do our best to cover it all. Have an e-bike story idea? Drop us an email via our contact page.

‘Transit on Tap’ event will highlight Kaiser’s folding e-bike loan program

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
ebikelead

A few employers own bicycles that they can loan to their workers as an introduction to bike commuting, but a Kaiser Permanente Northwest pilot program this year is taking that to the next level.

The health company is loaning folding e-bikes to 180 of its employees.

The goal is, in part, to increase active commutes by introducing more commuters to the transit-friendly vehicles that can address one of the biggest reasons workers neither bike or bus to work: they live too far away to bike, and too far from a bus stop to take transit.

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Infographic expands on local e-bike research, but the biggest puzzle remains

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
ebikes_OTREC
(Infographic by Portland State Transportation Research and Education Center)

A new poster summarizing research from a Portland State University scholar has some interesting factoids about electric bike users, but it doesn’t answer what’s becoming one of the biggest mysteries in American biking: why haven’t e-bikes taken off yet in the United States?

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Video lets you go behind the bars for a zippy e-bike commute

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Every day, rain or shine, Paul Turner blasts through his 19-mile commute from his home on the Sandy River in Troutdale to his office on Marquam Hill in southwest Portland. Aboard his electric-assisted bike, the journey takes him about an hour and ten minutes. He recently captured the highlights of his ride with a GoPro on-board camera and shared it on YouTube.
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Event will highlight e-bike trends in Oregon

Monday, March 17th, 2014
The Ohm electric-assist bicycle-6.jpg
E-bike powered.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s the latest with electric bikes? Is their popularity growing or is it leveling out? What about the future? Will motorized and pedal-assisted bicycles ever be fully embraced by other road users?

These issues and more will be discussed at an event next month in downtown Portland. The event is being promoted and organized by Drive Oregon, a non-profit trade association that pushes “electric mobility and alternative means of transportation.”

We’ve covered e-bikes for years here on BikePortland. From the local industry that has sprung up around them to the people who credit them for changing their lives, they definitely seem to be gaining traction. That being said, they are still not commonly seen in the bike lanes and their mix of human and motor power makes it hard for them to find a comfortable niche among the existing mix of vehicles on the road. (more…)

New bike business roundup: E-bikes, flowers, acupuncture, and more

Monday, March 10th, 2014
Nico Bella, owner of Portland’s only full-service, bike-based florist.
(Photo by Spellbound Flowers)

The love of bicycles in this town is so strong that the number and type of bike-related businesses springing up around it never ceases to inspire us. Yes, it’s that time again when we’ve heard of so many new bikey endeavors that we’ve got to round them all up in one post.
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Report and photos from test ride of Organic Transit’s ELF trike

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
ELF trike test ride-19
Organic Transit CEO and Founder Rob Cotter inside the ELF during a test ride event in Portland on Tuesday.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s not a bike and it’s not a car, but the ELF trike is quickly finding fans in Portland who are looking for something in between.

ELF trike test ride-7
The event drew a good crowd —
some who arrived by bike, others by car.

Organic Transit, the North Carolina-based company that makes the ELF solar and pedal-powered trike, just wrapped up three busy days of test rides (two days in Troutdale and one day in Portland). I dropped by the test ride event Tuesday on the eastbank of the Willamette River near the Hawthorne Bridge to take a closer look, meet the company’s founder and CEO Rob Cotter, and get people’s impressions of these interesting vehicles.

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Organic Transit plans Portland test drive event for solar/pedal-powered trike

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Coming to Portland

If our story back in November piqued your curiosity about what some call the “most efficient vehicle on the planet”, you’ll want to mark your calendar for a chance to drive one yourself.

Organic Transit (based in Durham, North Carolina) is bringing their ELF solar and pedal-powered tricycles to Portland for three days of test rides. The company that says its missions is to “get more cars off the road” knows that the Portland region’s biking and transit-centric demographic makes it a great marketing target. In fact, the company is considering opening an assembly plant in Portland.

In a press release about the Portland-area test ride events, company founder Rob Cotter said the ELF gets the equivalent of 1,800 miles per gallon. Far from a recumbent bike, the vehicle itself comes with side and rear mirrors, head and taillights, and a fully protective enclosure while still being legal to operate in bike lanes, paths, and in standard traffic lanes. (more…)

Folding e-bike company ‘Conscious Commuter’ out of cash, ceases operations

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Concept drawing of the bike from the Conscious Commuter Facebook page.

Portland-based company Conscious Commuter has run out of money, ceased operations on December 16th, and is “in the process of winding up its affairs”. That news comes via an email sent to supporters by Gabriel Wartofsky, the company’s head designer and co-founder.

Conscious Commuter launched in June 2011 with plans to mass-produce a foldable electric bike in Portland. The concept was the marriage of Wartofsky’s design skills mixed with the entrepreneurial and business background of company President and CEO Bob Vander Woude. The company had been headquartered at One World Trade Center in downtown Portland.
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Velomobile maker Organic Transit to set roots in Portland

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Coming to Portland

Durham, North Carolina-based Organic Transit is currently shopping for office and warehouse space in Portland.

The company is known for their “ELF” solar and pedal-powered vehicle (which stands for Electric, Light and Fun) which they bill as the “most efficient vehicle on the planet.” The company is the brainchild of Rob Cotter, a former engineer who worked on racing projects for Porsche, Mercedes Benz and BMW. Cotter then moved into the human-powered vehicle scene in the late 1980s as a race promoter and vice president of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association. As CEO and founder of Organic Transit, Cotter steered his latest invention into a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign last year that raised over $225,000 from 547 backers.
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The appeal of e-bikes: 5 facts from a new study

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Jeff Bernards new e-bike-2
Conversions, like this bike with a unit from E-BikeKit,
are more common than e-bikes off the showroom floor.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

After years of being theoretically exciting, electrically assisted bikes are finally becoming common in the United States — enough for people to start studying their many benefits.

A new study by John MacArthur of OTREC at Portland State University offers some early results about the people e-bikes serve, the ways they get used and their possible role in reducing auto dependence in U.S. cities.

Here are a few useful facts from MacArthur’s presentation (PDF) at a PSU Friday transportation seminar last month:
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