"I love my e-bike and the scooter mode is my lifeline when I ride."
— Wendy Hemken
The article below comes from 32-year old Beaverton resident Wendy Hemken. Wendy is currently a student at Portland Community College and plans to study biochemistry/biophysics at Oregon State University.
I was reading through my Facebook today when I see a link about an e-assist skateboard with the title "One less e-bike" and so I quipped back "Hey! What’s wrong with e-bikes?" but I found that my irritation was not so quickly relieved. The fact of the matter is, I’m getting tired of the jibes, snarks, and grumblings about e-bikes from "real" cyclists. The complaint goes like this: Somehow by riding a bike with a motor we’re cheating. (more...)
Researchers at Portland State University are looking for e-bike riders to fill out an online survey. The survey is part of an ongoing study that began last fall with an aim to "provide valuable insight into the potential market, user characteristics and barriers to adoption" of e-bikes.
Whether you like them or not, electric bikes are a growing part of the U.S. market. Far from just a trend or a novelty, e-bikes are here to stay. But even with major bike companies (and their marketing power) behind them, improved technology, and lower prices, they are — unlike in some parts of Europe and China — still far from mainstream here.
Now e-bikes have earned another mark of respect: academic research. Portland State University has embarked on a study that will take a closer look at how people use electric bikes. According to the study outline, researchers have two primary objectives, "Understand people’s perceptions and attitudes of e-bikes; and evaluate the use of e-bikes by potential users to determine if these bikes could encourage new bike users." (more...)
(Photos: Conscious Commuter Corp.)
Last month we shared the story of Kinn Bikes, a new company that decided to make their frames right here in Portland. Now, another company has decided that Portland is the place to manufacture their bikes. Conscious Commuter Corporation, a company with offices downtown and in Los Angeles, just had a batch of 50 frames made at Zen Bicycle Manufacturing in North Portland.
According to Bob Vander Woude, the company's President and CEO, they were very close to producing the frames in China. "There were a lot of people in the industry telling us we had to manufacture in China or we wouldn't be able to compete," he told me via phone today. Vander Woude said they were all lined up for a trip to China to visit potential factories. "The more we thought about it," he said, "It just really started resonating with our core principles," Vander Woude said about the decision.
One of the most anticipated new bikes in years, the Faraday Porteur, is headed to Portland this weekend. The bike, which was discovered here on BikePortland when it debuted at the Oregon Manifest Design Challenge competition back in September, boasts a gorgeous design, detachable front rack, hub-powered lights, and a smartly integrated battery for electric assist.
Earlier this month the man behind the bike, Portland native and MIT grad Adam Vollmer announced he planned to mass-produce the bike. Vollmer went to Kickstarter in hopes of raising the $100,000 needed to get the production started. The project quickly reached that goal and now Vollmer and his crew have left the San Francisco Bay Area where the company was founded and are headed up to Portland.
I caught up with Vollmer via email to learn more about his Portland roots, the rise of Faraday, e-bike evangelism, and more...
field test in Portland last September,
will soon be available as a production bike.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Back in September, when the entries in the 2011 Oregon Manifest Design Challenge competition were revealed, one bike in particular caught my eye. It was the "Faraday" electric-assist bike built by a California-based team made up of design firm IDEO and bike company Rock Lobster.
With its drop-dead good looks (inspired by French porteur bikes from the 1940s and '50s), functional utility features, and super e-tech wizardry, I went out on a limb and dubbed it the "best e-bike ever". Today I learned that the bike has become the first ever Oregon Manifest entry to go become a full-fledged brand and go into production.
According to the Faraday Bikes website, the bike will be available for purchase on July 18th. I haven't heard what the retail price will be, nor do I know who's behind the brand; but to me, the larger significance is that this bike could catapult e-assist into the mainstream, and it was born at the Oregon Manifest.
Last week the Oregon Department of Transportation announced the availability of $4 million in incentives for electric trucks. The money comes from the federal government's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program and it's aimed at, "encouraging the purchase of zero-emission urban delivery trucks."
Unfortunately the money (which comes in the form of $20,000 vouchers per qualifying vehicle) cannot be used to purchase cargo trikes and other vehicles that use human-power in addition to electric assist. One stipulation of the grants is that the vehicles weight over 10,000 pounds.
Chronic foot pain threatened to make cycling unbearable for 56-year old southeast Portland resident Jeff Bernards. Now, after installing an electric-assist kit on his bike, he's riding again. And loving it.
Bernards is a veteran of local bike events. Years ago he started the "Get Lit" program to give out free bike lights to those in need (the program has since been taken over by the Community Cycling Center). He also loves leading bike tours. He's taken a group of Portlanders on a three week bike tour in Death Valley, California and he's led numerous overnight bike trips to Oxbow Park. More recently, Bernards has worked tirelessly to get a ban on studded tires on the Oregon ballot. (more...)
-Watch video below.-