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E-bike news roundup: Seminar at PSU, Bike N’ Hike pilot program, and more

Posted by on October 17th, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Currie IZIP’s will be part of an e-bike-at-work
program at Kaiser.

E-bikes are here to stay. We don’t have sales figures for Portland, but my hunch (based on how many I see around town) is that there popularity is increasing. Beyond more people buying them, Portland happens to be a hotbed of e-bike innovation and industry (surprise, surprise). On that note, check out a few bits of e-bike news that have landed in the newsroom in the past few weeks…

Bike N’ Hike partners with Kaiser and Drive Oregon for e-bike pilot program

Local bike retailer Bike N’ Hike has teamed up with the non-profit Drive Oregon to supply 32 Currie IZIP E3 compact e-bikes to employees of Kaiser Permanente. 180 employees are part of the program and the bikes will be placed at three designated sites at local Kaiser campuses. The bikes and how they’re used will be monitored and analyzed by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), which is based at Portland State University.

According to Electric Bike Report, “Drive Oregon will acquire, deploy and study how one hundred and eighty Kaiser employees use the IZIP electric assist bicycles at three designated work sites.The idea is to ascertain whether such transportation options will encourage more people to use the bikes, which are both pedaled and propelled by electric motors when needed, when commuting to public transportation sites. Drive Oregon plans to use the results to “create a replicable model for deployment” for other companies.”

Seminar at PSU will examine U.S. e-bike market

OTREC at PSU has long been at the forefront of e-bike research. Tomorrow, OTREC’s Sustainable Transportation Program Manager John MacArthur will host a seminar titled, E-Bikes in the United States. MacArthur will share his analysis from a recent study of e-bike users that sought to answer questions about why the bikes have potential with certain segments of the bicycle market. The seminar starts at noon tomorrow on the PSU campus. More info here.

The eBike Store is open for business at new location

The eBike Store at 809 N Rosa Parks Way.

As we shared in August, The eBike Store has moved to a new location at the corner of N Albina and Rosa Parks Way in the Piedmont Neighborhood. It took a lot of renovation work and permitting delays, but owner Wake Gregg is finally officially open for business. Gregg has transformed the corner lot from its previous use as an illegal auto chop shop. His new store features a large showroom and service area, as well as a retail space for accessories and parts. Whether you’re looking for a complete bike or a conversion kit to electrify your existing rig, Wake and his staff are eager to get you set up]. Head on over and check out the new shop!

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  • Tara Goddard October 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Getting an ebike (from Wake and the guys at the ebike store) in August has quite literally changed my life. I was already pro-bike philosophically and a relatively comfortable bicyclist in traffic, but I wasn’t riding much despite that. Hills, headwinds, the desire to wear street clothes, etc. I’ve reduced my driving about 90% (no exaggeration) since I got it. Almost 500 miles since August 28. This e-vangelical (haha, get it?) is going to keep spreading the good word, and I’m always happy to answer questions as something of an “average Jane” rider when it comes to ability and body type, and share the amazing world that has opened up thanks to my ebike.

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    • Tara Goddard October 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      And in a shameless but relevant plug, feel free to check out my Twitter feed @GoddardTara, since a big percentage of my tweets are about the ebike. 🙂

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    • Spiffy October 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      what bike did you get? make/model? motor/controller? get any extra options?

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      • Tara Goddard October 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

        Hi Spiffy – I did a lot of research, and was able to test-ride five or six models. I decided that I didn’t want to convert my existing bike, and so cost-wise and potentially warranty- and support-wise, I wanted to go with a purpose-built ebike.

        I bought the BH Easy Motion Neo City. It has decent styling, although other brands are more Euro-stylish (e.g. the Kalkoff bikes). But it was the best combo of the specs, cost, warranty, etc, that I wanted.

        Without going whole-hog into what I think are the best options (I need to do a post of my own about this soon), I opted for a bike with rear-hub motor, the battery in the downtube (good for weight distribution versus the rear-rack batteries), 21-speed gearing, a 36V battery, a 350watt motor (but the assist cuts out at 20 mph due to US regs, so I think it is the equiv of 250watts, I forget), a dynamo front hub with integrated front and rear lights (the rear light is integrated into the rear rack, which I like), and fenders. The bike has four assist modes (eco, standard, sport, and boost) and a throttle mode, which I’ve never used. I almost primarily run it on standard mode, but use eco when I want to conserve the battery.

        With the fenders, lights, etc, everything is ready to go, and the fact that it is easy and fun to ride, it really is no bigger deal for me to grab the bike and go then it is for me to get into my car and go, which I think is key.

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  • dan October 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I think e-bikes are great until one passes me on an uphill. Then I think they’re Satan’s tool, a symptom of our society’s decay, etc. etc. I was very proud of my John Henry moment yesterday when I actually duked it out with an e-bike and won.

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    • Tara Goddard October 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      I’ve noticed that *ahem* “ego response” not infrequently when I pass the MAMIL set especially. 😉 I’ve even told that an ebike is “cheating,” to which my response is a whole post of its own.

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      • Tara Goddard October 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm

        *been told. Oops. Obviously I didn’t say it.

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        • dan October 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

          The MAMIL set (had to look it up) doesn’t much cotton to being passed by my 14-year-old beater either.

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      • annefi October 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

        I’m sure you’re not like the jerk woman who passed me a few years ago as I was laboring up a hill in Eastmoreland and gave me a wicked, self-satisfied smile in going by. Not classy.

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        • Tara Goddard October 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

          Nope, not me. 🙂 Although considering some of the snarky comments I’ve received from cyclists, I can understand her petty, but human, response. Riding an ebike is a weird interstitial mode in some ways. Some cyclists see you as an imposter. As far as drivers are concerned, you are a bicyclist (I doubt many of them notice a few extra cables and know it is an ebike), and so then some don’t want you there.

          When I pass you on a hill, a couple of things are going on. First, I’m just thinking about getting to my next meeting/project/errand/whatever. (I seem to be running late all the time, which is another reason the ebike is great, I can now bike to downtown faster than I can drive and park). So I’m not paying any attention to you at all.

          When I’m not totally in a hurry or in my own internal world, I’m just happy to be on my bike. I’m happy you are on your bike. I don’t care what non-car locomotion you are using, I’m just goofily enjoying sharing the road space with my fellow human beings. On some sub-conscious level, I’m probably relieved that you are unlikely to be the one that blows a stop sign and kills me.

          When I pass people laboring up the Harrison bike blvd every evening, I mostly just feel respect for them (esp those women and men on the cargo bikes with a kid or two on board. Yikes! You all are warriors!). I’ve considered an encouraging smile or words of respect, but I worry that my sincerity will sound patronizing as I go by, so I keep quiet. But you should know that I’m thinking it.

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    • Matt October 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      I like to ride my bike long distances in a single day–all over, up hill, down forest roads, ect.. I max out at about 125 miles. Maybe someday with electice assist I’ll be able to do 200 plus. I’ll essentially get the caloric workout out of 125 miles but cover 200 plus.

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      • dan October 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm

        I wonder if there’s a net gain for someone who’s already comfortably riding century-plus distances. The battery and engine add substantial weight and have limited range. If you get a boost for 100 miles then have to push through the second century carrying a dead battery and unpowered motor, is that really better than spending the whole day on your own legs?

        Of course, if you could charge or switch batteries during the day, you might be on to something.

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  • Shawn Gossman October 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I think owning an eBike would be pretty cool but knowing me, I’d activate it on every hill, haha. Great post!

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  • Jeff bernards October 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    E-BIKES will get more people out of.cars and onto a bike than a regular bike ever will. There’s so many environmental advantages to an E-BIKE. It converts wind power into transportation, that’s gold! I love to ride my bike, but the E-BIKE is my first choice in transportation.

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  • kevin October 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I “accidentally” test rode a bionx assisted yuba mundo and fell in love. It’s a second car. I love my bike commute, even when I’m tired. Sometimes my wife rides it and I draft behind her on a beater mountain bike. Trips happen by bike that would have always been a car before.

    There’s also no better way to make your regular bikes feel lighter than to spend most of your time on a 65 lb bike…. and it only costs a little bit more than a pair of Zip 404’s!

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    • Chris I October 18, 2013 at 8:41 am

      I had the same feelings about the BionX Big Dummy i tried. Unfortunately, I couldn’t justify the extra cost of the e-assist.

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  • Jeff October 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for the great post – and congrats to Wake on the new store!

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  • tnash October 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I love my ebike. Serious question, would I get More or Less looks of disdain if I switched to an electric skateboard in the bike/skateboard lanes? Electric skateboards have almost reached a point where they are a viable commuter option. Note, you don’t need to carve/etc. on them

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