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.
It’s been one year and one day since Portland hosted its last sanctioned, competitive cycling event. In many ways, 2020 was a lost season for local racers, but 2021 will look a lot different — not only because we are likely to emerge from the Covid cocoon, but because electric bikes will be welcomed into the racing scene for the first time.
In a statement today, Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Executive Director Chuck Kenlan announced that the 2021 season is already coming into focus. Weekly racing is slated to re-start in April and May’s schedule is filling up. “We are approaching the race season with caution and expect the earlier races to run using modified formats that follow the state guidance for outdoor recreation,” Kenlan shared. “Our plan is to work with promoters to help them make their races as safe as possible and still allow for a fun competition.”
Kenlan also said OBRA’s new liability insurance policy will cover events that include a category for “Class 1” electric bikes. [Read more…]
Electric bike sales are skyrocketing nationwide and Portland is doing its part to stoke the boom. Now a new partnership between local bike shops, Oregon’s electric vehicle advocacy group, and Portland’s largest employer will make it even easier for people to purchase one.
According to market research firm NPD Group, e-bike sales were up 84% in March, 92% in April, and 137% in May. It’s no surprise given how the bikes have evolved in recent years. When they first arrived on the scene they were clunky and mostly the realm of early adopters and garage-tinkerers. Then they trickled into local bike shops, but there were only a few brands, battery technology was subpar, and prices were relatively high for what you got. Lately the bikes have made massive leaps in quality and affordability and there are tons of great brands and models available.
“E-bikes are the future!” That’s what Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone proclaimed at a forum earlier this week. Iannarone is bullish on e-bikes not just because she’s an expert on innovative transportation solutions (thanks in part to her work at First Stop Portland), but because she rides an e-bike herself.
Many that ride e-bikes quickly become evangelists like Iannarone and start using words like “transformational” and “revolution”.
Now a Portland State University research project wants to add more science to back up all the excitement. And they’re looking for subjects. [Read more…]
Last summer we stumbled upon an inconvenient truth about electric bike use in Oregon State Parks. It turned out that despite their popularity, it was illegal to operate e-bikes on State Park paths and trails.
Thankfully, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) acknowledged the outdated rules and the State Parks Commission recently approved new ones that explicitly permit e-bike use on their facilities.
Now it appears the City of Portland might have the same problem. [Read more…]