We like to call the e-bike the "EveryBike" because it significantly expands bicycle riding to EveryBody--for health, safety, enjoyment, and as an alternative to cars. Below you can read one woman's straightforward reasons for her own use of an electric bike, which has sustained her car-free life.
Following that, an article from Pete's Electric Bike Report, again, taking a look at the legitimate function of e-bikes from several perspectives.
(And we like that Easy Motion Neo Jumper with the indomitable Burley Travoy--two of our favorite products!)
First off, here's our own favorite [bi-]cycling quote:
“You see things … in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car ... everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer, and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on; it’s right there, so blurred you can’t focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.”
-Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
An electric bicycle can give (or give back) this experience to those who might not otherwise be able to ride. That's a good thing!
"Please, stop hating on e-bikes"
BikePortland.org published a reader's story this month, describing one woman's great relief at having her e-bike. Relief, joy, fulfillment--these are the satisfied responses of so many of our customers--and ourselves.
Conveniences of a Car with the Advantages of a Bicycle
I have been thinking of quick ways to describe what an electric bike is all about to someone who has no idea what an electric bike is.
Sometimes quick catchy sound bites can really help someone visualize what these e-bikes are all about.
So far I have come up with this: “Electric bikes combine some conveniences of a car with the advantages of a bicycle.”
Conveniences of a Car
With an electric bike you have the ability to get around quickly with little to no sweat if you choose. This can be handy for being able to wear your normal work clothes to work, or run errands around town without being drenched in sweat. Electric bikes make it much easier to haul heavier loads like kids (in a trailer or kids seat), groceries, the stuff that you take to work, your beach towel and some refreshments, etc. In fact the reason I got into the electric bike scene was because I wanted to make carrying cargo on my bike easier so I could drive my truck less. Oh, and it worked!
Carrying some cargo with the Easy Motion Neo Jumper and the Burley Travoy Trailer [both in stock!]
Hills, what hills? Hills can definitely have a big effect on whether someone decides to ride their bike somewhere or grab the keys for their car. An electric bike can really make hills a non issue. In fact you may change your biking route because riding over a hill is no longer a concern.
Headwinds, what headwinds? This is basically the same as the hills issue. Some places have more wind than hills and then there are places that have both!
The hot and cold days. Okay, electric bikes don’t have heaters or A/C; bummer huh? What they do offer is a way to push the easy button (throttle or lots of pedal assist) and limit how much you will be sweating. So for the hot summer days you can take it as easy as possible and cruz around with little sweat. When it is super cold outside you can bundle up and take it easy with some electric assist. Pedaling a little will help you get warmed up, but not too much to sweat like crazy.
Electric assist helps more people enjoy a bicycle ride. Almost anyone can drive a car right? E-bikes have helped people with disabilities, poor physical fitness, and/or concerns with keeping up with family/friends in order to enjoy riding a bicycle again. I really like hearing about the success stories of people who have reconnected with biking thanks to an electric bike.
Advantages of a Bicycle
One of the things I like most about a bicycle is that it can go almost anywhere. You have the choice of pathways that are not open to cars, bike paths on streets, and small neighborhood side streets that don’t have much traffic. I have found that sometimes I can get from point A to Point B quicker on my bike than in a car thanks to the bicycle’s versatility. Quick note: I don’t recommend riding on sidewalks.
Quick Tip: Google Maps has incorporated bike directions as an option. The directions are intended to guide you on a safer route that is also efficient (quick and avoids big hills). Their system may not be perfect right now but it is evolving with user input.
Parking problems, what parking problems? This is another way a bicycle can save you time and money. It’s as simple as finding a bike parking area, sign post, or tree to lock your bike to. Forget about the frustration of circling the block for a parking spot and potentially having to pay for it.
Traffic jams, what traffic jams? It is pretty nice to forget about traffic and planning your day around avoiding it. Most of the time I don’t even see traffic because my riding routes are away from any of the major streets. The closest thing to a bike traffic jam happens on Bike to Work week and I am happy to see that kind of “traffic jam”
Enjoying a nice bike ride in the open air. There is something so refreshing about a nice bike ride on a warm summer day! Any time we can enjoy the fresh air while gliding along on our bicycle is a good thing.
Saying “Hi!” to your friends, neighbors, pedestrians, and fellow bikers. Bikes are a great way to get around quickly but they also provide a nice way to connect with other people we come across on our ride. Cars have a tendency to isolate us from others and fuel the “road rage”.
Getting some exercise! I have heard the argument that electric bikes are for lazy people. I disagree. First of all let's compare an e-bike to the car: If you ride your e-bike instead of driving your car you will get more exercise, period. For someone who would not normally ride a traditional bicycle because of physical limitations or they don’t want to sweat too much then an e-bike provides more exercise than not riding a bike at all. Some people may want an easy ride to work (lots of assist) and then a hard ride home (less assist) for some exercise to decompress from the day. After all, you can select your level of assist.
Okay, I will agree that you will probably get less exercise compared to riding a normal bike. But for some people riding an electric bike could mean they ride more than they ever would on a traditional bicycle.
So What Does this all Mean?
I hope that my ramblings have helped you understand electric bikes and their benefits a little more. You may already know all of this but maybe you can use these ideas when you talk with someone who has no idea what an electric bike represents.
Just to recap, here are some thoughts. If you use an electric bike more and drive less you will save money, have fun, and get some exercise. If you currently don’t ride a bicycle much you probably will ride an electric bike more.
Seattle Electric Bike - Saturday, January 19, 2013
Latest Press from OHM Cycles
Vancouver entrepreneur pitches premium electric bikes on Dragons’ Den
VANCOUVER, BC, January 7, 2013 – Vancouver entrepreneur Michael DeVisser will appear on CBC’s upcoming Dragons’ Den episode this Sunday, January 20th, 2013 at 8:00PM (8:30PM in NFLD), to pitch OHM Cycles: his line of premium Canadian electric commuter bicycles. Proving OHM’s business model that test rides sell e-bikes, the Dragons quickly saw the benefits of OHM electric bikes after probing DeVisser about the bikes and taking one for a test ride.
First to try an OHM bike was Dragon Bruce Croxon, an avid cyclist whose pre-ride reaction was typical: “I’m a real cyclist – that’s an electric bike, so I can’t get any exercise on that.” DeVisser responded by explaining how OHM bikes are pedal assisted rather than completely motorized, so that riders always get exercise from pedaling, but can use the bike’s four levels of assistance to choose how easy or strenuous they want to make each ride.
Michael DeVisser offers test ride to Dragon Bruce Croxon.
The dragons liked the look of the bike and liked OHM’s idea for expansion, commenting that they were not very familiar with this type of bike but liked how they reduced commuting time and helped weaker riders keep pace with stronger ones.
Though DeVisser cannot reveal the outcome of his presentation, he will say, “It was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to present on Dragons’ Den.”
Having grown up in a hilly area of North Vancouver, DeVisser recalls having to bike to the top of a steep hill to get home every day, and still remembers how difficult it was, especially after a long ride. Riding mountain bikes for much of his life, it wasn’t until he moved to China for work that he tried his first pedal assisted electric bike in Beijing, saw people using them for commuting and running errands around the city, and thought they would be very useful in hilly areas back home.
Dragon Kevin O’Leary test rides an OHM Electric Bike.
DeVisser explains: “I saw the huge potential for this product in North America; however, I realized the need for a custom designed, purpose-built bike for the local market. I was fortunate to meet with some top bike executives in Taiwan who liked our business concept and also felt it was the right time to enter the market. At first it was difficult to introduce a new brand of bikes; however, now we have established our brand in the market as a leading supplier of high performance e-bikes.”
The OHM team spent five years researching and testing electric bikes around the world to produce their first line of custom-built electric bikes. The company has testimonials from customers who have said that OHM bikes have changed their lives by enabling them to get back into a fit and healthy lifestyle.
OHM electric bikes feature a custom designed lightweight frame, reinforced for extra strength and stability, as well as multiple frame sizes for best fit, to handle commuting and all-terrain riding. A center-mounted battery pack allows for the best weight distribution, while also being easy to install and remove, and convenient to take inside to recharge. Other quality components include an integrated LED lighting system, puncture proof tires, and hydraulic disc brakes for added safety.
OHM Cycles was awarded the British Columbia Creative Achievement Award in 2009 for its custom battery enclosure. The company is a proud proponent of going green with electric bikes—an eco-friendly solution to the world’s environmental and transportation changes.
Electric bikes are already being used widely for urban commuting and have commercial applications for police, security, resorts, rentals and delivery services. Electric bike sales now account for two out of every ten bikes sold in Europe. The trend is also catching on in North American markets, where electric bike sales have increased from 10,000 units to over 80,000 units in 2010, according to Frank Jamerson of Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports.
DeVisser’s plan was to utilize the Dragons’ funding to purchase more inventory and roll out more OHM Factory Store Retail Outlets in Canada and the United States, to provide customers with the best service experience and the opportunity to test ride the bikes.
“It takes years to develop this type of product,” says DeVisser. “We’ve been in business since 2005 and have established our brand as a high quality supplier of electric bikes. We hope our appearance on Dragon’s Den will inspire people to test ride our exclusive design and experience firsthand the freedom that comes with riding an OHM bike.
About Dragons Den
DRAGONS’ DEN is the highest rated Canadian unscripted program on television, with an average audience of over 1.4 million Canadians each week. In addition to its success on-air, DRAGONS’ DEN is also a hit online, boasting an active and engaged online community averaging more than 650,000 page views per month. Full episodes and exclusive behind-the-scenes content can be viewed at cbc.ca/dragonsden.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus five languages for international audiences. In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada celebrated 75 years of serving Canadians and being at the centre of the democratic, social and cultural life of Canada.
Want to know what it’s like to own and ride an OHM electric bike? Seattle OHM customer and XU700 owner Marty Lindal has devoted an entire blog to the topic.
Called the “OHM eBike Owner Report,” the blog is Marty’s personal account of his experiences with his OHM. It covers everything from the factors Marty considered in choosing his electric bike, to his accounts of the trips he has taken with his OHM and his perspectives on his riding. It’s an unbiased, in-depth look at the OHM experience.
Marty himself did a lot of research before buying his OHM. After undergoing a major foot surgery that left him without a meniscus or ACL, he couldn’t test ride bikes for two whole months until he was cleared for riding. That left him with a lot of time to read all he could about electric bikes online and look at e-bikes in shops – travelling as far away as Bend Oregon to check out a potential bike to buy.
If the OHM is a bike you want a closer look at, check out Marty’s blog at http://www.ohmebikereport.com. You can find out how the OHM bike fares on Seattle hills, as Marty’s articles take you on photographic journeys through his trips. For more traditional reviews, check out our electric bike reviews section or other stories on ourOHM blog.
We are celebrating the completion of our new BionX Gallery. Here you'll see examples of what is possible with a bike you may already own or want--and how well it works with a BionX retrofit. From fast road bike to family cargo bike, BionX fits.
And speaking of celebrations, the article below honors another Canadian star: Olympic athlete Jon Montgomery.
Olympic Gold Medalist Uses BionX E-Bike
Jon Montgomery captured the hearts of Canadians when he won the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010. Following his win, Jon made his famous celebratory walk through the Whistler Village further solidifying his place in our hearts.
Outside of winning gold for Canada, one of Jon’s favourite memories at the Vancouver games was his introduction to BionX electric bikes. Jon explains that, “The bikes were just one representation of the level of thought that went into creating a space that was not only peaceful but comfortable for the athletes. They (BionX e-bikes) were also the fastest form of transportation to get around the massive village, allowing the athletes to easily commute and conserve their energy by using the power assist.” When Jon heard that there were electric bikes that could be signed out, his curiosity kicked in and he had to try them. Once Jon got on one, he exclaimed “Why did it take me until the age of 30 to find a bike that does it all?!”
Jon Montgomery fell in love with the convenience and versatility of BionX e-bikes during the games. Now as he trains for the next Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, his e-bike has become a part of his training regime. “The field that I train at is a few kilometres away from my home, so I use my BionX e-bike as a commuter and for my pre-training warm up. It allows me to work smarter instead of harder. I use less energy commuting and can focus my energy on wind sprints and training tools. Now, I can choose when to expend energy or when to conserve it for the training field.”
“Using my BionX every day is honestly something that I look forward to. It saves my legs with the power assist, so I can get the most out of my sport specific training. I believe the BionX system is perfect for the entire cross section of people who would use a bicycle. It makes biking more accessible for the masses including professional athletes, weekend warriors and leisure riders.”
On top of the fact that Jon’s BionX complements his training routine and lifestyle, he also chooses to commute by bike to decrease his net impact on the environment. “I can do my part for the environment and save money,” explained Jon. “For me, it’s common sense and makes the most sense for my life. My enthusiasm now has my wife becoming an avid rider. We’ve been out a few times and we’re loving it!”
About Jon Montgomery
In 2002, it was a casual trip to Canada Olympic Park that introduced Jon to the sport of skeleton racing which he would then take up and go on to win gold for Canada. “I immediately fell in love with the sport. After my first run, I was hooked,” chimes Jon Montgomery. “It has been a dream since childhood to become an Olympian and the sport of skeleton became the vehicle for realizing those dreams.”
You can't buy super-powers but you can buy an OHM Electric Bike. Electric Bike Guy is a superhero.
It's easy to understand why the Electric Bike Guy feels like a superhero on his OHM electric bike, photographed below at the 2011 Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge Island, WA.
As he describes, “I was a mild-mannered psychotherapist and jazz musician. I turned into a green super-hero able to leap hills in a single bound, commute large distances without a drop of fossil fuel, and enjoy the ride, even in the rain!”
Stefan Schlesinger (aka “Electric Bike Guy”)
Instead of keeping the “superpowers” he gained to himself, Stefan has made a point of sharing his discovery with as many people as he can. Starting out by giving test-rides and selling OHMs out of the back of his car, Stefan eventually made his project official by opening his own bike shop devoted to selling OHM electric bicycles and BionX electric bike technology. He’s the owner of Seattle Electric Bike, also known as the OHM Factory Store.
Calling himself the “Electric Bike Guy,” Stefan’s superhero mission is to spread his favourite green transportation option to the wider public. He knows how frustrating it can be to find high quality electric bikes for reasonable prices.
Back when Stefan was a prospective customer looking to buy his first electric bike, he simply could not find one: the frames were too big to fit public transit bike racks, and the bikes were too expensive for the features they were offering. His fruitless searches made him seriously consider starting his own e-bike line; he even conducted interviews to get people’s input in drawing up specs for an ideal e-bike:
“Strong frame, lights to see and be seen, fenders for protection against rain, hydraulic disc breaks for stable stops, good front fork and seat shocks for the bumps… A great bike!”
But he quickly realized that producing such a bike would get expensive:
“The cost to create this bike would have made it impractical. I wanted the bike to be affordable as well as excellent.”
Keeping an eye open for an existing bike that met his needs, his search ended when he travelled up to Vancouver, British Columbia, and test-rode an OHM electric bike.
As Stefan describes:
“I knew it was the one. Then I said to myself, this is an excellent product and no one is selling it down here, maybe I should. And so I did – out of the car until April 2011 when we opened Seattle Electric Bike.”
“I never expanded into other electric bike products because OHM and BionX remain the very best – in terms of quality of product and manufacturer support. We have always had great support from OHM.”
If you want to meet the Electric Bike Guy in person or test ride an OHM electric bike, drop by Seattle Electric Bike/The OHM Factory Store and pay Stefan a visit. He is always up for talking electric bikes, showing off his favorite product, and sharing the secrets of his super-powers. See you at the store!
A local OHM rider inspired Pete to publish this post on his blog, Pete's Electric Bike Report. Here it is if you have not seen it already:
So you have heard about how cost effective electric bikes are for getting around, but do you know how much it actually costs to charge your e-bike? Well in this post I will crunch the numbers to show just how cost effective they are.
Norm, an Electric Bike Report reader, recently asked: “My charger used 0.14 kWh (kilowatt hours) for 12 miles of riding the new OHM XU 700 today. Any idea of how much that cost?”
Yes, I do! And I think you will be surprised by the results of the following calculations!
First of all, you will need to find the local electricity rates from your electricity provider. You can check your recent bill or they may turn up in a Google search. My provider is APS in Arizona and here is their rate chart.
We are on the Time Advantage (Noon to 7pm) plan and I will use the summer rates because they are the most expensive. You can see that there are 2 different prices for “On-Peak” and “Off-Peak”. The idea is that an electricity company encourages customers to use less electricity during the heavy usage times, in this case Noon to 7pm.
Tip: By remembering the Off-Peak hours, my wife and I have been able to save quite a bit of money by using our AC mainly after 7pm to cool the house down.
Example of my electricity rate chart for calculating electric bike charging cost.
Alright, so now we have our On-Peak cost of electricity = $0.21/kWh and Off-Peak cost of electricity = $0.054/kWh.
By the way, Norm used an electricity usage monitor like this to determine that he used 0.14 kWh for 12 miles.
Now let’s multiply the kWh’s used (0.14 kwh) for Norm’s 12 mile trip. 12 miles is a pretty good number to use because that could be a typical commute to work.
Okay, time for some disclaimers. Your electricity rates will probably be different and you may not get the same miles per kWh as Norm, but even then, you can see that the cost to charge an electric bike is relatively low. Basically, your mileage may vary.
More disclaimers. There are more fees from your electricity bill that will probably factor into the overall costs of the electricity to charge your e-bike but you are probably already paying those fees to keep the lights on in your house .
If you charge your electric bike at work this could be helpful info if your boss is concerned about how much your e-bike will add to their electricity bill.
Tip: If you have a long commute to work, having an extra charger at work can solve range concerns.
Speaking of how little it costs to charge an electric bike, what about charging it via solar power? E-bikes use so little energy compared to electric cars that it really is possible to get around via a solar powered vehicle, today.
Watch the OHM fly up Seattle Hills--the Chilly Hilly, Gas Works, the Queen Anne Counterbalance. Starring Silas and the Seattle Electric Bike Team. All bikes in the video are stock--these bikes are not vaporware, you can test ride this bike today!
The City of Seattle is updating Seattle's Bicycle Master Plan(BMP), and you have until June 30 to give them your feedback on routes, from sketchy to safe.
Tell them! Take a short web-based survey to comment on the bicycle issues that matter most to you. It should only take 10 minutes and is one of the simplest ways to share how you feel about biking in Seattle and what you want to see in the BMP update.
Show them! Use this interactive map to show SDOT more specifically where you make (or would like to make) bike trips, which streets and intersections are particularly challenging, and what works really well for you.
This is your chance to help make sure that our new plan includes innovative new tools like cycle tracks, neighborhood greenways and buffered bike lanes. Getting these treatments in the plan -- and ultimately on to the ground -- will help people of all ages and abilities make safe and efficient trips by bike to key destinations like transit stations, schools, parks, grocery stores, downtown and neighborhood centers.
Thanks to Cascade Bicycle Club for all the advocacy work they do and for the heads-up from their e-newsletter!
Hearty thanks to Dave and all our OHM customers who are spreading the word about the excellent OHM Urban and Sport electric bicycles--and the Travoy trailer! The Electric Bike Guy--and all the bike-commuting staff in our shop--absolutely LOVE the Travoy for its stability and cargo opportunities, as well as the range of bag options available.
If you are considering your own OHM with a Travoy, please note our Factory Store prices allow us to offer you a fantastic package deal! And look for the long-awaited 2012 OHM models coming to the Factory Store--with great Factory Store prices--in July! Come on in and Maximize YOUR Potential!
The following post is from Pete's Electric Bike Report by guest writer Cathy Lau of OHM. Read on--and don't miss the contest announcement at the end of the article--your chance to win a Travoy!
Dave Somers knows how to maximize the potential of his electric bike. Taking advantage of his OHM XU700’s ability to take the weight off heavy loads, he hitches his Burley Travoy Trailer on for almost every ride. The Travoy’s quick-hitch mechanism and 60 lb carrying capacity turn his OHM into an instant cargo bike.
Dave recently put his OHM and Travoy to the test when he decided to ride with 30 lbs more than the maximum load recommended. Here’s what Dave had to say about how he ended up overloading the Travoy with 90 lbs of weight, and how the bike and trailer held up against it:
“I have a friend over in Port Angeles who sent me a couple of nice pieces of Maple for woodturning. They sent it over with a friend who lives on the north end of Bainbridge Island. That person is a walk-on ferry user and wasn’t excited about schlepping logs on the ferry by hand, so I did a wood run to pick them up myself.
I started at 5:30am from the boat at Shilshole and rode to work downtown with the Travoy and 20 lbs on it. (I used a spring scale to weigh things since I was concerned about weight.) After work I rode a short distance to the Bainbridge ferry and ran over to Bainbridge Island. From there, I rode about 3 miles to my friend’s house, weighed the wood at 70 lbs, and loaded it onto the Travoy. It seemed to handle the load fine. I then rode 3 miles back to the ferry and went back downtown. Then I biked to my shop about 9 miles using the Ballard Bridge. I dropped the wood off there and then rode back to my houseboat, about 3 miles.
The Travoy handled the weight just fine. I was aware it was there, but it was far more stable-feeling than if I had loaded some panniers to just 40 or 50 lbs.
I did not need to work in a very low gear. Except for about perhaps a 150 ft elevation gain, the path is along the water and level. I didn’t have any headwind. I almost never drop out of my highest sprocket on this route and found the same was true even on this run. I did use Level 1 assist along the way and used Level 2 on the hill. That made the run pretty pleasant.”
Dave has been using his Travoy for about a year, and describes his decision to buy one as “easy”:
“I travel over the Ballard Bridge a lot, as well as the locks. Most trailers are an issue on those routes, but the Travoy was perfect for them. It could be wheeled into a store and used as a cart so I didn’t have to worry about securing it while shopping. And since I live on a boat it was nice that it quickly folded up compactly for storage.”
Though he doesn’t usually push the limits of his trailer, he does regularly use it to hold big loads.
“Typically I use the trailer to cart tolls from my shop to the boat. To carry groceries, especially if my load is heavy with cans and liquids. And I also use it for 10 lb propane tanks when I go to fill them.
I have carried a stack of rack mounted switches and routers, and a stack of rack mounted servers, and a stack of laptops, and a stack of desktop computers. Not sure of the weight, but they were heavy. The distances each time were under a mile between two downtown locations, all on the flat.
I do still use my panniers. I have a big set of Ortliebs and they are as waterproof as you can get. The rain fly on the Travoy is good but I am not sure how much I trust it yet for sensitive things.
[The 90 lb wood load] is the largest load I have carried on the trailer. I would be reluctant to do more even though it handled it easily. It was 30 lbs more than they rate the trailer for (60 lbs). I hate to be too abusive.”
“I barely used one bar on the battery gauge between using it on level 2 for 10 miles from the office to home Tuesday night, then 10 miles from home to the office Wednesday morning with the trailer and 20lbs of stuff, and then to north Bainbridge to gather the additional 70lbs, and then back to Fremont and then home again Wednesday night. Pretty good.
My commute is all downhill going to the office, and a lot of uphill going home. I had ridden my old Cannondale up from my office downtown and realized that while it was certainly bikeable, it was going to be a slog after late days at my office in the cold and rain. I try to bike commute every day, so I started researching assisted bikes and was most impressed with the OHM. Now that I have my OHM, I really appreciate it.”
Until July 15 2012, OHM Cycles is holding a contest to give away a Burley Travoy Trailer to one lucky OHM fan. The contest is open to residents of Canada and the US, ages 19 and up. To enter, simply go here and “like” the OHM Cycles Facebook page and enter your email address to sign up for the newsletter.
Here's another positive and also well-done review of the Travoy from Kent's Bike Blog