As followers of this blog know, we really love to talk to real people about their passion for electric bikes, scooters and skateboards. Not bike shop owners, brand representatives or industry insiders - real people who made the decision to switch to personal electric vehicles as their preferred method of transportation, exercise and fun.
If you haven't seen our video series Real People Talking About Ebikes, we've compiled all our episodes to date here (see below), but sometimes, like today, we only find ebikes, but no riders. Oh well, enjoy the pictures and videos.
First up, these beauties are tricked-out Brompton folding bikes, modified to include a quick-release front hub motor, and a battery pack discretely stored in the front pannier. These are perfect for urban commuters, since the folded bikes can be carried onto trains, fit under tables, and are quite maneuverable in city traffic.
Next, we encountered a couple of rental ebikes, which you too can rent next time you're in Santa Barbara (just call Karen at (805) 455-6208 and she'll hook you up!
And finally, we must give a shout out to this Sondors fat tire electric, which is parked outside the Apple Store on State Street almost everyday. We have tried to interview Jon, the elusive owner of this monster, but he is always with a customer at the Genius Bar.
So now, please enjoy a compilation of all the Real People, and find out why they have chosen ebikes as their preferred mode of transportation.
In Episode #1, we talked with a fellow in downtown Santa Barbara, who says he’s been riding ebikes for about 6 years, and hasn’t bought a gallon of gas within the last 2-½ years. He rides his bike everyday - about 20 miles - and says that he would never trade up to a motorcycle at this point. In this guy’s opinion, ebikes are about the best thing you can buy. We couldn’t agree more.
In Episode #2, we met this couple in downtown Santa Barbara, where they have been riding ebikes for about 10 years. He was really excited when the first came out, because he really loves being on a bicycle, being outdoors, and the idea of being able to zip around town without having to turn it into a workout or exercise project. He’s always liked the freedom of a bicycle: unlike a car, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot, license, registration, insurance, all that kind of stuff.
The first ebikes he had were pretty unreliable and he got rid of them before they became too much of a problem. But we these newer models, you can basically go anywhere, anytime without a hassle. Completely free. The only downside is that they’re expensive enough that you worry about where to lock them up, and worry about them getting stolen, but that is really the only downside that he can think of.
In Episode #3, we had the great fortune to meet an elusive electric skateboard rider. He was riding an Evolve Edition All-Terrain, which he considers better than the Boosted board [you can check out all the e-boards we carry here] because the streets around town are not the best, and the 8-inch wheels can go over all the bumps.
Dude tells us it has really a lot of speed, good regenerative braking (which charges the battery when engaged), and a wireless controller which shows mph, battery life, and other deets you need to know. Watch the end of the video when the dude zips away - uphill. xD
In Episode #4, we are in downtown Santa Barbara, right across the street from the famous Granada Theater. This guy tells us that he got into ebikes when he lived up on the Mesa in (a very hilly area of town) and he always wanted one to get up the hill. As a wedding gift, his friend actually have him and his new wife a pair of ebikes (generous friend, huh?). But truth be told, ebikes are often sold in pairs! Well, those ebikes old and heavy, so eventually upgraded to newer models.
One of the best aspects of owning an ebike is that you can act like you’re on a scooter, but you get the benefits of riding a bicycle. So much freedom to go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go. And you can pedal when you want to get a bit of a workout if you want to. You also save a lot on gas.
In Episode #5, we a guy who’s been riding ebikes for about 8 years. He started out with a Curry, with its little motor in the back, but it didn’t have much power. We asked him what he is currently riding, and he said that it used to be a Wave Crest Tidal Force, but they went out of business, so he bought a different hub motor and put it in the back, and he’s using the battery from the Wave Crest in the front. What’s his favorite thing about ebikes? It’s easy on the knees. Very convenient. Lot of fun.
In Episode #6, we meet a very nice couple coming back from the Earth Day festival. She’s on a sit/stand electric scooter, and he’s walking because he left his scooter at home. This e-scoot was given to her by her brother-in-law, who got one for her sister to do errands (it has a basket on it). For her, however, it’s purely recreational. They love it for rides along the beach. They get a lot of looks. It’s a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Check out our collection of electric scooters here.
In Episode #7, we hear from Tim Stone, a staff member of the EOPS program at Santa Barbara City College. The Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) is a state-funded support program designed to provide academic support, financial assistance and encouragement for eligible, financially disadvantaged, and academically underprepared students.
Tim describes many of the common benefits of ebike commuting. They have a program to cut down on traffic, air pollution and parking. He loves riding around town everyday, and commuting to work. It’s a fantastic experience. It’s a great way to exercise. With three different levels of power assist: eco, standard and high. You pick the level you want based on the amount of resistance there is.
The ebike also comes with gears, which many people may not realize, which allows you to adjust the level of effort you need to use when pedaling. It’s a breeze climbing up hills, and when he gets to work he’s not at all sweaty, and he doesn’t need to take a shower. But on the ride home, he can push as hard as he wants, work out as much as he wants, just like a conventional bike.