Written by Turbo Bob
The parade of electric bikes have been flowing through my event for the last 4 years. Every spring and fall I am able to gather a large group of people that are considering moving to an E-bike and want to learn more about them. Along with that crowd is a vast variety of shops and companies that are willing to let them give their ebikes a try. I figure there is one specific reason it is unlike any other I have found, that key is that I keep the event theme, ‘no sales, no pressure’. I call it “Introduction to Electric Bicycles”, and the popularity of it keeps growing.
In fact, it has grown to the point registrations are usually stopped days before the event, as the large meeting room only has a 170 person capacity. Luckily the parking lot is big enough to let them all try the 60+ electric bikes of all types and brands that show up for my seminar. It is quite the scene during that part of the evening, as the smiles and excitement flow like the volts in the bikes. There are even free door prizes, usually consisting of E-bike rental certificates, bells, lights and three times in the past, actual electric bikes (a pair of Revolights too).
My vision of an electric bike training and learning event came as I was riding my E-bike to the grand opening of this facility. SDG&E refabbed an old store to top LEED specs and named it the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center. They do all types of training on solar, low-energy kitchens, water conservation, and you guessed it, electric bikes (thanks to my idea and planning). By now you are realizing it is my town, San Diego. The next event is right around the corner, October 13, 2015. If you miss this one, don’t worry, I’ll do it again next spring.
Each time the evening can sport a different vibe, yet they usually roll like this. As it starts (approx 5 pm), we do a meet and greet, scouting out the electric bikes and potential new friends. During this time the hot catered meal is enjoyed by all. A short presentation by the center is followed by my introduction. Then, I thank all involved and introduce the ‘vendors’ so when riding time comes everyone will be more familiar with bikes and folks that brought them. The 25-30 ‘vendors’ are about ½ local E-bike shops and ½ the companies that make and offer them.
Most are ready-ride electric bikes, but the DIY types are represented too. The list of shops, companies and bikes (see below) reads like the who’s who of E-bikes in the So Cal area, yet some come from out of state, and even out of the country to show-off and demo their wares. This time, like always, there will be some real special bikes and E-bike conversion kits, like the not yet out Stromer ST2S and the now in production Electron Wheel. It proves to be fresh and new each time, and the electric bikes on hand change like the seasons.
After the dinner and introductions, I spend over an hour explaining electric bikes and the reasons people need and want them. The door prizes go to the lucky winners every now and then to break the monotony of my droning voice and to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats. Add in a Q & A session, and then we are ready to move all the bikes outside and ride like the wind until the last pedal is turned (between 8 & 8:30). This is the part most come for, but the whole night is worth the trip to town.
With so many types of electric bikes, so many sizes and with each one using a different control system, this way you can find just the right fit for you. It is all in one place, without banging from shop to shop, or searching every internet site for days on end for reviews and insights. Whether you are really serious about getting an electric bike, or just want to learn more, there is no better way to move forward then to attend my event.
I also have some great guest speakers to help woo the crowd (and so I can get a chance to video the large group and the bikes on hand). This time again will be Rhonda Martin from “Living Instead of Existing”, who keeps a Facebook page with 33,000 followers. This will be her 4th time at the podium with her incredible life story that has inspired many to take back their own life’s. My other speaker this time is yet undetermined, but should be great. I also get a short video of part of the riding session.
Did I mention it is all free? Free for the attendees—free for the ‘vendors’—that adds to the no sales, no pressure thing. This allows the E-bike people to work together to ‘sell’ a lifestyle—not fight over the next sale. Of course they hope you will become a customer, it just won’t be on this evening. It also gives them a chance to network with each other, become friends and scout the electric bikes that might be in their shops later in the year. There is virtually no down side of my event.
One reason I am posting this is to try to promote others to do something similar in their own town (I would love to see you come, but it always gets a full house, so promoting it here isn’t my main goal). Still, doing an event like this yourself is worth a try if you have the interest, electric bike knowledge, and the contacts with the makers and sellers of E-bikes. I have considered taking this show on the road, but finding venues that have the space and the lack of leasing fees can be real tough. Expect to see me in LA next year doing this, as the plans for that are already in the works. You will find demo days and road shows doing something similar, yet they all revolve around sales. Nothing wrong with that, but they will never get the feel of this event, or the massive variety of types and brands of electric bikes.
To register, just go on the SDG&E Energy Innovation website and hit the ‘attend a seminar’ button. If registrations are cut-off by the time you get to it, you still may be able to attend, if some registered already don’t show (but I can’t guarantee that). If you are hot to come, don’t wait too long. And like I said, I do it every spring and fall, so making the next show might be easy.
Here is a list of the shops, companies and electric bikes confirmed to be there (the list is still building).
A2B E-bikes—————Company reps on hand
Adams Avenue Bikes
Biruni E-bikes————Company reps on hand
Electric Bike Central
Electron Wheel———–Company reps on hand
e-Joe E-bikes————-Company reps on hand
E-Prodigy——————-Company reps on hand
Faraday———————Company reps on hand
Focus————————Company reps on hand
Green World Bike——–Company reps on hand
Kalkhoff———————-Company reps on hand
Lectric Cycles————–Company reps on hand
LightMeUp Safety Lights
Motiv Electric Bikes———Company reps on hand
Myron’s Extreme Machines
North County Family Bicycle
Pedego————————-Company reps on hand
San Diego Electric Bike
Stromer–with the new ST2S—-Company reps on hand
See you there? Turbo Bob.
“If I can bicycle, I bicycle.”—David Attenborough.
Repeat of the video links—