July 5th, 2012. The owner and webmaster of electric-bikes.com Rob Means and Electro Ride shop owner Brian Howell (based on back end of electric-bikes.com) met up with myself, the webmaster of electricbike.com for a summer ride in San Francisco. For a brief moment in time, two electric bike “power” sites were united and running in parallel. In fact lets call it an electric bike power powwow…changing story title now…brb. Ok back.
The Bay Area is the epicenter of electric bikes in the United States, and I am lucky to live in San Francisco where many of the big electric bike guys like to ride, drink, and hang out. As an example, this summer and last summer I got to hang out and ride, drink, and share stories with Ebike.ca and endless-sphere leader Justin Lemire. Last summer I had breakfast with Craig Taber from Optibike in SF…the list goes on and on. If I have my way SF will be the #1 destination spot on the planet for those who want to e-bike within a few years….it deserves it with all its amazing bike trails and vistas.
Rob Means’ Electric-bikes.com is one of the few original electric bike sites that is still thriving and remains one of the largest, most established and respected electric bike sources on the web.
Despite some recent accusations, I did not pilfer the domain name electricbike.com to ride off the coat tails of the success of electric-bikes.com. I was blessed with the acquisition of electricbike.com because I was looking for a kick ass domain name to host an electric bike site. electricbike.com seemed like a suitable resting spot to kick up my heels.
Rob Means started electric-bikes.com back in 1996, way before riding electric bikes was cool. Brian Howell has promoted and sold e-bikes for several years and specializes in BMC hub motor conversions/sales. Brian is passionate and knowledgable about hub motors (and loves to talk about them incessantly). His store is hard to find, because they purposely keep it buried in the depths of information of electric-bikes.com, but here is link here. I would recommend Brian as a reputable dealer of all your hub motor needs.
We started our ride a few hours before sunset at my house with four of my bikes with a battery for each and my favorite new toy, a 2000-watt Meanwell charger. We had a wide array of my hub powered bikes to “test ” : a 9C, a BMC, and two different variations of Crystalytes. We rode across the Golden Gate Bridge and to the top of the Marin Headlands, sat back on a bench and partook in the views and smoked a joint (just kidding about the joint) and then from there coasted down at high speed into Sausalito to my favorite bar, the Presidio Yacht Club literally at the base of the GG bridge. There they were hosting the Blues Hall of Fame, who was handing out their annual awards and cranking out some beautiful Blues Music.
As the bands played, I tapped into a 110V power outlet, and charged our batteries one at time with the 2000-watt charger we had brought. I was holding my breath afraid we were going to blow a fuse and bring the music to a crashing halt. (that would have been a great story to inject here if it happened…damn I almost wish it did). Amazingly it only took 15 minutes for the power house charger to charge a 48volt / 10-Ah battery. I was extremely pleased as I always am when I score free amp hours. And these amp hours were definitely cheap and fast. You could literally get enough charge for 2o miles in the time it takes to sip a pint of beer. Here is a picture taken on that night, literally from the spot on the outside porch that we drank our beers. Could you ask for a better watering hole/ charge spot? What a great life for e-bikers.
After pounding several beers each, all our packs were fully charged, and it was time to ride back over the bridge into the city in pitch darkness. We had no fears, since we were on electric bikes equipped with bike lights, and we rode so fast that in the 8 mile ride we were only passed by a car once. I had several conversations with Rob that night on whether speed is safe on an electric bike. Rob believes slow is safer, I believe fast is safer…spirited conversation ensued that were juiced by good beer. No worries, we had mutual respect for each others point of view…and this night we rode fast (beyond legal electric bike limits). Rob couldn’t afford to be left behind because he does not know the city like I do, and his bicycle light died so he had to follow MY light…a small victory for the electricbike.com guy.
We ended the night in my favorite arrival spot, a deserted golf course overlooking this beautiful city in the midst of the Legion of Honor, a world class SF musuem that looks like a monument. Nice place to take a pee and drink a shot of whiskey…and maybe smoke a joint (just kidding about the joint.)
At the end of the night we shook hands and left each other with some new electric bike friendships, and if we are lucky, memories that will last forever. This post is to pay homage to last night’s memory, and to preserve it in case any of us that were there forget.
Electric bikes are forever.