Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Electric Bikes in NOPA

Cliff Courrier was sold on electric bikes as soon as he started riding his in May of this year. In fact, he believed in them so much, he started selling them.

Cliff remembers first riding a bike when he was five years old, and he's been an avid rider ever since. He switched to electric to "make the ride easier and pain-free, with no stress to the joints." Now the long-time NOPA resident rides five miles to his work. When he adds a round trip home for lunch, he totals 20 miles -- all on one battery charge. At the end of the day, he simply plugs his bike in to a 110 outlet for four hours, and his ride is ready for the morning commute. Cliff says he gets around everywhere with the bike, and hills are seldom a problem. At first his friends teased him about going electric, but he figures if the new ride gets him exercising more and out in the fresh air, it's all good.

Cliff really needs a bike to get around to his three jobs: one with the city, one at Plaza Flowers on Potrero Hill, and one showing and selling the line of bikes available at Electric Bicycle Outlet.

We caught up with Cliff during the last Sunday Streets celebration through Golden Gate Park and on the Great Highway. He and dealership owner Len Rogers* talked up the several models on display for the steady stream of curious cyclists. More than a few took the electrics for a quick ride. We found the Comfort Cruister solid, steady, and smooth with a good strong throttle surge for taking the hill on JFK Drive. Cliff reports the most frequently asked questions are "How fast do they go and how far with one battery charge?" The ready response: "Twenty miles per hour, and one charge lasts for 15-30 miles depending on the battery." (* Len, dressed in his late summer whites in pic).

Who buys electric bikes in San Francisco? Len Rogers reports the demographic niche for purchases are people ages 35-50 who previously owned an electric or who now need one due to an injury or to recover from surgery. "Doctors often suggest their patients get more exercise to help with the healing, and electric bikes can help them get back to being more active." As San Francisco improves its bike facilities with better and safer bike lanes -- and, soon we hope, dedicated bike boulevards -- we will all move beyond the notion that city cycling is mostly for the "fit and fearless."

Cliff and Len will bring their electric bikes to NOPA's BIKE THE BLOCK party. Stop by Grove street and check out the hybrids, cruisers, folding bikes, and the two-person scooter.

BIKE THE BLOCK, a car-free, bike-themed block party
Sunday, September 27, 2009
10am to 1pm
Grove Street, between Lyon and Baker
Special events for kids and adults
For more information, see BIKE THE BLOCK post here.

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