Epic 8, Electrified!

This past Saturday I had a great opportunity to represent the Gears Brand at the Spring Epic 8 MTB Relay Race, a fun-filled grassroots mountain bike race presented by the good folks at Chico Racing.

In years past I would have been one of the racers on the course, flying the colours for the LapDogs Cycling Club (emPowered By Gears) but his year, my roll was a little different.

With Gears Bike Shop being one of the sponsors of this event, I thought it might be pretty cool to introduce this crowd to the latest in pedal-assist mountain bike technology. So beyond the usual box of swag, I also took a nice little collection of 2018 bikes with me to… shall we say, “test the waters” with what, I was thinking would be a rather skeptical demographic.

My quiver of “demo” bikes included the following:

  • Bulls EVO e-Stream, FSR
  • Cube Acid 1, Hardtail
  • EasyMotion Atom, Hardtail
  • EasyMotion BigBud, Hardtail FAT Bike
  • Haibike SDuro HardFour 4.0 24″ Kids Bike

Epic_Bikes

I arrived at this event about an hour or so before the start of the race and despite a bit of rain on the way up, the sky was now bright blue with glorious sunshine. Chico had arranged a great spot right beside the timing tent and transition zone for the racers. I quickly parked the Gears Humberview Garage transit van, set up our tent and pulled the bikes out for display.

Epic_Home1

Knowing that our audience would be somewhat pre-occupied with the start of the race, I then made my way to the start-line to watch the launch of this sell-out event. With 850+ folks participating… and racers ranging from Provincial Champions to weekend warriors and rookies, the start was going to be very exciting.

Got to say, it was rather spectacular watching several hundred participants leave on mass in a huge cloud of dust, cheers and enthusiasm. And yes… for a few minutes the old racer in me wished I were joining in the “fun.”

Epic_Start

It was then time to head back over to the Gears set-up and see what I could do to introduce this crowd to the world of e-Mountain Bikes.

I felt is was going to take a bit of time before folks began to realize that the bikes I had on display were not the usual bikes seem at a mountain bike race. Yeah… there was something a bit different about what I had brought to the event. At first I just fielded a few questions from the curious… but no one was taking me up on the offer of test rides.

Undaunted, I persisted and eventually got two buddies to take a 5 minute spin on a couple of the bikes. Both of the guys were your typical MTB weekend-warrior and after first commenting on the whole “cheater-bike” thing, they took off for a spin.

Given their skepticism, I was ready for some negative feedback as they came back to the tent. But as they approached, I soon noticed that they were both grinning from ear to ear. Needless to say they had a blast on the bikes and were instant converts to the concept. They both realized that is was not about cheating… it was about fun. Nothing more, nothing less.

With the ice now broken, I spent the rest of the day talking to lots of folks about eBikes and getting as many of these people as possible to take test rides. And just like my first two riders of the day – everyone who took out a bike came back with massive smiles and a new understanding of the joys of pedal-assist mountains bikes. Even the most “hardened” racer, quickly changed his or her tune after spending just a few minutes on the bikes. People were beginning to “get-it” and realized that its not always about testing one’s meddle and that sometimes we just want to ride our mountain bikes for fun. They also realized how the technology would also allow many more people to enjoy the pleasures of riding in the woods without the need to “suffer” on every climb.

Oh… but for those who are interested in testing themselves… it will not be long before we see eMTBs getting their own races in Southern Ontario. We’ve already begun to see this happen in Europe and parts of the U.S.

I certainly feel that we planted more than a few seeds in the minds of many at the Spring Epic 8. Hey, even Chico himself was putting serious thought into the benefits of a pedal-assist MTB. He loved the idea of being able to use one of these bikes for trail maintenance, running sweep at a race, and yes, being able to do a 60k mountain bike ride, when one only has time for 40k.

Epic_Andrew

Thanks to everyone who expanded their horizons a bit this past weekend and “took a chance” riding an eMTB. And special thanks to Gus (seen in the above photo) who took out this awesome Cannondale Moterra on his final lap of the event and used it to help push several very tired and exhausted Solo Riders up some of the many unrelenting hills on the race course.

BTW: Despite not racing, I was thrilled to see many of my LDCC Teammates at the event and got to witness several of them take well-earn steps up on to the podium.

#RideTheFuture

 

 

Air Show, e-Bikes & Coincidences

It’s been quite awhile since an air show was in my head but on Saturday I found myself going out in the street drawn by the thunder of jet engines. Modern day fighter jets are really quite something to behold and it’s easy to be awestruck.

Mark on his e-bike

So yesterday, while listening to the radio and making myself a little brunch, I heard about the air show happening again. It only took a little time to realize I could simply hop on my e-bike and make it down to the lake in time to see the show.

That’s one of the very best benefits of having an e-bike, the ability to live a more spontaneous life. In the plan to go, there was no need to worry about how close to the action I could get with a car or where to park it, I simply had to get on my e-bike and start pedaling south until got to the lake.

Getting there was quick and efficient and then it was only a matter of positioning for a good view. Marilyn Bell Park seemed like a wide-open space facing the water so that’s where I headed. I threaded my way through the people scattered throughout the park and when I spied another e-bike, I wandered over to say hi.

Mark is a young successful businessman who really enjoys his e-bike. Although he was on his own, he said more and more of his friends and family are getting e-bikes, not only for the travel efficiency in the city but for the pure fun of it.

As we chatted, I learned he was in TV and film production, and told him I was in the retail bicycle business, specifically focusing on e-bikes at Gears. He did not purchase his bike from us but had dropped into our Port Credit store earlier in the summer for a small item.

Standing with our bikes, we marveled over the jaw-dropping maneuvers of the jets as the unbelievable level of sound drowned out any thought of conversation. Between acts, we carried on our conversation and it turns out a friend of his, a man he sold his first business to, was interested in buying a Specialized Levo e-mountain bike, and he wondered if he had been into our store.

Nick was his name but it was the last name that registered – he hadn’t been in, but a man with the same last name had. He test rode the Turbo Levo and was so delighted with it he ordered a 2018, upgraded model. We had spent more than an hour together and told me that he had convinced many of his siblings and other friends & family to get e-mountain bikes as well.

Life is funny isn’t it? Thoughts trigger events and events trigger other occurrences. In this case, the thought of seeing the air show up close spontaneously sent me down to the lake on my e-bike; another e-bike drew me over and into a conversation with a random stranger; the conversation revealed that a friend of his was thinking of buying an e-mountain bike; that friend turned out to be the brother of a man who ordered a similar e-mountain bike from me last week. Wow! The only thing left to do now is to close the circle by telling the brothers about the encounter by the lake.

If you want to live a little more spontaneously, believe me, an e-bike can help, and we can help get you on one. Drop by any of our stores to learn about e-bikes and take a test ride, it could give your life a boost in more ways than one.

Fish the Future

Given that a few of the Gears crew at our Oakville store are also avid fishermen (I think they actually like to be called anglers), we knew it wouldn’t take long for them to find a unique connection between fishing and cycling.

And here is what they found…

VailValley_Bike&Fish

Seems that the Vail Valley Anglers (a well respected fly-fishing tour company located in Colorado), have gone one step further than the typical fishing excursion with a collection of very cool eBike / Fishing Trips.

This is all a part of their ongoing efforts to encourage sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint. (and yeah, making fishing a whole lot more dynamic)

Led by experienced guides, participants will “pedal” along the banks of the Eagle River looking for the very best trout fishing spots. By using eBikes over cars, the anglers no longer need to find a spot along the riverbank with proper parking and can easily search out more remote and less-visited sections of the river. Which is a huge advantage during the height of the season when the area is most busy.

For more information, be sure to check out their Vail Valley Anglers website.

Fish the Future!

VailValley_Bike&Fish2

(Photos from the Vail Valley Anglers website)

PwC Epic Tour… on an eBike!

If you need any indication that eBikes are becoming more and more accepted as a great way to get around and enjoy a lovely day on the bike… look no further than the annual GTA Granfondo taking place this September 10th.

EpicTour_eBike

The folks at PwC Epic Tour have recognized that eBikes are a big part of the cycling future. As such, they’ve created a special category for eBikes in this year’s event. eBike options include a choice of distances (170k, 150k, 125k, 100k, 80k, 50k), with catered lunch stops, post ride BBQ, live music and free on-site parking and bike valet.

Sounds like a fun day out.