Photos by Allan Crawford.
The Electric Bike Expo 2017 US tour begins in the parking lot of the Convention Center in Downtown Long Beach on February 24, where 140 different pedal-assisted or “eBike” models will be available for the public to test ride on a 25,000-square-foot loop track.
The Electric Bike Association hosts the travelling series of Electric Bike Expos across the country. Its mission is to serve and build a knowledge base among the retail community on how to reach the buying public and share best business practices to remain competitive and profitable.
The 2017 tour will start in Long Beach and continue to San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Miami and Philadelphia.
Charlie Gandy, former mobility coordinator for the City of Long Beach and Vice Chair of the California Bicycle Coalition rides next to Claudia Wasko, Leader of Bosch eBike Systems in North America.
EBike Expo Director Ray Verhelst was inspired to launch the upcoming tour in Long Beach after meeting Charlie Gandy, vice chair of the California Bicycle Coalition Board, and Melissa Balmer, host of Pedal Love, an advocacy organization that works to elevate the voice and impact of active, mindful mobility through storytelling tools, trainings and media outreach.
“After meeting both Charlie and Melissa during our first expo in San Diego, February of 2016, and hearing about Long Beach’s bike-friendliness and dynamic bike culture, I knew, not only would it be a great place to host an expo, but that I needed to recruit these two storytellers to our team,” Verhelst said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more delighted with the location and the assistance we’re getting locally to get the word out about the Expo.”
Long Beach City Council has been making recent progress in bikeway improvements. Separated bikeways and bollards are being installed throughout the city to safely allow cyclists to ride without being interrupted by traffic.
Dave Hanson, owner of Long Beach retailer Jax Bicycles, will be attending the event.
“We began carrying eBikes in 2002 and look forward to the Expo in Long Beach, not only to connect with new consumers, but to also learn more about new brands to the US market,” Hanson said in a statement. “No matter what kind of riding you want to do, there’s an eBike just right for you––whether you’re a casual bicyclist or have a daily commute. No longer are hills, wide intersections or distances a challenge.”
EBikes, which originated in the 1890s, were originally designed to assist people riding in different types of terrain or to carry large loads, according to Electric Bike Association. By 2010, 120 million electric bicycles were being used in China and 700,000 were sold in Europe.
In addition to terrain, large load and transportation assistance, Ebikes also help those riding for exercising purposes. In June 2016, the European Journal of Applied Physiology published a recent study from the University of Colorado Boulder, which proved that eBikes are an effective form of active transportation that can improve some cardiometabolic risk factors within only four weeks.
The Long Beach Convention Center parking lot is located at 368 East Shoreline Drive.