San Francisco, California — David Chiu, president of California’s Board of Supervisors, doesn’t have a car, but rather used to use a normal bike to make it to his meetings on time.
“I have anywhere from 8 to 15 events every day, sometimes more than that, and to get to different places is incredibly difficult. My district also has some of the most intense hills. So I’ve got Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, and to hit the hills with the suit that I’m usually in is extremely difficult.”
Bicycling pioneer Gary Fisher brought two of Trek’s new electric bikes to City Hall (they are not yet available in the U.S.), which he is loaning to Chiu and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
The 45-pound bikes run on a lithium-ion battery, and can climb San Francisco’s steepest hills at 14 miles an hour.
According to Gary Fisher: “It uses the pedalic system from Panasonic and they’ve had that for over 20 years. It’s a really great, intuitive system for an electric bike because you still have to ride it. You know, you don’t get any energy out of it unless you put energy into the pedals, which is sort of a beautiful thing. In addition, the motor on this has the capability of developing energy too so it turns into a generator when you want it to.”
Fisher points out that electric bikes are more reliable now, with a lighter weight set-up, that battery technology has improved and the motors have a lot more low-end torque.
Trek intends to introduce the e-bikes for sale sometime in August.