Source: Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)
EZBike Project, an electric bicycle (e-bike) demo program operated by SBCAG Traffic Solutions division gets underway in Santa Maria for the month of November. The program offers a wide range of free e-bike demos to residents and commuters as a measure to reduce traffic and air pollution in Santa Barbara County. The EZBike Project will host demo events at two locations in the City of Santa Maria: Center for Employment Training, located at 509 W. Morrison Ave. and Bici Centro Santa Maria, located at 310 E. Oak St. Those interested in reserving an e-bike must either live or work in Santa Barbara County and register at www.EZBike.org.
E-bikes have become more accessible to the average consumer. Most of the leading bike manufacturers offer a few different models making it challenging to compare one model from another, especially when some are only available for purchase online.
Kent Epperson, Director of Traffic Solutions at SBCAG explains, “greater competition and economies of scale have brought down the price and increased the accessibility, quality and selection of e-bikes. The EZBike Project has a fleet of 13 e-bikes from local and online retailers that range in price from less than $1,000 to more than $4,000. The selection offers participants the opportunity to compare features, pricing, and ride quality between the different demo bikes. Either way, the investment one makes in an e-bike will save money compared to driving a car.”
While bicycle shops offer e-bike test rides of the models they carry, they are generally limited to short test rides around the shop. EZBike multi-day demos offer the opportunity for individuals to take an e-bike home and ride it in a variety of conditions over a five-day period and EZBike Showcase and Demo Ride events provide a setting for individuals to compare and ride different models and brands in one visit, all without pressure to purchase a bicycle.
There are several benefits associated with e-bikes in transportation for the environment and personal health. Nancy Eckert, SBCAG’s EZBike Project coordinator, notes that in addition to those benefits is the joy that e-bikes bring, “e-bikes are smile factories. I know that when people return the bikes after five days, they’ll come back with fun stories of the magic moments and childlike wonder that they experienced while test riding an e-bike.”
E-bikes are recognized as more accessible to those who have physical limitations which might prevent them from riding a standard bike. Kendra Wise, Santa Barbara County supervising environmental health specialist, an e-bike convert after participating in a demo stated, “until I test rode an e-bike I had no idea that it was such a game-changer. After the demo day I ended up buying an electric bike and use it to commute whenever I can. If a not-so-in-shape mom with a minivan can ride an e-bike, anyone can.”
Those interested in reserving an e-bike for a multi-day demo can register at www.EZBike.org. Reservation options for November in Santa Maria are available for two periods: November 2 to 7, and November 11 to 15. There is no charge for the demo, however a returnable credit card damage deposit is required. For those who would prefer to demo multiple bikes in one setting, there are three EZBike Showcase and Demo Ride events, November 2, 7, and 15.
Epperson notes that “Santa Maria residents are encouraged to participate this month, since the EZBike project will rotate its programming to other parts of Santa Barbara County after November.”
The EZBike Project is proud to partner with Trek Bicycles, Bicycle Bob’s, Electric Bikes of Santa Barbara, and Pedego Los Olivos. These sponsors make it possible to offer a wider range of options for people to test ride. Courtesy of the EZBike sponsors, participants of the EZBike Project can receive a discount for an e-bike or accessories; Bicycle Bob’s is offering a 10% discount (up to $250) on a Trek e-bike and Electric Bikes of Santa Barbara is offering a free high-security ABUS lock with the purchase of an e-bike.
ABOUT TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS
Traffic Solutions is a division of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) and serves as the countywide rideshare organization with a mission to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by encouraging people to drive less and use sustainable transportation.