We went to Montpelier on Saturday, July 16th to join Dan Costin and the Montpelier Energy Committee for the Drive Less, Have More Fun Fest, bikes in tow. The irony was not lost on us that, in order to bring our growing fleet of electric assist bicycles the 100 miles to the Capitol, we had to rent a U Haul to, well, haul them. A good problem to have—too many bicycles to fit on the back of a car. Someday we will be able to load them on the train. But for now...
With the golden Capitol dome shining above us, we arranged our fleet alongside Onion River Sports, Zoombike, Localmotion, GoVermont, and GMTA. Across the promenade the pedal powered COOP Smoothie blender was soon put to use, and we were serenaded by the excited revving of hungry participants spinning toward icy pureed fruit heaven. Pedal power to run a blender! Genius.
What followed was four hours of what we have come to call the “E-lation” smile. Our bicycles are magnets for the curious, who need to know more about these sleek creatures. One can see from first glance that electric assist bicycles have so much to offer. They are familiar, yet….
Often it is after a child has made it clear they want a ride on the padded seat of the Yuba Spicy Curry or Boda Boda, that the shy parent is walked through the simple steps of 1-2-3-4 assist options, watch the turns, and get ready to be lifted off.
And then we wait.
For the smile.
Every single rider who got on a bike—cargo or our modified Trek, didn’t matter—returned with that grin, un mistakable, of a convert. The possibilities. The freedom. E-lation.
There is nothing like that first time you hop on a bike with electric assist: you have overcome your fear of the vaguely unfamiliar, or anxiety that you wont know what to do. You push down on the pedal and you are biking, sure, but suddenly—you launch. You are flying! Your body is moving, you might even break a sweat, but the vehicle under you is lifting you up a hill you thought you might not want to tackle. Opportunities present themselves of trips, commutes, a life without a car.
And you arrive back at the fleet, a convert.
You are E-lated.
P.S. - VBike will be promoting the bike mobility revolution all around Vermont August thru October. If you want to see this thing happen and energize a conversation about what our communities are for and how we use our bodies & senses in a world that needs us to show up in a different way, then it might be time for you to pitch into VBike's work. You can make a DONATION or contact us to volunteer.