This article first appeared in the February Ashland Locals Guide.
Lessons Learned in Five Years
by Jerry Solomon
Its hard to believe sometimes but, yes, Ashland Electric Bikes just completed our fifth season here in town! In that time we’ve sold almost two hundred electric bikes to customers primarily in southern Oregon and northern California. A few bikes have gone as far as Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Canada, so our collective reach has been fairly impressive, if I may say so! Much has been learned by myself, my associates, and the many adventurous customers who have been willing to explore this exciting new means of alternative transportation.
I’ve been pleased to see that most of my customers are looking for a way to take care of errands, chores, and other daily business without using the car. They’ve come looking for much more than just a fun, new recreational toy; they want bona fide around-town transportation. Accordingly, the need has been for bikes that are durable, powerful, and provide substantial battery range. Equally important has been the desire for solid support during and after the sale. Savvy e-bike owners would no more purchase their bicycles from an online retailer without local support than they would buy a car under those same conditions. So, I have chosen to offer products from companies that help me provide the stellar service that my clientele desire. My overall strategy for success has been pretty straightforward: provide quality products and impeccable service in a timely and consistent fashion.
Experience has taught me what to look for in a quality electric bike system and the companies that manufacture them. Fortunately, I’ve made good choices concerning which brands and products to offer. In all, the decision to source slightly higher-priced, quality products has benefitted everyone. The old adage concerning expenditures remains true when it comes to electric bikes as well – you get what you pay for. I’m extremely grateful, as are the overwhelming majority of my customers, for the success rate we’ve enjoyed together. Folks are choosing to ride their e-bikes instead of driving a car, again and again. As a result, the economic, environmental, and personal health-related benefits are stacking up, across the board.
So, what’s in store for the next five years? Are these e-bikes here to stay? Absolutely! Worldwide, more and more people are embracing transportation alternatives to the automobile whenever possible. Electric bike sales in the US are projected to double again this year. Japan expects to add another 400,000 e-bikes to their streets in 2014. India, over 500,000. Europe also another 500,000+ in 2014. China currently has an estimated 170 million e-bikes on the road and will add another 20 million this year! The tide is turning. Conscientious people are discovering that its possible to travel about easily and quickly without the expense and impact of a car. Combining the need for gentle exercise with errand running is a time-saving added bonus.
Here at Ashland Electric Bikes we’re doing our best to help imagine (image-into-being) streetscapes that have two and three-wheeled light electric vehicles and pedestrians as the majority users, with cars and trucks appropriated to their own special lane. Electric bikes are a vital piece of that emerging picture. Your investment into that vision is the key to its success. Together we can make a difference that benefits us all. Come see us and experience what it feels like to “Ride the Future!”