It seems to me that to stay in this industry for any length of time, we need to be connected to more than just the business of bicycles and ebikes. Perhaps maintaining that connection happens through seeing the joy when a kid gets her first bicycle from your shop or seeing that well-known eBIKE smile that crosses most people’s faces the second they get on an ebike and feel the power kick in.
For our partner, Bosch, one way that’s happening is through their pursuit to educate riders on the safety and use of eMTBs. Last fall some members of the Bosch team met with two Socal Regional park rangers for a demonstration ride. One of these rangers, Joel (not his real name), was an avid mountain biker and was eager to ride some eMTBs. His partner, Lance (not his real name), not so much. Judging from his stature, this ranger was a hiker and didn’t appreciate, what he considered to be higher impact users, like bikes and equestrians, on his trails. After some convincing from Joel, he agreed to ride.
The small party had been riding for 5-10 minutes when they arrived at the first overlook. Lance kept riding. The others followed. A short while later they came to a 2nd overlook. Lance remarked, “it’s been a long time since I’ve been up here.”
Still Lance rode on and the others followed until the group came to the third and final scenic overlook, difficult for even hikers to get to, much less MTB riders. That’s when Joel turned to Lance and asked, “how long has it been since you’ve been up here?” With some wonder and awe, Lance said simply “years.”
Lance realized the accessibility, and thus the appreciation for the parks that could be gained through eMTBs, at least enough to get behind a follow up ride to expose more rangers to these life changing eBIKES. BULLS was able to contribute a number of EMTBs so that every ranger got to ride.
In the end, the rangers did not give full support to the effort to educate riders due to old local ordinances that run contrary to state law, but the conversation is open. These rangers have a tough job preserving the pristine nature of the parks, while increasing accessibility equitably. And we’re proud to partner with Bosch as they patiently persist in this conversation, educating and informing until equal access is achieved.