Saturday, September 09, 2006

Valley Ebiker

New article in the Encino Sun (, "Salon owner embraces 'green' living with electric bike"(download PDF) came out today (September 9, 2006). See below.

Encino is a suburb of the City of Los Angeles, located in the San Fernando Valley. It is one of those places in Los Angeles County that an ebike, electric bicycle, can really flourish in.

The San Fernando Valley, also known as the "valley", is car country, where getting around there by anything other than car is problematic. People living there may have to go 2-8 miles just to get to a store. Public transit is very limited, sometime running only once every hour or two, during the day, and shutting down completely after about 8pm and on weekends, in some cases.

An ebike makes it possible for many valley folk to make commuting by bicycle a viable, sweat-free, option, allowing people to go longer distances than they may be able to go by conventional bike alone.

And at the same time, by going ebike, they are able to incorporate some human muscle into the trip, if they choose, at at there physical capacity, if they choose. And they still can get to the places they want to go, and make at a 20 mile per hour pace, which can be pretty tough, even for the most fit cyclists, riding titanium, carbon fiber, feather weight bicycles.

And although ebikes are not feather weight bikes, they can weigh under 50 pounds, with it's electric motor and battery packs, etc. A full ebike retrofit can add as little as 30 pounds to the bicycle's weight. And that small amount of added weight is the equivalent to far more, pound for pound, than having Lance Armstrong pedaling with you.

Salon owner embraces "green" living with electric bike

Every morning, Sherry Katz turns the ignition key of her Tres Terra electric bike, cranks the throttle and rides from Chatsworth to Encino – pedaling optional.

The 55-year-old owner of Fantastic Sam'’s Encino salon hits speeds around 20 mph, making her 25-mile round trip commute not only petroleum free, but surprisingly speedy.

"It's like having Lance Armstrong as your co-pilot,"” said Katz, who bought the bike a month ago to reduce car travel and get a daily dose of exhaustion- free exercise. "“When I get to work, I'’ve usually pedaled all the way, but I'’m not dripping in sweat."”

Katz, a former environmental lawyer who relocated from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles in 1987, is no stranger to cycling as a form of commuting.

She used to ride her bike from West Los Angeles to the downtown area, but dangerous traffic patterns presented a challenge.

In the wake of the Los Angeles riots, Katz gave up cycling to the office to preserve her safety.

But earlier this year, Katz bought Fantastic Sam'’s Encino, changing her career path and her commuter route.

"I started to think a lot about riding my bike from Chatsworth to Encino,"” Katz recalled, despite having some initial concerns about the daily trip. "“I'’m at a different level of physical conditioning now," she said, noting that she takes blood pressure medication and recently suffered dehydration while riding a standard, non-electric bike.

Searching for a safe transportation alternative that would also be petroleum-free, she began researching electric bikes. It was a no-brainer.

"You are not trying to replace what a bike does, you'’re trying to replace car trips," said Katz, who chose an electric bike over a scooter because she wanted the option of exercise without the paperwork that accompanies motor vehicle ownership.

"“I can ride in the bike lanes,"” said Katz. "“There is a federal law that says an electric cycle that doesn't go faster than 20 mph is a bicycle, so it doesn'’t have to be registered, it doesn't need a license plate, it doesn'’t need insurance,"” she said.

Sherry spent $1,500 on the Tres Terra Europa, an electric bike designed as an out-of the box commuting solution.

"“It has the rack, the lights, everything you need. If you go to the bike shop and buy this, you don't need to buy anything else with it,"” said Katz, who shopped at Cycle World on Reseda Boulevard, one of many San Fernando Valley electric bicycle retailers.

Errands to pick up supplies for her shop still necessitate occasional car trips for Katz, but she tries to transport as many supplies as possible with each trip.

"“It'’s difficult for people because cars are convenient"– they'’re powerful, they'’re fun, we'’re addicted to them. I'’m as addicted to the use of petroleum as anybody,"” she admitted.

"Research shows that the majority of car trips people make are five miles or less. [An electric bike] is a totally feasible way to travel a few miles. The footprint that we make in terms of energy consumption is too big. Taking a 3,000 pound car to move a 150 pound person for a mile just doesn'’t make sense."

Katz stressed her belief that if she can commute to work every day on an electric bike, "“anyone can."” Those disinclined to cycling may want to take her advice on making a smaller commitment to energy conservation.

"“Even if you just reduce your one-mile car trips to the grocery store, you are doing something,"” said Katz.

Check out Katz'’s blog diary about her commute at

Related Posts:
- Hybrid Bike news report
- Electric Bikes China news report
- Ebikes Public Parking/Charging Stations
- Touring Beijing by Electric Bicycle
- Ebikes Vietnam video news report
- Electric Bikes Vancouver video news report
- CarLess Santa Monica video news report

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum
- Air-Power-Vehicles community forum


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