Source: Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)
EZBike Project, an electric bike (e-bike) demonstration program operated by SBCAG Traffic Solutions division kicks off in Santa Maria for the month of November. The program offers a wide range of free e-bike demonstrations to residents and commuters to reduce traffic and air pollution in Santa Barbara County. The EZBike Project will host demonstration events at two locations in the City of Santa Maria: Job Training Center, 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 live or work in Santa Barbara County and register at www.EZBike.org.
Electric bikes have become more accessible to the average consumer. Most major bike manufacturers offer a few different models, making it difficult to compare one model to another, especially when some are only available for purchase online.
Kent Epperson, Director of Traffic Solutions at SBCAG, explains: “Increased competition and economies of scale have driven down the price and increased the affordability, quality and selection of e-bikes. The EZBike project has a fleet of 13 e-bikes from local and online retailers ranging in price from under $1,000 to over $4,000. The selection offers participants the opportunity to compare features, prices and ride quality between different demo bikes. Either way, the investment one makes in an e-bike will save money compared to riding a car.
While bike shops offer e-bike trials of the models they carry, they are usually limited to short in-store trials. EZBike Multi-Day Demos offer individuals the opportunity to take an e-bike home and ride it in various conditions over a five-day period and EZBike Showcase and Demo Ride events provide a framework for individuals to compare and ride different models and brands in a single visit, all without pressure to buy a bike.
There are several benefits associated with electric bikes in transportation for the environment and personal health. Nancy Eckert, SBCAG’s EZBike project coordinator, notes that in addition to these benefits, there is the joy that e-bikes bring, “E-bikes are smile factories. I know that when people return the bikes after five days, they will come back with funny stories of the magical moments and childlike wonder they experienced while testing an e-bike.
E-bikes are recognized as more accessible to those with physical limitations that might prevent them from riding a standard bike. Kendra Wise, environmental health specialist overseeing Santa Barbara County, converted to an e-bike after participating in a demo, said, “Until I tested an e-bike, I had no idea it was changing. gives it. After the demo day, I ended up buying an e-bike and using it to get around whenever I could. If a not-so-fit mom with a minivan can ride an e-bike, anyone can.
Those interested in reserving an e-bike for a multi-day demonstration can register at www.EZBike.org. Booking options for November in Santa Maria are available for two periods: November 2-7 and November 11-15. There is no charge for the demonstration, but a refundable credit card security deposit is required. For those who prefer to demonstrate multiple bikes in one frame, there are three EZBike Showcase and Demo Ride events on November 2, 7, and 15.
Epperson notes that “Santa Maria residents are encouraged to participate this month, as 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 help provide a wider range of options for people to be tested. Courtesy of EZBike sponsors, EZBike project participants 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 ABUS high-security lock with the purchase of an e-bike.
ABOUT TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS
Traffic Solutions is a division of the Santa Barbara County Government Association (SBCAG) and serves as a countywide ridesharing organization with a mission to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by encouraging people to drive less and use sustainable transport.