Bike Gallery recently lent me one of their newest products to test ride: an Ultra Motor A2B electric bicycle. The A2B (pictured, right) feels and rides like an electric scooter that you can pedal. With a twist of the wrist its electric motor will zip you around town at speeds up to 20 mph (without pedaling).
The A2B, and other electric bikes like it, are legal for riding in the bike lanes and bike paths in Oregon. They are good for people with longer commutes (8+ miles), commutes with big hills (pay attention, west siders!), or for people who want a scooter that they can also pedal and use on the bike lanes and trails.
There are a variety of electric bikes on the market right now. Some, like the A2B, are more on the electric scooter end of the spectrum, others like the Giant Twist are more like traditional bicycles with an electric motor that assists your pedaling. On bikes like the Twist the rider does more of the work with a little help from the motor. On bikes like the A2B the bike does more of the work - pedaling is an option.
I must say, it was a ton of fun to ride the A2B last week. It came at a great time for me, as well. My normal commute is about 5.5 miles each way, but I was getting over the flu and had little energy to pedal. A2B to the rescue! I used the electric bike for my commute last week without exerting all that energy. Plus, I was still able to be outside (which is great when you are getting over being sick) and was afforded the freedom to come and go on my own schedule.
|Transportation Options' Staff give the A2B a try|
The ride is smooth, too. Full front and rear suspension absorbed all the bumps and wide tires give the bike good stability - unlike a traditional bicycle, however, the tires were less than ideal for tight turning. A comfortable saddle and upright riding position kept my chest open and made breathing easier. And the bike's design makes it simple to get on and off by allowing your feet to easily reach the ground (no tippy toes!).
All in all I enjoyed the A2B. For someone looking for an electric scooter with bike lane and trail accessibility, go talk to the Bike Gallery staff to see if it's right for you.
Here are a few other articles about electric bikes: