Thursday, June 17, 2010
Racing eBikes: At Least My Jacket was Yellow
A few weeks ago the professional bike racing world was aghast at the accusation that an elite racer used an electric motor to pull ahead and later win a stage of the Giro de Italia. In this context, electrifying your bike is clearly cheating - but what an interesting bit of technology the Gruber Assist is!
That weekend also saw the Oregon Human Powered Vehicle Association sponsored ePower Challenge. Held at Portland International Raceway, it's a great opportunity to check out other people's ebikes, talk about the latest in ebike technology, and meet new riders. Auto racing is a test bed of cutting edge automobile technology; from what I saw, the same holds true for ebikes.
I entered the race in the unmetered, upright unfaired category. The velomobile racers are an intense lot - I was lapped several times during my 7 lap race. Other than the occasional passing, I was largely riding by myself for the majority of the race. PIR's a great course; even if you're not competitive (and I wasn't), it's fun to ride. Years ago, my grandfather got to drive his Ford LTD around Indianapolis Motor Speedway; it's nice to carry on a family tradition of sorts. It would be great to see a bigger "upright unfaired" class next year, even if we're not very competitive.