Cycling event attendees focus on cyclist performance in respect to bicycle design. Thanks to this straightforward concept, newcomers can dive right into a conversation with seasoned fans. These discussions often involve bike mechanics, aerodynamic features, and other related topics that improve, or hinder, the performance of a cyclist.
In turn, well-informed fans often utilize the valuable information to shop online for bicycles. Bike manufacturers capitalize on this effect by boosting brand awareness at annual cycling events. Despite the fact this tried and true method has worked for decades, the marketing scheme may no longer be viable for non-ebike businesses next year. Find out why below.
Racing on an Electric Bicycle
The weekly racing season in Oregon is scheduled to start as early as April 2021. However, instead of traditional bikes, cyclists will be riding electric bicycles along the tracks. Given the history of cycling events, this decision seems rather counterintuitive.
Nevertheless, according to Chuck Kenlan, Executive Director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, the concept of electric bike racing is not new. “Promoters have asked us about this in the past”. Kenlan went on to say the sudden change is largely due to the fact that “up until this year the insurance policy we had viewed e-bikes as motor vehicles”.
That said, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, or OBRA, is not the only group warming up to the ebike racing concept. On February 7th, 2020, USA Cycling updated the national racing policies to include electric bike races, citing a massive increase in ebike popularity as the motivating factor behind the update.
That said, cyclists can only use Class 1 e bikes during the purposed events. In case you are not familiar with the term “Class 1”, the distinct classification includes electric bikes with the following specifications.
- Motor using 750W or less
- Power generation from device must cut off at 20 mph
- Single battery
- Energy goes to pedals only
- Chain, pedals, crank, rear wheel drive train, and all of the gears must be freely operable
Cyclists that find those specifications a bit too specific, fret not. The majority of e mountain bike models are manufactured with the aforementioned specifications.
Ebike Race Locations
In a statement from Clint Culpepper, race promoter, “It was inevitable e-bikes would move from recreation and transportation into competition.” Culpepper went on to say “There are many folks that would never try racing, but if e-bikes are offered, they might consider it”. If true, adding ebikes to the cycling event line up would boost sales for promoters, event managers, and electric bicycle manufacturers.
As promising as that sounds, tracks that are designed for bicycle races are not developed to handle ebikes. Due to this, Kenlan and other bicycle racing executives need update previous land negotiations before proceeding. If everything goes as planned, cycling fans can anticipate a plethora of Gran Fondos, also known as long-distance road cycling, and gravel track races.
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