Test drive: eBiking across East Multnomah County
The idea behind Gresham's New World eBikes was first sparked three years ago during a ski trip to British Columbia.
James and Kathleen Kammeyer were struggling on the slopes at Whistler Ski Resort because of the sloppy conditions and tough terrain. Though they persevered and made the most of it, Kathleen ended up falling four times and injuring her knee. That injury raised concerns about how she would handle an upcoming 100-mile bicycle ride the couple were going to take on their tandem.
"James looked all over to find a motor for the tandem because he was worried I wouldn't be able to help pedal with the injury," Kathleen said.
There were no options in country, so James had to turn to Europe for an expensive solution. He found an exciting option — the Gepida Thoris electric tandem — that worked perfectly for the couple. But after massive shipping costs and other hidden fees, he realized how difficult it would be for an average customer to buy one. That is when they had an electric idea.
"We thought this bike was so great, why isn't it available in the U.S." James said.
So they opened New World eBikes in Gresham during the summer of 2016, operating out of their son Aaron's auto shop at 710 N.E. Cleveland Ave. The buisness is the only U.S. distributor of Gepida eBikes, offering mountain, city, trekking, cargo and tandem bikes. And while the Kammeyers have been successful in distributing across the country, they want more East Multnomah County residents to fall in love with eBikes.
Not only are eBikes fun to ride, but they also provide support during challenging conditions. Cyclists are better able to deal with hills, headwinds and heavy loads with the assistance of the motor. They have a built-in versatility — good for the environment by getting commuters out of cars, and are great for anyone with an injury, like Kathleen, who need a little support. Seniors or slower cyclists enjoy using them to keep up with speedy companions.
The eBikes at New World have all the amenities of a standard bicycle — lights, gears, state-of-the-art brakes — but with the added bonus of the electric motor. The bikes have a monitor that shows the battery power remaining, and track what level is in use. You can choose how much the engine supports your ride, ranging from nothing to 300% of your pedaling power. A popular choice is Eco-Mode, which adds 50% of what you are putting in.
"It's like having half of another rider helping you out," James said.
The eBike motors can get up to about 25 miles per hour, and go about 60 to 65 miles on a single charge, with the batteries able to be recharged in any standard outlet. They come in various colors and are able to handle any sort of weather.
Anyone is welcome to call ahead and set up an appointment to test ride one of the bikes.
"When people first get on an eBike for a test ride, they always come back with a huge smile on their face," James said.
He is most appreciative of his tandem eBike when he hits the hill right before his house. Before, James and Kathleen had to huff and puff their way up the steep incline, going about 3 miles an hour. But with the eBike, the couple is able to make it up at a brisk clip of 11 miles an hour, and carry on a conversation while they are at it.
"We are excited about eBikes, and would love to have more people discover them," Kathleen said.
New World eBikes
710 N.E. Cleveland Ave. #150
Mention this Outlook article to receive $500 off your eBike purchase
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)