A new invention is about to transform how Portlanders get around their city.
It's called a bicycle.
We're serious. Technology is reinventing two wheels. The innovation? A tiny electric motor that engages when you pedal. No more laboring up hills—the electric bicycle, or e-bike, does the work.
That small change could power a revolution. E-bikes open cycling to excluded riders: harried moms, people of size, people with disabilities.
In the past three years, sales of e-bikes in the U.S. have nearly tripled—they made up $143 million of the bike industry's $6 billion in sales last year, even as regular bicycle sales declined. That was enough for Fortune to declare the e-bike "marks a new era for the bike industry."
And for Portland, a city always in search of a means to kill the combustible engine, that's an opportunity.
"I recommend everyone who can afford one should get one," says William Henderson, CEO of Ride Report, which compiles data on e-bikes, scooters and other "micro-mobility" devices. "Sell your car, buy an e-bike. It will change your life."
But first, read the following.
We looked at the ways e-biking could help Portland reduce car emissions and compiled a guide to the top rides. We talked to three moms whose e-bikes replaced minivans—one of them is our own reporter. And we ranked which e-devices are useful and which are just cool.
Cars are so over. E-bikes are here. Hop on.
We Took Four of the Top-Selling E-Bikes in Portland Out For a Test Ride. Here Are Our Reviews.
Here's a Primer to Help You Navigate the E-Bike Market
E-Bikes Offer a Two-Wheeled Solution For Portland Moms
I Thought an E-Bike Was an Impulse Buy. But It Changed How I Thought About Bike Commuting.
Not All E-Vehicles Are Created Equal. Here's a Guide to the Current Crop, Mapped By Coolness and Practicality.