This year has undoubtedly been challenging for all of us. The threat of a dangerous virus became a new reality.
Managing outdoor social events responsibly was more important than ever, although many Meetup groups opted to cancel all outdoor events for the year. Some popular biking groups ceased to exist, and others organized virtual events only.
Our first small group event after the first COVID-19 lockdown was on June 27, 2020. We used the three months of no events to develop a sustainable response to managing the Meetup group during the pandemic.
Our planning paid off as we have enjoyed organic growth of more than 150 members in 2020 with many memorable events. We have made new friends, got much-needed exercise, explored new areas, and had an excellent excuse to buy an e-bike or "un-mothball" one.
2020 in Numbers
Despite all challenges and the tremendous negative impact of COVID-19, we managed as a group to organize 15 events. We e-biked over 4,000 miles collectively
Miles collectively e-biked
The Number One
Number of flat tires during events
Number of e-bikes that needed to be towed for repair
Event cancellations due to weather
The most popular "healthy snack" during event breaks
We organized 15 e-biking trips in 2020
This year saw the introduction of longer e-biking trips that are an hour's drive from Washington DC. We biked from White's Ferry to Sugarloaf Mountain, Seneca Landing to White's Ferry, and the Three Covered Bridges Trail.
For 2021, we plan 12 "Out-of-Town" trips in Maryland, Virginia, and West-Virginia, including rides to Sugarloaf Mountain, Cunningham State Park, and Harpers Ferry. We usually drive no further than one hour to the biking trail.
Virtual E-bike Advocacy
E-bike Pilot Programs
Our e-bikes need to be classified by legislators and park managers as regular bicycles to access traditional biking trails. Nationally, an e-bike classification system is being adopted by states, but legislation and regulations are still confusing and complicated across the board.
Pilot programs are currently under way in Prince George's and Montgomery counties that test the viability of e-bike access to traditional biking trails. We follow these positive developments and keep information on the pilot programs on our website.
We sent comments about the e-bike pilot program in Prince George's county.
A virtual E-bike Lovers Meetup is planned for 2021 to update you on the latest developments.
Small Groups Limited to 20 Participants
Despite the many challenges, curfews, group size limitations, and social distancing requirements, E-bike Lovers managed 15 outdoor events.
The group size was never more than 20 participants per our group guidelines. The average was around 12 e-bikers per event.
RideWithGPS App & Website Integration
Following feedback from Meetup members, GPS files of each ride are now available on the website.
Files with turn-by-turn directions can be opened directly in the "RideWithGPS" app from the website. We hope to upload more of these FIT files in 2020.
New E-bike Lovers' Website
We brought more functionality, reviews, educational materials, blog posts, and trail descriptions to a new website: ebikelovers.com.
You can expect regular updates on e-biking regulations and E-bike Lovers' experience with e-bike models.
A Big Thank You
Laurie Mehalic organized an excellent trail ride in Prince George's County starting from Bladensburg Waterfront. We towed our first e-bike lover with the TowWhee e-bike towing rope to a bike shop on this trail. The bike lost a pedal that could only be attached to the bike in a bike shop. This may well be the first time in history that an e-bike towed another e-bike in Prince George's County or the Greater Washington DC area.
Wendell Seace has produced many videos with the Relive app. He also kept us on track with his stellar GPS skills and made it possible for members to download FIT files from the website with turn-by-turn GPS directions for our trails.
Mary Parisi organized a wonderful trip on the W&OD trail. As our regional representative for Reston, Virginia, she has also provided advice on our new website and researched the RideWithGPS app’s integration with the website.
Allan Starr guided us from Hains Point to the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens on the Anacostia River Trail.
David Winer and John Shaffer led us on the C&O Canal Towpath to the Great Falls and Glen Echo.
Liz Lichter organized an E-bike Lovers' ride across the Potomac River on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to Fort Foote. The ride was so popular that a repeat event was organized to accommodate more e-bike lovers. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the repeat event due to new COVID-19 measures in December 2020. Liz is a member of the editorial board of E-bike Lovers and edited this 2020 Annual Review.
We are also grateful to the following advisory board members for their invaluable contribution:
New Initiatives for 2021
Bike Chain Maintenance Group
Most e-bikes have regular chains. They can last up to 2,500 – 3,000 miles (about the United States' width) before the chain needs to be replaced.
We will organize "Chain Maintenance Love Fests" during biking trips. All you need to do is bring a cloth to wipe your chain while we clean, lubricate, and check the chain for wear and tear.
We are finally ready to launch events for e-bikers who like challenging terrain. Geared towards moderate mountain bikers, we will organize events to test our capabilities in rough, often single-tracked paths.
The first e-mountain (eMTB) biking events are scheduled for April 2021. A separate Meetup group is set up to accommodate mountain bikers.
New E-bike Lovers' Book and Film Group
We are launching the one and only E-bike Lovers' book and film group.
If we have sufficient members sign up, we may reach out to authors and directors to take part.
Our first title will be Outpedaling The Big C by DC resident and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth McGowan in January 2021.
Everyone has an exciting story to tell, and we are looking for yours.
Please let us know if you want to take part and share your story.
Whether it is your passion for the C&O Canal, your love for nature and e-biking, or your desire to be on the road with friends, your story is welcome.
Gregory discovered e-biking after 20 years of overseas work as project manager for the World Bank and USAID. He writes about e-mobility and e-biking in the DMV area, and loves the outdoors (white water kayaking, hiking and biking). He lives with his wife, Janet and Queenie the cat, in Washington DC. He recently e-biked 4,685+ miles across America and raised $180,000 for a charity.
Favorite e-bike: Riese & Muller Super Charger Class 3 touring e-bike.
Dr. Gregory F. Maassen
FOUNDER E-BIKE LOVERS