You are here

Eclipse eclipses Electric Bike Expo

Published August 16, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — The Electric Bike Expo has canceled this weekend's consumer test fest in Portland because Monday's total solar eclipse, which makes landfall south of the city, has wreaked havoc on its logistics.

The Expo was scheduled to run this Friday through Sunday at the Portland Meadows, a horse racing track and event venue.

Ray Verhelst, director of the Electric Bike Association, said organizers instead expect to schedule a "makeup" Expo in Southern California for Dec. 8-10, either in Orange or Ventura County. The expo expects to return to Portland in 2018, probably in August, he said.

The eclipse is no surprise, but Verhelst said no one realized just how crowded and chaotic it is shaping up to be, and how it is straining local resources.

"The entire state of Oregon, Washington, northern California, and I think even Idaho are out of porta potties right now," Verhelst said. The event's national fencing supplier said it could take up to a week to remove the fencing from the venue.

"You can't even hire an off-duty cop to come over and provide security because they're all going to be on overtime," he said.

Oregon is Ground Zero for the eclipse. The path of totality makes U.S. landfall in Lincoln City, Oregon, south of Portland, shortly after 10 a.m. Monday and then begins moving across the state.

Oregon's transportation department expects Monday to be the busiest day in the history of Interstate 5, television station KATU reported. The department says some 1 million visitors are expected to come to Oregon to see the eclipse.

"Nobody had any knowledge about how big this was going to get," Verhelst said. "We'll take the lemons and turn them into lemonade for the first weekend in December."

The association remains on schedule with upcoming expos in Miami Beach, Florida, Oct. 13-15, and in Philadelphia, Nov. 4-5.

The Electric Bike Expos give consumers a opportunity to demo e-bikes from dozens of brands on a designated test track. Admission is free, and exhibitors get access to a wealth of demographic information about attendees. Most of the leading e-bike brands participate in the Expos, including Bosch, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Haibike, Giant and others.

Verhelst said a majority of consumers who have attended this year's Expos had no knowledge of e-bikes before they came and, in fact, are invisible to local bike shops.

"It's a completely different market," he said.

Join the Conversation