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E-bike Challenge Comes to Minneapolis Convention Center

Published January 22, 2019

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MINNEAPOLIS — E-bike Challenge Minneapolis is a place for consumers to test and compare e-bikes. The first event of its kind in the United States, the E-bike Challenge will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center on March 23–24, 2019.

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Also called "pedal-assist" bikes, an e-bike has a battery that allows a bicyclist to ride farther—from 50–55 miles—and with greater ease. Some bicycles carry two batteries allowing a reach of up to 70 miles. The bicycle doesn't do all the work—the rider must pedal for the "assist" to engage, enabling an easier ride.

Attendees of E-bike Challenge will learn about—and be able to test ride—the many types of e-bikes and accessories from a variety of vendors with at least 30 bicycle brands. From e-bikes for commuting and recreation, to e-cargo bikes, e-family bikes, e-trikes—even e-fat-tire bikes for winter or off-road riding, as well as e-bike accessories.

Hicle, Inc., is organizing the E-bike Challenge event. "Hicle" comes from Hi(ke and cy)cle and is dedicated to helping people "hike and cycle in the most comfortable, safe, and clean way possible." In Europe, Hicle organized the biggest consumer fair in the world for bicycles and cycling tourism.

Theo Jorna, the owner of Hicle, has been active in bicycling since the early seventies—crossing several continents and many countries by bicycle to promote improvements of bicycling conditions. He started the Dutch equivalent of the Adventure Cyclist, as well as a magazine for traveling cyclists. Jorna organized his first Bicycling Tourism fair in 1995 and has also organized expos for Cycling with Children. A recent E-bike Challenge in the Netherlands—held in combination with Cycling Tourism and Cycling Sports—covered more than one million square feet and attracted more than 40,000 guests.

"We chose to host the first E-bike Challenge in the United States in Minneapolis because the interest and the bicycling infrastructure is already in place here," said Jorna. "There is great potential—increasing the use of e-bicycles as tools of transportation and mobility will greatly impact our daily lives as a community and society."

Minneapolis has 129 miles of on-street bikeways, with 97 miles of off-street bikeways. Local interest in cycling for recreation, as well as commuting, continues to rise. The E-bike Challenge will provide hands-on experience for attendees to try out and experience the many types of e-bikes and accessories.

"What if people could cycle farther or not have to put their bicycles away in the winter?" said Jorna. "A person in his or her seventies could pedal an e-bike as if they were forty again. Two or three generations could enjoy bicycling together."

Attendees of the E-bike Challenge can try out e-bikes on an indoor track set up around the venue. The event also features breakout sessions, a kids' bike test track, an e-bike theater space, fun family activities, and more.

Breakout sessions at the event include, "Easy commuting by e-bike" and "The secret of ice fishing with a fat tire e-bike." A keynote presentation will feature, "How to build the future bicycling friendly city."

Tickets for the E-bike Challenge are six dollars at the door, four dollars when purchased online in advance, and children up to 12 years are free.

For more information about the E-bike Challenge, including vendor information, visit www.ebikechallenge.com. For more information about the organizer, visit www.hicle.com.

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