Thursday, November 19, 2009
Ross Evans of Xtracycle talks bicycles
Conversation with Ross Evans – Founder Xtracycle www.xtracycle.com
I had an inspiring conversation with Ross on October 27th. Turns out that while he was at Stanford studying engineering and product design, he rode his bicycle on a lot of the same roads that I use up here on the ridge above Stanford.
Ross recently stepped away from his role as CEO of Xtracycle. He’s exploring his next move and he’s fascinated by the electric bicycle market for a number of reasons. Figuring out what kind of electric bicycle will encourage people out of their cars, use the least amount of resources and sell for an attractive price are some of the challenges that Ross is looking at. He’s not interested in an overpowered electric vehicle where the only exercise the rider gets is from engaging the throttle.
Ross believes that the barrier to riding a bicycle is largely perceptual. If I think that getting on a bike is going to cause me more pain than pleasure, I’ll probably stay in my car. On the other hand if I see biking as a fun, pleasurable way to get around, I’ll be more likely to leave the car keys at home. Adding an electric motor to a bicycle can tip the pain vs. pleasure meter in the direction of pleasure. It sure did for me! Just watch a first time electric bicycle rider return from a test ride. It’s usually ear to ear grins!
Another way that the barrier to riding bikes can be overcome has nothing to do with electric motors but a lot to do with upping the pleasure principle. Ross talked about the benefits of sound systems on bicycles. We both agree that ear buds are extremely dangerous for a bicyclist but that a good loud sound system not only keeps the rider groovin’ but it also attracts the attention of pedestrians and if the music is right they may start dancing in the street. I’m going to look seriously at building a good sound system for The Green Riders tour.
I invited Ross to join us on an upcoming field trip to visit an inventor friend who has a brilliant electric motor design that is currently going into a line of scooters but could be reduced in size to work for electric bicycles. Stay tuned!!