Springtime in southern California means the terminus of cold, rainy weather (although most years we experience neither) appearance of the red-breasted robin (although I've never seen one here) and the most relevant harbinger, Sea Otter and the annual pilgrimage to Monterey, CA. Any trip from socal to the more northerly environs mandates a stop at Montana de Oro State Park where the riding ranges from challenging technical single-track that rewards the rider with views of a full spectrum of vividly distinctive wildflowers to other adventures that provide spectacular scenery surrounding ocean vistas with waves crashing below. The ravenous appetite that is generated must be satiated at the Farmer's Market in nearby San Luis Obisbo where the downtown area is closed for the evening.
My anticipation of this event has been building to a crescendo since the announcement of an electric mountain bike race at the venue. This is the icing on a cake that overflows with new e-products and the opportunity to learn more about the rapidly evolving technology. My time will be filled with taking test rides of new bikes and speaking with representatives to ascertain the differences between their new products. Some questions and topics that I'm looking to explore are:
1) What changes are the major manufacturers planning in order to attract a dormant US public to consider e-commuting and what price range are they considering. Similarly, what are they proposing for their e-mountain bikes (eMTB) to neutralize the resistance of the public to adopt them in light of antagonism from the pedal only mountain biking community and land managers that aren't embracing these new "trespassers"?
2) How serious are Ohm, M1Sportechnik, Focus and Reisse-Muller about penetrating the US market with their technologically-sound, but very expensive bikes?
3) Will Bosch release the next generation of their mid-drive system?
4) Will other component manufacturers join SRAM in producing more robust parts so they can withstand the extra power generated by e-bikes?
5) Does either Abus or Kryptonite have anything new up their sleeve to thwart thieves? Their locks aren't immune to hand-held angle grinders, and the best of them can be defeated in less than two minutes.
6) Will there be any new e-bike touring companies, either road or MTB?
7) What is the do-it-yourself (DIY) community doing to ensure they maintain their advantage, including, but not limited to, pricing and weight considerations over OEM entries?
Of course, there will be other bike equipment and apparel for examination and there's an excellent opportunity to augment my collection of logo-adorned tee shirt and sock collection to ensure that I'll be the best dressed socal denizen for the next year. Then the piece de resistance, the Electric Mountain Bike Race which should be a supreme test of stamina and strategy as the competitors attempt to nurse their batteries in order to provide maximum assistance during the event.
The festival will start spring off with a boost that should carry well into summer.