Rider Profile: Masayo Simon
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Current City: Portland, OR
Modes of Transportation: All of them!
Favorite Place to Lock Up: Skidmore Bluffs
Favorite Bike Lane: Shared lane on NE Tillamook Ave.
One of the things that drew me to Portland was the grand allure of city biking. I’d always wanted to be a bike commuter, but the places I’d lived before (Seattle, Madrid) were too intimidating for me to start as a new biker. Finding myself in a life transition, a friend called to convince me to move to Portland. “We live on one of the city’s biggest bike throughways! There’s more bike traffic than car traffic here!” I was sold. Portland was perfect for the car-lite lifestyle that I was hoping for.
My first true love was an 80’s Italian racing bike, and I rode it everywhere. It was great until mid-summer 2014 hit and I remembered what real hot weather felt like. I was working in a restaurant downtown, so biking was much more convenient than taking a car but I’d always arrive at work sweating… and let’s be honest, that’s not a quality that customers look for in a server. I was hooked on my bicycle, but keeping my habit meant lugging around clothes and shoes with me everywhere I went.
I was introduced to the GenZe e-bike when I started working for a nonprofit called Lloyd EcoDistrict. We were given a loaner bike to ride as an office fleet vehicle. I was at first apprehensive—I felt like getting on this new electric bike was a betrayal to my trusty steed. I quickly changed my mind.
All it took was one time using the full throttle mode to transform my doubt into a joy ride. This bike is FUN, not to mention really useful in an office setting. Soon, my coworkers and I were fighting for excuses to run errands—an issue that we had never encountered before the arrival of our electric bicycle. Throughout the hotter-than-average summer of 2015, this turned out to be the best way to get around Portland’s Lloyd District, a place where cars go to sit in traffic and fight for parking. I often found myself grinning atop my e-bike as I cruised the bike lanes and easily slid into bike parking. A Portland weather-wimp through and through, I relished the opportunity to bike around in a heatwave in my work clothes without feeling gross when I would arrive at meetings.
I think I can speak for everyone in the EcoDistrict office when I say that having an e-bike really changed things for the better in the workplace. Having an electric bicycle really reflected our values as a nonprofit focused on promoting sustainable business practices—it just made sense for us. Not only did we accomplish errands a lot quicker, but we welcomed a reason to take a break from working at a computer to go outside and enjoy the sunshine that we don’t get a lot of in this part of the country. I still love my road bike, but for practical city commuting, I’ll take the e-bike.