MARIN HAS LONG been in the fast lane when it comes to cycling — the sport of mountain biking was born on the slopes of Mount Tam — so it’s no surprise to find denizens of Fairfax, Larkspur and other Marin towns among the U. S. early adopters of electric bicycles. These aren’t mopeds, but bikes you can pedal, with small, silent
electric motors that can provide a boost when you’re climbing a hill.
Already popular in Europe, e-bikes have faced headwinds from U. S. cyclists who see e-assisted pedaling as cheat-
ing. But an environment-and-fitness-minded populace, who would bike to more places if it weren’t for the hilly terrain,
makes Marin a fitting front line for an e-bike revolution. More and more Marin residents are joining the e-bike ranks,
many choosing electric cargo bikes that help them tote groceries and kids car-free.
A recent sign of shifting gears came when San Francisco e-bike specialist The New Wheel chose Larkspur Landing,
right next to the Golden Gate ferry terminal, for its second store.
Who rides? A large contingent of e-bike adopters are parents. Film editor and designer Liz Canning, of Fairfax, was
an avid cyclist, but when she gave birth to twins, she thought her time on two wheels was over. She was liberated by
adding an electric motor to her ShuttleBug, a bright blue cargo bike with a wheelbarrow-like passenger compartment
in front. When her kids got bigger, she traded up to an e-assist Bullitt. Before she got her first cargo bike back in 2010,
she had never even seen one; now there are at least 20 dropping off at her kids’ school every day, many of them electric.
A pedal-assisted revolution is coming to Marin.
BY CARRIE KIRBY • PHOTOS BY JACK WOLFORD