A popular North Vancouver independent bike shop has gone electric, adding a second location selling just e-bikes.
Obsession: Bikes has been giving people the gears at their Lower Lonsdale location since 2006. Early in 2021 they soft-launched a second location, a quick ride away from the first in the Brewery District on Esplanade, selling e-bikes and related products.
The public's response shows people are charged up about electric rides, said owner James Wilson. E-bikes are a great equalizer, particularly here on the North Shore, a community literally built on a mountainside where hill-climbing can be a major obstacle for many people who would otherwise love to travel by bike, said Wilson.
“The cycling world is renowned for being elitist – catering to a group of scrawny Lycra clad or baggy short wearing hard cores,” Wilson told the North Shore News. “The e-bike breaks down this barrier and brings cycling to all.”
The new location adds another element to the growing e-bike movement on the North Shore. Obsession is the first bike shop to branch out and add an e-bike only location, although there are already North Shore locations that specialize in electrics such as Ohm Electric Bikes, Cit-E Cycles North Shore, and Reckless Shipyards.
The North Vancouver city and district are also working on a joint plan, still in the early development phase, that would bring an e-bike sharing program to all of North Van.
The Obsession E-Bikes location features an open floor plan that allows for a more relaxed atmosphere than the bustling original Obsession location on Lonsdale, said Wilson.
“I wanted to create an experience with lots of open space, less hustle and bustle and more time for a coffee and a conversation about this new and exciting type of bicycle,” he said. “Bikes are confusing enough let alone the navigation required to understand watt-hours, Newton meters, horsepower, range etc. I really want to slow down and explain how this all works.”
As the technology improves and cycling infrastructure grows, e-bikes should be here to stay as an exercise- and eco-friendly form of transportation, said Wilson, adding there are a lot of practical reasons for going electric.
“Bicycle commuters is an obvious one,” he said, “A bit less obvious are folks that used to ride a lot but for various health reasons, or simply because of the mountain we all live on, are turning to e-bikes to get outside. Young families are opting to e-bikes as an alternative to a second car. E-bikes are now in the hybrid/commuter bike form, mountain bike and even road bike.”
The new e-bike-only Obsession is at 382 Esplanade East in North Vancouver.