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It’s You, Only Faster: Remi

Remi Ray was an e-bike skeptic. More of a “serious cyclist,” Remi didn’t need motorized assistance to get up and over the hills in San Francisco. An e-bike would only take away the fun, right? But then he experienced the city on a Como. Now, even Remi is a Turbo convert.

Hooked on Bikes

I picked up cycling after an injury derailed my collegiate running career. I took some money I made at an internship, packed up my camping gear, and bike toured from New Haven, Connecticut to Portland, Maine—using only a road atlas for navigation. A few years later, I was riding across America.

Riding a bike has always given me physical fitness and even spiritual fitness—like a form of meditation. And it gives me a better sense of place than any other form of transport. Like in San Francisco, people talk all the time about the hills, but you don't really experience them unless you're walking or biking, you know?

Too Hardcore for Turbo?

Like many, I once viewed e-bikes with ambivalence or maybe even disdain. I thought they were for people who, for one reason or another, couldn’t make do with a regular bicycle. My thinking went, “I’m young, I’m in good shape, I don’t need to haul around a kid or two. What do I need an e-bike for?” I like to challenge my body. Wouldn’t adding a motor to the equation just take away the fun? I thought I was too hardcore for an e-bike.

Don’t Knock It Til’ You Rock It

But then I rode one. I couldn’t believe the power. I was climbing Powell St, one of San Francisco’s iconically steep hills, complete with cable cars. It’s the kind of hill that all cyclists avoid regardless of strength. But with the Como, Powell St was a breeze. With the Como adding over 400 watts, I was spinning pro cyclist power.

When it comes to riding bikes, fast is fun—whether it’s descending a twisting road, riding in a paceline, or being in top form. Riding an e-bike is another way to go fast and another way to have fun.

Full Circle

I’ve come full circle on e-bikes, from skeptic to advocate. I think e-bikes are an important part of the future of transportation, alongside electric vehicles and public transit. To convince more people to use bikes as transportation, bikes need to be more comfortable and easier to ride. And people need to feel safer while riding them. E-bikes like the Como make riding easier and more comfortable for more riders. And I hope that better bike infrastructure will make all of us feel safer. I think e-bikes will help convince people of all ages and levels of fitness that biking is for them too.

Designer by Necessity

When I started working as a bike courier, I was one of only three female couriers in the city. I was like, “I don’t want to wear what all these guys are wearing, I want to do my own thing!” So I started making my own clothes. I would only make things I could ride a bike in. I started wearing tennis skirts and spandex. And then I have these little tennis outfits on my bike, and everyone was like, “You're wearing a skirt on a bicycle?” And I’m like, “Yes I am! And you want one too because it’s the most comfortable thing to ride in!” Then all the girls started wearing skirts and dresses too. And that’s how my design career started.

All Day, Every Day

I'm on my bicycle every day, all the time. I ride for work all day, then all around Barcelona at night. Like to be really honest, I’ll go anywhere. Barcelona isn’t huge, but it’s not small either. A lot of people stay in their barrio or their neighborhood. But on a bicycle, it’s only 15 minutes to get anywhere! You don’t have to mess with a cab or wait for a bus or anything—you can just go. I’m always toting everything on the back of my bike: I’ve got the food, the umbrella, the chairs. I have all the things!

All About Comfort

Whatever I’m riding, I want to feel comfortable enough to do anything on it. The Como was my first time riding an e-bike, and it was so comfortable. The seat was comfortable, the hand position was comfortable. And it’s simple, too—even the charging and the removable battery. Like, it just allows me to be everywhere, pack everything, do my work, and do my design.

The “Woah” Moment

My first time with Turbo, it was like, “Woooahh!” It’s fast. It’s definitely a feeling of freedom. For me, Turbo is just a no-brainer. There are moments when I’m having a crappy day, and I have to go to a friend's house or something. I hop on my Como, and I’m like, “Oh wow, look at that, I feel better!” Like, I am revived! I’m ready to stay out all night. I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly because I like that feeling of being in the air. But Turbo is like flying … flying on wheels.