On 3 May ExtraEnergy invited the public to come and look what it does in Tanna and test-ride the latest technology e-bikes and pedelecs. The response surprised many at ExtraEnergy.
Sunday 3 May was a big day for the ExtraEnergy team in Tanna. For the second time in its 17-year existence, the organization had invited the public to come and look what it does, observe the official testing and take a few test rides themselves. The last time ExtraEnergy had invited the public to an Open House was in 2002, when ExtraEnergy celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
Shortly before 13h00, ExtraEnergy opened its doors, giving visitors the opportunity to walk through the museum with its roughly 600 electric bikes, follow Hannes Neupert, president and founder of ExtraEnergy, on a guided tour of the museum, test-ride as many electric bikes as the heart desires and relax in the sun with a Thüringer "Roser" sausage and coffee in hand.
The weather played along and the ExtraEnergy team expected a good turnout. But, no-one expected quite so many people to pitch up! Visitors arrived in a steady flow throughout the afternoon – mostly from the region around Tanna, but some from as far afield as Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Stuttgart region and Marburg.
Many visitors followed Hannes Neupert around the museum as he related the interesting recent history of the electric bike and ExtraEnergy’s role in it. After the official tour of the museum, Neupert answered questions from visitors for another hour.
In the course of the afternoon a total of 54 people would make countless test-rides with different bikes to find out how the latest technology works. The record was set by a young visitor who came back eight times for a new bike! Head of organization Uwe Schlemender, who recorded every trip, afterwards said a total of 324 test rides were undertaken in the short space of about four hours.
Before every trip, an ExtraEnergy team member had to check the battery level and explain the control panel to the rider, before sending him/her off. Sometimes a saddle had to be adjusted, or a wheel pumped. So, the team had its hands full to avoid long waiting periods.
In the meantime, the snack corner was pumping with the Thüringer Bratwurste vanishing as fast as they could be grilled.
On the side, the official testing continued, with test riders leaving and arriving from their trips at regular intervals. Apart from a flat tire, just one other breakdown slowed down the proceedings. At the end of the day Frieder Herb, head of testing, confirmed that all was still on schedule for the test to be completed by 7 May.
Different members of the ExtraEnergy team afterwards talked of an “intense interest in and increased demand for information” on electric bikes among the visitors.
Copy: Christoffel Volschenk
Photos: Patrick Knappick and Susanne Bruesch
5 May 2009