Riding With the Electric Cowboys (and Fabio!)

On a typically gorgeous day in Los Angeles, I awoke at “racin’ time” (6am) to meet Harlan Flagg and some of his customers at Hollywood Electrics. Customer Brendon was generous enough to lend me his old Zero S, as he’d just replaced it with a slick black 2011 model, and I’m one of those speed demons who’s waiting for a 100mph/100mi range e-bike before making the purchase. We had a blast tearing through Beverly Hills then past the Tesla dealership and the incoming Fisker dealership en route to Plug In America’s parade in Santa Monica.

We arrived with plenty of time to meet and greet our fellow participants. It was amazing to see over 200 electric vehicles lined up three deep for the parade. The staging area stretched almost half a mile and was completely packed. Fabio arrived to join the rest of the Electric Cowboys on their Zero motorcycles. It was hard not to lanesplit, but it was nice to be in a parade where I didn’t have to worry about melting my engine. The Zero S was perfectly comfortable at parade pace, unlike the Ducati Monster 750 I once rode in a parade. After the parade, we did some promo shots for Zero, I chatted with Fabio about our shared passion (MotoGP) and about electric motorcycles. (minor correction- he states a top speed of 85mph, but the 2011 ZeroS tops out at 75mph. I should know

I also chatted with such industry luminaries as Chelsea Sexton, Ed Begley Jr., Chris Paine, Paul Scott and many others, both at the event and at the after party nearby. Zero owner Spoon Singh hosted the after-after party at an outdoor table at his restaurant on the Venice Boardwalk, Venice Ale House where we chatted about electric motorcycles, Chris Paine’s next film (hinted at in this LA Times article), among other topics.

Bartel’s owner Bill Bartel was there with a friend, both on Brammo’s, and there were also a couple of Vectrix owners. Hopefully next year’s parade will see some proper sportbikes in the mix.

Plug In America co-founder and EV expert Chelsea Sexton

Celebrity Eco Activist Ed Begley Jr.

Who Killed the Electric Car and Revenge of the Electric Car Director Chris Paine

Plug In America Co-Founder Paul Scott

Marshall High School Auto Shop Teacher Tom Marshall

Wondering why Ethanol & Biodiesel cars weren’t invited to this party? Considering we’re now using more corn for fuel than for food (as covered here), and that we can generate electricity for cars from the sun, electric really is the best solution for most drivers most of the time. Even for speed demons like me!

I started the day with a full charge, rode from West Hollywood to Venice rather aggressively, and headed back at top speed on the freeway. The bike warned me when it was running dangerously low, both with the visual indicator and with a speed governor kicking in. I made it to my exit and up a few blocks before the bike was completely out of juice. Miraculously enough (joking) there was a parking lot with an outlet a few feet from where I stopped. So I walked the bike over there and plugged her in for 20 minutes, did a little shopping, sent an email to Chris Paine and before I knew it the bike was at 50% charge. This was more than enough to make it back to the shop. Total route from 100% to 0% juice riding the way I like to ride and feeling only slightly vulnerable on an LA freeway? 26.5 miles. And thanks to GE’s partnership with Nissan, it’s getting even easier to go electric.

Click image to visit google maps. "G" is where I plugged in.