Onsite at the NICA Oregon League race

Group photo with the Oregon league staff

Onsite at Oregon’s NICA race

Lauren stands in the Bimotal booth
Representing Bimotal at a NICA event? I give that two thumbs up!

Going back to NICA races is always such a great time for me! You may not know, but I have history with NICA.

In 2007 my 15 year-old son joined the inaugural San Ramon Valley High School Mountain Bike team of 12 students in the NICA Norcal League in California. At the time there were four NICA leagues in the United States. My son’s decision to join a NICA team changed the course of my life.

I became a mountain biker and got a job on the NICA national staff, starting as the program director and leaving more than seven years later as a vice president, after helping grow it to 31 state leagues.

Now, in my new role as vice president of business development and operations at Bimotal, I had the privilege of representing Bimotal as a sponsor of the NICA Oregon League race on September 11th and 12th at Mount Bachelor, near Bend. Toby Ricco, the founder and CEO of Bimotal, joined me in our booth at the event. I cherished being back at a NICA venue.

Visitors at the Bimotal booth
Toby, and me (obscured). The stream of booth visitors was constant

If you are new to learning about Bimotal, we are an early-stage electric powertrain company, founded in 2019, by ex-Tesla and SpaceX engineers with the goal of being an industry leader producing micro electric vehicles. The first product is Elevate, a patent pending removable, lightweight, and powerful ebike motor that cleverly mounts to a bike’s disc brakes. The motor comes on and off in under 10 seconds, providing an e-bike or pedal bike option at your fingertips and whim. Customers continually communicate with us the wish to “keep riding the bike they love.” It’s rewarding to see their excitement when they realize they can do just that with Elevate.

Though challenging, it’s been fun to get creative and figure out ways to get new hardware-focussed technology into the world with fewer and fewer in-person opportunities. Needless to say, we still have a ways to go but the journey has been adventurous to say the least.

The Elevate drive unit
The drive unit sits above the brake caliper and engages with a geared brake rotor

So how did the two days play out? The Oregon League showed up with abundant stoke both days, even though wildfires burned in the region and smoke cut short the second day. Toby and I were amazed by the broad range of curiosity coupled with delight in the product. 

Some booth visitors were satisfied by an explanation of the Elevate and how it works, while others needed to get out onto the trails for a test ride. Those that did were impressed and giddy after the ride. Across the board: league staff, student-athletes, parents and coaches all expressed  enthusiasm for the utility and power of the Elevate. Many commented on the spirit of innovation, and this unique approach to electrifying a bike.

Toby Ricco explains the drive unit to a customer
Toby showing a customer the easy removal of the drive unit

We sincerely appreciated how many people interacted with us during the busy race days! The curiosity, revelations and positive feedback is truly energizing. We love to see those first impressions as people experience Elevate. 

Here are a few quotes:

  • “It is stupid fun!”
  • “I was shocked by how much power it had…it was so easy to use.”
  • “It is dangerously fun!”
  • “I was not expecting that much acceleration and I was still in control!”
  • “The delivery was super subtle…barely weighs a thing.”

A highlight was just how wowed the Oregon student-athletes were by the Elevate. We learned just how cool they thought it was to transform your bike to an e-bike to ride around town, to school, or to get more rides on the trail. To the student-athletes of the Oregon League: we liked your vibe!

The response from student-athletes was even stronger than we’d hoped

We ended the day with the NICA Oregon League staff, pictured below. We left with the feeling that this is a powerful and resilient community that, like Bimotal, has the goal of making a positive impact in the lives of people they touch.

Group photo with the Oregon league staff
Toby and I with the Oregon League staff. (L-R) Toby Ricco, Chris Schomaker,
Dave Schyberg, Jon Fogarty, Heather Wolfgang, Kurt Wolfgang, Lauren Duensing

Despite the fire-related challenges of the weekend the Oregon League staff remained great hosts throughout. Thank you, and we look forward to the next time!

Photo credits: Lauren Duensing, Mike Duensing, Toby Ricco

By Lauren Duensing

Lauren is the vp of business development and operations for Bimotal. Lauren is an entrepreneur, executive and manager with 20 + years experience in business development, systems management, training and team building. Prior to Bimotal, Lauren helped get thousands of kids and coaches on bikes at NICA. Lauren is passionate about bikes, and is excited to continue her work of getting people outdoors exploring on two wheels.