The salesman pounded the chassis with a steel bar. For all his fury, I was surprised that the long, distended ash didn’t drop off his cigarette. He then rattled off a few excited words in Chinese before dropping bar and letting it clang against the floor for dramatic effect. My Chinese friend gave me a broad smile and translated, “He wants you to know the body is very strong. Very resilient.” I took a closer look, and she was right, the body showed no signs of scratching or cracking. This was the very first shop and the first sales pitch while hunting for an eBike. To use a word I hate, I knew the afternoon was about to get interesting. (I hate the word, by the way, because my university students abuse it and use it like a crutch when speaking English.)
This was also two years ago, and it was my first ride I was searching for. I am currently on my second. My Chinese friend had come along for two reasons: argue the price down and ask a very specific question. I wanted an electric scooter that had enough battery life to be able to go from Wujin’s College Town to Metro in the north of Changzhou. I got exactly that. Only, the resulting CenBird had to be charged after each time I made the trip like that. Sure, I outgrew the vehicle, but it served its purpose nicely for awhile.
I mention because, well, there are many places to buy eBikes in Changzhou. Finding the right place requires a little research and a little help. But, there are some places where you can window shopping. 博爱路, downtown, is one such place. There are many shops next to each other from CenBird to NKNY and more. However, these are mostly just show rooms. Many of the brands in the area might not be equipped for maintenance. For example, when I returned to the CenBird shop to get a tire replaced, I was told to follow somebody down the road to a separate location near Hongmei Park. Apparently, that was where all the replacement parts were sold.
The point, however, is this. If you live downtown, and you are thinking of buying your first eBike. The shops on Boai are a good place to look. As for me, I bought my first one there. I had never ridden one before, and I had to ride my new purchase all the way back to Wujin and the College Town. Talk about trial by fire in Changzhou traffic.