Well, this story goes a little ways back. (so jump down a couple paragraphs if you just want to hear the 'eBike' stuff).
I guess a good starting point for this story is when Tony Rossi named his electrical contracting business after his new born son and called it "Adam Electric and Heating Inc." almost 40 years ago. Then in 2008, Tony came back out of his semi-sailboating retirement, and him and his son Adam rebranded and restructured the commercial electrical business together and moved it into a more sustainable direction to help change the world. Adam Electric was now doing business as "Adam Solar Resources", and the Father Son team set out to educating the public (anyone remember us teaching solar classes!?), followed by selling, designing, and installing solar thermal and PV installations as one of the first solar companies in Pittsburgh. Those were some hard times, but also some of the best times working side by side, Father and Son, changing the world. ASR had some special installs too, including the 1st Solar installation at the University of Pittsburgh, Adam's Alma Mater. It served as a research lab for the Swanson School of Engineering. They worked on solar at Carnegie Mellon University, including guest lecturing, and even helped to build a first of its kind mirco-grid for Pitt Ohio in conjunction with PITT. But after almost ~100 solar installs and another 7 or 8 years of hard work, Tony was finally ready to step back from all the hot roofs and attics. It was time to start enjoying more time with his grand-kids and tinker on projects of his choosing at a slower pace.
Adam continued to sell, design, and install solar systems with his team, but he had also bought an electric bike for himself during the father son team days, back before buying an electric car was an option (*side note, we did have a few EV conversions along the way too, thanks CMU ChargeCar and AmpRevolt).
And growing up in the 80's and 90's BMX scenes, which were pretty big in Pittsburgh (shout out Empire Trails, PUSH, South Park BMX etc), Adam always had a passion for riding, and always had a dream of having a bike shop.
So back before there were even what current eBikes look like today, there were more "scooter-esque" style eBikes. They were heavy, filled with lead batteries, and there were millions of them in China. And a guy named Bill Stalter had taken serious notice of them while on business there. He brought a container of them back to Pittsburgh, and founded Envirobikes on the North Side. And then there is Adam, hustling the good solar news and selling panels at every green fair, community day, and home show he can handle. And then whoa, fate hits and Bill's Envirobike booth is next to the ASR booth at an event. And it clicked for him, that was the answer! The efficiency and adopt-ability of eBikes really could change the world in his mind, even more than his solar business. And oh the FUN! Bikes again! Adam worked the ebike booth more that day than his own solar booth.
So shortly after, he parked his petrol car and truck, and started commuting by eBike to work everyday, getting the equivalent of 1000s of MPGs, commuting on a couple pennies of electricity (or even free solar juice at times). And then, the police traffic stops started coming, and he'd usually talk himself out of them by sharing the Federal electric bike laws legislation (pamphlet print out in hand: 750watt or less, functional pedals, 20mph etc), until one day he couldn't convince an Officer. There was no official classification for an eBike in Pennsylvania, no matter how hard one wanted to make them legal, plated, insured etc, it wasn't doable. In court, the magistrate was kind enough to drop all the charges, but sternly warned this was a one time act of forgiveness, and that there would be no more eBike riding..
Adam then became a self proclaimed eBike lobbyist, and worked with Bill, Representative and then Senator Matt Smith, and many others on legislation to legalize and classify them for PA. He relearned the how a bill becomes a law song and dance, then spent 3 years meeting with legislators, making dozens of calls, sending emails, speaking at events, garnering support, and promoting alongside other dedicated Pennsylvanians until ACT 154 was finally passed in Pennsylvania, and electric bicycles were 100% officially legal in the state! (And since then ASR has custom outfitted dozens of Police eBikes for most of our local community police departments, as well as other PDs all along the east coast)
By this point, Bill was about done with the eBikes, and Adam bought most of his remaining stock and moved them into the back of the solar office. So it was Solar installs all morning and afternoon and then working towards eBike sales in the late afternoons and evenings.
Adam knew there was something to the eBikes, but the old bikes just weren't it, they were to clunky, heavy and unreliable. It was as the next generation of eBikes starting show up in the USA that actually looked like regular bicycles, those were going be a BIG market!
ASR's solar customers were often early EV adopters as well, at time when almost everyone was an EV doubter. So in 2013 we took the 34th Tesla ever made, a signature series 100 Roadster that originally belonged to Leonardo DiCaprio, the 238th Tesla Model S, and one of the first Chevy Volt's from Eaton Corporation to the Pittsburgh World of Wheels show. Adam knew he needed eBikes to be a part of this big display, and Chip from IZIP bikes came to help. After the show ASR signed up as a dealer with them, and we were on our way to becoming the first real electric bike shop in Pittsburgh.
ASR slowly backed out of doing solar installs, and focused on growing the eBike business. As things progressed, ASR opened their 2nd location at the Station Square Freight House Shops in downtown Pittsburgh in 2017 (Inside an actual freight train car is was so awesome!) This shop focused on giving eBike tours of the city, knowing the more people that tried them and saw them, the more people would understand them and want them. In 2019 the Freight House shops were demolished and remodeling plans were made to turn them into more restaurants and climbing gym. ASR moved their tour shop location outside onto the patio to a kiosk in Bessemer Court. Although much smaller, the new tour shop location is awesome since it's less than 20' from the three rivers heritage trail. ASR also expanded to offer multi day rentals and shuttling of fully outfitted eBikes for the GAP and C&O trail that runs 330 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. We've hosted riders from all over the world including Hawaii and Alaska!
And as more EV tech continued to evolve and come to market, ASR continued to test and adopt it. Remember the hoverboard craze?! That was an intense EV fad. Soon OneWheels and Electric Skateboards started lining the shelves inside the shop, and Teslas were lining up outside for rent on Turo.
And now for 2022, ASR is excited to announce our partnership with Lift eFoils! Wait until you get to take a lesson with Adam on one of these this summer! It's like flying on the water.
It's been an amazing journey so far and we are excited to continue growing the eMobility revolution in Pittsburgh. We look forward to serving you, and helping you find the right bike, board, EV, or whatever is coming out next!
And we couldn't do everything we do without all our amazing friends, family, and employees. And at this point those three words, (friends, family, employees) are often a blur as everyone that has helped ASR over the years and is currently helping is kinda all of those things.
We're proud that our team has grown to have some of the top eBike technicians and mechanics in the industry.
Tim P. - Tim showed up at ASR fresh out of highschool a long time ago because he saw we had an electric car charging station and wanted a job with us. I didn't have one for him at the time, so he found a job in tech, but he still hung around ASR a lot, and helped us with events. Fast forward a few years later and now Tim is basically the glue that holds ASR together. He runs the day to day of ASR, along with being a total electronics wizard when it comes to fixing just about anything. We joke that sometimes Tim just looking at bike with an electrical issue is enough to fix it. He likes and rides everything electric, from cars to bikes to boards. And he really likes to solar charge everything as well to keep things extra efficient. Tim is awesome and I highly recommend you meet him!
Jeff B.- An OG Rider, Racer, and get it done kind of guy. Jeff was the original founder of Iron City Bikes, and after 10+ years in the bike industry and 10 years out, he's back in! Jeff currently works with many top brands in the industry, and continues to help craft the direction the eMovement is taking, both locally and nationally. You'll likely see him at the GNCCs and other off road races, sometimes as an ASR eBike tour guide in Pittsburgh, and often around ASR HQ helping out, hanging out, or riding out.
Garvin B.- Garvin is a bike industry superstar that has run and managed large chain bike shops before moving on from the corporate world and opening his own repair shop. Now he is a major asset to ASR for having the most amazing mechanics touch that makes everything ride just right, and the reason he is so sought after in our town to have him work on your bike. Garvin also enjoys carving up the eMTB trails which is likely why he is so attuned at tuning your set up to make it handle just right. Often you'll find him accompanied by Lilly, his beautiful and friendly doberman and our loaner shop dog most days he is working.
Jonah S.- Jonah started out as a a part time high school helper for a few years, and now is studying in college to be an engineer. Lucky for us he keeps coming back to ASR every summer. He's very personable and knows all the details and specs on all the bikes. He can talk you through how it will ride before you even ride it, and then might even take you out riding his favorite trails after work to prove it.
Jamie R.- The most beautiful girl in the world (and Adam's Wife) is our official 'Marketing Director'. She really does everything and anything to help with the shops, but Marketing Director was the title we put on her first business card a decade ago so that term just kinda stuck. She'll often be your point of contact for picking up or returning rental bikes, and you might even see her out on the GAP trail cruising and test riding her favorite new model. She's also looking to become a youtube star this season on ASRs channel as we ramp our filming and reviews back up.
Mullet- A local BMX legend growing up who was a highschool friend then college friend (where he ran a bike shop) then lifelong friend, and now even neighbor! Mullet's brain is on another level, several levels up actually, but he can easily bring the conversation down to eloquently explain any bike matter that ales you. (The University of Oxford even flew him out to give a lecture recently, though probably not bike related) He's like a surgeon when it comes to repairing a bike, or anything really, a master mechanic like no other. If you were ever lucky enough to borrow one of his bikes, they rode unlike anything else, 'perfectly tuned'. Although he's not around ASR as much, with being neighbors, sometimes work comes home, and Mullets wisdom is used to make the hardest bike complexities magically reveal themselves as an easy fix. He still rides bikes, but you're just as likely to see him carving it up on the newest OneWheel from his fleet.
eBike Mike- Mike is one of the most convincing and sincere eBike enthusiasts out there. We met him in the very early days of starting Adam Solar Rides and he instantly aligned with our vision and saw the potential of the massive eBike future. All of our original customers always remembered him and his analogies for describing the benefits of eBiking. He convinced many folks unsure of biking and turned them into daily riders. Although his appearances are a bit more rare lately, you'll still see him around with his dog Lucy at ASR or in downtown Pittsburgh giving an eBike tour.
Bill S- We met Bill as a solar customer when we still did installs. I saw a super fancy bike in his basement and he told me it was an actual bike from the Tour De France! Fast forward to Adam Solar Rides days and Bill was just as excited about eBikes as solar panels. He was always happy to stop in and see how things were going, and just like eBike Mike, has a knack for helping convince some of our older customers that an eBike is the way to extend their riding career. He still rides road bikes several times a week (without e-assist!?) and knows some great back country roads. He is a true bicycle philanthropist as well, and spends much time collecting, repairing, and donating bikes to riders in need of their own set of wheels. You may meet him helping out on an eBike tour this summer!
Grammy- Elaine has always helped ASR since day 1 and is the rock that has kept us going no matter what. After retiring from her travel agency business that operated out of ASR World Headquarters, Elaine has become even more involved at ASR as our Office Manager. She also can show you a bike or two and often helps answer the phone and greet customers when needed. Most people feel awesome after meeting her and think she's the sweetest lady ever. They are right.
Pappy- Although about 99% hands off on the bike business, he's still the man behind the scenes that built ASR World Headquarters shop and is making sure all the things keep going smoothly.
Everyone else: There's tons more awesome folks but this is turning into a novel. You know who you are and we appreciate you in our lives and helping our business!