Purists might scoff, but batteries and motors can help casual riders get more out of the great outdoors.
Your next bicycle could come with a power switch.
That’s because bike manufacturers are putting batteries and motors into bikes, giving an electric boost that can shorten miles and flatten hills. Children have always marveled at the freedom bikes offer. Now, e-bikes can give adults that sense of liberation, too.
The feeling is so strong it convinced Don DiCostanzo, who lives at the top of a hill in Corona del Mar, California, to found e-bike company Pedego. “I liked to ride to the beach, but I hated to ride back,” he says. E-bikes make the ride easy, and now he’s selling 12,000 e-bikes a year in more than 60 stores worldwide.
DiCostanzo, 58, focuses on baby boomers looking for recreation or wanting to keep up with the grandkids. “Ninety-nine percent of our customers would never have purchased another bike in their lifetime if not for us,” DiCostanzo says.
But don’t think e-bikes are just for older folks. Serious riders are embracing e-bikes to commute to work. And they are opening the great outdoors to people who don’t feel fit enough to bike up hills and mountains without a boost.
Several things are pushing e-bikes mainstream. Modern batteries store more energy. City dwellers crave better transportation. Electric cars have made battery power fashionable while showing the technology to be environmentally friendly.