Local Business

Electric bikes are pedal pushers

RIDGEFIELD – Jim Roden makes wooden tables, cutting boards and, of course, frames – thousands of them – at The Framery in Ridgefield.

"We just got an order this morning for a thousand (frames) for a company up in Wisconsin," he said.

Maybe some day he'll get similar orders for his newest product line – electric bicycles.

Roden started a new electric bicycle business called Becky's Bikes (named after his daughter) inside The Framery in June.

Roden said he got the idea of getting into the electric bike business last fall in Quebec. "It's very hilly there. I've had a knee replaced. They had a bike shop that had electric bikes.We had so much fun that we did it again the next day."

"This spring I started thinking, with the price of gas, I wondered if anybody else was doing something with electric bikes around here."

Roden ordered some bikes from Pedego Electric Bikes and Becky's Bikes was up and running.

Roden called the Pedego "the Lincoln Town Car of electric bikes." A couple weeks ago he added a line of BH Easy Motion Electric bicycles. He said the BH is "more sleek, upscale and racey – designed for a younger audience."

Pedego models range in price from $1,895 to $2,395. The BH Easy Motion has a price tag of $2,699.

"Electric bikes are for guys like me, who want to get out but don't want to – or can't – pedal up the hill," Roden said. Having that mobility, he said, "makes you want to go out more.

"You can ride until you get tired, turn the battery on, and it boosts you along. It's like some one's pushing you from behind."

The BH has a pedal-assist sensor. "It senses how hard you're pushing. It pushes you along with pedal assist."

Electric bikes can hit speeds up to 20 mph and have a range of about 50 miles. They come with their own battery chargers, and are completely charged in four to six hours.

Some models charge the battery while you're pedaling.

According to a Pike Research, electric bicycles are the world’s best-selling electric vehicles with annual sales expected to reach more than 30 million units in 2012.

China accounts for 92 percent of the global market for electric bicycles.

"Electric bikes are the future," Roden said. "They are perfect for short commuting trips. They are pollution free, cheap to operate, and they're totally fun to ride.

"Everyone that tries one comes back with a big smile on their face," Roden said.

According to beckysbikes.com;

• 40 percent of all car trips in the U.S. are made within two miles of home.

• 60 percent of the pollution created by cars happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices work effectively.

• The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gas a year by boosting bicycle trips just half a percentage point: from 1 percent to 1.5 percent of all trips.

• Electric bikes are not meant to replace traditional bikes. They will replace short car trips and get more people moving.

• For a 100-mile trip the operating cost for an electric bike will be around 27 cents.

• For a 100-mile trip by car at 20 MPG it will cost $15 just for the gas.

• A car getting 20 MPG adds 22 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That's more than 1 pound per mile – more than 13,000 pounds a year for every 12,000 miles.

• Electric bikes bring a total change of perspective. They can be seen in one of two general ways: mild exercise and/or transportation.

About Becky's Bikes:
Where: 8404 Railroad St, Ridgefield
What: Pedego and BH models of electric bicycles available
Information: Call 815-459-4990, or visit www.beckysbikes.com

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