“This is our fourth year in business and we expected it to be a bigger year just because of the trending interest in electric bikes, but that was before COVID-19,” explains Josh Freedman, owner of Pedego Electric Bikes in Carmel, Indiana. “Now with a bike shortage and with more people spending this time out in the fresh air due to people working from home, the interest in e-bikes has just ramped up much further.”
Freedman’s story is not just anecdotal. According to the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the entire bike manufacturing and retailing industry is expected to continue rapid growth in e-bikes sales in 2020, but with the waves of people working from home starting in March, e-bike sales skyrocketed. According to the NPD Group, an international market research firm, sales were up 84% in March, 92% in April, and 137% in May. Some e-bike manufacturers report sales increases as high as 600% in 2020.
The COVID-19 era is giving people the opportunity to try new modes of transportation. Some are finding it easier to justify the higher costs of e-bikes in exchange for higher function and greater convenience.
“People are now looking at bikes as a consistent mode of transportation over cars,” Freedman from Pedego added. “A person who might bike commute 3 or 5 miles a couple times a week can now see e-bikes as an option to commute easier and farther and perhaps more often.”
Bob Young, who drove his wife Barbara down from their home in West Lafayette to test ride a Pedego bike, already has an e-bike. “My friend said I wanted an e-bike so I could be lazy. I told him I don’t want to be lazy; I am looking to ride everywhere. I don’t want to plan my route around hills and take the bike further destinations that you might normally feel you have to drive. I can ride my e-bike all over the county all day. And I do.”
The extension of the distance an e-bike can be used for a work commute is how, here in Central Indiana, one might consider riding to say a downtown office from a midtown address on a regular bike, but with an e-bike that can become a reasonable inter-county commute.
“I ride mine 27 miles to work every day from southern Broad Ripple (Indianapolis) up here to Whitestown,” said Sean Kenemore, of eBoom Electric Bikes in Whitestown, Indiana. “I could do a ride like that on a regular bike, but e-bikes make it easy to do every day…and fun.”
Freedman thinks that once people try his Pedego e-bikes, they will love the ease of use, fun, and practicality of riding . Freedman offers 4-hour and all-day rentals of his e-bikes and tandem e-bikes. For the rest of the year he has provided Commuter Connect with some passes to give away for some free rentals. In October, people who sign up for the free profile on commuterconnect.us will be eligible to win some of those Pedego rentals.
Crysta Wilson works from home in the Meridian Kessler area and ordered a Pedego from Josh afterrenting an e-bike.
“I had to have one after riding,” Crysta said. “With me working from home for the foreseeable future, we have decided to become a one-car family. With some baskets added, I can even do grocery shopping and get anywhere I need to and most of what I need done around town just by e-bike. The cost of an e-bike starts to make a lot of sense when it offsets the costs of a second car. Taken as a part of the mix, it starts to make the e-bike’s cost feel pretty reasonable…and more fun!”
We agree, Crysta. Enjoy!