Expanded Transportation Options with Bend Electric Bikes


by RENEE PATRICK Cascade Business News Feature Writer

With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, transportation alternatives have never been more popular. For those intimidated by the sweat-fest that summer biking may involve, electric bikes (e-bikes) could offer the perfect solution for that commute to work, run to the grocery store or cruise up the mountain passes.

The pedal-assist that an electric bike provides gives the rider extra power when needed, and all without a trip to the gas station.

Bend Electric Bikes has been Central Oregon’s source of e-bikes since 2008. Founded by husband and wife team Sterling and Karen McCord, the small business offers a wide array of e-bikes for sale or rent in addition to operating as a nation-wide dedicated service center for several popular e-bike brands.

A recent move to 223 NW Hill Street (next to the Taco Stand) offers a large showroom with plenty of options. Inventory from manufacturers include Kenetic, Stromer, EL Mundo, Xtracycle, Bullet as well as several e-bike kits. Cargo bikes provide a way to carry awkward or heavy loads with ease, and if you stop in to check out the colorful array of options, ask about Bend Electric Bikes’ deal with the Taco Stand; you may just leave with a free lunch!

Sterling has been involved with sustainability for many years; he has a degree in the discipline and worked as a sustainable advisor for the building industry. After coming to the conclusion that the building industry had plenty of competent sustainable experts, he transitioned to transportation.

“I started the business to give people a transportation option and to be able to service that inventory,” Sterling said. “Why electric bikes? Because the majority of us would rather simply jump in our car than have to work hard to pedal up a hill or pedal with cargo.

“A cargo bike with an electric assist it can more evenly compete with the car. It can give you an extra punch to deal with traffic, and that means less stress.”

He explained that on an e-bike, riders are overtaken at a slower rate of speed than on a traditional bike, and the bikes can climb hills at 18/20 miles an hour.

The battery-powered electric motors of electric bikes are activated with a throttle on the handlebars or in response to pedaling. Many systems offer a variable speed control and most come with the standard gears and breaks of a typical bike.

E-bikes come in two forms, adaptive and purpose-built. Adaptive bikes have an added drive system, and a purpose-built bike is designed from the ground up. Rechargeable batteries, usually sealed lead-acid, provide power for the electric drive motors. A full charge from a wall outlet costs a few cents, and charge times can vary from a few hours to about eight. (sourced from www.electric-bikes.com)

The shop has recently launched an ecommerce element to their website, hoping the extended reach of the internet and popularity of on-line shopping will help supplement the local traffic to their store.

The lack of infrastructure for bikes has been a particular challenge Sterling has identified in Central Oregon. “People say no to bikes the most out of a legitimate fear of biking on the roads. Separated bike lanes or any way to separate bikes from traffic is what will help biking gain more traction,” he said.

“Bike boulevards are simple and cost effective, property values go up along roads that are rededicated to pedestrians and bikes…there are some good people out there working on [bike advocacy], all of them get our appreciation.”

So the next time your heart rate is elevated by the price at the pump, try a healthier option, test driving an electric bike. Grocery shopping has never been more fun!

www.bendelectricbikes.com, info@bendelectricbikes.com, 223 NW Hill St., Bend, 541-410-7408.


About Author

Renee is the Art Director for Cascade Publications, and Editor for Cascade A&E Magazine.

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