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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Electric rides spark green trend

    When getting off the couch to change the channel became too much of a hassle, the TV remote was born. When the journey across the room to reach a light switch became exhausting, The Clapper saved the day. Now, tiresome peddlers can find relief on University Boulevard.

    “”I’d say one reason that people may not be biking already is just the simple fact that they don’t want to pedal that much,”” said business junior Bryan Brown.

    Brown manages Bikes Electric, a unique store selling bikes that reach up to 20 mph without the leg-pumping strain.

    “”I take one to class when I can because I’ll go a mile or so and I don’t sweat,”” Brown said.

    A rechargeable battery built into the frame powers an electric motor for effortless cruising.

    “”If you want to pedal, you can pedal,”” said Daniel Mannheim, owner of the store. “”You can turn off the motor or pedal while the motor is on.””

    The store is a simple room with only a few bikes on display and even fewer people, but there’s no question that electric bikes are a revolutionary form of transportation.

    They operate with zero emissions and provide an alternative to gas-guzzling cars.

    “”If you can go ahead and replace your car, it’s useful to the environment,”” Brown said.

    Mannheim also hopes the bikes will relieve traffic congestion.

    “”It would bring relief to the parking problem we have,”” he said.

    Rick Potter, a business senior, rides his traditional bike to class and will stick to pedaling.

    “”Biking is supposed to be a form of exercise,”” Potter said.

    Although spotting an electric bike on campus is a rare experience, opening a store near the university may be the onset of a bigger trend.

    “”In Europe, they set up grids of recharge stations,”” Mannheim said. “”They pick up a bike, ride it and drop it off at any other station. We are talking to the city, and we are talking to the governor’s office as we try to set up these things, but it’s preliminary.””

    Despite their motorized speed, electric bikes are not restrained by automobile requirements.

    “”They are qualified as bicycles, so anywhere that you can use bicycles you can use these,”” Mannheim said.

    Brown added that you don’t need insurance or a license. And depending on the model, one battery charge can last for 40 to 50 miles on its own.

    “”If you pedal, the range of the bike is extended,”” said Mannheim.

    The bikes start at $898 and the top of the line reaches $2,380.

    “”We sell them to anybody,”” Mannheim said. “”We sell them to resorts, to industrial parks, to hotels that rent them out to their
    customers, anybody.””

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