‘They’re just a hoot and a holler to ride’
Special to the Daily
“I was honestly excited … but also a little scared and anxious,” said CJ Morgione.
Morgione, a store manager at Craniologie in Breckenridge, wasn’t sure what to expect when Pedego electric bikes first came to his store in early June. A long-time traditional bike user, Morgione had never hopped on an electric before, but it wasn’t long, though, before the pedal-assisted bikes started to find a place in his heart.
“They’re just a hoot and a holler to ride … You still get the enjoyment of what you’re used to having on a bicycle except you can be more efficient, go farther and have more fun,” said Morgione.
The pedal assisting cruiser-style bikes open up accessibility for cycling to all levels of riders. With less work required, the biker has energy to travel more miles and conquer new grounds.
“Riding regular cruiser bikes meant exhausting, excruciating work for anyone not acclimated to pedaling at 9,000 feet,” explained Pedago Breck owner Liz LaBelle. “So, a lot of people were missing the joys of our incredible views and extensive bike paths around Breckenridge.”
Contrary to popular belief, electric bikes aren’t another version of the moped and are not just a cop-out for those too lazy to bike. If you love riding but aren’t in love with biking the strenuous Summit County hills or want to take in mountain scenery while still getting a mild workout, Pedego Bikes can be answer to bridge the gap.
Each bike comes with a silent motor that can only be utilized when the biker is pushing the pedals. The power assistance can be turned off at anytime and automatically shuts off when the cranks stop. The bottom line is the user stills get a mild workout with the option of using pedal-assisted power when needed.
Morgione says they have been receiving equal interest from tourists as locals, with a modest amount of purchases, as well.
“We had a local lady last week (who) was so excited because she was like, ‘Never in my life would I have ever rode all the way to Copper,’” explained Morgione.
One Pedego model that provides particular access is the Boomerang. Its is an ultra-low, step-thru model with a low-hanging fork, which allows for those with low-flexibility or in-recovery from injuries to more easily get on and use the bike.
“One of customers, she’s got cancer, and the best way for her to get out and ride a bike with her husband is with a Boomerang, so that she can keep up … not feel like she’s holding him back, which is really great because she’s still getting out and staying positive,” said Morgione.
It’s important to note, however, that electric bikes are prohibited on the bike paths around Lake Dillon and Silverthorne, as well as in the town of Frisco. Morgione believes this is due to a lack of understanding, and that laws will change soon as knowledge for the technology improves.
“We’re working with these other towns on that … They have a no-throttle rule for their paths, and the throttle on these bikes is disengaged, so we believe these rules will be resolved in a few weeks,” said Morgione.
The bikes are legal in the entire Breck area as well as Silverthorne and Dillon city streets.
While stopping by the shop, I decided to take one out for a spin to see what all the fuss was about. The bikes offer five levels of power assistance that are controlled from a small monitor on the left handlebar. As I experimented with these options, I found the acceleration between my nonpedaling speed and the pedal-assisted power to be a bit jarring at first — but manageable — as I became used to the device.
As I sped across town almost twice as fast as normal, I started to understand the sense of allure and adventure promoted by Pedego. Even for an experienced rider like myself, the bike opens up a new ball-game as far as convenience and accessibility to certain areas. Sure, I could make it up Boreas Pass if I really had to, but it’d be exhausting and more for my fitness than for any kind of enjoyment. With an electric bike, I found this to be a contrast, as the pedal-assist helped me zip up hills with minimal effort, even while using the lower power-levels.
Pedego bikes don’t come cheap, typically running $2,900-$3,500 a pop. However, the Pedego store does offer free test rides, as well as rentals and tours. The bikes also serve as a great solution for those looking to save money on gas but without the time or physical ability to ride a pedal-bike to work. A 3-4 hour charge gets you 30-50 miles of power, which is a great financial and carbon footprint savings, in comparison to the same use of any car.
For those looking for more information on Pedego Bikes call 970-423-6354 or visit http://www.pedegoelectricbikes.com/dealers/breckenridge/. Also, check out the Pedego Facebook page for free demo and rental offers.
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