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Here come the e-bikes!

In the Southern California community of Aliso Viejo, Keith and Mary Felch are “blowing past” other cyclists by riding e-bikes, bicycles that can run on pedal power or their small electric motors! The Felches formerly used bikes for recreation and automobiles for everything else. They have cut 50% of their automobile use by riding electric bikes. Keith has dropped 30 pounds and 10 points in blood pressure. Their e-bikes are from OptiBike.

Unlike Europe, in which electric bikes are popular, and China, where e-bikes are EXTREMELY popular, to “the tune” of 100 million riders, e-bikes have been slow to catch on in the United States. That may be changing, however. Last year, 200,000 e-bikes were sold in the U.S., but sales are down about 10% in 2009.

Buyers of e-bikes include those trying to make a “green” impact, active adults who have ridden bikes for years who are getting older and unable to do the same kind of riding they once did, and riders who want to commute to work quickly and with “no sweat!” :-)

By law, electric bikes must have no more than 1 horsepower and go no faster than 20 miles/hour under motor power alone. The prices of e-bikes range from about $398 for the E-Zip Trailz Hybrid at Wal-Mart to more than $13,000 for OptiBike’s top-end model.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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