Published : Friday, August 2, 2013 | 8:44 AM
What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than pedaling around town on a bike? But wait, it gets better the bike is electric meaning pedaling is minimal and the workload is light.
My first experience at Brio Electric Bikes in Monrovia was electric-fying. As soon as I started pedaling a power surge kicked in and I was easily up to 20 mph, faster than I had ever ridden in my biking life, in a matter of seconds on the eFlow bike.
I felt nervous as I rounded the corner to go uphill, but the bike maintained the speed even when I stopped pedaling and let the motor do all the hard work.
The electric bike is radicalizing the daily commute for many around the world especially in Europe and China where electric bikes make up 20 percent of bike sales. Keith Stephens opened Brio Electric Bikes about two months ago to bring this growing option to a population that could use a more efficient vehicle for commuting.
â€œI live 7 miles away and 700 feet up a hill. Iâ€™ve worked in Monrovia for years and Iâ€™ve never been able to get in the habit of riding my bike to work because at the end of the day, everyday, I have to climb this big hill to get home. But with the electric bike it doesnâ€™t matter. Iâ€™m just out for a pedal and can climb up the hill at 20 mph,â€ Stephens said.
As Spencer Stephens, the ownerâ€™s son, described the first time he rode, the feeling is liberating, almost like having super powers because you pedal like normal but go twice as fast. Now that he commutes on his electric bikes, normal bikes are disappointing.
â€œI donâ€™t have a driverâ€™s license and I have a lot of friends who are outside of a normal biking range. When my dad started getting into this he bought two bikes. It really opened up the range of places I could go. It gives me a lot of autonomy,â€ Spencer said.
Since the electric bike falls under the category of a bicycle (not exceeding one horse power at 750 watts or 20 mph), the only requirement is to be at least age 16 and wear a helmet. No insurance, registration, or license is required for riders and the battery is easily recharged by plugging into a 120 volt outlet upon reaching the destination. The charge will last up to 25-35 miles.
If you are looking for an economical alternative to driving to work, but do not have the stamina on a normal bicycle, the electric bicycle could be the perfect fit.
Spencer explained the motor is inefficient at low speeds, but pedaling quickly brings the bike up to full speed in a matter of minutes. The motor only has one speed so it cannot shift up or down but gives power boosts once it reaches the higher speeds and unleashes its full potential.
The bicycles range in power, with the most basic model only reaching speeds of 15 mph and feeling more like a normal bicycle with a little power boost. The I-Zip Express or the eFlow more noticeably send the rider flying down the road with little effort.
The eFlow is much more stable than the finicky I-Zip Express, but the I-Zip also accelerates much faster with more vigor.
I huffed and puffed as I pulled away on my slow human powered bicycle up the hill to my home. They just might have me hooked.
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or set up a test ride. Hurry in before the summer sale ends.