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Drivers considering e-bikes as gas prices remain high

Main Street Cycles in Santa Maria and Foothill Cyclery in San Luis Obispo are both noticing an uptick in sales and interest in electrical bikes.
Drivers considering E-Bikes as gas prices remain high
Posted at 7:38 AM, Apr 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-09 19:36:53-04

Drivers such as Dan Ragsdale say it is painful to watch their gas tanks fill up.

“It’s been brutal, honestly, just like every day,” said Ragsdale, who is a student at Cuesta College.

Some people are having to make daily changes to stay within their budget.

“I barely use my car. I try to avoid filling it up,” said Lena Fried, who lives in San Luis Obispo.

Main Street Cycles in Santa Maria is noticing an increase in electrical bike (e-bike) sales.

“Bikes have been very popular over the last few years because people want to get out and exercise,” explained Scott Clark, Main Street Cycles’ owner. “I think what is happening with rising gas prices is that it has brought more attention to cycling, so we’re seeing a slow uptick from that.”

Foothill Cyclery in San Luis Obispo is picking up on that trend.

“People that want to commute with their children to school,” said Gianno Spera, a sales associate at Foothill Cyclery. “There are different cargo bikes that accommodate that, and there’s people that just want to do grocery store runs.”

Prices can go anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or even more, which is why there are mixed opinions.

“Electric bikes are pretty expensive, I have a manual bike, a normal bike but I don’t ride it that much. I usually either walk places or drive if I have to, but I've been trying to use my car less and less,” added Ragsdale.

“E-bikes are really cool, but I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to purchase one,” said Fried.

For Loni Johnston, her recent purchase was a game changer.

“My e-bike is also a pedal assistance, so it allows me to get a workout and be able to keep up with Mr. Bicycle Man here,” said Johnston. “It is good for the environment, gets you out in nature. My hybrid definitely helps with the gas prices with it being so expensive.”

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average price for a gallon of gas in San Luis Obispo County is $5.96 whereas Santa Barbara County is holding on to $5.87.

“Obviously, the gas prices going up has spiked people’s interest in alternative modes of transportation,” added Spera.

Ones that do not necessarily require gas.

“You can externally take the battery out and charge it that way at home in a 120-volt outlet or some of them have the ability to the battery inside of the frame, and you can charge it,” explained Spera.

There is also the fear of missing out.

“A lot of people are starting to see their friends and family and people riding around on them going, ‘Wow, that looks like fun. I think I want to check it out,’” said Clark.

Because these bikes can be pricey depending on the brand and model, bike sellers recommend getting a heavy-duty chain lock to secure it.

If you are considering an electric bike, there are local spots where you can rent one or you can always ask a bike shop if you can do a test run.

To learn more about rebates offered by the state of California for electrical bike purchases, click here.