Melissa Wenzel got rid of her Toyota Prius in April 2018.
After battling cancer, arthritis and severe knee pain for years, the 41-year-old Minnesota native found an active solution to help her “transition back to a healthy lifestyle that simultaneously helps the environment.”
She bought an e-bike.
“I was just finishing my treatment for leukemia and I had gained a lot of weight,” Wenzel said. “I needed tools to help me get active again, so I bought an e-bike that has literally become my car.”
She said the Pedego City Commuter she bought has a pedal assist that she uses when she’s running late to work, and a throttle that she engages “if the chain pops off so I can get somewhere safely.”
The electric-powered two-wheeler delivers moderate support when she needs it and she turns the assist off when she wants to “enjoy a slow, relaxing ride on a sunny spring day.”
Transportation enthusiasts pay a lot of attention to the future of electric-powered cars and robotaxis. We often keep our eyes on cars that can fly, robotic delivery services, and human-carrying drones that can transport passengers across town.
But in a world concerned about fuel economy, health, and convenience, perhaps the tech-forward answers to today’s commuting problems are already on roads across the country right now.
Electric two-wheelers are taking Europe and Asia by storm, and big cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta have a growing market of e-bikes on the streets, and the prospects of commuter adaptation seem promising.
In fact, while standard bicycle sales have remained stagnant for the past three years, e-bike sales were up 79% in 2018, according to the market research firm NPD Group which also said that U.S. e-bike sales are eight times as great as they were in 2014.
So far in 2019, wholesale bike sales are down for every category expect e-bikes, which are up 24.7% over last year, according to the latest Bicycle Product Suppliers Association Sell-in Report.
Bicycle manufacturer Trek says e-bikes are the company’s fastest-growing segment.
“How many products do you know that (if) 100 people go on a test drive, they all come back and have a big smile?” said Trek CEO John Burke about e-bikes.
“I think it’s word of mouth. I think consumers are driving e-bikes (sales).”