Electric bikes are surging in popularity, and for good reason. They let you see the world like a child again — even if your legs don’t feel so young. We asked Bob Bibee, owner of Pedego Electric Bikes, to explain how they work, who’s riding them and why they’re so popular.
What is a Pedego?
Founded in Irvine, Pedego is the nation’s No. 1 brand of electric bike or e-bike. It’s like a traditional bike with an electric motor that offers several levels of assistance, so you can work as much or as little as you want.
20 m.p.h. under electric power, which makes them legal to ride on all bike trails (including 363 miles in Irvine alone). The range per charge is about 20-60 miles. No registration or insurance required.
People unfamiliar with them sometimes say, “These are for lazy people.” And, honestly, that was my opinion before riding one. About 50 yards into my first ride, my perspective changed to: “No, these are for active people. Cars are for lazy people.”
You offer e-bike tours?
Yes. They include the Mountains to Sea Trail, Jeffrey Open Space Trail, Hicks Canyon and Shady Canyon trails. You’ll see indigenous plants, trees, tunnels, bridges and spectacular views. A favorite is our Saturday morning ride though Turtle Rock, Shady Canyon and Quail Hill, with a stop at the Mariners Farmer’s Market. It’s free for Pedego owners and $40 for non-Pedego owners.
Who takes the tours?
We recently did a 16-mile tour with William Shatner — yes, Captain Kirk — and 12 of his family members. At age 86, Mr. Shatner was smiling the whole way. We also get locals who say, “Wow, I’ve lived here for years and had no idea these trails existed.”
Who rides them?
Millennials not wanting to drive; working professionals looking to drop the car; retired couples. We’ve seen a big trend in couples buying them to spend time together. It doesn’t matter if one rider is a tri-athlete and the other barely rides — they can ride together. Our bikes essentially flatten out the hills, and every wind is a tailwind.
How can we try one?
We offer free test rides, and rentals start at $16/hour or $60/day. We have a bike trail right outside our door. Self-guided tours are super popular and we have trail maps in the shop.
For more information, visit Pedego Electric Bikes Irvine at 4622 Barranca Parkway in Woodbridge Village Center.