ASPEN, Colo. – For aging or injured cyclists with diminished ability to get up and go, e-bikes beckon as a way to keep them in the outdoor pursuit they love, but for some public land managers the pedal-assist bikes are a looming headache.
E-bike use has exploded over the past year. Once spurned by cyclists, they are now getting more respect in a cycling industry always on the prowl for the next niche segment.
Aspen Velo bike shop invested in 20 to 25 e-bikes for its rental fleet and has about that many for sale, according to Luke Wampler, who runs the shop with his father and store owner Michael Wampler. They started renting e-bikes last season, which were slow to catch on.
“Then in August, we couldn’t keep them in the shop,” he said.
The trend continues this year. On a recent Friday, Aspen Velo rented out about a dozen of the pedal-assist bikes.
E-bikes have a small rechargeable battery that provides assistance while the craft are being pedaled. They typically have four settings, the most powerful of which provides enough juice to travel as fast as 20 mph.
Wampler said they’ve been popular with older clientele.
“Eighty percent of our customer base is…
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