'This perfect storm': E-bike popularity kicks into high gear while supply is limited
LONDON, ONT. -- Bike sales across the province are kicking into high gear and store owners are working to keep up with the increased demand.
Mike Wickett, a resident in London, Ont., recently purchased an e-bike called the E-Bullet for his day-to-day duties.
"I think electric assist has changed the game in many ways in terms of cycling and just making it more usable for every day life.”
Owner of the London Bicycle Cafe, Ben Cowie, sold Wickett his bike. It’s one of many sales over these past couple of years as e-bikes are gaining traction and popularity.
"(An) e-bike is a pedal-assist bike -- it’s a regular bike with a little electric motor that helps you when it is a sticky day like today…I am not even sweating. I you have a hill it helps you up the hill and enables you to ride your bike more often."
Cowie says a variety of bikes are available at his shop, but some orders are spilling into April 2022 due to a parts shortage.
"There is a big parts shortage right now, which is really a combination with demand being higher but also supply being lower with warehouses and factories being shutdown due to COVID. So this is definitely this perfect storm.”
Bob Hodge, a worker at the Ambassador Bicycles store in Windsor, Ont., says demand doubled this past year.
"When the pandemic hit, there was definitely an unprecedented increase in demand for bikes, probably one of our fastest-growing systems is the pedal-assist bikes. They’re really popular, they open up cycling to a lot of people who may not have had the fitness or confidence to ride.”
Along with accessibility, shifting from driving vehicles to steering bikes can help make a greener planet, and Wickett says the transition is an easy one.
"We had two cars, we went down to one. In fact in many ways it’s a lot more convenient than a car, you don’t have to worry about parking…obviously we are in a pretty serious climate situation, this is a small way to make a difference.”
It’s important to note that not all e-bikes are legal on certain roadways, so it is a good idea to check your city’s guidelines before purchasing.