Drivers consider e-bikes as gas prices remain high

Drivers like Dan Ragsdale say it’s painful to see their gas tanks fill up.

“It was brutal, honestly, like every day,” said Ragsdale, a student at Cuesta College.

Some people have 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 e-bike sales.

“Bikes have been very popular over the past few years because people want to get out and exercise,” explained Scott Clark, owner of Main Street Cycles. “I think what’s happening with the rise in petrol prices is that it’s brought more attention to cycling, so we’re seeing a slow increase in that.”

Foothill Cyclery in San Luis Obispo picks up on this trend.

“People who want to go to school with their children,” said Gianno Spera, sales associate at Foothill Cyclery. “There are different cargo bikes that allow that, and there are people who just want to run groceries.”

Prizes can range from $1,000 to $10,000 or even more, which is why opinions are divided.

“E-bikes are quite expensive, I have a manual bike, a normal bike but I don’t ride a lot. I’m used to walking or driving if I have to, but I’m trying less and less to use my car,” Ragsdale added.

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

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

“My e-bike is also pedal assist, so I can train and keep up with Mr. Bicycle Man here,” Johnston said. “It’s good for the environment, it gets you out into nature. My hybrid definitely helps with gas prices because it’s so expensive.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average price of a gallon of gasoline in San Luis Obispo County is $5.96, while Santa Barbara County sticks to $5.87. .

“Obviously, rising gas prices have spurred people’s interest in alternative modes of transportation,” Spera added.

Those that don’t necessarily require gas.

“You can take the battery out and charge it that way at home in a 120 volt outlet or some of them have the battery capacity inside 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 walking around saying, ‘Wow, that looks like fun. I think I want to check it out,” Clark said.

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

If you are considering an electric bike, there are local places where you can rent one or you can always ask a bike shop if you can give it a try.

To learn more about the rebates offered by the State of California for the purchase of electric bicycles, Click here.

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