Electric Bike Specialists have the perfect automotive alternative
Go ahead. Go to Main Street’s Electric Bicycle Specialists and look at those wonderful, power-assisted e-bikes. No one will call you lazy. Well, no one that reads this article.
According to shop owner Chandlee Caldwell, that is one of the misnomers about his product—that electric bikes are only for lazy people. “You can get a huge workout in half the distance of a regular bike,” says Caldwell. Then he adds, “if you want.”
I can see what he means. When I arrived at his shop, Caldwell handed me a helmet and suggested we take a ride. It being 95 degrees outside, I was dubious, but agreed.
Now I’m sorry I did.
Not because of the heat—but because I had more fun on two wheels than ever before. We rode down Main Street, turned up Market Street and pedaled all the way to Track 29 behind the Choo Choo. Neither of us even broke a sweat.
You may have been exposed to electric bikes before, but if it was more than a couple of years ago, you were looking at what is now ancient technology. The first electric bikes turned bicycles into something akin to a motor scooter. Today’s e-bikes use a technology called “torque sensing.”
What this means is that the bike is monitoring how much work you’re doing while pedaling, and then adding just enough power to make the pedaling easier. You have complete control over how much or how little assistance the motor gives you.
For me, it was a seamless transition when the motor kicked in. It simply felt like I was pedaling downhill instead of being pulled along the road by a motor. To experiment, I reduced the amount of help the bike gave me and found that it felt just like a regular bicycle. Turning up that assistance level made me feel like Superman.
“It definitely makes getting around town more fun,” says Caldwell. “I mean, you don’t have to look for parking. You just pull right up, lock it up and you’re in.” With a range of around 20 miles on a single charge, e-bikes are very attractive for city commuters.
A little quick math tells us that a commuter driving the average 20-mile round trip to work each day spends more than $600 every year just on gas for the commute.
“We have lot of people who are turning into single-car households with ease,” Caldwell says. “Then you’re not paying for insurance either. And when you’re not paying insurance, maintenance, gas or just paying off the car, you’re saving a lot of money.”
In fact, it’s completely possible for the $1,549-to-$3,000 e-bike to pay for itself in only one year. Want more to think about? By riding a bike (including an e-bike) daily, you get healthier. You may even save what you spend on a gym membership.
And, as Caldwell is quick to point out: “It’s just plain fun.”
Electric Bike Specialists, LLC
45 E. Main St. #104, Chattanooga, TN 37408
Hours: Wed-Sun: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. / Mon-Tues: Closed