No license required: Penn Valley ebike offer a boost to those who thought their riding days were over
July 8, 2018
In the corner of a shopping center near Lake Wildwood, a storefront with bright green paint can be found.
"I've had multiple companies in the past, and every company was identified by a color," said Dion Reif, the owner of the shop. "I'd had every color except for green. It gives it a different look. My checks match and everything — green checks for the green company. I did get teased for a while, because when we first painted it, there was no name on it. So people thought that maybe we were cannabis dealers."
But this shop is no dispensary.
This is Sierra EBike, which opened around Christmas of last year. It has since doubled the size of the service department, doubled the storage and tripled the showroom in about six months. Though the store only sells electric bikes, it will service and repair any type of bike.
Yes, any type of bike.
"We've even had people bring in their stationary exercise bike," Reif said.
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But their bread and butter are their ebikes. Ebikes stands for electrical bikes. These are not motorcycles — they follow all of the requirements of a Class 2 Bicycle (a motor under 750 watts and it cannot assist the rider in pedal assist or throttle assist in excess of 20 mph).
These bikes can go up to 25 miles on a single charge, and give assistance pedaling up to 20 mph. But they can still act as a normal bicycle if the computer isn't turned on. No insurance or license is required to ride or purchase them.
Reif prides himself on the customer experience.
"We take [customers] outside and we let them demo each bike in the parking lot," Reif said. "You can't do that when you're buying on the internet."
He said they take the customers through the whole process of understanding the ebike, fitting it, getting any modifications made, and finding necessary (or cosmetic) accessories.
Reif's inspiration for the company came from a medical standpoint. After a series of medical problems, he retired and came across the idea of an ebike, where he could ride a bike, not wear himself out, and be able to come home safely. This was a similar story that a customer had — ebiking was better on their knees after having two knee surgeries.
But for those who don't have a need for the electrical component of the bike every time they ride, an ebike may still be a good investment.
"My brother in law has a downhill single track specialized bike," Reif said. "He spent $5,800 on a standard bike. (A bike in the showroom) is a 2018 mid-drive with a Yamaha motor on it. That bike is at a 2018 full suspension. It's $3,799. It is less than his bike without a motor."
Going forward, Reif expects to finish a customer bar, adding stools so the customers can talk to the technicians while they're working. He also anticipates another television on the wall.
"We try to create an environment that's fun," Reif said. "It's kickback culture here, and that's why our slogan is Ride, Relax, Repeat."
Sierra Ebike has donated a pedal assist folding bike to Sierra EBike Raffle. All of the proceeds will go to benefit Northern Californian injured war veterans. This raffle his hosted by Lake Wildwood Golf Club and Patriots Honor.
Tickets are $20 each, or three for $50, and are available at Sierra Ebike and at Unique Boutique, both at the Holiday Shopping Center at Gate 1 near Lake Wildwood. The winner will be announced on July 25 at the Injured Veterans Golf Tournament.
Sarah Hunter is a University of Nevada journalism student and intern with The Union. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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