Electronic bikes, or E bikes are now legal to ride on Sioux Falls bike trails, sidewalks and city streets. So what is an E bike? Here’s a look.
Harold Christensen rides nearly three miles on his brand new E bike every day just going to and from work.
“I went to an E bike because it’s kind of an old age thing. If I didn’t get an E bike with the pedal assist, then I might be slowing down on having a bicycle and I love my bicycle,” said bike enthusiast Harold Christensen.
Christensen says his E bike is just like a regular bicycle. You can’t crack the throttle and take off like a motorcycle or moped.
“It’s a bicycle. You still have to pedal. If you stop pedaling, you lose all of the assist and that is what I want. I don’t want anything that’s going to run away from me,” said Christensen.
“You’ve got a battery hidden in the rack on the back and then the motor is actually in the middle of the frame,” said Chad Pickard from Spoke N Sport.
Spoke N Sport owner Chad Pickard says E bikes are growing in popularity not just in KELOLAND, but across the country. The E bikes here start at $2,000 and go up.
“It’s been great for us. We’ve sold quite a few. It’s been surprising for us. Definitely going to be selling a lot in the next year and certainly stocking a lot more options,” said Pickard.
Pickard says some people worry about the speed of the E bikes but they shouldn’t.
“Common speeds for the E bikes are between 15 and 16 mph on streets and a little slower on the bike trails just because of the curves and narrow lanes, so average, 14 to 16,” said Pickard.
In fact, the pedal assist cuts off at 20 miles per hour and that’s just fine with Christensen who sometimes uses his E bike to haul a load.
“I hauled a 40 pound bag of water softener salt from the grocery store, so yes, I love it!” said Christensen.
Chad Pickard says he expects legislation to be introduced in Pierre this session to make class one E bikes legal every where in South Dakota.