Rapid City recently approved electric bicycles for use on the city’s streets and bike paths. And Rapid City e-bike dealers are planning a demonstration for people who want to find out what e-bikes are all about.
E-bikes work essentially the same way as regular bicycles. But they add a little more muscle when it’s needed. That comes from a motor next to the peddles and a battery attached to the frame.
The electric motor doesn’t run all the time. You have to keep peddling in order for it to provide power. It’s sort of like power steering on a car. It doesn’t do all the work, but it does enough to make the experience pleasant.
“You have to peddle. Just like a regular bike. You have to peddle all the time if you want the motor to assist you. There is no throttle. So, if you’re peddling, the bike helps you peddle,” said Josh Dailey, with Acme Bicycles in Rapid City.
“It’s kind of nice. You get the assist on the bike when you’re going up the hills. It helps you out. It gets more people out riding,” said cyclist Mark Thompson of Rapid City.
And that’s the point of all this, according to Dailey and Thompson: To get more people out bicycling. To give that effort an additional boost, the bicycle dealers in Rapid City are giving people a chance to look over their new e-bikes and take one for a ride on Friday. The e-bike demonstrators will be on display at Founders Park next to the Big Fish on Omaha starting at about 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
The dealers say they are expecting questions like: how fast can they go?
“Most of them are governed at about 20 mph. So, if you’re peddling faster than that, you can go faster than that. But the motor will shut off at 20 mph,” said Dailey.
Another question that will probably come up: how far can they go?
“If you’re riding off-road trails, most of them will do 25 to 35 miles. If you’re riding the bike path or on the road, uh, up to 60,” said Dailey.
He said the battery will be fully charged if plugged in overnight.