Driven by e-bike popularity, Speedy Pete’s already moved to larger store in Lincoln | Local Business News

President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill could mean cheaper electric bikes and scooters as the nation tries to shift away from gas-powered cars. Noah Banayan, the director of federal affairs at PeopleForBikes, joined Cheddar’s “Closing Bell” to provide some background on the E-Bike Act included in Biden’s Reconciliation Bill that would provide tax credits for eligible purchases. “We want to make sure, from the perspective of the bicycle industry, that this is a technology and a product that is available to the majority of Americans who want to reduce their carbon footprint and get to the city faster and everything. “do what they would normally do in a short car ride but on the bike, because it’s healthier, it’s fast, it’s efficient, you’re not in traffic,” she said.

Speedy Pete’s wasted some time growing his new building near 27th and Randolph streets.

The electric bike shop that opened two years ago at Ideal Grocery’s old place is moving out, and will double its space in a former bank on 48th and Van Dorn.

Owner Doug Long saw it coming. “It’s always in the back of us. We do not have enough store space. We do not have enough warehouse space. And the outside space there is something that drove us.”

The new store, which he hopes to open in mid-March, comes with a parking lot longer than a football field – enough space for his customers to try out their potential purchases and, long hoping, have the same experience he did in 2017 .

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He and his daughter were riding to Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning when they got a flat tire. They came to a bike shop, and while they were waiting, he took an e-bike for a ride.

“It was almost an epiphany,” he said. “I thought, ‘People will love this.'”

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E-bikes have battery-powered motors that help with pedaling or, in some cases, throttles that do not require pedals at all. Lang was not a cyclist, but he saw promise in the ability of an e-bike to neutralize the difficulties of riding – hills, wind, bad knees, fitter friends.

“I think it’s the freedom and the ability to go that far. You can explore so much more distance than on a normal bike.”

They are not new. One of Lincoln’s oldest bike shops sold its first e-bike nearly 15 years ago, a Trek 900.

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“And from the beginning, it had more boundary factor than anything I’ve ever seen,” said Kris Sonderup, owner of Cycle Works. “It did not matter if you were 15 or 60.”

But most of its buyers are closer to the 60, cyclists who want to drive through but find it harder.

“These you can go ride, and you’re not dog-tired after an hour. Whatever challenge you have, they can ride you.”

For years, Sonderup’s e-bike sales remained stable but slow – his shop typically held one to two on the sales floor – but they began to grow several years ago.

Last Thursday, he had nearly 20 e-bikes ready for sale. “It’s gone up about 50% year after year, up and up. We’ve really increased year after year.”

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Speedy Pete also started small.

After Long’s first test drive, he visited other bike shops, did online research and talked to e-bike owners. In 2018, he began selling e-bikes at his four Lincoln QP Ace Hardware stores. And when he built a new store the following year, he dedicated about 1,500 square feet of the building to a standalone e-bike store.

He started selling bikes from only one manufacturer, but now his shop has models from almost a dozen manufacturers – with about 70 bikes on the floor. Prices range from about $ 1,300 to over $ 7,000.

That has not deterred buyers, who lately seem to be gravitating towards more aggressive models – mountain bikes and fat bikes.

“Last year selling bikes was a really good year,” he said.

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After Doug and Lisa Long sold their QP stores to Westlake Ace Hardware in late 2020, he began thinking about finding a bigger home for Speedy Pete’s.

He found it at the former Security First Bank. He loves his 3,000-square-foot, large parking lot, access to the Billy Wolff Trail (and the nearby long hill at the back of Holmes Lake Dam, which should convince unsuspecting buyers).

But he is still surprised by how his promising test drive led to all this. “I did not do this with the intention of going into the bicycle business. The bicycle company just grew organically. “

Contact the author at 402-473-7254 or [email protected]

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter

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