Fueled by the popularity of e-bikes, Speedy Pete is already moving to a bigger store in Lincoln | Local business news

President Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ bill could mean cheaper electric bikes and scooters as the country tries to move away from gas-powered cars. Noa Banayan, director of federal affairs at PeopleForBikes, joined Cheddar’s “Closing Bell” to provide information on the e-bike law included in Biden’s reconciliation bill that would provide tax credits for purchases. eligible. “We want to make sure, from a bicycle industry perspective, that this is a technology and a product available to the majority of Americans who want to reduce their carbon footprint and move faster by town and do everything they would normally do in a short car ride but on a bike, because it’s healthier, it’s fast, it’s efficient, you’re not in traffic jams,” a- she declared.



Speedy Pete wasted no time in outgrowing his new building near 27th and Randolph streets.

The electric bike store that opened two years ago on the former Ideal Grocery spot is moving and will double its space in a former bank at 48th and Van Dorn.

Owner Doug Long saw it coming. “It’s always in our heads. We don’t have enough sales space. We don’t have enough storage space. And the outdoor space there is something that pushed us.

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

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He and his daughter were cycling to Memorial Stadium one Saturday morning when she suffered a flat tire. They went to a bike shop and while they waited he took an electric bike for a ride.

“It was almost an epiphany,” he said. “I thought, ‘People are going to love this’.”

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Electric bikes have battery-powered motors that assist in pedaling or, in some cases, throttles that require no pedaling. Long was not a hard-core cyclist, but he saw an e-bike’s ability 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 you can on a normal bike.

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

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“And from the start, there were more smiles than anything I had ever seen,” said Kris Sonderup, owner of Cycle Works. “It didn’t matter if you were 15 or 60.”

But most of its buyers are closer to their sixties, cyclists who want to keep riding but are having a harder time.

“These let you go for a bike ride, and you’re not tired after an hour. Whatever challenge you might have, they keep you rolling.

For years, Sonderup’s e-bike sales have been steady but slow — his store usually kept one to two on the sales floor — but they started picking up several years ago.

Last Thursday, he had nearly 20 e-bikes ready for sale. “It’s been growing about 50% a year, jumping more and more. We have really grown year by year.

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Speedy Pete also started small.

After Long’s first try, he visited other bike shops, researched online and talked to e-bike owners. In 2018, it began selling e-bikes at its 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 stand-alone e-bike store.

He had started out selling bikes from just one manufacturer, but now his store carries models from nearly a dozen manufacturers, with around 70 bikes on the floor. Prices range from around $1,300 to over $7,000.

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

“Last year, the sale of bicycles was a very 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 started thinking about finding a bigger home for Speedy Pete’s.

He found it at the old Security First Bank. It likes its 3,000 square feet, large parking lot, access to the Billy Wolff Trail (and the nearby long hill at the back of the Holmes Lake Dam, which should win over undecided buyers).

But he’s still surprised how his test drive led to all of this. “I didn’t do this with the intention of getting into the bike business. The bike industry kind of grew organically.

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

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter

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