Move over, Bird. There's a new electric scooter in town. Pedego, the electric bike dealership that opened in November of last year at 5702 La Jolla Blvd., is expanding its retail space, its product line, and venturing into territory that sets up this Bird Rock shop as the flagship store for the entire Pedego company.
The independently owned store is expanding from 2,200 to 3,900 square feet. Co-owner Tracy Sheffer (along with co-owner Terry Galka) is excited about the growth spurt: "We took down the walls that we had actually built and now we're expanding our inventory, expanding our experience. We're getting some very prominent brands of fitness and beach-lifestyle apparel and accessories. And we're building a 'grandma and grandpa shop' where grandparents can buy products for their grandkids."
Along with the 15 styles of electric bikes they offer for kids, adults and seniors, they're adding electric skateboards, electric one-wheels, and electric scooters to the mix. And Sheffer thanks the scooter company, Bird, for the idea. "What Bird has done is create awareness of the scooter category. Now we have people calling wanting to purchase scooters from us. We've responded to that."
But what Sheffer doesn't appreciate is the chaos Bird scooters have brought to the community.
"It is a disaster right now, no two ways about it," she said. "It's something that needed to be managed appropriately from the outset, and that's not just the manufacturer's fault, it's also the City's fault. I actually stand out on the sidewalk and educate scooters when they ride by. I help them to understand there are laws being broken, and just to be careful."
Some of those laws include riding without a helmet, riding tandem, riding on the sidewalk, and riding under age 16 without a license. Sheffer says that Pedego rents helmets now as a service to scooter riders — something the store has never done before.
Educating riders of all electric vehicles is at the top of Sheffer's list, including the facts about fitness for electric bikes. "You actually get more exercise with an electric bike. That's why parents are buying them for their kids. They're trying to get them off the computer and out from in front of the TV to riding bikes again." she said.
When you ride an electric bike, you have to pedal for the electric motor to kick in. Then you can adjust how much assistance you want from the electric power with five different settings, plus a throttle setting for a boost of power.
"So you do the work and the electric bike supports you in that effort," Sheffer added. "You also ride further. You ride up hills that you would otherwise never attempt on a beach cruiser or even a road bike." And she walks her talk. She commutes daily from Cardiff-by-the-Sea on her electric bike, which is a 15.2-mile trip.
The bikes can go up to 60 miles on a single charge and they use the same battery technology as a Tesla. They range in price from $2,295 to $5,495. They can also be rented by the hour for $20 to $35, and by the day for $75 to $120. You can also rent the bikes for three days, weekly or monthly. Pedego also has a rent-to-own policy. Sheffer says half of their customers are tourists and half are residents.
Pedego has been the No. 1 electric bike brand in the industry for 10 years. It has 126 dealerships around the world. All but a handful were launched by people in their 50s and older — a demographic that also makes up Pedego's primary market. Its tag line is "Hello Fun!" but many people are buying the bikes to become more fit and healthy.
"We know when people get on these bikes, it's a love relationship from Day 1. The minute they ride these bikes, they understand the value," Sheffer said. And she sees nothing but blue skies and miles of bike path ahead: "In a year from now, I'd like to be doing the same thing, just more of it. I feel so blessed every day that I get to wake up and provide fun to people. And on top of it, you get some exercise and become more healthy along the way."
Questions? Pedego is at 5702 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla. (858) 291-8845. pedegoelectricbikes.com
— Business Spotlight features commercial enterprises that support this publication.