New e-bike store adds to Eugene’s growing popularity

Before the pandemic, e-bikes, or e-bikes, were already one of the fastest growing sectors in the transportation industry. Today, with more and more people taking an interest in outdoor recreation, sales have exploded globally. A new e-bike shop Eugene hopes to be part of the trend, and change experts predict it will be the future of commuting.

Co-owner John Hekimoglu said the inspiration behind the name Electric Avenue Sports came from Eddy Grant’s song that plays during the opening scene of the movie Pineapple Express.

“Two guys are driving and they notice they’re listening to the same song and they just say ‘hey’, they couldn’t be further apart in terms of who they are but they both like the song and I was like that’s the song everybody loves, he said.

John and his brother Hakan say they have sold more than two dozen e-bikes and e-scooters since opening just over a month ago. Prices for these bikes range from $900 to $3,300. GoCycles and Unagi scooters are the most popular. Sales are better than expected, but they are not immune to pandemic shortages.

“The biggest hurdle we’ve had is not getting these things out, but doing more so we can do more,” John said.

To circumvent this. John says they source the bikes from IndieGoGo and more established American, German and Taiwanese companies. Even so, Hakan said they were selective.

“It’s our job to not only read people’s wants and needs, but also to find products that are reliable, durable, with good customer service,” Hakan said.

John and Hakan enter the business at a time when experts before the pandemic predicted the market would reach 46 billion dollars worldwide by 2026. Hakan attributes the popularity to the bike’s versatility and environmental friendliness.

“We’ve also seen an influx of traffic for people looking to find a way to exercise, to get out and enjoy their time, to go further, to explore more, so we’ve seen the boom “, said Hakan. “That happens.”

The City of Eugene’s transportation options coordinator, Shane Rhodes, said the city has also taken notice and is ready. He says the city’s current bike system, which has placed Eugene on many “best places to bike lists,” was spurred on by the early boom of the 1970s.

“We’re now making the kind of improvements during this bike boom that will kind of take us to the next level,” he said,

the Open Streets Program in the Bethel area and protected area bike path on 13and Street, which is set to wrap up soon, are both focused on developing a more robust bike network, Rhodes said.

“We’re not only going to be one of the best cycling cities in America, but I think we’re going to be one of the best cycling cities in the world. Where people are like ‘oh yeah when you go to this city, c It’s very easy to use a bike to get anywhere.

He adds that Eugene may not have completed all the infrastructure in five years, but in ten years it is a real possibility.

“I think 10 years from now we will definitely have an active transportation network of these protected bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, all connected to this really good existing system that we had with our Riverbank trail system, and Amazon , and Fernridge path, and all of those will be linked,” Rhodes said.

He noted that people will still be able to pass through these places, but these journeys could be made on electric vehicles.

“It’s going into a very interesting world of transportation,” he said.

Copyright 2020, KLCC

Maria R. Newman