North Carolina’s first electric bike retailer, Pedego Electric Bikes, opened in the Renaissance Village shopping center in January.
Owner Don Tuttle explains that his path from retirement to owning the first Pedego bike dealership in North Carolina actually started years ago, with his own Pedego e-bike. He would often park at his beach house in San Diego and then leave his car untouched for days, opting to buzz around on his own Pedego e-bike. Don’s children went to college at UNC, and Don grew fond of North Carolina. After retiring, he sold his properties in California and found his home here. When Don tried to have his Pedego bike shipped to his new home to be reassembled, he realized there wasn’t a Pedego bike dealer in the area. Upon discussing the business potential in North Carolina with Pedego’s founders, Don was presented with the opportunity to become a Pedego dealer. The combination of Don’s overall disinterest in retirement – “I’m not much of a retired guy… I can only play so much golf,” he says – and his own passion for Pedego prompted him to take the job.
Don describes customers’ initial response to Pedego bikes as one of curiosity. With a price tag between $2,300 to as much as $5,700, the bike isn’t cheap; before committing, Don recommends people come in and rent the bikes – the Durham retailer is only 200 yards from the American Tobacco Trail. After a couple of hours on the ATT, the rider can get a feel of what a Pedego bike can provide. Then, they are welcome to test ride the different varieties and see which style they prefer. While the cruisers would be fitting for our local roads, there’s a wide selection ranging from classic road e-bikes to ones that can tread through sand and snow.
Although Pedego bikes are new to Durham, e-bikes have been a staple in Europe and are often seen whizzing around the West Coast, too. Don credits Pedego’s popularity to its small but powerful battery. The battery, which takes about four hours to fully charge from depletion, has between 30 and 60 miles of range and provides throttle assistance to the rider. The power that’s utilized is dependent on the rider, meaning the rider can craft their own workout. This adjustability is ideal for people with physical challenges, such as bad knees or backs, enabling them to reap the fitness benefits while also enjoying the ride.
A trip on a Pedego bike can go from an effortless cruise with no pedaling to sweat-inducing cardio. Don shares that customers love that aspect and explains that, with this feature, “You’re never too far from home, you can always get back, no matter how tired you are.”