During COVID-19, e-bikes are being billed as an ideal pandemic activity.
“They’re the perfect social-distancing vehicle,” says Don DiCostanzo, cofounder of Fountain Valley–based Pedego, one of the largest sellers of electric bikes in the U.S. “You automatically have 3 feet in front and 3 feet in back. And it’s something you can do outdoors as a group.”
DiCostanzo has been in the e-bike business since 2007, when he opened his first Pedego shop in Newport Beach. “I’ve been waiting for a breakout year ever since,” he says. “Who knew it would come in the middle of a pandemic?”
A report from Deloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications group, a consulting company, confirms the increased interest in electric bikes. It predicts that between 2020 and 2023, more than 130 million electric bicycles will be sold globally. To put that in perspective, at the end of 2018, only 5.1 million electric vehicles (automobiles and trucks) were in use.
Throughout the pandemic, bike shops were declared an essential business, so Pedego 101 Electric Bikes in Westlake remained open, servicing customers who came in to tune up their old bikes or purchase new ones. “We’ve been incredibly busy,” says Linda Coburn, who owns the shop with her husband, John Tajiri.
“A lot of people told me the bikes were saving their sanity,” Coburn adds. “It’s something they can do outdoors, it’s considered safe, it’s fun and exercise. And they can do it with other people in their family because everyone is on the same playing field. It doesn’t matter how strong or fit you are.”