E-bikes debut on Columbia streets and trails

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COLUMBIA - Move over motorcyclists and cyclists, e-cyclists are hitting the scene. GetAbout Columbia showed off a few electronic bicycles or e-bikes Monday in order to raise awareness of this uncommon mode of transportation.

The machine is a regular bicycle with an electric motor attached that is activated either by the use of a throttle or peddling. While it uses some leg work, it can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour.

Ted Curtis works for the City of Columbia and said it's been a push to get more people on bikes. He says e-bikes are a great option to get more people out on the trails.

"They ride it more than a regular bike, they will go further, they are using them for errands, just because it's a lot of fun as opposed to 'ahh, I gotta go out and sweat'," Curtis said.

The push has come on the heels of a high demand in European and Asian cities with large biking populations. But Karl Kimbel, the owner of Klunks bike shop doesn't think e-bikes are all that wonderful.

"They are heavy, the batteries don't last, and when you run out of power, you've got a really heavy bike to pedal around," Kimbel said.

Kimbel said while he would fix an e-bike's non-electric issues, he doesn't plan on selling them.

Curtis hopes to see more and more people interested in e-bikes.

No bike stores in Columbia currently sell e-bikes, but they are looking into carrying them soon.