Electric-powered Pedego bikes have arrived in Philadelphia, and soon they may be filling streets and bike lanes.

Tim Seitz said he decided to open a Pedego dealership in Philadelphia while talking to his sister, who has multiple sclerosis. She lives in Rhode Island near a long bike trail, but due to her illness was concerned that she might not be able to make it back if she started having leg problems while 10 miles away from home.

"I said, 'I'll get you one of these Pedego electric bikes they've got out here for Christmas," Seitz, formerly of California, recalled. 'And it just hit me — nobody's selling these back east."

 

The electric Pedego bike, with a battery-powered motor that can propel riders up to 20 miles per hour, was officially introduced to Philadelphia three weeks ago when Seitz opened his shop at Spring Garden and 31st, across the Schuylkill from the Art Museum.

Since then, business has taken off, he said.

"Our motto is, 'Hello fun,' because it is, it just is. The first time I rode one I was hooked," Seitz said.

A Pedego rider can pedal themselves, but the engine, controlled by a motorcycle-like throttle, is surprisingly powerful.

"It's pretty thrilling," said Helen Kuhn after test-riding a Pedego. "You're not used to it, because it goes so fast."

Customers range from commuters traveling to work in Bala Cynwyd or Center City, to older folks who have trouble with traditional bikes, to suburban police departments, Seitz said.

"The cycling community's been slow to accept electric because they're like, 'Oh, it's cheating,'" Seitz said. "But it's not cheating, it's getting older people back on bikes, because biking is fun."

For people with knee or hip replacements, Pedego can be a way to get back into biking. For commuters, it's a way to make life easier, Seitz said.

"I love the 4th Street Deli. From here, I can get there in seven minutes — no parking tickets, no gas," said Seitz, at his West Philly store. "I haven't ridden my car in three months. It really is wonderful."

Ready to ride?


Pedego, created in 2007, is sold worldwide and the various models cost $2,000-$3,000.

The lithium battery is rechargeable and fits on the back of the bike.

Tires have reinforced Kevlar siding.

In addition to Pedego Philly, new dealerships are popping up in Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Ohio.

Riders must be 16 or older.

For more information, visit www.pedegophl.com or www.pedegoelectricbikes.com.

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