Electric bicycles are becoming increasing popular and are being seen more frequently on local streets. The increase in public bikes and electric scooters are also indicative of a trend to reduce traffic with personal options for getting around town.
Whatever the motivation for the trend in e-bikes, one thing seemed obvious as a casual observer – they do look like fun. In our continued effort to provide the local community with scientifically researched stories, several members of the staff embarked on a test-drive to see how these gas-saving devices worked.
Of course, not wanting to shell out thousands of dollars on bikes, we discovered that local retailer, Wild Native, now offers e-bikes for rent. We reserved several bikes with Wild Native owner, and Seal Beach native, EJ Liston, for a recent Friday afternoon test drive.
After a short tutorial from Liston, on how the bikes work we were off. These particular bikes were Rad Power Bike. Wild Native retail shop sells usual beach wear and items, but has also been offering rental of beach needs, such chairs and umbrellas. The bikes followed that idea.
“Basically, expanding the rentals with the bikes,” Liston said.
Liston and her store seem to have found a niche in Seal Beach and the store has kept her busy. She has also developed some side business making commissioned mosaic art pieces. She has a fine arts degree with an emphasis in 3D design. On the day we took our bike ride, there was a rhinestone mosaic in progress for local jewelry story Suzie Diamonds.
Once our Sun staffers were set up on the bikes, we headed through old town, towards Long Beach. The bikes have five pedal assist levels, but I stayed on two and had more than enough power to get up two full speed. The bikes have a maximum speed of 20 mph, but when you’re on them, it feels much faster.
We cruised effortlessly to Belmont Shore and stopped at the Tap House for some refreshments and a happy hour snack. Side note: the tater tots with buffalo sauce, blue cheese and other things are pretty good, as was the vegetarian ceviche. On the way back, the crew had become familiar enough with the performance of the bikes that everyone was comfortable with the acceleration, breaking and handling of the bikes.
Like riding a bike, you never forget, this time it just took a bit to adjust two the power aspects. The bikes are available for two-hour segments, or can be rented for full day, or even multiple days. Liston said she is optimistic about the upcoming summer season.
“I can definitely see more people here in Seal Beach, compared to last spring,” Liston said.
For more information, call 562-240-5366 or visit wildnativesealbeach.com.