U.P. bike shops see growing interest in electric bikes

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 5:09 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Electric bikes are becoming more common in Upper Michigan, we will surely see more as our weather warms up.

And now that bike season is here, bike shop owners are seeing a growing interest in them. In Marquette, Lakeshore bike owner Matt Calcaterra says people use them for general transportation because of rising gas prices and recreational fun.

They also help many who have trouble riding regular bikes.

“Perhaps they’ve have a knee injury or ankle injury that makes it very difficult to pedal with a regular bike. Now with the e-bike they can get out and pedal with that little extra assistance,” said Calcaterra.

And, they have become especially popular in U.P. communities with hills, including Marquette.

“A lot of people that live on the east side like to go on bike rides but coming home they have a big hill to go up and some people just don’t like to do that. The E-bike popularity in that general area has helped a lot.”

This is because e-bikes have a motor and battery, which differs from a regular bike.

“The e-bikes that we sell are pedal assist, you do have to pedal them to get the motor to engage and you choose three different levels of assist.”

At a Marquette City Commission meeting last week, the Marquette City Director of Community Services Jon Swenson explained e-bikes are also separated into three different classes.

“Class 1 is pedal assist, no throttle, 20 mph limit. Class 2 is 20mph limit with throttle and 3 is 28 mph limit with throttle,” said Swenson.

State law says all classes are allowed on roads and local pathways. However, e-bikes are not allowed on non-motorized natural surface trails, such as mountain bike trails, unless authorized by the landowner or land manager.

The Noquemanon Trail Network allows class 1 e-bikes on its south and north trails.

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