A new first of its kind store is celebrating its opening in northwest Philadelphia Thursday. Philly Electric Wheels is devoted to selling electric bicycles and tricycles, which cost about a penny a mile to power.
Advocates say the vehicles – generically called cycles – are ideal for drivers looking to save money, and bikers looking for a little extra help.
Listen: [audio: 091015lfbike.mp3]
The electric cycles’ battery plugs into a traditional wall outlet. In four to eight hours the battery is fully charged and can power the cycle for 20-30 miles without any pedaling.
Afshin Kaigobady owns the Mt. Airy store.
Kaigobady: When you’re on a flat area it acts just like a regular bicycle but when you come up to a hill you can press the button and engage the motor so it will help you go up the hill or keep pace with the other person you’re riding with.
Kaigobady says the electric cycles go up to twenty miles per hour.
The Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia says electric cycles make sense for disabled and injured bikers or those who regularly cross big hills, but they cost more and weigh more than traditional people-powered versions.