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New E-Bike Store Adds To Growing Popularity In Eugene

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Melorie Begay/KLCC News
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Pre-pandemic, electric bikes, or E-bikes, were already one of the fastest growing sectors in the transportation industry. Now, with more people taking an interest in outdoor recreation, sales have skyrocketed globally. A new Eugene e-bike store is hoping to be a part of the trend, and the shift experts predict will be the future of commuting.

Co-owner John Hekimoglu said the inspiration behind the name Electric Avenue Sports came from the Eddy Grant song that plays during the opening scene of the movie Pineapple Express.

“Two guys are driving and they notice that they’re listening to same song and they kinda just go ‘hey’, they couldn’t be further be farther apart in terms of who they are but they both love the song and I was like this is the song that everybody loves,” he said.

John and his brother Hakan say they’ve sold more than two dozen electric bikes and e-scooters since opening just over a month ago. The prices on those bikes range from $900 to $3,300. GoCycles and Unagi scooters the most popular.Sales are better than they expected, but they’re not immune to pandemic shortages.

“The biggest obstacles we’ve run into is not getting these things out the door, but it’s getting more in the door so we can get more out the door,” John said.

To get around this. John says they source bikes from IndieGoGo, and more established American, German, and Taiwanese companies. Even so, Hakan said they’re selective.

“It’s our job to not only read the wants and needs of the people, but also to find products that are reliable, sustainable, have good customer service,” Hakan said.

Both John and Hakan are entering the business at a time when experts before the pandemic were predicting the market would reach $46 billion dollars worldwide by 2026. Hakan attributes the popularity to the bike’s versatility and eco-friendliness.

“We have also seen an influx of traffic for people looking to find a way to exercise, go outside and enjoy their time go farther, go explore more, so we’ve seen the boom," Hakan said. "It’s happening.”

City of Eugene Transportation Options Coordinator Shane Rhodes said the city has also taken notice and is prepared. He says the city’s current biking system, which has put Eugene on many ‘Best Places to Cycle Lists’ was spurred by the first boom in the 70’s.

“We are making the kinds of improvements now during this bike boom that will sort of bring us up to that next level,” he said,

The Open Streets program in the Bethel area and the protected bike pathway on 13th Avenue, that’s close to wrapping soon, are both geared toward developing a more robust biking network, Rhodes said. 

“We will not only be one of the best bike cities in America, but I think that we’ll be one of the best bike cities in the world. Where people are like ‘oh yes when you go to this city it’s very easy to use a bike to get around to anywhere.”

He adds Eugene may not have all the infrastructure completed in five years, but in ten years it’s a real possibility.

"I think by 10 years, we will definitely have an active transportation network of these protected bikeways, of neighborhood greenways all linking to this existing really good system that we had with our Riverbank path system, and Amazon, and Fernridge path, and all of those will be linked," Rhodes said. 

He noted people will still be able to drive through those places, but those trips could be taken on electric vehicles.

"It's going to a very interting transportation world," he said.

Copyright 2020, KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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