BLUE RIDGE CYCLE
SPRUCE PINE – Some of the finest electric bicycles money can buy are now available in downtown Spruce Pine.
Blue Ridge Cycle owner John Bailey sometimes displays the bikes on the sidewalk in front of his shop at 186 Oak Ave. Especially on busy days in downtown, he gets many compliments and even more people wanting to try his bikes.
Bailey opened the shop earlier this year and originally intended to rent the bikes to people interested in riding around Mitchell County or the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Patrons can still rent bikes – a one-hour rental is $25, a four-hour rental costs $60 and eight hours costs $90 – but Bailey said most of the people who ride immediately want to buy their own.
“Everybody comes back, and their face is hurting from grinning,” he said with a smile.
Bailey sells bikes made by California-based Electric Bike Company. The decision to pick Electric Bike Company didn’t come without deliberation.
“It’s a good product, and they’re engineered and built in the USA,” Bailey said. “I spent a little over a year researching every electric bike. There are a lot of gimmicks out there, but these bikes have no gears, and everything is automatic.”
The bikes utilize a small motor riders can use to gain speed by pushing down a small throttle switch on the right side of the handlebar. With a combination of the motor and manual peddling, riders can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour.
Each bike has hydraulic disc brakes on the front and back, real leather seats, handlebar covers and a small LED headlight.
“They are amazing,” Bailey said. “These guys have really covered their bases.”
Electric Bike Company makes just two models – the classic model-C and the model-S, which features a low center bar, ideal for women or those with knee problems or arthritis.
“This company is so good,” Bailey said. “When you make just two models, you get good at what you’re doing.”
Each bike can be custom-ordered. The body color, seat color and rim color can all be tailored to individual taste and buyers can add optional saddlebags, baskets and other accessories.
The bike batteries last more than 40 miles on a full charge and come with a five-year warranty. The motor has an 18-year life expectancy and a 10-year warranty.
Bailey, who is retired, enjoys riding the bikes with his seven grandchildren and his small dog, Lucy. For him, riding around town and letting others try the bikes for themselves are the two most effective forms of publicity.
Bailey added the humid summer and frequent rain since he opened have stunted business, but he hopes the fall will usher in plenty of new business as people search for transportation to take on the Parkway while enjoying the changing leaves.
“Most people around here haven’t heard of electric bikes,” Bailey said. “These bikes are not made to ride through the creeks and mountains. They’re made for comfort, cruising and enjoyment.”
Bailey said he is confident in the products he sells. When people ride them once, he added, they can’t wait to ride again.
Brand new bikes cost around $2,000-$2,600, depending on the included options. But older models with more miles on them can cost about $1,600.
“These aren’t regular bicycles, they’re heavy-duty,” Bailey said. “It’s a great product, and we have them right here in Spruce Pine.”
For more information, call Bailey at 828-925-1675, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook page at John Bailey Blue Ridge Cycle.