Electrical bikes surge in reputation all through Quebec
Because of the pandemic, many people have been turning to outdoor activities. Among them, electric bikes are becoming a real hit throughout Quebec.
Bicycle shop owners Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu said they’re noticing a strong increase in sales for this type of bike.
“Right now, about 80 percent of the store’s sales are electric bikes. We sell at least three times what we did a few years ago,” said Pascal Deslauriers, owner of Vélozone.
“For us, it’s quite a change in such a short time. From 2018 to 2021, we went from selling 80 electric bikes to about 500. We even had to change the layout of the items in the store to give them more space,” noted Maxim Bruneau, co-owner of the Cycle LM.
While the pandemic may have helped, the two merchants said they had already seen the craze coming for several years, particularly because of a marked increase in sales in Europe.
Using electric bicycles for recreation is attracting many people, especially because of the assistance it offers during travel. Above all, it allows users to travel longer distances with less fatigue.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who had given up on cycling because of their fitness to get back into the sport. According to what I observe, people aged 60 and over are the most inclined to buy one because they want to keep moving,” said Patrick Desrosiers, owner of Messier Bicyclettes.
Bruneau also noted that electric bikes are attracting just as many women as men, the majority being aged 50 and over.
With prices rising in many areas, especially for gasoline, bike store owners are also starting to see an increase in customers using electric bikes for transportation.
“I’m seeing more and more people using them to get to work instead of a vehicle. It’s more economical, ecological and, thanks to the assistance, you don’t get to your destination in a sweat,” said Bruneau.
There are several varieties of electric bikes at prices that can range from $900 to about $10,000.
“There are motors that are in the wheel of the bike, which are more affordable. The pedal motors are more expensive, but they allow for greater autonomy for those who want to travel more distance,” said Desrosiers.
There are also bikes adapted to mountains and even ones with larger tires for winter riding.
People who want to buy an electric bike had better act quickly, though, since a parts shortage is making it difficult for merchants to supply them.
“It’s not easy to manage our inventory. I have a lot of people who have booked a year in advance to get a bike because of missing parts. Now, I’m also getting ahead of myself to have some in inventory. This year, as soon as the holidays came around, sales didn’t stop in anticipation of the summer,” said Deslauriers, who wanted to thank his employees for their efforts.
At Cycle LM, the co-owners got ahead of themselves to try to make up for the shortage.
“We took a certain risk by storing a good number of products in nine warehouses, but we can really see that electric bikes and even regular bikes remain in high demand,” said Bruneau.
– This report by Le Canada Français / The Local Journalism Initiative was first published in French on April 8, 2022