Downtown News

« Back to news

Local veteran kicks off e-bike shop

Posted May 22nd, 2014

A former electrician's interest in innovative technology sparked an idea to open an e-bike shop.

"I'm into the new technology of electric vehicles of all sorts," said Mike Kelly, a military veteran from Eau Claire.

E-bikes are bicycles that have a small motor to assist the rider when pedaling.

"The more throttle you give it, the more power to the motor," Kelly described it.

Kelly first got the idea by experimenting with hub-motors, which arecompact electric motors built into the wheels. He thought the idea was clever, so bought a bike, and added the motor with a lithium battery to it. Kelly uses lithium batteries in his bikes because they get more energy instead of lead acid batteries.

He took the bike out for a test ride and the motor enabled him to pedal all the way up Madison St. hill. To this day, he remembers a group of girls cheering him on, yelling: "go, grandpa!"

Kelly said he saw e-bike sales rising rapidly. He thought to himself that because they were becoming popular; someone ought to bring them to the area. He

 opened his store on Apr. 1 at 431 Water St. 

"Chippewa Valley is a dead spot for electric bikes...let's get people off of using

 carbon fuel," he said.

Gloria Everts, Kelly's fiancée, said her and Kelly went to China this past September

 to research how the bikes work. E-bikes are replacing mopeds and small motorcycles in China, but have yet to gain the same status in the U.S.

 Both said the benefits of owning an e-bike is they do not require gas, make no noise, are eco-friendly, and high-tech. Kelly caters to a variety of customers with a mountain bike designed for college-age students to a bike designed for elderly, where they do not have to step over to sit on the bike, but can step through.

"Chippewa Valley is a dead spot for electric bikes...let's get people off of using carbon fuel," 

said Kelly.