Alaska’s first electric bike shop has moved to Spenard. Alaska eBike specializes in the sales, services and demos of electric bikes. Electric bikes have no throttle and are considered pedal-assist bikes.
“You have to actually pedal. It’s much like swimming with swim fins,” owner of Alaska eBike, Cary Shiflea said.
Shiflea originally opened up his shop in 2014 off of the Old Seward Highway. He moved his business to the Spenard neighborhood, an area of town that Shiflea believes is more retail-friendly.
“Seeing that they were doing all the bike improvements here in spenard, we were really excited to come down and find a much more bike-friendly neighborhood,” Shiflea said.
The soft opening was on Dec. 21, and a grand opening is being planned for February or March of 2018, when there is more light and market for bikes.
Electric bikes allow the rider to power longer and faster than the rider would normally be able to do on a regular bicycle. Shiflea says that electric bikes are best for older riders, people with medical issues, people who want to haul heavy amounts of gear on their bike and anyone who wants to commute.
“Most of our customers are older or have medical issues that don’t really allow them to fully enjoy biking as much as they used to. The extra assistance helps those people fall back in love with biking,” Shiflea said. “Benefits of an electric bike versus a regular bike is that you can commute and arrive not sweaty, you can load up 300 pounds of cargo and go out. With the electric assist, you are able to push the boundaries.”
Alaska eBikes encourages those who are curious or skeptical to come down to their shop and go for a free test run.
The building Alaska eBike has moved into is adjacent to Denali Dreams Soap Company and is most recognizable by its pink wall, which has served as a popular backdrop for local photographers and instagrammers for many years. The bike shop is currently weighing suggestions by the community of whether they should keep the wall pink or paint it slate grey.