Tom Ward took his first spin on an electric bike in 2015 and quickly ordered one. Now he owns a shop selling e-bikes.
“I actually loved them so much I started a business,” said Ward, who lives and grew up in North Kingstown. He started it from his home initially, in November 2019. He opened the shop – across from the Post Office in the former Busy Bee florist location – in September.
E-bikes are not motorcycles or even mopeds. To remain “bikes” they have to have less than 60 volts and 750 watts of power so they can stay under 28 mph (the e-bike limit). Most bikes have enough power to go 20 to 25 mph, Ward said. He said e-bikes are just like bikes, with shifting capability and brakes. There are three modes: pedal assist, all electric, or just as a regular bike.
“With an e-bike, you are going to use it a lot more,” Ward said. You can ride it a good distance and not be worn out. Not surprisingly, both because of the expense and the electric boost, Ward’s clientele skews 35 and older.
Just like regular bikes, there are different types – those for cruising, bikes that fold in two for easy transporting (and I watched – it took second to fold the Freego he had in the floor). In addition to Freego, Ward sells Kontax and Aostirmotor. Prices start at around $1,000.
Ward did not give up his day job (he’s a pipe fitter at Electric Boat) and the shop hours reflect that. He’s open from 3 to 7 Monday, Thursday and Friday, 9 to 4 Saturday and 11 to 4 Sunday. The store will close Dec. 23 for the holidays and will be open by appointment only in January and February.