Remember what it felt like taking those training wheels off your bicycle? That feeling of nervousness down-shifts in your stomach to reveal those first feelings of giddy independence. This is when you get an initial taste of the freedom cycling can offer. For some, this passion never leaves and for others, it’s rediscovered when the right bicycle comes along.
Mark Noland knew he loved cycling when he first started riding his own bike at the age of 6, but it never became a big hobby. Then more recently, when reading about electric bikes, he was intrigued. Similar to a regular bicycle, an electric bike pedals and manages like all the bikes we used to ride down the street to our best friend’s house. Don’t be fooled, though, the electric feature isn’t there to replace the human element, but to assist it. The electric aspect makes hills and strong winds more manageable so you can travel further without having to pull over or becoming too tired.
With all these fantastic biking benefits, Mark wanted to check one out. “When I was traveling with family in the Netherlands, I had the opportunity to try one,” Mark says. He enjoyed his experience and at that point, Mark says he knew this type of bike was going to become popular worldwide. Upon his return home, he began researching the electric bike field and found a brand that met his high standards. After speaking with the company he says, “I bought two bikes. One for myself and one for my wife.” And the rest is history.
Pedego Louisville on Bardstown Road was established by Mark and his wife, Jo Anne in 2018. Pedego Louisville’s website states it’s “the go-to destination for electric bike sales, rentals, tours, and service in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.” Mark’s experience riding in the Netherlands in 2016 was indeed the catalyst for opening up this innovative bike shop. When Mark and Jo Anne chose their bikes, Pedego’s reputation was stellar and the clear choice for distribution in their shop.
When stopping into the Pedego Louisville store in the Highlands, you might be met by Mark or perhaps one of his sons. “Three of my sons are involved in the store,” Mark says. He enjoys working with his family and says one of the first questions you may be asked when discussing an electric bike is, “Have you ever struggled to go uphill?” A smile, nod, or a “yes” is the answer Mark receives most of the time. He then goes on to clarify how this strain is eliminated.
Mark takes time out to explain how cycling uphill differs with an electric bike, “The typical electric bike gives you extra power with pedaling so instead of struggling you pedal normally.” He even lets his prospective buyers test ride one to experience this favorable phenomenon firsthand. Mark says the first word he hears from almost everyone after riding is “Awesome!” And along with that favorable response comes a great big smile.
The good news about biking, in general, is that it builds leg strength, promotes healthy weight management, works core muscles, and can boost mental health. Bring an electric bike into your life and you’ll get all these same benefits. According to the Pedego website, recent studies have shown that electric bikers can get the same high-intensity workouts similar to those on traditional bikes but without feeling as physically strained. So for those looking to get a great workout, but also need to control the pace, an electric bike fits the bill.
When shopping for an electric bike, Mark suggests first checking out the manufacturer’s reliability factor. Do some research into the company’s track record and then make sure the bike meets your particular needs. Once you’ve established these first factors, look into whether or not the company offers a warranty and for how long. Another key component in making your decision is what happens if a part fails? Will the company offer a replacement and/or repairs? These are areas to look into when searching for your perfect bike.
Mark says an electric bike can range in price anywhere from $1,500 to $4,500. Most models hover around the $3,000 price range. Once you’ve found the bike for you, the good news is Louisville has no shortage of trails to explore. One of Mark’s favorites is located in Cherokee Park. “It’s the Cherokee Park Loop Trail. It’s two and a half miles without any traffic,” Mark says. Mark will often escort his customers on their very first ride through this trail to go over the details of their new bike while cycling.
Mark has never really set mileage goals to be checked off every week or resolutions that he forces himself to accomplish. “I’m very much the other way,” Mark says. He rides for his own enjoyment saying that never having to struggle uphill is one aspect he truly loves about cycling. Still, he bikes almost daily to his store. “The shop is about 10 minutes away and that’s a pretty good ride,” Mark says.
Biking has many rewarding health and mental benefits to offer its riders. Electric bikes offer these same benefits plus some extras for those interested in a little added electric boost when needed—not to mention it’s just plain fun. “The greatest reward I’ve found in opening my shop is putting smiles on people’s faces,” Mark says.
By Tonilyn Hornung | Photos by Erika Doll