Parking, pedestrians and streets crawling with traffic can make navigating a seashore community a nightmare for motorists during the summertime.
Bicycling is an ideal way to avert those issues while getting some fresh air and exercise at the same time, but the physical exertion involved in biking could take that option out of the equation for some folks.
Recently — thanks to the ever-evolving scope of modern technology — a business opened in Brigantine that markets bicycles with all the aerobic advantages of regular cycling, but with an accessory to lessen the stress of trying to pedal beyond a person's ability.
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On July 1, friends and business partners Deniz Yalcin and Eric Nabrzeski opened American Electric Cycle, a company at 3201 Brigantine Ave. that rents and sells an extensive line of bikes and scooters with high-tech electric motors on board as a drive mechanism or propulsion-assistance option.
“The technology is called pedal-electric assist, where you have setting options between zero and 100 percent that allow you to control how much the motor kicks in,” said Nabrzeski, a Brigantine resident originally from Voorhees Township. “So you can pedal it without any power or run the bike under full electric power, or have some combination in between.”
Some of the vehicles also have a throttle — like a gas motor without burning fossil fuel — that allows the operator to control the electric current to the wheels with a twist of the wrist. Depending on the make and model — which can range in purchase price from roughly $1,000 to more than $5,000 — bikes can travel a distance of 30 to more than 100 miles under a full electric charge. And like cell-phone technology, an onboard lithium battery retains its full capacity to power the vehicle until its charge is totally exhausted — it will not gradually lose power like the old nickel–cadmium rechargeable batteries did.
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The bikes and scooters sold or rented at American Electric Cycle fall within New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission rules for conventional bicycles — those that can be pedaled and not assisted by a motor greater than 1.5 horsepower, or capable of speeds in excess of 25 mph, which would require a special license and registration as either a moped or motorcycle.
Some of the models sold or rented feature the oversized tires that enable them to navigate soft sand, and can be ridden on beaches where permissible.
“Take some of the air out of the bigger tires, and it will ride on a beach, no problem,” said Yalcin.
Rental rates for electronic bikes or scooters range from $25 per hour up to $175 for three days. The shop is across 32nd Street from Ace Hardware in a building that Nabrzeski's grandfather — and that of his cousin and shop manager Jake Bleyhl — once operated as a grocery store decades ago.
For more info, call 609-800-5822 or go to americanelectriccycle.com.