Electric bikes brings a twist to traditional bike riding

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- "The best thing about an e-bike... it's really really fun," Len Mattioli, owner of Crazy Lenny's E-Bikes said.

Popular in China and Europe, each area selling around one million electric bikes last year. Electric bikes are trending upward in the United States, raising sales from around 70,000 in 2011 to just under 500,000 in 2018.

"At it's core, it's a traditional bike," Mattioli said, "but this bike helps you get over those darn hills you don't want to face and you can keep enjoying your ride."

The largest demographic Mattioli says he sells to is 50-65 years-old. "With an e-bike, you can bike leisurely to the farmer's market and bike, then still be able to cook lunch or have the energy to be with friends and family," Mattioli said.

According to Mattioli, putting it into perspective, traveling from West Towne Mall to East Towne Mall would take an hour and twenty-four minutes on a non-electric bike. On an e-bike, Mattioli said it would take just under an hour.

There are rules and regulations in Wisconsin when riding and owning an e-bike. According to the City of Madison Engineering Department, "Electric bicycle operators follow essentially the same rules of the road as bicyclists. Note that these are the same rules as for motor vehicle drivers as well."

Electric bikes can only be used on shared paths WITHOUT the motor running, the same rule applies for sidewalks and crosswalks. Electric bikes need to be registered with the city. You can find that information: here. Electric bikes can be used with the motor on roadways and designated bike lanes on roadways.

Crazy Lenny's E-bikes is the largest e-bike store in the United States, selling over 3,000 bikes in 2018.

The costs range from $750-$9,000, there are over 400 types of e-bikes. "Whatever the occasion, there's an e-bike for it," Mattioli said.

More information on electric bikes: click here.