Older Americans, especially those 65+ are the real drivers of electric bike adoption in the United States.
Betty and Grady Smith of Beaumont Texas may not know it but they are the driving demographic for electric bicycles and tricycles. Both in thier eighties, the couple enjoys riding thier Worksman electric side-by-side tricycle around town.
As a business offering electric bike and trike conversion systems since 2008, we've gotten to know our customers and we've seen the market change drastically just in the past 6 years as buyers in the US learn more about electric bikes and thier advantages.
In 2008, the typical customer was buying out of necessity and pain at the pump. The average gallon of gas broke records that year exceeding $4 a gallon and the finacial bailout on Wall St. left a lot of Americans feeling a bit less finacially secure. Electric bike sellers used those market conditions in thier marketing and those messages worked to drive sales. Since then things have changed.
In 2014 the customer base at Electric Bike Technologies is primarily seniors. Aging baby-boomers and seniors have discovered that electric bikes allow them to do more, see more, and get more excercise than traditional senior mobility options. A typical incoming phone call to E-BikeKit now starts with... "you won't believe how old I am" or "I'm not as young as I used to be but I want to ride my bike more and I think this could help."
In 2013 the E-TrikeKit™ was the biggest seller for Electric Bike Technologies; 90% of those sales were to riders over 50 years of age (and skewed higher with the majority being over 65). These riders are the momentum in the e-bike market and they are using electrics to usher in a new era of senior mobility.
Senior mobility in the Unites States is big business and for good reason. Today's seniors are more active than previous generations and they're a lot more independent. Mobility scooters have a large presence in the US but what the market tells us, is that these scooters are cumbersome, slow, and even demoralizing. Mobility scooters provide almost zero opportunity for physical activity. These kinds of scooters leave seniors looking more like vulnerable turtles crossing the road than independent people out and about with purpose.
One the other end are the golf carts... In many communities seniors regularly use golf carts to get around. Golf carts are nice if you can afford one but they are expensive and again, provide no physical benefit. Golf carts are also mostly restricted to private senior communities and are not allowed or welcome in public areas.
So, what's less expensive than a golf cart, and less demoralizing than a senior mobility scooter? The answer is e-bikes and in 2014, seniors, not afraid of new technologies, are embracing electric bikes faster than any other deomographic. They are affordable, they’re agile, and they allow for (and encourage) much more physical participation. Above all that though… seniors like having fun too. Checkout the letter below from Betty Smith...
A personal letter received by Betty Smith...
I am sending you a picture of my husband and me on the tricycle. I wanted a surrey with a fringe on top, so I made a new top and added the fringe I bought at a fabric shop for $20.00. We get a lot of attention when we ride through our neighborhood. Our grandchildren really love to ride it especially when we go to a Corps of Engineers Park on Sam Rayburn Lake.
My husband's doctor said it was perfect for strengthening his legs and his health in general. He has had 2 heart attacks, 5 stints, cancer. Diabetes and a heart valve replacement which resulted in total blindness. He is 82 and I am 80.
We have a perfect love story. We met in college (Lamar University Beaumont, Texas) in 1952. We became very good friends working together in the music department and Baptist Student Center. We didn't date because we were dating people who were not enrolled in college. We married others and raised families. I became a widow after 25 years of marriage and stayed a widow for 23 years. Grady was married for 52 years before his wife died of breast cancer. Our families were close and Grady and I worked in the music department in our church all these years. After his wife died it just seemed logical for us to become close again. We had a huge church wedding and have been married for 7 years now.
We hope our tricycle will help us to stay healthy so we can have many more years together.
Betty and Grady
Beaumont, Texas 77713
Please Share the Smith's Electric Tricycle Story! Comments and discussion welcome below. Already own an E-BikeKit>™ or E-TrikeKit™ and want to share your story with the world? Shoot us an email with at least 1 picture and your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we feature YOUR E-BikeKit™ Story in our Newsletter, we'll send you a personal coupon code for $50!