Omaha is quietly leading the charge for the electric bike revolution in the United States. One local bike shop, Omaha Bicycle Co. is changing the way Omahans get around! In April this year, KMTV 3 News Now visited with Sarah from OBC to discuss the reasons why ebikes are becoming so popular!
Omaha Bicycle Co is not your everyday bike shop, they promote a lifestyle! A place where you can go grab a delicious coffee and a pastry ( one of the perks of riding a bike, relatively guilt-free pastries ) and talk about anything from new routes to try out to new accessories and everything in between! That's why we have chosen to feature OBC in this month's edition of "Your Local Blix Dealer!"
How did you end up in the fantastic world of bikes?
When I was going to school for Journalism at UNL I saw a poster hanging on the dorm wall with an old mountain bike for sale. It was a boring grey bike for a whopping $100 which did not seem really worth it to me at the time ($100??! For a used bicycle?!) but my birthday was coming up so I asked my folks for the money and bought it. Turns out, it was a super sweet 1993 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper, the last year they did cro-moly frames. I brought it to a bike shop for a tune-up and was laughed at when I explained I'd just spent $100 on this bike. I was immediately embarrassed (stupid girl, just got ripped off on the bike sale was what I'd thought they were laughing about) but was quickly told that I just got a heck of a deal and could likely sell it to another shop co-worker for about $500 (which I did)! My mood instantly changed and I quickly realized how cool bikes could be and how much I had to learn. Fast forward several months and I was offered a job at the shop since I was there all the time anyway and they wanted a woman in the shop. I rode for transportation and fun at first, but then got talked into racing mountain bikes for the shop team and was hooked on riding in the dirt! Over the past, almost 2 decades, I've worked at, managed, opened and owned several shops throughout Nebraska and Colorado. I'm back in my hometown of Omaha now and am 5.5 years into my very own shop. I also work a lot in the advocacy realm and believe in the power of two-wheeled transportation!
What is unique about your store?
We're the only woman-owned shop in the state! We were also the first bike/coffee shop in the area which is pretty fun and really like to focus on bikes as transportation. We refer to the shop set up as a retail mullet: coffee in the front, bikes in the back. We are also pretty involved in bike advocacy in the city (back to that bikes as transportation thing) and have helped with bike map planning and installation of Fix It stations around town. There's a monthly Pedal Happy Potluck here the last Thursday night of each month where we gather to discuss how we can improve biking around Omaha. I also helped start a transportation equity non-profit several years ago, Mode Shift Omaha and am currently serving as the Vice Chair.
If you could only cycle one last route before autonomous vehicles take over the world which one would it be?
Any of them! I'd just like a few safe routes around Omaha currently. Seems like an uphill battle to get enough good non-car infrastructure around here (good thing I've got an ebike! ha).
What is the funniest or strangest request you’ve ever had from a customer?
Boy, that's a tough one. After being in bike shops for about 18 years now, I've heard my fair share! Hmm, mostly just people asking a lot about what's wrong with their bike and how much it will cost before they bring it in. That, and aero bars on hybrids. Not a good match! (I'm sure there are others, but those are pretty typically funny/strange to me.)
How did you find out about Blix & what about the brand convinced you to become a dealer?
My boyfriend and I had taken a trip to Denver a few winters ago and being the e-bike nerd that he is, he found a shop that did only electric bikes. Most of them looked like cheesy tiny motorcycles, but then something with faux leather grips and a basket caught my eye. Behold! It was a Blix Aveny and I was intrigued. I then spoke with the owner about the company and she raved about the amazing customer service; at that point, I was sold. It's one thing to have a great product, but that paired with great humans behind said product?! Yes, please! And the rumors are true: amazing people work at/with Blix Bikes!
What would you say is the biggest benefit of owning an electric bike?
Omaha is hot and hilly. That, plus the lack of separated bike infrastructure makes it a little too thrilling to ride in traffic with a non-motorized bike for some people. I think the biggest benefit here is that with an e-bike you can choose your route based on traffic rather than hills: now you just go where you feel comfortable and the hills are not an issue. That, and I really want to start a "haute, not sweaty!" campaign because the first time I rode with my boyfriend to the movies in a light grey t-shirt and didn't look totally sweaty and gross upon arrival by e-bike, which was a new concept to me compared to just pedaling a non-electric bike! I also had a health issue/chronic pain situation that has recently been taken care of with surgery but maaaaaan an ebike was honestly a life saver for me while I was unable to pedal without any assistance. Truly saved me!
In your professional opinion, what is the most important thing to consider when deciding what electric bike to buy?
Good customer service and a removable battery! Battery range and look/style also probably factor in and just comfort overall. Make sure you find one at a shop you like too!
If you could only have one Blix Bike which one would it be and why?
I have and love my Prima! It's fun, snappy, stylish and comfy. All the things that make me happy on two wheels! Plus, I'm able to wear a skirt and ride comfortably (and haven't flashed anyone!) so I love the low step.
If Omaha Bicycle Co is your Local Blix Dealer, give them a call to set up a test ride or just stop by to say hi and find out more about the electric bike movement!
If you do stop by for a test ride, share your photos with us!
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