Two men are aiming to put Morpeth on the map when it comes to e-bikes after putting their business plans into gear.
Ian Simpson, who has been running his bike repair and maintenance business for five years in the town centre, teamed up with Peter Bredael to launch the Morpeth Electric Bicycle Company.
They started selling the Bosch power-assisted vehicles in the summer and a showroom was launched this month above Ian’s Sims Cycle Workshop in Greys Yard, off Oldgate.
It was recently officially opened by Morpeth Mayor Nic Best.
The brands on offer are Raleigh, Lapierre and Diamondback. The pricing is set according to the battery size – 300 watts gives a range of 70 miles, 400 watts gives 112 miles and 500 gives 136 miles.
Peter said: “They provide power-assisted pedaling up to 15 miles a hour and the difference it makes is particularly noticeable when you go up a hill.
“Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular because people are using them to commute to work, you still have to pedal and so you still get the health benefits of cycling and they take away some of the nasty stuff.
“When the space above Ian’s workshop became available and it made sense to take it and create a showroom.
“We have demo e-bikes that people can try and if they want to purchase one, we will then order the bike based on the requirements of the buyer.
“Cycle shops do sell them, but they only have a few available. We’re focusing on electric bikes as we’re confident that the market for them will go from strength to strength and as far as we are aware, the only other company in the UK doing what we are doing is in London.
“One of our buyers uses her bike to commute between Morpeth and Newcastle University at least twice a week.
“They will also help people in rural areas. For example, a man living in the Northumberland countryside doesn’t own a car and previously needed his wife to take him to and pick him up from his nearest golf club.
“He saw the stand we had at the Riverside Leisure Centre when the Tour of Britain came through Morpeth and had a go on a demo bike.
“He immediately decided to buy an e-bike and he is now going to golf club and back home himself.”
Longer term, the company hopes to supply businesses and organisations that are looking to buy e-bikes as pool bikes for their staff.
Ian said: “Electric bikes are not cheating. They are a more efficient way of using your body’s own power to travel further.”
For more information about the bikes, call 01670 207459.