Have you ever imagined what it would be like to ride a bike effortlessly up even the steepest hills, or for extended miles and hours while barely breaking a sweat?
Well, you can stop dreaming. That time has arrived in Harpers Ferry—via the newest iteration of mobile tourism to the Eastern Panhandle: Harpers Ferry Electric Bike Rentals.
Truthfully, it would be hard to devise a more innovative, comprehensive, and downright fun way to explore Harpers Ferry (or any other place). The pedal-assist technology, or pedal-free throttle option, allows you to conquer any hill (even Lower Town’s monster) as if you’re simply cruising along the C&O towpath. There’s also the added bonus of not having to search for parking when you want to stop, shop, or eat.
Harpers Ferry Electric Bike Rentals (HFEB) owner Cathy Gray is also the owner/operator at the popular Harpers Ferry Guest House (800 Washington Street)—with HFEB located in the back. The e-bike idea came to her last fall.
“We started talking about the bikes in November and bought our first bikes on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight this year,” she said. “We originally purchased two, and then people started seeing them around town, often in use, and asked about them, so we bought three more. That’s when I decided I also wanted to do tours.”
Advertising for HFEB has thus far consisted of literally putting the bikes out in front of the inn, or riding around handing out business cards and brochures. “We also have a website, and an ‘experience’ on Airbnb,” said Gray.
As the only game in town, Gray and her young fleet of five bikes have already received enough attention that she’s thinking ahead. “I eventually look to own around twenty. Our bikes are very easy to use—no gears to change and a lot less complicated than some other brands—and we also sell them. We’re a dealer.”
The company that makes the bikes is California-based The Electric Bike Company. Each bike can be personalized, and believe it or not, it ships in a crate completely assembled. You pull it out of the crate, turn it on, and take off—ride all day on a single charge.
As more and more people are being seen riding easily up hills in Harpers Ferry, Gray is getting quite a few calls and online reservations. She offers a nice variety of packages—from single-use to full-on historic tours. “I can take folks around town, do a trail ride, a historic site-seeing tour, or they can take off on their own after a brief tutorial,” she explained. “For the ‘experience,’ they get a voucher for lunch, a bottle of water, and a park pass. I tag along for the first hour, and then they can explore on their own for a few more hours.”
Ultimately, if you can ride a bike, you can ride an electric bike. And in the case of Harpers Ferry Electric Bike Rentals, riding is believing (good luck not immediately wanting to buy one).
Gray’s rates are currently: two hours: $40 / half-day $50 / full day $79 / weekend $150. She’s also offering a special: two bikes for two hours for $50.
For more information, visit the above links, call 304-804-3204, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.By Jillian Williams