The pandemic may have forced many to scrap their plans for the summer, but a new mobile e-bike company is helping Okanagan residents take back their summer.
Kelowna’s newest e-bike rental business, Velo Volt, is co-owned by two friends, Kendra Penrose and Sarah Stark. Stark said the idea came up while out on a date with her husband.
“We were actually riding some e-bikes and he said ‘hey, this is the perfect idea for a business. It’s the best way for people to get out in the evening or in the day, see more, hang out and support local businesses,” she said.
“There’s no barrier to fitness level or ability (because of assisted pedalling). So I brought it up to Kendra the next day. I said ‘hey, what do you think? We buy a trailer and fill it with e-bikes and let people do the exploring.'”
Velo Volt launched two and a half weeks ago in Kelowna but their e-bikes have gone up and down the valley already. Penrose said they have customers who want to rent and ride the e-bikes in Penticton.
Stark said just this past week, two women rode from Kelowna to Vernon.
“We’re mobile and people are mobile too. They want to go places and they want to use the bikes to their maximum potential,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to close or let go of some employees, but Penrose and Stark said launching an e-bike rental business felt like a good idea.
“It hasn’t been that long, but it feels like the perfect business for right now because we are giving people the opportunity to connect again in a safe way, outside,” Penrose said.
“It’s just perfect for that because you’re outside, you’re getting exercise and so it feels like a good time to have this business right now.”
The community has been receptive to the idea as well, and Stark said the feedback has been very positive.
“People are loving the ease of the bikes because they have that little boost… we’ve had a lot of couples on dates as well, and their feedback is that this was the best time to reconnect.”
Maps for self-guided tours can be found on Velo Volt’s site, where local businesses are highlighted so people can travel there on their rental e-bikes and support local.
Penrose and Stark also provide masks, in case a business requires the use of one. Each bike is also cleaned and sanitized before and after each ride.
Each e-bike rental also includes a helmet, a lock, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, as well as a pack to put water
To rent an e-bike from Velo Volt, you can book a time slot through their website.