State issuing rebate for e-Bikes

FAIRMONT — Cyclists of Minnesota are pedaling into new Minnesota of Department Revenue rebate offers for electric assisted bicycles. Less than one hundred applications were accepted for the rebate amongst 10,000 applications before the website unexpectedly shut down due to high volume that strained the website use itself. Despite this issue, this rebate has provoked use of electric bikes in Minnesota more than ever.

In Fairmont, Larry Vogel owns the Bike Shoppe on 505 Lake Avenue. For years, Vogel has sold and performed maintenance on bikes for incoming customers.

Vogel noted that right now, people aren’t riding bikes, and depend their daily commute very much on vehicles or other methods of transportation than the bikes he sells. However, as the summer season progresses, there’s hope that people of the community plan to bring their two-wheel activity outdoors, even with such unpredictable weather so far. Vogel said himself there wasn’t much consistency in the atmosphere lately to take bikes for riding.

Minnesota announced an up to $1,500 rebate on e-bikes, with applications opening on Wednesday. Since then, due to tens of thousands of applications pouring in within the first few hours, the website has to be temporarily shut down to perform maintenance on the website. By July 1st, select retailers in Minnesota will hope to significantly decrease e-bikes in the state with this program. By October 1st, if money in the program remains, the program will continue to issue rebates to qualifying applicants.

Vogel shared he wasn’t sure if the rebates would reach Fairmont, but he expressed the joys of using electric bikes, as he himself has owned one for years. Even though there’s less physical work versus a pedal bike, Vogel explained how convenient it was for someone especially of his age.

“No electric bike is cheap. It needs a battery, and a battery is hard to make…But it provides me with energy and fun. Sometimes adults are lacking that word–Fun.” Vogel said.

Vogel has had the Bike Shoppe for 52 years. As of Thursday afternoon, in his shop, there are 45 pedal bikes and 12 electric bikes for sale. The Bike Shoppe on average sees 20 customers a day to purchase bikes or inquiry repairs.

“A lot of people buy their bikes online or from other stores. So, I tell them, ‘Go get it fixed where you bought it’.” Vogel said.

Vogel made a bittersweet comment about retiring. He is looking forward to retirement after owning the Bike Shoppe for half a century. He has sought help from several others while tending to the shop. The Bike Shoppe of Fairmont is open from 10AM to 6PM.


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