If you want to find Catherine Wright, chances are she’s out riding her bike — her e-bike.
“Love it. I have so much joy. When I go away, come back to Victoria, the first thing I do is get on my bike and ride,” Wright said.
She usually leaves her car behind, saying, “This is more fun. It just is.”
Earlier this month, the province announced a new rebate program for the purchase of eligible new e-bikes.
Based on income, rebates on approved e-bikes will be available to B.C. residents older than 19. The rebates range from $350 to a maximum of $1,400.
Victoria bike shops, such as Russ Hay’s The Bicycle Store, are preparing for an onslaught of interested buyers.
“It’s been huge. We started getting phone calls on Saturday. And it’s been non-stop,” said store owner Ryan Simpson.
“Emails over the weekend, then phone calls this morning, and people already wanting to put money down or ordering ahead of time. Assuming they are going to get the rebate.”
The rebate program requires potential buyers to apply for approval, which takes about two to three days online.
The minimum purchase price of an e-bike is $2,000, but everything sells, according to Trek Bicycle Store owner Bill Fry.
“E-bikes are just in such huge demand now, any incentive is making more and more people get out on them,” he said. “Which is great, awesome.”
Business is expected to boom at participating bike shops when the program opens Thursday, June 1.
“If the past few days have been any indication, it’s going to be busy,” Fry added.
“We had a lot of people coming in on Saturday asking about the rebates. And asking about availability of bikes.”
Unlike previous e-bike rebates, this program doesn’t require customers to scrap a car to qualify. But with $6 million available in the rebate program, the Transportation Ministry says as many as nine-thousand people will be eligible.
Dedicated e-bikers like Margaret Crowley say it’s worth every penny.
“I would say, go for it! Because it’s great,” Crowley said.