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USA: Battery-powered bikes hit streets of Downtown Memphis

PHOTO BY ALAN SPEARMAN // BUY THIS PHOTO

Bikemaster Jimmy Zanone keeps the electric Pedegos charged up and ready to tour Downtown Memphis.
Tourists can take a look around the city without breaking a sweat this summer on a Soul Train Tour.

Pedego of Memphis has brought the technology of California-based electric bike manufacturer Pedego to Main and Madison.

Walker Graham and Niles Grosvenor are co-owners of the company. The two have been involved in the redevelopment of the Downtown area, and their Main Street properties include Wellworx Sports Club Station and Number 10 Main Apartments.

They noticed a lack of transportation options for residents, tourists and employees.

“Everyone can’t walk and ride the trolley everywhere,” Graham said. “People need an easier way to get around — we’re trying to fill the gap.”

The bikes are currently housed in a window display at Wellworx. Bikes are available for Downtown tours each day, except Tuesdays, at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tours are led by a trained guide for $60 per person.

Renters must be at least 16 years of age, have a driver’s license with picture ID and a valid credit card. Riders do not have to have a driver’s license to participate.

Soul Train Tours has mapped out a northbound and southbound route highlighting the South Main Arts District, Cotton Row, Beale Street and the Mississippi River.

“When the colors (of the bikes) came in, and we lined them all up, it made us think of Soul Train — and with Memphis being a music city, it was the right name,” Graham said.

Jimmy Zanone is bike master for the business. He keeps the bikes in tip-top shape, checking chains, lubing parts and plugging in the batteries each night.

“It takes four hours for a good charge,” he said.

Zanone lives by Ike’s pharmacy on Union Avenue. He rides a Pedego electric bike to work every day.

“I haven’t seen my car in a month,” Zanone said. “I pass all the lights and gas stations.”

The bikes reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour, making them an economic and eco-friendly alternative.
More commercialappeal.com

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