“I love the Mountains to Sea Trail that cuts through to Irvine. I jump on at Bison and MacArthur and ride to the Spectrum or Tustin Marketplace for lunch,” says Don DiCostanzo, founder and CEO of Pedego Electric Bikes. “One of the best bike tracks in the country is up there.” He would know. As founder of the award-winning national electric bike company, DiCostanzo has accounted for hours of biking all over the country and shares his passion for fitness and fun with many Pedego clients nationwide. The fact that the company recently announced $121 million in sales, reporting an average of 44.34% increase in sales annually over the decade and more it has been in operation, is proof of its rising popularity despite, or even courtesy, the changing landscape dictated by the global pandemic.
Visit their Official Pedego Owners Group on Facebook which is 9,300+ strong and growing and you’ll see the involved and enthusiastic conversations the community engages in daily. Even celebrities have been seen renting and buying Pedego bikes – DiCostanzo’s recent update shares former pro basketball player Shaquille O’Neal stopped at the Pedego Boca Raton in Florida to buy his third Pedego, which needed a few modifications for it to fit his over 7-ft.-tall body. (At 6 ft. 5 in. tall himself, DiCostanzo rides the Interceptor: Platinum Edition.) The brand has been featured on Forbes, AAA and several national publications spotlighting its ease of use, increasing clientele and national growth. And to think it all started here in Irvine.
“Our very first address was in Irvine… we’re basically Irvine born and bred,” says DiCostanzo. “And we opened a store right on the bike path in Irvine in the shopping center where Target is,” he says of the 3800 Barranca Parkway location. “Irvine has a great business environment. We liked the retail space that was available, that proximity to restaurants.”
The Irvine Pedego dealership website also shares an Irvine Round Tour itinerary that highlights several spots to enjoy while on your electric bike, including South Lake Gazebo and Island, Shady Canyon Hiking and Biking Trail and Quail Hill Loop Trail. What started out years ago as a solution to a need – DiCostanzo wanted to enjoy being able to ride uphill without worrying about the struggle to get there – is now a booming business.
Fast forward to the present and Pedego has 200 retail stores across the country including six in Orange County. Customers can try the bikes at every one of these locations and rent them before choosing to invest in one of the 18 different models available in different sizes and colors, along with accessories. “I encourage people to try one before they buy one. There’s no reason for anybody to make an investment in a product like this without trying out the different models to find what’s right for you,” he says. Most importantly, there is service offered after sale, whether that’s new tires or a tune-up and a five-year warranty on almost all products. The top market is California. Outside of the U.S., there are 14 stores in Canada and Pedego has operations in Mexico and Bermuda.
Where electric bikes were once simply considered a novelty and possibly convenience for those that could afford it, Pedego has made it affordable and accessible as a leisure and health brand.
“Our customers themselves are promoters because they testify to us all the time about how they’re getting healthy,” says DiCostanzo, mentioning the active Facebook group that Pedego owners interact on, sharing details of their riding experiences. “When the business started, it was purely recreation. People just bought these bikes to go out and ride with their friends and have a good time, get some exercise, but now it’s evolved. People are using it for transportation, to the post office or run errands or even go to work. And that happened as a result of the pandemic.”
He recounts one customer who purchased a Pedego bike because she was relegated to working at home. Another customer was able to stop medicating thanks to their fitness streak with their Pedego bike, and the feel-good stories go on. The physical and mental benefits of electric bike riding find DiCostanzo hearing words like freedom, recreation, and fun all the time from Pedego owners and renters alike. And the average age of the rider has extended to cyclists in their 90s as you don’t have to be worried about hills or headlights, or enough stamina to get home. Its #1 selling bike model though is the Pedego Element, a fat tire electric bike that comes in six colors, caters to a wide variety of heights and appeals to a younger demographic.
Pedego is also a frontrunner in promoting diversity and inclusion in the outdoor recreation space. “We do everything to be inclusive. … We’re always conscious of it,” DiCostanzo shares, with efforts simply ingrained in the company culture, considering the diverse audience the brand caters to, rather than a conscious effort to have to be involved in diversity efforts. “We’re a member of PeopleForBikes and they’ve got a whole policy that we follow in how to do inclusion, so we follow the guidelines of the industry.” That aside, some of the local organizations he supports include Free Wheelchair Mission and HomeAid. Pedego models catering to the disability community include the Stretch electric cargo bike, which is designed to have a passenger ride at the back, and the Tandem electric bicycle built for two.
Continuing its winning streak and planning for further expansion in the next few months, Pedego will be launching three new electric biked models in December at the annual dealer conference in San Diego that will be rolling out in 2022 and updating all existing 18 models available on the website and at dealers now. Where every industry has one ubiquitous brand, it’s DiCostanzo’s goal to be that one ubiquitous brand when people think of electric bikes. “And we’re winning for two reasons,” he says. “The first is we’re very good at what we do and it’s all we do. We don’t do anything but electric bikes and accessories. And the second is everybody else just wants to sell electric bikes. But we’re out to build a brand and community with our customers.”