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E-bikes are equipped with a small electric motor that powers the pedals, a feature known as pedal assist. | ELECTRIC TRAILS
Along the Shore

Explore the shore on an e-bike rental

There’s no denying that the North Shore offers exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities. There’s also no denying the fact that electric bikes, or e-bikes, have soared in popularity in recent years, quickly becoming a new favorite way to get outdoors and make the most of the warm months. Several locations along the North Shore offer e-bike rentals, giving more people than ever the ability to enjoy the region’s bike trails.

One of Cook County’s e-bike rental businesses is Electric Trails, which is currently located in Schroeder in the former North 61 building. Electric Trails began operating in Cook County in 2022; previously, they were operating out of a shipping container in the Grand Marais area, but have moved into their new location in Schroeder as of this year. With their fleet of Super 73 bikes, folks have rented Electric Trails’ e-bikes for all sort of adventures, from exploring the Gitchi-Gami trail to taking backwoods adventures along Forest Service roads with their custom GPS map.

“There’s not a single person who hasn’t come back smiling,” said Emma Sievers, Electric Trails’ Marketing Manager.

E-bikes are so called because they are equipped with a small electric motor that powers the pedals, a feature known as pedal assist. E-bikes are sorted into different classes based on their capabilities, with Class 1 e-bikes having only the pedal assist feature. Class 2 e-bikes also have a throttle that propels the bike up to 20 mph without the need to pedal at all. (There are also Class 3 e-bikes that can go faster, but these are not allowed on non-motorized bike trails.) But no matter what kind of e-bike you choose, the motor works to ease the strain of biking and makes it more accessible for people of different ability levels.

“The e-bike industry has taken off for sure. What we love is that it allows a lot of people to reconnect with biking,” said Patrick Reeves, Owner and General Manager of Temperance Traders in Schroeder, which is home to North Shore eBike Rental. “Most of us have fond memories of biking as kids and a huge smile isn’t far off once you start accelerating on one of these bikes. Traditional biking can be difficult for a lot of people as we age and the electric assist of an e-bike helps people to overcome some of those barriers that prevent people from bike riding altogether. It’s a wonderful thing and allows a group of folks of varying ages or different fitness levels to bike together.”

E-bikes are sorted into different classes based on their capabilities. | CONTINENTAL SKI & BIKE

North Shore eBike Rental sits on the Gitchi-Gami bike trail in Schroeder. Those interested in renting from their fleet of bikes can take their bikes right from Temperance Traders and onto the trail, which connects as far north as Lutsen. Reeves said that other popular destinations include taking bikes inland to Trestle Inn or to the North Shore Winery, with whom they have a partnership.

“There are all the wonderful scenic destinations between Schroeder and Lutsen for people to enjoy; hiking, overlooks, State Parks and waterfalls. We offer a more traditional bike option for our rentals, but our bikes have eight speeds, a front suspension and they have fat tires, which is a hoot to ride but also means they can go up the dirt roads as well as on the bike trail,” Reeves said.

Farther down the shore, Duluth also offers myriad places to explore by e-bike. Among Duluth’s e-bike rental businesses is Continental Ski & Bike, which offers both city and mountain e-bike rentals.

“The city bikes are super fun in town, since we have a bunch of bike lanes and trails to explore within the city of Duluth,” said Peter Brinkmann of Continental Ski & Bike. “They could also take the Lakewalk Trail, the Munger Trail, or Gitch-Gami Trail. Then with the mountain bikes, people can go and ride any trail or trail system around here, like at the Hartley Nature Center, Chester Park, or Lester Park.”

According to Brinkmann, the e-bike charge typically lasts a full day of riding, but overnight and multi-day rentals come with a charger so people can recharge the bikes after a day of use. Continental Ski & Bike also sells their e-bike rentals at the end of the season, so people who have tried them out and like them have the ability to take an e-bike home for good.

Like Reeves, Brinkmann also said that the accessibility of e-bikes is something that has been the most special to see. “There’s been some really cool stories with the e-bikes, such as people with heart conditions who had to stop biking but can with an e-bike. Bringing families together is neat too—older folks can get on a bike and keep up with their kids or grandkids and do the same ride which is super, super cool.”

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