Soon visitors touring wineries can do it on two wheels with Temecula Wine Country E-Bikes, a local bike rental business starting up in the next couple of weeks.
Michelle and Dirk Uys came to Temecula from Cape Town, South Africa, in 2003. They moved out to Temecula’s Wine Country in 2010 and decided to plant a vineyard.
“We’ve always been wine enthusiasts, and that’s how the whole wine country experience started,” Michelle Uys said. “I’m a pretty active cyclist so I do a lot of cycling in wine country.”
They have an Airbnb experience where they do tours of their vineyard and winery.
“We’re not a commercial winery – we call ourselves Garagiste winemakers so we’re basically really small,” she said.
Garagiste winemakers essentially started off as a French movement where people used to make wine in their garage, Michelle Uys said, and they share that experience as a tour with Airbnb guests.
“One day we had two girls show up, and they were about 10 minutes late,” Michelle Uys said. “They rented bicycles to tour the wine country and the hills really got to them, so on the last hill they ended up having to push the bikes.”
Her husband Dirk Uys came up with the idea of e-bikes.
“We had already experienced (them) with friends who have e-bikes just a few weeks before that; we went out to Palm Springs and rode around on the e-bikes with them,” Michelle Uys said. “That’s where the whole idea started. It was to make it easier for people to do something where you can ride around on your own. The e-bikes make it really effortless, so that’s where the idea was born.”
They researched the various options looking for an e-bike for any age rider.
“One of the things we noticed when we got on our friends’ bikes is they were sort of difficult,” Michelle Uys said. “An e-bike is generally a lot heavier than a normal bike because it has to be sturdy enough for the motor, and then also the battery as well adds weight to it.
“I’m not very tall so for me to get on the bikes was sort of a problem, and when you stopped you sort of fell off it, so we started our research into something that would be easy for everyone,” she said.
They decided on Rad Power E-Bikes, she said.
“They have more than one step-through, which is really easy to get on and that means any age can do it,” Michelle Uys said. “A step-through bike just means it’s got a much lower distance from the ground to where the frame starts.”
At this stage, they have the Radcity Step-Thru and the RadRover Fat Bike Step-Thru available to rent.
Their company website isn’t up yet for the public; however, Michelle Uys said they are about two weeks away from having everything up online.
“We want to have everything automated so that people can get all the information they want online and do the booking online, payment and everything, so that’s why we don’t really get going without having all of that resources available to the public,” she said. “We’re just in the final stage of finalizing some software for the actual rental site.”
They’ll also be launching some other ideas with their e-bike rentals, some other experiences on the wine side, and those will launch at the same time, she said.
“I’m going to start reaching out to people on Instagram to actually just take out the bikes and leave us some reviews,” Michelle Uys said.
Once the business is up and running, the bikes will be available for full day rentals.
“We will basically do a delivery – you’ll book the bike, and we’ll deliver the bike to wherever you’re staying or will be staying that evening around 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening, and then we’ll pick it up again the next day at about the same time,” she said.
On weekends, she said they will have pickups available in the morning if people want to come by instead of having it delivered.
Since Dirk Uys is a mechanical engineer, if any repairs are needed, Michelle Uys said he will be able to make those repairs, and if it is more extensive, they can take it to a local bike shop.
The Uys said they just want people to have fun getting around with the e-bikes.
“Some people are early risers; they might want to get up in the morning and go for a ride while everything is quiet, and some are specifically wanting to just do a tour of the wineries,” Michelle Uys said. “I think it provides you with more opportunities to do what you want to do.”
For more information, find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/temeculawinecountryebikes.
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.