For anthropology professor Jim Garber, riding his bike to campus is the highlight of his day.
Garber can be seen riding his electronic bike around campus, a hobby he began about five years ago.
Garber said he has owned 10 to 15 different bikes throughout the past few years. Some of the bikes he owns are premade, while some he restores and assembles by using kits.
“Sometimes I’ll get on Craigslist and see one that isn’t running anymore and is a great price,” Garber said. “I’ve learned how to fix them and put them all together.”
Garber said the electronic bike he uses daily can reach speeds of 20 mph and travel about 30 miles on one charge, which cost about 4 cents and lasts him roughly a week.
Operating an electronic bike is similar to operating a regular bicycle, according to Garber. He said the bikes operate by a lever on the handle bars that, when pressed, powers the back wheel. The bikes also have functioning pedals that can be used to increase speed, Garber said.
Garber admits he has not bought a campus parking permit in three years because his electronic bicycle can get him to campus in five minutes, which for him is quicker than driving a car.
“I’m surprised (electronic bikes) haven’t caught on and that more people aren’t riding them,” Garber said.
“You can have an electronic bike for the same price as a medium-grade regular bike. For about $500 you could own an electronic bike.”
Garber said there are several different types of batteries to put on the electronic bikes, but most of his bicycles run on a lithium-ion battery priced at about $300. The battery is more expensive than others, but can go further on one charge, is lighter in weight and can be recharged up to 3,000 times, allowing it to last more than five years, Garber said.
Garber buys kits to make any regular bicycle into an electronic one. Garber said he finds the kits on Craigslist or eBay Inc. for around $225 each.
Garber said he has fixed and sold electronic bikes to San Marcos residents over the years. He said he has even sold an electronic bike to the mayor of San Marcos, Daniel Guerrero.
“At the end of the day when you’re tired and it’s time to go home it’s like, ‘wow, I get to ride my bike home,’” Garber said. “It’s fun. I don’t have to pedal, and it goes straight up the LBJ hill. It’s a different way to see the town, and I love it.”