Sponsor Spotlight: Pedego Bethesda
If Pedego Bethesda owner David Bondareff had to choose one word that captures the theme of his life, his career, and the e-bikes he sells, it might be: “rechargeable.”
David grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, but moved to the Northeast many years ago, where he held leadership positions with a large restaurant franchise. The restaurant industry did not fare well during the pandemic, and David suddenly found himself jobless. The time seemed right to move closer to family, so David and his wife, Brenda, relocated to Maryland.
All the while, his father, Erwin, had spent 56 years as a practicing pediatrician in Alexandria, finally retiring at the age of 89. Long a cyclist, Erwin was intrigued by the electric bikes at Pedego Alexandria. His curiosity one day steered him in for a test ride.
After four laps around the block, Erwin became a convert and bought an e-bike on the spot. (The shop owner recognized Erwin’s name and realized this was the doc who, decades earlier, had been his daughter’s physician.)
Coincidentally, one of David’s childhood friends also bought an e-bike that same week. Seeing both his father and his old friend e-cruising around their community inspired David to do some research.
“I saw how much joy my dad got while riding, and how the e-bike helped him go up hills,” recalls David. “So I bought one for myself. And then I reached out to Pedego and said I’d like to open a store in Bethesda.”
That was in October 2020. David opened the Bethesda store in April 2021.
Pedego Bethesda is a family business. Brenda works in the store full time. “She’s the boss,” says David.
Erwin — who turned 92 this past March and still enjoys riding his Pedego Boomerang — is the official “director of fun,” inspiring customers of all ages to experience two-wheeled bliss on any of the shop’s many Pedego electric bicycles.
The store offers a wide variety of models to buy or rent, including cruisers, low-steps, city bikes, adventure bikes, and specialty bikes. (Deferred-interest financing is available.)
David also runs electric-bike tours. His “Pink Pedals Tour” around the Tidal Basin in D.C. is a fun way to see the cherry blossoms during the spring. And he leads excursions around the National Mall and monuments from March to November. He’s cooking up more tours, and creates customized private jaunts on request for groups of three to 10 riders.
What to Expect
No special license is needed to operate an e-bike.
E-bikes are water resistant but not waterproof. They’ll tolerate a little rain, but David recommends taking cover in a downpour, because the electrical components are not watertight.
For experienced cyclists, an e-bike makes you feel bionic. The electric motor provides assistance if the rider chooses to use it. For novice cyclists, David says the e-bike can be even easier to ride than a traditional bike.
“You can just twist the throttle to get your momentum going instead of having to pedal,” he explains. “It levels the playing field for couples if one is an avid cyclist and the other is more of a casual rider,” says David.