Tony Carcoba feared the pandemic would crush his electric bike rental business. Opened on July 4, 2019, Prescott Ebike was slowly gaining awareness and popularity when COVID-19 rolled in.
With the uncertainty of the new virus, Carcoba closed the business through much of spring. He opened again June 1, confident that he could offer a safe, fun experience. “It’s the perfect COVID business. We wear masks while we’re at the trailhead loading and unloading bikes,” he said. “Riders can keep a safe distance from each other and enjoy the fresh air and being outdoors in the amazing scenery.”
Carcoba expected recreationists would be ready to be out of their homes, but he had no idea just how busy he was about to become. “People really wanted to get outside after sheltering in place for months,” he said. “We were crazy busy all summer.”
Prescott Ebike is a mobile business that books by appointment only. Customers will find the website informative and easy to navigate. After booking, they quickly receive correspondence with a map directing them to the trailhead where they will meet, like the trailhead for the Prescott Peavine Trail and Iron King Trail.
“This is our most popular ride. Watson Lake and the Granite Dells are beautiful. And, within a few minutes, you can really feel like you are in the wilderness, immersed in nature.
For most riders during the two-hour self-tour, they can cover about 17 miles, take some water breaks and capture some pictures. The wide pathway on the Peavine follows an old railbed and offers breathtaking views of the lake and stunning rock formations.
Carcoba says riders also enjoy a two-hour spin around downtown Prescott as well as half or full day rentals. He has partnered with local hotels such as Springhill Suites by Marriott and the Residence Inn by Marriott Prescott to offer ebike rentals to guests. “They can make a reservation and we will meet them at the hotel or we can pick them up and take them to the trail.”
He is working with Point of Rocks RV park and also the Prescott Pines Christian Camp of Yavapai County to offer the service to members. He is interested in expanding this service to other businesses, such as Airbnbs, as well.
For those who have never experienced an ebike, he explains that it is like riding a regular bike, except you get a push going up hills. Riders can adjust the level of torque, which will power the bikes to 13 miles an hour. The Class 2 ebikes are designed go 23 miles an hour, but Carcoba has limited their speed for safety.
A machinist since he was a teen, Carcoba owns and operates Toro Manufacturing in Chino Valley, which creates aerospace components such as spindles, gears, shafts and valves for airplanes and the dollies that move them. The business also makes parts for telescopes, jet skis and motorcycles. The name Toro came from the first two letters of Tony’s name and the first two letters of his wife’s name, Robbie. The couple has two sons.
In addition, Carcoba teaches CNC machining in community education night classes at Yavapai College.
Carcoba was first introduced to electric bikes on a family vacation in Santa Monica, California, a few years ago. He purchased one for his wife, Robbie, and then found his regular bike couldn’t keep up with her. “Now I can go all day on the electric bike and feel like I’m in my 20s again,” he said. “It’s really fun!”
He thought there might be others who would feel the same way. He researched business trends and market growth and predicted ebikes would find their niche.
“I believe the success of the business is because of the demographics we reach,” said Carcoba. “Mostly, our customers are in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Some of them haven’t ridden a bike for 15 years.”
Tripadvisor gives Prescott Ebike five stars. “Our family took the Peavine Trail with the Ebikes and it really is a must-do activity. The sights are amazing. We were able to stop and take some really great pictures. The bikes are super easy to use and make for a really fun ride,” wrote a customer who rented in January.
Another customer rated Prescott Ebike five stars plus in February. “Could not have asked for a better experience on a great spring Saturday morning. Took the 11 a.m. self-guided two-hour ebike rental for the Iron King and Peavine trails (total cost was $50 per ebike). Tony, the owner, goes out of his way to make sure you have all you need and are prepared. He will train you on the bike and answer all your questions. The two hours flew by! Highly recommend.”
Carcoba plans to offer his ebike rentals all year. His vision is to expand the business to other Northern Arizona communities.
For more information, call 928-83E-BIKE. To book online, visit prescottebike.com. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens, FBN