Mike and Faith Herman recently opened Mike’s Electric Bikes, renting both electric and pedal bikes to residents and tourists alike to explore the large network of bike trails in and around downtown Stillwater.
The couple was introduced after Faith’s first husband passed away. Her friends encouraged her to begin going on dates again, so she created a profile on Match.com.
“I was her first date,” said Mike, at which Faith interjected “First and only date!”
It seems their paths were bound to cross at one point or another. Prior to that fateful date, they lived within a mile of each other in Excelsior.
“[Faith] would walk by my house and always point it out,” said Mike.
The couple married last summer, and now live in a remodeled home in Stillwater along with Faith’s 14-year-old son. On their honeymoon in Monterey, Calif., Mike and Faith rented electric bikes to sightsee. Prior to the trip, the couple enjoyed exploring Stillwater on their pedal bikes, but frequently found themselves having to get off to walk up downtown’s more hilly areas. They found that on electric bikes, this issue disappeared.
“We just had a blast,” said Faith.
That night at dinner, the couple began to dream about whether or not a business like the one in California could work in their hometown. Mike worked on business plans all winter, and the store opened its doors early this summer.
When you walk into the store on Chestnut Street, you’ll be greeted by Mike and Faith (possibly accompanied by Harry, the couple’s chihuahua and unofficial store mascot). The space features clean, modern, orange-and-black decor that matches the bikes themselves, which are lined up against either wall of the store.
Prints of Minnesota landmarks painted by local artist Mark Herman (Mike’s brother) line the walls. From there, you can pick which bike you want to rent, and how long you’d like to ride (a minimum of two hours, and a maximum of a full day). Mike will provide a brief tutorial on how to operate the bike and safety tips. After signing a waiver and strapping on a helmet, you are off.
For those who have not biked around Stillwater before, there are a variety of routes to choose from. If you want to check out local storefronts you can ride along Main Street; if you’d prefer a more scenic, outdoorsy path, Brown’s Creek Trail is just a couple of blocks away from Mike’s. The multi-setting motor allows bicyclists of all ages and abilities to drive up even the steepest of Stillwater’s hills with ease, enabling them to see even more of the city, said Mike.
One of the biggest draws of electric bikes is their ease of operation. Mike said it’s important riders have a sense of balance and know the basics of riding a bike, but other than that “it’s really intuitive...once you get on it, it’ll take you three minutes to learn.”
Mike and Faith said this new adventure has been fun for them to embark on together.
“We’re kind of at an age where a lot of people are retiring,” said Mike, “but not us ... no, we don’t want to slow down.”
The best part of the job is how happy customers are when they return from their rides.
“They just have smiles on their faces, they act like they’re 15 years old again,” Mike said.
Mike’s Electric Bikes is located at 224 Chestnut St. E., Stillwater. Information about rates, hours and frequently asked questions can be found on their website, mikeselectricbikes.com.
Contact Jaimee Hood at email@example.com