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Electric Lady’s Alex Kostelnik on why he’s closing the Central District e-bike shop
“Alex Kostelnik is getting out of the e-bike showroom business. After nearly three years on the front lines of a volatile e-bike industry, selling shiny new bikes out of the Central District’s Electric Lady, he finds himself looking longingly up E Union Street where, just two blocks away, his first shop 20/20 Cycle is still grinding away to keep the neighborhood rolling.”
E-bikes can transform urban commuting—if we’d just get over it and hop on board.
“The reason an electric [bike] is important in Seattle,” Kostelnik says, “is we’re the most hilly major metropolitan city possibly in the world. We compete with San Francisco, but most messengers would agree Frisco’s got more work-arounds. We’re worse, ’cause you’re just confronted with those monoliths”—that is, steep streets that go directly uphill, rather than at an angle. “Because of the motor,” says Kostelnik, “you can flatten the entire city.”
It's Important to Downplay the Preciousness of a Handmade Product
“Alex Kostelnik has two goals in mind when he started Kalakala line of handmade bikes: design a bike specifically for Seattle and build it in Seattle. Six years later Kalakala remains a fixture in Kostelnik’s two Central District shops, despite never advertising or pushing for more streamlined manufacturing. Here’s how this born-and-bred Seattleite went from constructing recording studios in the ’90s to building custom rides.”
Now open: Electric Lady, the Central District’s first e-bike dealership
“The time for electric has also come, Kostelnik told CHS, thanks to a technological leap forward with new mid drive motors that make for a more natural ride and don’t involve managing a throttle, plus improved lithium ion batteries that squeeze charging time down to a couple of hours.”
Electric Lady revs up plans for bike shop to serve next generation of ‘city trekkers’ at 23rd and Union
“Alex Kostelnik says you should think of his plans for two bike shops around 23rd and Union like an old school Sears — but with a bike lane, not an escalator. “Think of it like a department store,” Kostelnik tells CHS. “Only you go down the street to get to another department.””
How a Former Recording Studio Tech Shifted Gears to Design the Perfect Seattle Bike
“Alex Kostelnik had two goals in mind when he started his Kalakala line of handmade bikes: design a bike specifically for Seattle and build it in Seattle. Six years later Kalakala remains a fixture in Kostelnik’s two Central District shops.”