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The Business Cyclist
Art Olson | Avenida Primavera

 

David Hackbart with his Cadillac.
Photo Art Olson
Click on image to enlarge.

David Hackbart is an astute businessman. When he sees a promising opportunity he goes after it. After living up and down the Western U.S., he landed in Del Mar 16 years ago, and remains strongly attached to the community and its surroundings. Dave’s first taste of the business world came as a teen working at a rustic resort owned by his father in Elk Lake Oregon. Later he earned an accounting degree and applied it in the financial services sector. During that time he came to the realization that most of the people whose money he was handling had made their wealth by running their own business. From that point on, he scoured the landscape for promising business opportunities. His first successful venture came by way of a carwash business in Oceanside. Over the subsequent years, Dave has bought, expanded and improved several businesses in the North County Area.

About 3 years ago Dave, having gotten to the point where he rarely rode his cherished road bike, decided he wanted to buy an electric bike, but instead ended up buying an electric bicycle company. San Diego Electric Bike had been in business since 2008 and was a sole proprietorship, providing custom built e-bikes to customers by appointment only. Dave saw a golden opportunity in the potential of growing that business into a full-fledged e-bike dealership. He knew there were a growing number of baby-boomers who loved an active outdoor lifestyle, but who were not quite as capable of the endurance that they once had. As a bicyclist whose bike was used less and less, he saw the electric bike as a great “equalizer” to help extend an activity that he had always enjoyed, and he reasoned that there were many others who would feel likewise.

Dave looked for a good spot to site his “San Diego Electric Bike” business. He investigated some sites along Camino Del Mar, but ultimately decided to lease a former gas station site on 101 in Solana Beach, since it had plenty of outdoor display space and a reasonable rent. Recently he moved to the corner of 101 and Lomas Santa Fe, a location that he is thrilled to have. The business itself has expanded greatly from its early days. Today it has become the e-bike dealership that Dave had originally envisioned. Not only does he carry a wide variety of electric bicycles for test-rides and sales, he has a full service custom e-bike and repair facility. The shop also rents e-bikes and participates in e-bike tours in the area. Asked about customer demographics, Dave remarked that there is a growing interest in e-bikes for a number of different uses, and from a wide range of ages. He did say that he gets more “over 40” customers than a regular bike shop would.

David is enthusiastic about his e-bike business, and sees the use of electric-bicycle continuing to grow. He noted that there is significant local government interest in encouraging bicycling as an eco-friendly mode of transportation and a desire to initiate an e-bike sharing program. With the hilly terrain of the area, bicycles with electric assist would be a rational choice. Dave would also like to expand the idea of local e-bike tours, saying “They are a perfect way to experience the beauty of our environment, both for locals and visitors.” He also sees e-bikes as a green alternative for the growing delivery service business.
Dave, as is befitting of a successful businessman, has a “Cadillac” (the actual brand) electric bike, that he uses to commute from his Del Mar home to his Solana Beach Shop. He says the ride is the best part of his day.


 

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