About the Program: This year Community Cycles was one of the eight organizations statewide to receive a Community Access to Electric Bicycles Grant from the Colorado Energy Office. The main goal of the program is to decrease carbon emissions and long commute times for low-income commuters in our community. Our successful pilot program was in 2021-22, where we distributed 50 ebikes. This summer, we have 60 participants, making us the biggest program in the state!
Partners: Our partners are Small Planet eBikes, City of Boulder, University of Colorado, Boulder Community Health, Downtown Boulder and Paraprofessionals working in the Boulder Valley School District. Around 80% of our participants are employed by CU, BCH, BVSD, or work in Downtown Boulder, while the others heard about the program through the grapevine and live or work in Boulder County.
Program Criteria: We had over 160 applicants for this year’s program. When looking for what would make a good candidate, we considered factors such as distance from home to work, how applicants usually commute to work, income, personal history of biking, and if they had a secure place to store their ebike.
The participation pledge states that applicants will use their eBike as their primary mode of transportation to work at least 3 days per week, along with using the eBike for errands and social occasions. Participants will provide occasional feedback and auto-collected data using the NREL OpenPATH App for 1 year to quantify how much carbon emissions are saved by using an ebike rather than more traditional forms of transportation.
The Bikes & More: All of our bikes are from Small Planet Ebikes, the first eBike retailer of Colorado. The bike model is the Aventon Pace500, which pedal assists up to 20 mph, has a 60 mile range, and integrated lights. Small Planet joined us at all of our giveaway events and walked participants through the different settings and adjustments of their new eBikes.
While the eBike is free for participants, there is a $250 fee per person which covers the accessories provided for safer and more comfortable commuting. Participants received a fitted helmet, Kryptonite lock, and either bike panniers or baskets.
Giveaways: We had 6 eBike giveaways to split participants into smaller groups when receiving their bikes. These giveaways couldn’t have happened without help from Small Planet Ebikes and helmets from Boulder Community Health, and our amazing volunteers who stepped up and helped this program come to life.
It was fun to finally meet the participants we’d been emailing back and forth. We told participants about Community Cycles, guided them through how they’ll be tracking their rides, how to properly wear a helmet, how to use and charge their bike, and safety tips for commuting. Lastly, the best part; watching participants smile and ride away on their new eBikes!!
Findings: We love to see so much eBike use via the NREL OpenPATH Dashboard, and sometimes around town! Through the app we’re able to see how riders are using their bikes to improve air quality all around the greater Boulder area.