Bike Fort Collins is proud to be one of the partners the City of Fort Collins has engaged with to support a grant it received through the Colorado Energy Office as part of the Can Do Colorado eBike Pilot Program—a program intended to help expand e-bike access in communities across the state while maximizing air quality benefits. Other grant awardees included 4CORE in Durango, Community Cycles in Boulder, Pueblo County and Smart Commute Metro-North. Other partners in the City of Fort Collins program include Northern Colorado Clean Cities (NCCC), Recycle Cycles and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The Fort Collins program includes providing Class 1 e-bikes to low-income essential workers living in and around Fort Collins with a strong focus on equity, at no cost to the recipients. Specifically, this means a participating individual has to classify as an essential worker and earn a wage 60 percent or less of the area median income.

“Recipients were ecstatic.”

Upon being awarded the grant, this past spring, the city solicited applications from community-based organizations (CBOs) who serve these targeted individuals requesting submissions on behalf of their clients. Nearly 40 recipients were identified, who are each receiving an e-bike and package of e-bike accessories (bike helmet, bike pumps, bike lock, cargo bag, etc.) valued at approx. $3,000 this summer. As a contingency of receiving a bike, those selected have had to agree to attend a distribution event that includes watching a series of videos that feature proper riding etiquette and instructional safety videos, as well as downloading a smartphone app where they will be required to log all their bike trips for the next 2-years. The program also provides smartphones to those recipients who don’t have one. NREL created the smartphone app that will collect, evaluate and report data for the duration of the program.

Bike Fort Collins’s role has entailed working with NCCC in the development of the bicycle safety videos, as well as helping execute the e-bike distribution events.

The first of two distribution events was held on July 14 at the Lory Student Center, where employees of CSU, and individuals from La Familia, and The Matthews House received their life-changing e-bike gift, that will now provide them with reliable, affordable and consistent transportation. A second distribution event is scheduled for late-August, where individuals from Neighbor 2 Neighbor and employees from CSU (who couldn’t make the July 14 event) will receive their bikes.

Again, the program’s goal is to help expand e-bike access in Fort Collins while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing air quality benefits, and in doing so improve the overall health of the individual recipients and the larger community.

Following the July 14 distribution event, Emma Chavez, CSU’s CARE Program coordinator, who worked to identify employees who qualified for the program and gather their application materials said,

“Recipients were ecstatic. One employee who is single was so happy that they would now be able to go places, meet people, and make friendships, ending feelings of isolation and loneliness. Another had been unable to make doctor’s appointments and pick up critical medication because they had no way to get to their pharmacy. And another struggled with sleep because he rode his regular (non-electrical) bike for several miles each day to work, but had back issues, and was in constant pain.”