E-Bike Lending Libraries Offer Free Access to a New Mode

For people who can’t afford to buy an e-bike, or aren’t sure if they want to make the investment, e-bike libraries offer a risk-free way to try one out.

2 minute read

March 18, 2024, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Woman in purple helmet on orange e-bike with baby in seat on back of bike.

Addmotor Electric Bikes, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons / Family on electric bike

Free, community-run e-bike ‘libraries’ are popping up around the country — and introducing new people to the joy and convenience of biking.

As Kea Wilson explains in Streetsblog USA, “The model provides a neighborly alternative to sometimes-costly traditional bike share rentals that only offer limited models, too-short test-rides at bike shops that can be alienating for some shoppers, and even to traditional libraries that allow patrons to check out bikes alongside books — but may not have an expert on hand to talk about how and where to ride in a neighborhood they know intimately.”

Library organizers say borrowing e-bikes can be a gateway to purchasing one of their own for people figuring out if an e-bike works for them and helps educate new riders about safe routes and safe riding. “Over the course of several weeks, a librarian might coach a patron on the basics of cargo bike storage in a studio apartment, or how to charge a battery safely if there’s no outlet in the garage; he might share his own experiences biking with kids, and offer other parents detailed advice before he loans them a child seat to go with their long-tail; he can help them game-plan a pedal-assisted grocery run and loan (or even gift) them a set of panniers; they might trade stories about scary run-ins with drivers, and talk through the anxiety of getting back in the saddle.”

Monday, March 18, 2024 in Streetsblog USA

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