MassBike’s Worcester E-Bike Program officially started rolling this week, with the first participants picking up their new e-bikes. We received over 1,100 applications for the 100 electric pedal-assist bikes we’re distributing for this program, which is funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s ACT4All grant. By the end of September, all participants will have received their electric pedal-assist bicycles and will be reporting their e-bike usage to the MassBike team.
A core element of our Worcester E-Bike program is education. All participants must watch a webinar on bicycling safety before picking up their e-bike. At the distribution events, staff from both MassBike and Landry’s Bicycles guide participants through the process. Landry’s staff make sure the rider receives a properly sized e-bike and explains how to properly use the bicycle. In addition to the bike, all participants are receiving a helmet, lights, lock, and a rain cover to ensure the safety of the riders and their new e-bikes.
After getting their e-bike and accessories, each participant takes the bike out for a test ride with a MassBike staff member and receives some personalized on-bike instruction to ensure they are ready to ride. This process is highly individualized and allows the MassBike team to understand each rider’s concerns.
“Witnessing people from all walks of life getting their e-bikes was emotional and inspiring!” said Alex Salcedo, MassBike’s E-Bike Grant Manager. Alex is managing all of the e-bike participants and hearing first-hand reactions to the e-bikes. One of the participants, while getting ready to receive her e-bike, felt that she could not say ‘thank you’ enough for the opportunity to be part of the E-Bike Program. Another one reported back as soon as he got home and described that his four-mile ride was ‘pretty magical’. The e-biker who received the last e-bike of the two-day deployment said that he never dreamed he’d own an e-bike and now that he has one, his work opportunities will expand considerably and won’t be limited to walking or the bus schedule.
Now that participants are starting to receive their e-bikes, the data collection will begin. MassBike will be tracking how often the riders are using their e-bikes, what type of rides they’re taking, and how far they’re riding. The program will include on-going educational workshops and group rides.
We are grateful to all of our partners who are supporting this program, including the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, community-based organizations, and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC). Those interested in the Worcester E-Bike Program can find more information at massbike.org/ebikeworcester