Grant helps Routt County Riders distribute e-bikes to locals in need |

Grant helps Routt County Riders distribute e-bikes to locals in need

Visitors at the EV Ride & Drive Event in May 2022 near Howelsen Hill try out e-bikes from Pedego Steamboat Springs. Routt County Riders are using a $129,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office to fund a new electric bike access program in the Yampa Valley.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today

In an effort to increase transportation availability for local low-income citizens and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Routt County Riders is using a $129,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office to fund a new electric bike access program in the Yampa Valley. 

The program is designed to provide e-bikes to locals who are beneficiaries of any of the following five government agencies — Routt County Department of Human Services, Moffat County Department of Human Services, Integrated Community, LiftUp of Routt County or the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. 

To qualify for the program, participants must also have a verifiable income less than 80% of the area median, which is around $57,300 in Routt County, proof of local employment and the ability to use the e-bike for commuter purposes.

“We’re still developing a rubric in terms of guidance for a prioritization table that includes things like income level, feasibility of the bike commute to and from their house and the actual desire for an e-bike,” Routt County Riders Executive Director Laraine Martin said.

The recipients for the bikes will be selected sometime around late April with the physical distribution coming this summer. 

Martin hopes to see this program continue annually, but this year will serve as a test of the program’s overall success and feasibility. 

Martin said some of the agencies already know people they would like to refer for this program, and there won’t likely be an open call for applicants. 

“They already know the folks who are having transportation issues and could be a good fit for e-bikes based on where they live versus where they work,” Martin said. “It really depends and is likely going to be more of a case by case thing where they’re matching with people they know already.”

Pedego Steamboat Springs has partnered with Routt County Riders to supply the e-bikes and even enhance them at a discounted rate. 

Forty e-bikes will be covered by the $129,000 grant with 36 being fat-tire cruisers built for year-round use and the remaining four being folding bikes that can be condensed for storage purposes. 

Matthew Coop, the owner of Pedego Steamboat Springs, has even offered to enhance the bikes with some special features that could include headlights, back racks, fenders and more. 

Each bike will also come with a Pedego lock and Pedego lock program, which ensures stolen bikes will be replaced if they were locked securely. There will also be a five-year warranty on the bikes, which Coop said is the best offer he is aware of in the e-bike market. 

“Pedego has a program where if I buy over eight bikes, they get discounted,” Coop said. “Service is key and we’re local. I’m glad they went with us and I can provide the bikes they need with all the bells and whistles.”

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