• A woman riding a bicycle

      GoSGV program commuter-style E-bike (Photo – Ernest Lee)

      Excessive heat can make walking or biking around the San Gabriel Valley a challenge. Enter the E-bike, an affordable alternative to an electric car that helps beat the heat and makes riding the foothills a relative breeze.

      By Wesley Reutimann

      With advances in battery technology and small electric motors, e-bike performance has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past five years, leading to a dramatic increase in popularity around the world. In the United States more e-bikes are now sold than e-cars. In southern California residents of coastal communities have been among the most enthusiastic early adopters. Travel to just about any beach city this summer and you’ll find young adults, older adults, and families zipping around on e-bikes of all shapes and sizes.

      Amidst these developments and after several years of planning, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and Active San Gabriel Valley have launched a program – GoSGV – to help inland residents experience life with an e-bike at an affordable price. For about the same cost of renting an electric bike for a few hours in Santa Monica, San Gabriel Valley residents can ride a GoSGV ebike for an entire month.

      a man on a bicycle

      “Mission to Mission” went from South Pasadena through San Gabriel to Alhambra, May 1, 2022 (Photo – Bryan Zaragoza)

      According to Caltech professor Jonah Kanner, one of the first Pasadena residents to sign up for a GoSGV e-bike, “What’s great about this program is that it lets me try out a high quality e-bike, for a really low cost. The bike is fast, smooth, and quiet. It takes me about 15 minutes to get across Pasadena, and the ride is easy and fun.”

      The program is the first of its kind in the United States to employ a monthly subscription model for e-bike sharing, as far as program organizers can tell. Internationally, similar programs exist in France (Véligo), Australia (Lug + Carry), and the Netherlands (Swapfiets, VanMoof).

      GoSGV participants are able to choose from two types of e-bicycle: a commuter-style “City” e-bike, or a cargo e-bike designed to carry larger loads and/or small children. Featuring internal gearing and a reliable Bosch mid-drive motor, both program electric-assist bicycles are designed for hassle-free trips around town.

      electric bike parked on the road

      GoSGV “Classic Commuter” electric assist bicycle (Photo – Ernest Lee)

      The classic commuter bike includes a step-through frame, front basket, reflective, puncture-resistant tires, and integrated front and rear lights to make riding night or day easy. The bike has a top assisted speed of 18 mph, battery range of up to 30-50 miles, and charge time of approximately 4 hours. The model is available for long-term sharing via a monthly subscription model and comes equipped with a lock and charging cable. Introductory pricing is $69 a month for the general public and $49 a month for students.

      The Urban Arrow Family bakfiets or “box bike” is designed to replace a car. Equipped with child seat belts, the low-to-the-ground front box makes moving heavy loads easy, whether that be shuttling young children to school or a 15 gallon tree from a local nursery; the bike is rated to carry up to 550 pounds. Pricing is $129 a month for up to 3 months.

      The program will also be supported by local bike shops – including The Cub House in San Marino (2510 Mission St) and Stan’s Bike Shop in Azusa (732 N Azusa Ave) – that will display the commuter style bike and help maintain program bikes. After completing an application form and providing proof of residency in the San Gabriel Valley, members of the public can request a bike be delivered to their home via electric cargo van, or select pickup.

      electric bike with long cargo

      GoSGV “Urban Arrow” bakfiets (Photo – Ernest Lee)

      After a month or more, program participants who fall in love with their e-bikes can look forward to an array of new regional and state incentives for purchasing e-bikes as a means of affordable, non-polluting transportation. E-bikes are now eligible under the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s “Replace Your Ride” rebate program.

      The CA Air Resources Board is also working on implementing its first statewide electric bike rebate program, which is expected to roll out in 2023. And, if signed into law, this September, Senator Portantino’s AB 457 will grant Californians a $2,500 state tax credit for every car-free adult in their household (up to $5,000), freeing up resources for a good quality e-bike and more.

      > For more information about the GoSGV program, please visit goSGV.com.

      a man and a woman on a bike path riding e-bikes

      GoSGV bikes rolling down the Rio Hondo River Trail (Photo – Ernest Lee)

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        • Wesley Reutimann

          Wesley Reutimann is a Pasadena resident, volunteer organizer of the Pasadena Environmental Advocates (PEAs) Eco-Breakfast, and co-founder of Active San Gabriel Valley (ActiveSGV). He has almost two decades of experience in the non-profit sector with community-based, government, and educational institutions. Wesley's areas of focus include health policy, sustainable mobility, and active communities.

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
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