Update April 2023: After 11 successful cohorts over three years, the Easyride Initiative has concluded. A big thank you to all our participants and supporters. If you are a business or organization that would like to start your own bike loan program, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We would love to share our successes and lessons learned. A full report and toolkit is in the works!
What Is the Easyride E-bike Initiative?
The Easyride e-bike initiative creates opportunities for individuals to experience how an electric bike could fit into their work commute and lifestyle, without the initial financial commitment.
For a small fee, participants receive an e-bike on loan for five weeks, along with accessories (helmet, bell, lock, charger), and Making Tracks safe cycling training to take to the streets and trails with confidence.
Participants will be surveyed before and after their loan period to explore the integration of biking (electric or otherwise) in participants’ daily life and any changes in attitudes toward cycling.
Barriers like distance, topography, and fitness level can discourage individuals from thinking of biking as a viable transportation option. Electric pedal-assist bikes (e-bikes) reduce these physical and perceived barriers to biking, however they are more expensive than conventional bikes, and there are few opportunities for people to try before they buy in settings representative of real-world use cases.
Importance of the Easyride Initiative
Transportation is responsible for 31 per cent of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in Nova Scotia.
To achieve GHG emission reductions in the transportation sector, a significant proportion of trips currently made by car will need to shift to sustainable modes of transportation, such as cycling, walking and transit.
Where accessible, walking can replace short trips, and transit is good for reaching common destinations, but cycling offers the scheduling flexibility and range of a car for common daily commutes and errands.
Commonly reported barriers to choosing cycling include: infrastructure, level of fitness, distance, topography, age and perspiration upon arrival. E-bikes help overcome many of these barriers and offer a solution to curb emissions and ease traffic congestion in a fun and active way.
Get to Know the E-bikes
The Electra Townie Go! 8i Step-Thru was selected for its ease of sizing (fitting people five feet to six feet three inches tall) and riding comfort. The four-stage pedal-assist enables you to keep pace with traffic, receive limited assistance or switch off entirely for a regular bike ride and the Polished Silver makes for a sleek and classy look.
Click here to learn more about the specific e-bikes being used for the Easyride initiative.
E-bikes are fitted with bells, locks, an optional pannier basket, and a helmet is provided. All participants undergo mandatory safe cycling training as part of the program and must be able to ride a bicycle prior to participation.
Safe Cycling Training
The safe cycling training includes one interactive Making Tracks online training session (approximately one hour) that covers general road safety and knowledge tests. A two-hour in-person session will cover basic riding skills, hand signals, e-bike specifics and a group ride. This session marks the start of the cohort and participants will take their bikes with them at the end of this session.
Start dates for each cohort are as follows, there are between 4-6 bikes available for each 5-week cohort*. In-person training takes place the weekend prior to the below dates.
- May 30 - COMPLETE
- July 11
- August 22
- October 3
- November 14
*Dates and bike availability subject to change