SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — A new electric bicycle demo program operated through the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments Traffic Solutions division is rolling into existence.
The EZ Bike Project offers a wide range of free e-bike demos using various models including cargo bikes, cruisers, city bikes and folding bikes.
The program will be available to local residents and commuters and is free of charge for those living or working in Santa Barbara County.
“Overall goal of this program is to reduce traffic and pollution,” EZ Bike Project coordinator Nancy Eckert said. “We’re doing this while allowing people a really viable way of getting around.”
SBCC instructor Diana Musacchio peddled through a test run in town.
“Once you start riding it, you discover that even when the power is off, it actually rides really well,” she said.
The project contains a fleet of 10 e-bikes from local and online retailers that range in price from less than $1,000 to $3,500.
“We release the bikes for four days at a time,” Eckert explained. “Giving people the ability to see if they can use it in their lives.”
The project is located at a self-serve valet bike parking facility at 1219 Anacapa Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
Tes Stoute tried an e-bike over the weekend.
“There was no pressure, she said. “You get to do it without anyone looking at you or trying to make a fast sell upon you.”
“It’s amazing instead of having to put a whole bunch of money down without trying them out,” Musacchio said.
While reducing swear and stress, it’s also shifting gears toward the future.
“We’re super excited to eventually bring it to Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Ynez, Lompoc and Santa Maria,” Eckert said.
“If people adopt e-bikes instead of cars, we’d be so far ahead with carbon emissions,” Musacchio concluded. “It’s the best possible thing for our future.”
Project partners include Trek Bicycles, Bicycle Bob’s and Santa Barbara Electric Bikezzz.
Participants of the project can receive a discount for an e-bike or bike accessories as well.
Bicycle Bob’s is offering a 10% discount (up to $250) on a Trek e-bike, and Santa Barbara Electric Bikezzz is offering a free high security ABUS lock with the purchase of an e-bike.
Those interested can reserve an e-bike online to sign up for a demo.
Reservation options are available Thursday through Monday and must be made by 5 p.m. the Wednesday prior to reservation.
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