BRATTLEBORO — Question: What possibly could electric bikes and the Brooks Memorial Library have in common? Answer: It’s the Brattleboro E-Bike Lending Library and it’s coming to the library Friday.
The Brattleboro E-Bike Lending Library is an innovative effort in collaboration with the Brooks Memorial Library to provide area residents an opportunity to take home an e-bike for five full days and get a real-world sense of how an electric bicycle can fit into their lives. This project is made possible by Local Motion through a VTrans grant and is locally coordinated by VBike, Brattleboro Energy Committee, Brattleboro’s Sustainability Office and Brattleboro Time Trade. Local Motion’s funding paid for two great bikes, bike accessories, a reservation platform, and insurance coverage.
Concerns about climate change and the pandemic have reportedly inspired more Vermonters to switch to electric bikes. In 2020, Green Mountain Power processed 600 e-bike rebates, almost tripling the number from 2019. Additionally, in a recent Brattleboro Coalition for Active Transportation survey, 46 percent of the 140 of the respondents reported they currently have an e-bike or e-cargo bike. The survey also found that 33 percent of those who didn’t have an e-bike said that they would ride more for transportation if they had one.
To accelerate the adoption of e-bikes even further, the Brattleboro E-Bike Lending Library is offering two bikes: a belt-drive e-bike from Gazelle, and a more economical e-bike from Raleigh. Participants will register online to check out a bike from the Brooks Memorial Library and pick it up on Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. with a return on Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. Local Motion and the Brattleboro E-Bike Library volunteers are adhering to all COVID-19 related government safety regulations and recommendations.
Finally, the Brattleboro E-Bike Lending Library is a welcome addition to VBike’s Brattleboro-based demo fleet of electric cargo bikes for families and households. VBike also offers free consultations (funded by Go Vermont) to help Vermonters with their choice of an e-bike or e-cargo bike and to understand the various options.
On Friday at noon, come check out the wonderful e-bikes and learn about how this unique collaboration with the Library came into being. Also, meet the Brattleboro E-Bike Lending Library staff as well as find out why this project is so important for our town from the perspective of Brattleboro Select Board members, Rep. Mollie Burke, staff from the Windham Regional Commission, members from the Brattleboro Coalition for Active Transportation (BCAT) and others.