RoamNRV gives electric boost to bike rideshare program Leave a comment

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – New bikes hit the road this week in the New River Valley. They’re not your traditional bicycle, but rather they give you a little bolt of energy, especially climbing up hills.

“The assist part means that you do some work, so you have to keep pedaling in order for that motor, which gives you the assistance to engage, but the main thing is that it’s really useful for going uphill,” Bolt Operations Manager Cat Woodson said.

Following suit with the electric rend, the bikes offer more connectivity to other means of public transportation or ease of riding around town.

“The nice thing with these is you don’t have to be a Tour de France fit cyclist,” Woodson said. “Wherever you’re at, whatever your fitness level ability, these are great because they don’t really need that prerequisite of being fit.”

RoamNRV teamed up with Bolt Mobility converting the old orange human-powered bikes to add that assistance. The new bikes are teal and a little heavier than previous ones, but the motor in the wheel helps to compensate so you don’t feel a difference.

With the tap in the Gotcha Powered By Bolt mobile app and scan of the QR code, the bike is unlatched and ready to ride.

It costs $1 to unlock the bike then 35 cents per minute. An annual fee of $99.99 waives the unlock fee and gets you 30 minutes of riding each day before you are charged 35 cents per minute. The former system was cheaper and did not have an unlock fee, but maintaining electric bikes takes more manpower.

“The price increase is to accommodate the extra labor and time that goes into maintaining the system,” Woodson said. “As you can imagine the electric is going to have more components to maintain than the human powered ones.”

WDBJ7 took one of the bikes for a spin and noticed it takes about half of the traditional power output to get the distance you are trying to go.

You can find the new bikes now at the 12 existing stations. There are only 75 bikes in rotation now, but by the end of the summer, 150 will be available when more hubs are added to pick them up.

A helmet is required to ride and you must be 18 years or older.

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