Published: July 5, 2023

Community Cycles was one of eight organizations statewide to receive a Community Access to Electric Bicycles Grant from the Colorado Energy Office. The grant allowed them to award 60 electric bikes to frontline employees at CU Boulder and several other partners. Of the 60 bikes distributed to participants, 14 went to CU staff members. This grant follows the university’s successful participation in the 2021 pilot of this program.

Campus community members gather around electric bikes during the 2018 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Ride-n-Drive event

Campus community members gather around electric bikes during the 2018 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Ride-n-Drive event

In an effort to help safely reopen the post-pandemic economy and promote a sustainable future, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ administration launched Can Do Colorado, an initiative that included nearly $700,000 in e-bike grants to be provided to low-income essential workers. The spring 2021 e-bike pilot program was developed to expand electric bike access in communities across the state while supporting air quality benefits. 

“E-bikes extend the commute range of those who can ride to work,” said Clark Rider, sustainable transportation specialist at CU Boulder. “This program helps us begin to address our climate impacts and lays the groundwork for future broad efforts to get more CU affiliates to use sustainable transportation methods.”

Bike recipients paid $250 to get into the program and received an e-bike (valued at more than $1,500) and all the accessories needed to keep themselves safe and their bikes secure. The CU Bike Program also helped these employees register their bikes with CU through Bike Index, get access to secure on-campus bike shelters and provide “best route” advice depending on where they live and work.

The only stipulations of the program are that participants commit to replacing single-occupancy vehicle trips with e-bike commutes at least three days a week, and they must use an app developed by the National Renewable Energy Lab that tracks their commutes. The app tracks individuals’ locations to calculate the energy savings and carbon impact of biking compared to driving in order to quantify the beneficial pollution-reducing impact of the program.

Community Cycles and partners including the Colorado Energy Office and CU Boulder hope this initiative will encourage local residents to try a healthier way of commuting in an effort to reduce the community’s carbon footprint.