Transportation

Houston’s Bike Share Is Testing Out Electric Bikes

BCycle says it’s hoping to bring in new riders by adding e-bikes to its fleet.

  • Houston BCycle has deployed four electric bikes as part of a pilot program.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
    Houston BCycle has deployed four electric bikes as part of a pilot program. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
  • Houston BCycle hopes the new electric bikes will get more people interested in bike share.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media)
    Houston BCycle hopes the new electric bikes will get more people interested in bike share. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media)
  • Riders can find the electric bikes by looking for the small lightning bolt on the BCycle app. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
    Riders can find the electric bikes by looking for the small lightning bolt on the BCycle app. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
  • Electric bike battery pack (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
    Electric bike battery pack (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
  • A small solar panel in the basket helps charge the battery for the electric bikes.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media)
    A small solar panel in the basket helps charge the battery for the electric bikes. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media)
  • Riders are reminded they can't use electric bikes on park trails that prohibit motorized vehicles.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
    Riders are reminded they can't use electric bikes on park trails that prohibit motorized vehicles. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )

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Houston BCycle has now added four electric bikes to its fleet as part of a pilot program.

The e-bikes have a battery-powered motor that can reach speeds of up to 17 mph. In the front basket of the bike there's a solar panel that helps recharge the battery pack.

BCycle Executive Director Beth Martin said she hopes the battery-powered bikes can help bring in new riders since they're good for people with physical limitations.

"I think Houston is just perfectly situated for e-bike ridership throughout our fleet,” said Martin. “That's why we wish, if we had the funding source, to just replace all of our classic bikes with e-bikes."

Riders will be able to give their feedback on the e-bikes over the next couple of months. After the feedback stage, Martin said the plan is to find a funding source for more e-bikes.

“Beyond private sponsorships, many bike share systems benefit from subsidies from their local government,” said Martin. “We hope that with enough support from the community, we can seek funding from the City of Houston to support a full fleet of BCycle e-bikes.”

A small lightning bolt on the BCycle app will show the stations where the e-bikes are currently available.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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