Do you wish biking was part of your life? E-bikes can greatly increase that possibility. E-bikes (electric bikes) are like regular bikes but with an electric motor in addition to human-powered pedals, a battery to store power for that motor, and a heavier frame to accommodate the increased hardware. The electric assist can help with the physical issues, daunting hills, and the need to haul heavy loads (kids, groceries, or both are easier with a cargo e-bike like the one pictured!) that might otherwise keep you off your bike. This could enable you to replace many car trips with breezy, two-wheel journeys that don’t clog the roads or present parking challenges. 

Worldwide, e-bike sales are booming, and the market is stuffed with different choices on frame, type and size of motor, battery storage —  to name just a few variables. How do you choose?

The first step is to try some models and see what features you like best. Enter Local Motion’s Upper Valley E-bike Library. Organized by eight Upper Valley town energy committees with the help of Vital Communities, this new program of Local Motion is a spin-off of its popular Traveling E-bike Library that visited Hartford and Norwich last summer. 

From Monday, June 29 through the end of October, the library will be stationed in various Upper Valley communities. Residents of each community can borrow either of two e-bike models free of charge for a few days (or an hour) to get a feel for the two-wheel life. 

The library is scheduled to be based in the following locations during the following time periods:

Monday, June 29 – Sunday, July 19: Norwich
Norwich residents can reserve a bike here.

Monday, July 20 – Sunday, August 9: Thetford
Thetford residents can reserve a bike here.

Monday, August 10 – Sunday, August 30: Cornish/Plainfield
Plainfield/Cornish residents can reserve a bike here.

Monday, August 31 – Sunday September 20: Hartland/Windsor
Hartland/Windsor residents can reserve a bike here (scroll to bottom of page, past the Plainfield/Cornish section).

Monday, September 21 – Sunday, October 11: Hartford
Hartford residents can reserve a bike here. 

Monday, October 12 – Sunday, November 1: Hanover

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the anticipated mid-April launch of the Upper Valley E-Bike Library but Local Motion and local organizers are excited to be able to offer the bikes for the rest of the summer. Each bike will go through a rigorous cleaning protocol after being returned from one borrower and again before being lent to the next one. 

Check back in this blog post for program details and registration information as the bikes move to the next town!