E-Bike Distribution Program Announcement

Routt County Riders and the City of Steamboat Springs Receive $185,000 Grant from Colorado Energy Office to Implement E-Bike Access Program for Low-Income Locals

The program’s second year will provide 50 new e-bikes free of charge to referred individuals through several local partnering nonprofits and government agencies.

RCR will roll out its second consecutive ownership model e-bike distribution program in Routt and Moffat Counties this year alongside key partners at the City of Steamboat Springs.

In 2023, the program debuted with a $129,000 Colorado Energy Office grant that allowed for the distribution of 41 e-bikes. Main tenets of the program include matching equipment with individuals earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income, prioritizing goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and choosing participants whose commuting and lifestyle needs would benefit from the option of e-bike transportation.

“This program is so helpful to the lifeblood of this working community”, said one program participant. “It gives a reliable lift-up to those that deserve a smooth ride as much as anyone.”

RCR will continue to work with a local e-bike supplier, Pedego, to fulfill orders through this program. “There are many benefits of working with a local e-bike supplier instead of the large direct-to-consumer companies with no local presence,” says Matthew Rochon, RCR’s Community Outreach Program Manager. “Pedego is a reputable e-bike supplier with an established supply chain that is able to procure and provide maintenance for the equipment we request, and at a discounted rate.”

Participants chosen for the program will be referred by nine key agencies: Routt and Moffat County Departments of Human Services, Integrated Community, Lift Up of Routt County, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado, Young Tracks Preschool, The Health Partnership, and Northwest Colorado Health. All e-bike recipients are expected to be program participants or beneficiaries of the services offered by at least one of these agencies.

“We strongly support this program and its focus to create transportation solutions for low-income citizens and newcomers in our community,” says Jerry Hernandez, Executive Director of Integrated Community. “RCR aligns with our mission by providing access to community members that oftentimes face the most inequities while encouraging physical and mental well-being and integration.”

This program will advance two major local objectives that echo those of the CEO in providing this grant opportunity statewide. The first is to advance transportation justice and modality options for disproportionately cost-impacted sub-communities within Routt and Moffat Counties. The second is to encourage the adoption of e-bikes as a choice form of transportation, thus reducing car trips in the area, and reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our Climate Action Plan and Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan both speak to the need for our community to move away from gas-powered vehicles to electric and multimodal transportation options,” says Winnie Delliquadri, Special Projects and IGS Manager for the City of Steamboat Springs. “When the city became aware of this opportunity in 2022, we approached RCR with the idea of collaborating to bring e-bikes to members of our community who could use them for basic transportation.”

The “side benefits” of the program are expected to be numerous and diverse. Potential additional benefits of the project include (but are not limited to): strengthening local municipal and nonprofit partnerships, increasing e-bike user education, and elevating the capacity of local cycling programs to include e-bike maintenance and outreach.

In the words of one 2023 participant, “I’ve been able to continue with my work and daily life after not owning a car for months. I now enjoy nature more than I have in the past.”2024 program participants will be selected through referrals from the agencies and nonprofits listed above. Selection will be based on various criteria, including household income verified to be less than 80% of area median (less than $57,300 for a single person in Routt County) and feasibility of e-bike usage for ongoing commuter purposes. Those interested in becoming a program participant should look for communications from referring agencies in the near future.