Tuesday, June 18, 2024

New chapter for Whakatāne transport

Whakatāne District Council has launched an electric bike library – a Waka Kotahi-funded initiative that gives people the opportunity to borrow an e-bike for 21 days.

Whakatāne District Council Transport Planner, Joe Metcalfe says the e-bike library is a fantastic opportunity for people to try an e-bike and potentially discover a new lifestyle.

“Using an e-bike is perfect for improving your health, reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on fuel,” Mr Metcalfe said.

“It also enables you to arrive at your destination without getting sweaty or needing to find a carpark. The new e-bike library means you can borrow a bike, try it for three weeks and then decide if it’s something you’re keen to invest in.”

All that’s needed is a bit of paperwork and a $100 koha to Cycling Without Age EBOP, the community partner operating the programme, he said.

Anyone who takes part in the scheme will also receive a $100 voucher from Whakatāne Cycle Centre or Full Cycle Bikes toward the purchase of an e-bike.

The e-bike library was launched with a total of 12 bikes, in five different styles. Options include cargo bikes, which are ideal for carrying children and bulky gear, a trike for those with mobility or balance needs, and even one that can be used on and off-road.

Mr Metcalfe says the benefits of e-bikes far outweigh any perceived barriers, and with the rising cost of fuel, it’s fast becoming an excellent choice for people from all walks of life.

“There are options for families, individuals, those with disabilities and people in later stages of life,” he says.

“And the Council’s Active Whakatāne Strategy is helping create a more comprehensive and connected network for anyone riding a bike, so it’s a really great way to live a healthier, safe and more active lifestyle.”

Maureen Verstegen, founder of Cycling Without Age EBOP says using an e-bike has literally changed her life.

“I moved to the area a few years ago, not knowing anybody. So I started the ‘Non-Olympic cyclist group’, and it soon grew to about 150 people,” she said.

“A number of us meet up every week and go on e-bike expeditions. Many of us are over 60 years old, and because we have e-bikes, we can easily go back and forth over the Ōhope Hill. Having an e-bike gives you options – especially with harder terrain and wind conditions. You still need to pedal, but it really opens up a whole new world.”

The project is funded by the Transport Choices package, which is part of the Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme.

Find out more information about the initiative and make a booking.

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