Denver Government

Rebate to Ride: My New E-Bike Is a Blast

I've become a big e-bike guy.
I've become a big e-bike guy. Catie Cheshire

While rain was coming down on the last day of June, my mood was anything but dampened: I was finally going to pick up my new e-bike from REI's flagship store on Platte Street.

I scootered over to Confluence Park from the Westword office in the Golden Triangle. And after a few minutes of finalizing some paperwork, I walked out of the store with my Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1 Electric Bike, a purchase heavily subsidized by a $1,200 City of Denver e-bike rebate.

The bike has three motor speeds and ten gears, and is powered by a battery-juiced motor that adds a boost when I pedal. I'd purposely chosen a Class I e-bike, which is pedal-assisted, rather than a Class II e-bike, which allows a rider to just use a throttle to move forward; I didn't want to give myself an excuse to be lazy while riding. Still, with the pedal assist, I zipped back to the office.

And as I headed home along Lincoln Street later that day, I was going so fast that a woman going the same speed on a pocket-rocket motorcycle kicked her legs in a pedaling motion to mock my speedy pedaling.

In the evening, I biked down Washington Street to a friend's apartment for dinner. But even though I was able to go quite fast, around 20 miles per hour, the driver of a Jetta sedan behind me who wasn't content with my speed revved up his engine and sped past me. I flipped off the driver as he passed, which is a habit that I should probably kick.

On Sunday, I headed to Vail with a friend who was visiting the state for the first time. In a very Colorado scenario, I spotted Joe Sakic, champion Avalanche player and team general manager, with his wife and daughter by the gondola; all three were riding mountain e-bikes. A couple of fans shouted praise at Sakic, fresh from the Avs championship celebration, who held up a fist as he rode away.

A few weeks earlier, I might not have noticed that Sakic was on an e-bike. But once you start riding one, you notice how omnipresent they've become in Colorado.

On July 4, I biked along Cherry Creek into Glendale, took a break to watch the Nathan's hot dog-eating contest on my phone since I had bet on the under for Joey Chestnut, then headed over to Cheesman Park to meet up with a friend. I might have thought twice about taking that trip on a regular bike, but on an e-bike, it was a breeze. I could get as much or as little exercise as I wanted using the varying power modes and gears.

I'm thirty years old and healthy, but definitely not in Tour de France shape: With an e-bike, I've greatly increased the range and rate at which I can get around Denver without using my car. Those are the real benefits of an e-bike: I'm getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors at the same time I'm reducing my carbon footprint.

You can, too: The City of Denver rebate program goes live again on July 11. If you qualify for the largest rebate, you could get a SWFT Fleet from SloHi Bike Co. for under $100. Even if you go for a different model, as I did, the city has made buying an e-bike a relative bargain.

And once you go e-bike, there's really no going back.
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.

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