There's no better way to pass a warm day in Fort Worth than biking through Trinity Park toward a taco lunch on West 7th, and then pedaling over to the museums and Omni Theater in the Cultural District.
But that path requires some hill climbing, and the bicycles provided by Fort Worth Bike Sharing aren't exactly made for strenuous journeys.
Enter the e-bike. The city's bikesharing program is wheeling in new electric-assist bicycles — bikes that use battery-powered motors to add force to the rider's pedaling power. They won't roll into town until spring 2019, but the public got to try out them in a demo at City Hall on November 7.
The e-bikes are made by BCycle, which builds the bicycles for Fort Worth Bike Sharing, and will be white instead of red. The city has ordered 50 e-bikes to start, and there will be no premium costs to ride them initially, a spokeswoman says. They'll dock in the same stations as other bikeshare bicycles.
“I am confident that e-bikes will be a game changer for our program and community," says Kristen Camareno, executive director of nonprofit Fort Worth Bike Sharing, in a release. "By eliminating many of the hurdles presented by a non-motorized bike commute, e-bikes are a viable option for many who may not currently consider bikesharing as a way to get around.”
BCycle promotes e-bikes as a way to enjoy a sweat-free commute to work, to ride greater distances at a higher speeds, and "with the gravity-defying capabilities of an electric bike, hills seem to disappear beneath you," the company says.
Since bikesharing launched more than five years ago, Fort Worth riders have logged over 1 million miles, the organization says. There now are 350 bikes and 46 stations located in the heart of Fort Worth — downtown, the Cultural District, Near Southside, Trinity Trails, Stockyards, and in the TCU area. Residents of far north Fort Worth are hoping and praying that bikeshare bikes make their way up I-35 in the not-too-distant future.
"The mission of Fort Worth Bike Sharing," the organization says, "is to enhance the community by providing an affordable, efficient, environmentally friendly bikeshare program that complements the existing public transportation system and provides residents and visitors a healthy, convenient way to move around Fort Worth."