Columbia Program Showcases New Cycling Trend

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COLUMBIA - A local program called GetAbout Columbia is having a meeting Monday at 6:00 p.m. to showcase a new cycling trend called the electric bike.

The bike's popularity is experiencing a market surge, sweeping through cities in Europe and Asia. Cyclists in the United States are becoming curious about this new trend.

According to GetAbout Columbia Outreach Coordinator Janet Godon, there are two types of electric bikes, or e-bikes. One is called a pedal assist bike. The rider pedals the bike to engage the motor, which propels the bike forward. The second is called a throttle bike. It has a power button and the rider does not have to pedal at all. Both of these bikes eliminate the lack of power drawbacks of traditional bicycles.

The GetAbout Columbia program has teamed up with Columbia Parks and Recreation and Public Works to support alternative methods of transportation, and has encouraged residents to ride their bike or walk instead of using an automobile. The program has plans to add additions and improvements to make the city safer and more convenient for bikers and walkers in the area. 

The program will be hightlighting the electric bike as one of the different forms of transportation that a resident can utilize. The bike's design makes it more manageable for those who would like to be active, but can't do certain strenuous exercises, as well as those who are in a hurry to get from place to place. 

"The top two reasons that they don't use [a traditional bike] is lack of physical ability or it takes too much time," Godon said. "An e-bike allows for people who feel like they don't have the time to ride the six miles to work... it's not just for people with physical barriers."

The meeting will include a presentation about the bike and its special features, while also demonstrating the bike so those in attendance will be able to test ride different styles.