Thompson Rivers University launches e-mountain bike incentive to improve commutes

Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops is hoping a little boost will convince more people to ride bikes to campus.

The project encourages more people to bike to work

A new initiative to encourage staff to bike to work at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops will introduce a fleet of e-bikes with discounts and incentives. (Thompson Rivers University/Facebook)

Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops is hoping a little boost will convince more people to ride bikes to campus.

The university's sustainability department announced last Friday that it's moving forward on a new electronic bike initiative by growing its fleet and introducing incentives for employees who choose to take part.

The goal of the initiative is to encourage people to choose a more sustainable and eco-friendly option for commuting.

"There's no silver bullet, but we think that e-bike is part of the future here," said Jim Gudjonson, director of environment and sustainability at Thompson Rivers University.

The program will allow employees who choose to invest in an e-bike to buy one at a discounted rate with the option to pay back the cost over the course of a year through payroll deductions as an incentive.

Quick and affordable commute

E-bikes typically cost around $1,000 at the lower end, and have a travel range of between 40-70 kilometres, with speeds of up to 32 kilometres per hour, according to Gudjonson.

"I commute quicker with this bike from downtown than I can drive here. You can drive it right to your office, and you don't have to worry about parking," he told Daybreak Kamloops' Doug Herbert.

The hilly terrain and unpredictable weather deter many cyclists from commuting all the way to the campus, so the e-assist feature allows people to climb those steep inclines without a sweat, he said.

City councillor Arjun Singh agrees after trying one out on campus.

"I don't get on a bike very often these days, I forgot how enjoyable it is… The electric assist with Kamloop's hilly terrain, it's actually a really great feature to have the ability if you're getting a little pooped out coming up hill to hit that button."

The university has six bikes available for students and staff to rent out for a week free of charge, and will be expanding its fleet as the program picks up.

Gudjonson said the department is developing an app for the program which will eventually allow users to unlock the new e-bikes with their phones.

To hear the full interview listen to media below:

With files from Daybreak Kamloops