You can get a bank loan for a car. How about one for a new bike?

The London Bicycle Café is teaming up with Libro Credit Union to offer financing options to Londoners looking to purchase electric and cargo bikes.

Financing applies to cargo and electric bikes which costs several thousands of dollars

Ben Cowie, owner of the London Bicycle Café, takes his dog Hector for a spin in a cargo bike. Cargo bikes and electric bikes are now able to be financed thanks to Libro Credit Union and London's Bicycle Café's recent partnership. (Submitted: Ben Cowie )

The London Bicycle Café and Libro Credit Union are teaming up to offer financing options to Londoners looking to purchase electric and cargo bikes. 

The pilot project, which began in March, invites customers to visit the London Bicycle Café to select a bike. They can then meet with an agent at Libro Credit Union to discuss financing options. 

"What we've done is eliminate this huge barrier to getting on one of these, which is this big upfront cost. When you take that cost and break it down over the cost of the lifetime of the bike, it's a phenomenal way that reduces the financial burden of owning one of these wonderful machines," said Ben Cowie, owner of the London Bicycle Café on Clarence Street in London.

Cowie acknowledges these bikes aren't cheap, averaging between $3,000 to $5,000, with cargo bikes running as high as $15,000. 

"There's a big cost associated with these up front, but the benefit is once you've got one of these, you're no longer paying for gas, you're no longer paying for insurance, you're no longer paying for parking. So, it actually makes you money in the long-term by switching from a car to an e-bike."

No different than financing a car

Few people pay cash for cars these days, Cowie said. He argues it should be no different for those looking to purchase a cargo bike. 

"You can get $5,000 from the federal government up front to buy a Tesla. You get nothing for a cargo bike that has way fewer emissions."

"You should have incentives that make it easy for people to do this, especially since it's non-polluting, carbon emission free, light on city infrastructure and benefits the city," he added.

Jamieson Roberts, chair of the cycling advisory committee, reached out to Libro Credit Union on Twitter and asked, if car loans are available, why bike loans can't be an option?

That got the ball rolling on what Cowie said is a big step forward for the city.

Developing a solution for London's bike community

Jenifer Kelly said Libro Credit Union is excited to be a part of the project.

"We've always been really focused on Libro's impact on the environment. It's something on the forefront of our minds. To us, this just seems like a great partnership."

She said the two businesses share similar values and both felt they needed to develop a solution for the biking community.

"Our goal is to grow prosperity in southwestern Ontario. We are always learning about the needs of the communities and owners. We saw that there was a trend in the community to choose alternative transportation and we wanted to work to find a solution that would meet that need."