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Free E-bikes coming to WNY to meet growing demand

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-19 18:25:53-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — During the pandemic, many have taken to biking to get outside and stay active. That's lead to a nationwide bike shortage.

"Everything's closed down. We're not allowed to do anything. Gyms are closed. So this is a really good way to get out, do some exercise and spend some time with the family," said Michael Mussel, Sales Manager at Bert's Bikes and Fitness on Niagara Falls Boulevard.

There's been a 3,000% increase in biking in WNY, according to GoBike Buffalo. This means longer wait times at Bert's and fewer bikes to choose from.

"The bike companies are really struggling to get that supply and demand under control, [but] we'll do whatever we can to get you on the bike of your desires," said Mussel.

A local transportation company is hoping to meet this demand by bringing thousands of E-bikes to WNY.

"This is a great opportunity for us to give back here and create more connections with our community," said Mitch LaRosa, Program Director at Shared Mobility Inc.

With Uber moving away from the bike sharing industry, they were left with thousands of extra e-bikes, which Shared Mobility gladly accepted as a donation.

The plan is to bring 1,000 of those E-bikes, bikes with an electric motor to let you ride faster and longer, to WNY. It's part of a plan to start what they're calling a "transportation library".

"That would provide people with free access to electric assist bikes that we received through this donation and possibly other modes of transportation as well," said LaRosa.

It's still in the planning stages. The next step is to create a framework over the next year or so to bring things to fruition.

"Our goal is to create something that is community controlled, but it's a work in progress," said LaRosa.