New ‘Summit Bike Share’ launches in Breckenridge
August 7, 2018
Of all the people he's met who hate e-bikes, surprisingly few of them have actually ridden one, said bike store owner Nick Truitt, the proud manager of a new fleet of e-bikes circulating in Breckenridge.
As a pro cyclist and the owner of the high-end mountain bike store Breck Bike Guides, Truitt knows a thing or two about good bikes.
On Tuesday, with his shop slammed with business from the Breck Epic, Truitt took a few minutes to describe the new fleet of e-bikes that have been spinning around Breckenridge since the beginning of the month.
That's when Summit Bike Share launched as a partnership between Truitt and the bike franchiser, Urbike — pronounced "Your Bike" — based out of Boulder. Together the two have set out a fleet of over two dozen smart, dockless e-bikes throughout Breckenridge.
By collecting trip fares on the individual’s next e-bike checkout, Truitt likened it to essentially a free test drive. If someone isn’t sold on the e-bikes, he said, that same person doesn’t have to check out another one and won’t be charged a thing.
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The venture is a new smartphone-based offering that allows pretty much anyone to rent e-bikes at a handful of Breckenridge locations by scanning a bike's QR code.
The e-bikes work like most other dockless e-models do. Riders can download the smartphone app — the Urbike app in this case — and use it to find bikes on the "Summit Bike Share" partner network. When the riders are done, they can simply drop the bike off at a participating location and be done with it. Meanwhile, Truitt will handle the maintenance, battery chargings and regular service.
Truitt emphasized Tuesday that riders know all the rules and keep the e-bikes parked on private property. E-bikes are allowed on any routes that permit motorized vehicles, including paved streets, “jeep” roads and designated motorized single-track trails.
E-bikes are not currently allowed on any non-motorized trails or paths, including the recpaths and dirt trails. This policy is currently consistent across the town of Breckenridge, Summit County and US Forest Service jurisdictions.
"I think that might change next summer," Truitt said. "But for now, not on the recpath, so we're asking people to really observe the rules for e-bikes … and be very respectful because we don't want to make anybody mad with these things."
The e-bikes are unmistakable. With bright white paint, black and red accents and glaring red wheels, no one should ever confuse them for anything else.
The bikes are stationed at Truitt's store and a number of participating private businesses in town. Find them at:
• Breck Bike Guides, 411 S. Main St, #12
• RMU, 114 S. Main St.
• The Hanger/Breckfast, 1900 Airport Road
• Broken Compass, 68 Continental Ct., Unit B-12
It costs $4 an hour to rent one, and the way the app charges riders is interesting to say the least.
By collecting trip fares on the individual's next e-bike checkout, Truitt likened it to essentially a free test drive. If someone isn't sold on the e-bikes, he said, that same person doesn't have to check out another one and won't be charged a thing.
He's betting that won't happen. For confirmation, Truitt suggested listening to John Warner, former mayor of Breckenridge.
Warner got to demo one of the e-bikes when they launched last week, and he told the Summit Daily on Tuesday that he came into the test ride skeptical of e-bikes and far from being a fan.
"But after riding one, I've changed my mind," Warner continued. "They're fun. They seem very safe. They don't go too fast, are easily controllable and I like them."
Truitt said he doesn't plan to make a lot of money on the e-bikes as much as he hopes to offer a new mode of transportation for tourists and locals alike. He does, however, hope to expand the e-bikes' reach in Breckenridge and across Summit and he will be looking to work with local governments.
Ideally, he said, Summit Bike Share would have bikes at every grocery store and library that will allow them, as well as at bus stops and other traffic hubs, in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon.
"Total in Summit County, we'll have about 75 bikes," Truitt guessed, saying that would include the 25 that are already in Breckenridge with the rest distributed throughout the other three towns.
Truitt said he doesn't think e-bikes will ever replace other bikes, like training or mountain bikes, but that they have a place in Summit County. The ease at which one can peddle an e-bike — you can feel the assist kick in, but it doesn't take off — could certainly open bike rides through Breckenridge to all kinds of people who either can't or don't often ride bikes now.
There are other benefits Truitt hopes will come to fruition, too. One of them, he said, is that locals might start using the e-bikes to regularly move around town from April through November, thus taking some of the cars off Breckenridge's busy roads and easing some of the local parking problems.
In addition to liking e-bikes, Warner also likes the idea of a "responsible business person" like Truitt managing the e-bike fleet in Breckenridge and said he feels like Truitt is putting e-bikes on "the right path."
Editor’s note: This report has been updated from its original version to better say where e-bikes are allowed and to provide a list of places they can be picked up and dropped off.
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