biking

Guide: E-biking in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro

You’re interested in e-biking in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro. That’s great!

We see e-bikes as a key component of the future of transportation in town. As the Washington Post put it, “They increase access to cycling, offer an environmentally friendly alternative to driving and provide mental and physical health benefits.”

They’re also really enjoyable to ride. With e-bikes, you can ride further and more often — saving fuel costs, time, and effort to get around our hilly roads.

In North Carolina, the minimum age for riding e-bikes is 16. (Other rules for riding e-bikes are listed in this handy PDF from People for Bikes.

Durham recently launched a pilot program to provide employees working in Downtown Durham with an e-bike. From the website:

Many residents in Durham have issues with reliable transportation. This can be a problem for business owners or organizations who need to have reliable employees, recruit new workers and maintain competitiveness.

For employees in Downtown Durham, parking can be expensive. This pilot will provide employees with a free and reliable way to travel to/from work and throughout the City with an electric-assist bike.

Here’s what you need to know to e-bike in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham

Our favorite places to go on e-bikes

Arleigh (Durham): “As simple as it sounds, I love riding to Harris Teeter or Cocoa Cinnamon for coffee. E-bikes make everyday errands fun and accessible by bikes. It is also really cool to lock up right outside the sliding doors at the grocery store, come out, load up, and ride out.

Martin (downtown Chapel Hill): “My favorite place to go on an e-bike is to Carrboro Elementary School, where my daughter is in third grade. Since I got my cargo bike last summer, I’ve been able to turn what was a miserable 20-minute drive (roundtrip) to school and back into a relaxing 20-minute (or less) bike ride. On our rides we see animals, neighbors, and friends, and I don’t have to wait in the car line to drop her off.

Geoff (Meadowmont): “I enjoy riding to downtown, despite the lack of safe facilities to get there from my house because it never gets old taking advantage of the electric assist to easily climb the steep hill up to campus, and I don’t need to deal with finding a car parking spot. a fun weekly excursion is my trip to the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market. Finally, I love making any number of random trips that I would have previously made in my car — trips to the grocery store, to visit friends, to restaurants in Eastgate like Kipo’s, and even to Lowe’s to pick up household supplies-

New to e-bikes? Arleigh’s guide will help you out

Arleigh’s guide details types of e-bikes, local laws, maintenance, and resources for you to get your pedals wet!

Ways to ensure safety for both e-bike riders and pedestrians

In the United States, we have worked hard for an e-bike classification system to ensure that e-bikes being sold have some regulations and standards but ultimately it is much like a car – it can be fast and powerful but what matters is following riding laws, and maximum speed limits.

Arleigh, “I believe local laws should be more about regulating speed, and providing clear bike use guidelines instead of banning e-bikes from trails or multi-use paths. Road bikes can achieve 20mph but they shouldn’t when on a shared use path, same with e-bikes.”

Places to find e-bikers in the area

Arleigh is starting a group of local e-bikers, both for rides and advocacy. You can contact her on Twitter (@bikeshopgirlcom).

Bike shops that carry e-bikes

REI

Clean Machine

BullsEye

Durham Cycles

Other resources

Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill 

Bike Carrboro