Indego rolls out newest fleet of electric bikes

Steve Tawa
November 08, 2018 - 4:00 am
Aaron Ritz, transportation programs manager for the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS) shows off a new Indego electric-assist bike.

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The latest rollout in the Indego bike fleet in Philadelphia is sure to get some riders revved up. 

The city will show off e-bikes at noon Thursday in front of the Municipal Services Building — and you can take them for test rides. 

It's the start of a two-month pilot for electric-assist bicycles. They look and handle like regular bikes, but they include a battery on the side of the rear tire, according to Transportation Programs Manager Aaron Ritz from the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS).

"Those are bikes where there's an electric motor, that only boosts you when you're peddling the bicycle," he said.

The electric component is meant to combine with human power, to push riders forward.

"It won't give you a boost if you're not peddling," he added. The motor multiplies the peddle force by roughly doubling what you put into it. The motor is governed to top out at 15 to 17 miles per hour. 

Ritz said e-bikes are ideal for those who aren’t frequent riders.

"It can make your commute time shorter. It can make the hills flatter. It makes those headwinds into tailwinds. It might help you get the courage or the excitement to go for a bike ride, after you've been a couch potato," he said.

The city is seeking feedback from those who hop on the 10 e-bikes — which go for the same price as the regular fleet. If they attract a buzz, the hope is to expand to 100 electric-assist bikes next spring.