It’s exciting to finally be introducing FreeBike outside the circle of friends and collaborators who have helped turn it into a reality.
FreeBike is about increasing human freedom. That’s a big project! Here at FreeBike, we are doing our part by offering something new in the world: amazing wholesale prices on electric bikes, electric scooters, and other small electric vehicles, all packaged up with a set of free digital services for getting them into people’s hands. And for those who want them, we also offer professional services for planning and executing FreeBike programs. We’ve learned a lot over the years working in the ebike and escooter business, and FreeBike is our way of turning all of those learnings into a new and better way to help people move.
One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that ebikes and escooters create value for so many different people and communities, in so many different ways. They are like a fountain that is overflowing with goodness. They help people live healthier, safer, more exciting, more connected, more interesting lives. They help reduce pollution. They grow the economy by helping people get and keep jobs, by enabling new delivery services, and simply by letting more people get out and spend money in more places. They replace and displace cars, keeping everyone safer and opening up more space in cities for pedestrians and housing and parks. All this, from such small vehicles.
One of the other big lessons we’ve learned though is that moving people around is like public education or libraries or national parks or clean air or clean water -- it’s simultaneously essential and not something anyone makes any money at. Airlines, taxi companies, ride hailing companies, scooter sharing companies, public transit - none of them make any money! But we all still need to move.
And finally, when it comes to small electric vehicles, we’ve also learned that their cost is a huge hurdle to far too many consumers. The types of ebikes and escooters that you can build your life around, typically cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 dollars. Compared to buying a car, that’s great, but for most people it’s still far too much. Maybe you’ve seen the statistic that 40% of Americans wouldn’t be able to pay an unexpected $400 expense - and that was in 2019, before covid emptied so many more people’s bank accounts.
So, at FreeBike we are dedicated to finding all those employers, community agencies, social service organizations, and other groups who benefit from light electric mobility, and working with them to put free bikes into people’s hands. This can take the form of employer-subsidized vehicles, community bicycle lending libraries, job creation programs, health care programs, amenities added on at housing complexes and apartment buildings, and many other formats. If this sounds interesting to you, stay tuned for future blogs, or better yet fill out the sign-up form at www.freebike.org and let’s talk. 2020 stopped a lot of people in their tracks - it’s time to work together to get people moving again!