Should we Scrap Public Transit for E-Bikes in Sioux Falls?

My little slice of Heaven

I made this joke a couple of months ago to some people, “Maybe the city should just sell SAM and buy current transit riders an E-Bike.”

Imagine my surprise when I heard about this NY Times Article today;

I’m no stranger to bike commuting, I have been doing it on and off, depending on the job since 1993. But like the article mentions, you get sweaty. I have been putting off getting an E-Bike, because up until this point, I don’t think many models are worth a crap (there are only about 3-5 brands that are worth a damn) and I have quite the non-ebike collection now, mostly cruisers I have fixed up or saved from the junk pile that are wonderful for leisure rides and short commutes and as I lovingly call ‘My Children’.

My 1957 Schwinn ‘Cotton Candy’

I first started with an E-Scooter (that only rides on the streets) 2 years ago, which I love. But it is heavy and you cannot pedal it.

E-Coco, made in Turkey

So after visiting San Diego in May and riding a certified throttle E2 I was sold and finally narrowed it down to my Ariel Rider (top pic). The bike I chose is not for everyone. It has a center bar and is made for shorter people. But it rides and handles like a motorcycle, and I won’t even tell you the speed I get out of it, but I have been riding everyday since I got it a month ago and it is amazing and the charge is good for 40 miles. The only thing I can suggest for you is to do your research (I watched hours of video reviews and read tons of data about batteries and motors). I don’t see myself driving my car at all next summer except for when it is raining (but this is an all-weather bike you can ride through most weather events except for like a blizzard or ice storm). Other brands like RAD and Himiway are also year round E-Bikes that are actually very affordable and tough as nails. The other advantage of having a bike VS. a car is that it can be included on your homeowners or renters insurance.

The ride that sold me on an E2

So how would it change our perception of Public Transit in Sioux Falls?

I’m not naive, I realize that there are many people who ride SAM that cannot bike or walk to work. But what if we reduced the size of SAM to targeted pickups and simply buy anyone who qualifies a good E-bike with a tool kit and access to affordable parts and a trade-in program? It would be life changing and you might even be able to diversify the workforce in Sioux Falls. If the city bought durable E-Bikes at a bulk rate they could probably get the bikes for under $1,000 a piece. They could probably even get a Federal Transportation grant for it out of the infrastructure bill. You could also exchange the FREE bike for a one-time volunteer opportunity to pick up trash along the river and bike trail or any other number of community projects.

Here is an example, through Federal housing grants it already costs around $300K to build one multi-family home in Sioux Falls. Can you imagine how many working people you would impact if you spent half that on FREE E-bikes Instead? It would be enormous. You could also set the program up so they could trade the bikes in for an upgraded model in a couple of years and make sure the bikes are specially marked from being sold to Pawn Shops, etc.

There are a lot of details to be worked out and YES some people may abuse the system but I can tell you from my experience of getting on a true E2 for the first time in California, once you ride one, you are sold. Many of these bikes can also fold up and be very compact for a small living space, and like my model, the batteries are detachable for recharging in case you have to store it outside. Let’s just say besides saving public tax dollars in transit costs it gives recipients of these bikes enormous FREEDOM they did not have before standing and waiting for the bus.

I think when it comes to commuting to work in Sioux Falls, we really need to think outside the box, and big clunky buses really are NOT cutting it anymore.

I grew up always having a bike, and I can’t imagine what it would be like NOT having one now, especially to someone who is working poor and cannot afford a vehicle. Instead of blowing millions on parking ramps, tennis courts and ice ribbons, maybe we should be investing in reliable transportation for workers. Just a thought.



15 comments ↓

#1 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 11.28.21 at 12:10 am

Future Bookface post: Three swarms of E-Bikes from Fargo heading down I-29.

Does Taupeville really want to go Saigon? Can realistic bike washes be built? Who will ride them through? Will some be electrocuted? Maybe buy futures of black or white E-Bike manufacturers, however.

What about Emmett-on-Demand? Would it work?

Why not an E-Bike Pedal Pub? More time to drink.

Think of the I-229, 90, and 29 loop as merely a trail. Because it does pattern the current bike trail.

Maybe RAGBRAI should be turned into a Model T Cannonball Run.

If the power goes out in our neighborhood, can we call-in sick?

Will Sturgis ever accept us? Does Pee-wee Herman dare to go there? The theater is gone, but the bikers are still there.

Are E-Bikes merely a gateway to motorcycles, then cars? What has really been achieved? Pedal on….

#2 Yes, that’ll do it! on 11.28.21 at 9:32 am

Great idea DL, I agree we should buy people that ride public transportation a brand new eBike. As a matter of fact (after viewing your San Diego pic), I think we should man date!

I, however, don’t use public transportation, so I would like the city to buy me a Harley, cause that is my preferred mode of transportation. I don’t want a pink n powder blue Harley, I’ll take a shiny black one instead.

#3 D@ily Spin on 11.28.21 at 9:57 am

Keep quiet about E bikes. They’re motorized and the city council will make them illegal on the Bike Trails. Some can do 40 MPH. They’re safe but to many on the trails and around town will prompt crowding, taxation, and legal ramifications. Let’s enjoy they and their convenience as long as possible. The city could find a use for the warehouse Sedgeways before they come to auction and sell for pennies.

#4 Just some guy on 11.28.21 at 11:37 am

“I’m not naive” – guy with blog specializing in bad ideas.

#5 Further Fear & Loathing on 11.28.21 at 12:46 pm

Say, Y,twdi, while you’re in Limitless Male, would you have bikini clad girls washing your shiny black Harley outside? You know what they say about black. The girls probably know. Too bad for you.

#6 "Woodstock" on 11.28.21 at 12:52 pm

“I’d like one of those Onewheel skateboards”… “But my inseam might be too short to make it go and then stop”… “But maybe I could hop back and forth to keep it going, then finally bounce on its one side to stop it”…. 🙁 #Bummer

#7 Just a guy on 11.28.21 at 4:04 pm

“Rides and handles just like a motorcycle” LOL. The list of things you know nothing about gets another entry.

#8 l3wis on 11.28.21 at 4:34 pm

I love it when ‘experts’ come and comment here ‘anon’. Because nothing backs up an expert recommendation when it comes from a chickensh!t f’ing nobody who doesn’t have the nads to tell us who they are. But please, share more of your nobody expertise, inquiring minds want to know.

#9 Just a dude on 11.28.21 at 6:55 pm

I’m sure you do love it when I post. If it wasn’t for me and the various names VSG posts under, you’d be just talking to yourself. Pretty much what you do even with us.

#10 Steve on 11.28.21 at 8:20 pm

Of course you like it when I post. If it wasn’t for me, and the 17 different aliases VSG uses, you’d just be talking to yourself. Which is pretty much what you do anyway. As far as me being a nobody: hate to break it to you, but you’re just as much one as me. 99.9% of Sioux Falls doesn’t know about you, or this blog.

#11 "Woodstock" on 11.28.21 at 11:06 pm

“I think it’s anti-quotation boy”….

#12 Anthony Renli on 11.29.21 at 8:46 am

I think we SHOULD have e-bikes, but they absolutely should not replace public transit.
Unless we plan on having a traditional public transit system running any time it is:

Raining.
Snowing.
Below Freezing.
Very Windy.
Above 90.

This is a solution that simply won’t work.
People cant’ show up for work soaked, or covered in sleet, or sweating through their clothes, or with frostbite. There was a year I relied on my bike and public transit as my daily transportation – I rode my bike whenever I could, but when the weather sucked, it was Public Transit. That was over 1/3 of the time over the course of that year.

#13 l3wis on 11.29.21 at 11:22 am

Well if I only had 100 readers a day I would have quit years ago, lol

#14 l3wis on 11.29.21 at 11:24 am

I agree E-bikes are not for everyone but it could benefit a large sector. And E2s have throttles so you don’t always have to pedal

#15 "Woodstock" on 11.29.21 at 12:16 pm

“If this blog isn’t relevant, then why does the anti-quotation boy mess with it then?”…