Albuquerque's Ultimate Guide
to (Electric) eBikes & eBiking
Healthy, Fun, Affordable & Sustainable Recreation & Transportation
in Albuquerque & greater New Mexico
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Popularity & Growth of eBikes in the US
eBikes Past & Future
How eBikes Benefit the Public Good
Top 10 Fun Things to do in Albuquerque
on an eBike
How eBikes Contribute to Public Health
Why eBikes are Perfect for Albuquerque
How eBikes Benefit Businesses
eBike Safety Allowances and Regulation in Albuquerque & New Mexico
Top 10 Reasons to Ride an eBike
What is an eBike and Why are People so Obsessed?
Since you're here, chances are you’ve already heard a thing or two about how great eBikes are. But what exactly is an eBike and what makes it different from the bikes you might already have in your garage?
The Anatomy of an eBike
Regular bike + electric drive system = motor, battery, ride display/control, maybe throttle & a ton of FUN
The Frame: The basic anatomy of an eBike is simple: they have the classic bike silhouette you know and love (wheels, gears, handlebars, brakes, you know the deal), but is modernized by an electric motor and a rechargeable battery.
The Motor: Although an eBike has a motor, it’s different from other motorized vehicles (like electric scooters) in that the motor is meant to augment your own pedaling power, not completely replace it.
Three Classes of eBikes: Most ebikes on the market today, are designed to provide power only up to 20mph (Class-1 and Class-2 ebikes.) This generally keeps ebikers aligned with intermediate or advanced traditional cyclists who generally rides at speads of 15-25mph.
Less common ebikes are designed to provide power up to 28mph (Class-3 ebikes.) Still there are others that can reach 65mph or greater, but those tend to be regulated more closely to that of motorcycles.
Potential Power of an eBike Motor: Just like other motorized vehicles, ebike motors vary in potential power. Since the motor is electric, it's power is measured in Watts (W). Most class-1 or class-2 ebike motors (designed to max at 20mph) range from 250 - 750 Watts. Class-3 and unclassified ebikes that achieve much faster speeds may have motors reaching up to 1200 Watts.
Today, most ebikes are equipped with either a mid-drive motor or a hub-drive motor. Both work great, but sometimes have a little different feel when you ride.
Mid-drive Motors are located on the bike frame right between the two pedal crank arms. As you pedal the ebike, the motor boosts the power sent to the back wheel through the chain.
Hub-drive Motors are located on the hub of the back wheel. As you pedal the ebike, the motor boosts the power by to the back wheel directly.
The Battery: Both mid-drive and hub-drive motors are powered by a rechargeable battery -- generally attached to the bike frame. Modern ebike batteries are made of lithium-ion which are the lightest and most effective type of battery pack on the market today – though no doubt, we'll see some substantial innovation in battery design in the coming years! Lithium-ion batteries also last much longer through multiple charges over the years. In fact, most electric cars today, including Tesla, use lithium-ion batteries, so you know they're the highest quality – as of this writing, that is.
Power of eBike Battery is measured in Volts (V). The higher the voltage, the more readily your motor can power your ride. Typical ebike batteries on the market today are either 24V, 36V or 48V.
Range of eBike Battery is measured in AmpHours (Ah). The higher your battery's amp-hours, the higher your battery's energy capacity can delivery per hour. Most ebike batteries today range from 8-20 Ah.
The eBike Controls: Just like a car gears, gas-pedal and dashboard, eBikes have their own control and display features.
eBike Modes/Levels can be thought of as a new set of gears while many ebikes also have mechanical gears just as traditional bikes do. Depending on the manufacturer, the modes tend to be measured by numbers (Level 1-4 or sometimes up to 5) or Bosch motors, for example, use descriptive terms (Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo.) Either way, they measure how much boost your ebike battery and motor will provide to your own power pedaling the bike. Generally, ebikes have a button pad mounted to your left side handle bar that makes it easy for you to adjust your level or mode. Sometimes the buttons are attached to the display which serves as your dashboard containing information such as your current speed, mileage (odometer), and battery power left.
How far can an electric bike go? And for how long?
As they say, your mileage may vary! Many factors come into play beyond the specs of your motor and battery. As a general rule of thumb, however, you can count on a range between 25 - 100 miles based on the specs of most ebike motors and batteries on the market today. But other factors such as the terrain you're riding (flat, uphill, downhill, paved road, dirt trail, etc.) and other conditions such as headwinds, tailwinds or the weight and weight distribution of the load you may be carrying -- in addition to your own weight.
Rule of Thumb Riding Around Albuquerque on a Free-to-Roam eBike, expect 30-60 miles on a single battery charge.
On a Class-1 or Class-2 ebike with a 10-14Ah battery, 500-750W and 36-48V motor, you can expect to ride for 30-60 miles on a single battery charge.
The 3-Class eBike System
The level of help you get from the motor is up to you! Depending on the type of eBike, the motor is controlled either by a throttle on the handlebars or engaged automatically as you pedal. According to PeopleForBikes, eBikes can be sorted into three categories based on top speed and which type of motor controls it uses:
Class 1: use only pedal assist and have a top speed of 20 mph.
Class 2: use both pedal assist and a handlebar throttle to engage the motor. Like Class 1 bikes, they also have a top speed of 20 mph.
Class 3: slightly faster with a top speed of 28 mph but they use only pedal assist motor engagement.
While eBikes have only been in the spotlight for a relatively short time, they are far from a new invention. Patents for the first eBike designs were granted in 1895, just 78 years after the first-ever bicycle was invented. The eBikes we’ve come to know started gaining popularity in China at the tail-end of the 20th century, but the American eBike boom didn’t begin until the 2010s.
eBike Popularity Growth in the US
The first big spike in eBike purchases in the U.S. came in 2013 when eBike sales jumped 80% from the year before. The sales were concentrated in cities where people were trying to find cheaper, greener transportation alternatives after the 2008 stock market crash. Since then, eBike sales have seen steady growth in North America.
The growth of eBikes has also coincided with the steady uptick in urban population growth. As younger Americans move into cities, eBikes start to make more sense for commuting than doing battle with urban automotive traffic or crowded public transit.
There’s no way around it. We here at Free-to-Roam are eBike obsessed. Check out our top 10 reasons why you should ride an eBike.
1. It’s FUN
Connect with your inner child. The one who used to ride bikes with friends or family, back and forth to school, uphill in the snow both ways. eBiking is a great release, similar to biking but one of the main benefits is that it allows you to go farther. That means more time with the wind blowing your hair, the sun on your skin, and fresh air filling your lungs.
2. You Can Go Farther
Our coined phrase is “expand your world.” With eBiking, you genuinely can expand your world. The pedal-assist feature allows you to ride at 20 mph (most eBikes "can" go faster, but most states regulate this so manufacturers set the eBikes to stop assisting after 20mph), while still getting the health benefits of riding a bike. You probably haven't considered riding your bike from The Bosque to Tramway (uphill), but that's no longer unthinkable.
3. It Feels Good
Fresh air. Wind in your hair. Nothing else can compare. Biking is a known health benefit that is good for your joints, cardiovascular health, and muscle stability, eBiking has all of the same benefits plus being able to ride longer and farther. With Albuquerque’s average 290 days of sunshine and more than 400 miles of bike paths, you can ride a new adventure almost every day!
eBiking is rapidly becoming one of the most widely recommended ways to reduce carbon footprint and overall public health, a goal many cities and governments are working towards. We here at Free-to-Roam eBiking are excited to contribute to those goals! Here are our top five reasons why eBiking is beneficial for the public good.
eBiking Builds a Strong Community
eBiking can bring people together in a healthy and sustainable way. eBiking is the perfect socially-distant activity, and numerous cycling clubs and groups make it a breeze to build a sense of community and meet fellow bike enthusiasts. It’s no secret that one of the best ways to help build and sustain a community is by supporting its local businesses, and eBiking can help riders do just that.
In a recent study, it was found that bike riders spend more money at local businesses, as opposed to those who drive cars for their daily commute. Since bike riders are usually out and about more, they are able to interact with local businesses and support them during their daily trek. So, those regulars you always see at that cute mom-and-pop coffee shop? They might just be eBike enthusiasts!
eBiking is not only a sustainable way to get around town, but also a healthy way to stay physically active. At Free-to-Roam-eBiking, we take pride in helping communities electrify their daily commute while also doing their part for the health and well-being of their communities! Keep reading to find out our top five reasons why eBiking is beneficial for public health.
eBiking Leads to Community Health Motivation
We all know that amazing feeling when you get to spend quality time with your friends and family while being active. Forget the gym memberships and invest in eBiking for your daily workout! eBiking has pedal-assist features, making it the perfect ride for any level, from novice gliders to expert trekkers. eBikes require less intensity than traditional non-electric bikes, so there’s no need to worry about breaking a sweat on your ride to work or early morning adventure.
eBikes are Beneficial for the Body and Mind
eBiking provides a flexible way to get your workout in while also being mindful of the environment. eBiking gives you all the same cardiovascular boosting benefits as traditional biking, but with an extra oomph from its speed and versatility. In fact, a recent study from the Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives found that eBike riders actually get more exercise than traditional cyclists. Boosting blood flow while also clearing your mind, all in an environmentally friendly way? Yes, please!
Electric bikes are all the buzz in cycling as more people want to spend time outside during the pandemic. You may be wondering, how do eBikes relate to businesses? How can they help my business? Well, allow us at Free-to-Roam eBiking to explain how shocking-ly beneficial eBikes can be for businesses and why you should consider incorporating them into your own.
Post-Covid Hybrid-Work Model
Everyone is looking forward to the post-pandemic return to normal life. However, many businesses have decided to use a hybrid work model. This allows employees to work part-time from home and part-time at the office. This means less time commuting from home to work and vice versa.
Less time spent traveling means ditching your car for an ebike becomes much more practical
Skeptical about cycling in the heat of the desert to work? eBiking is the perfect solution! Thanks to the pedal-assist feature, it’s much easier to go faster and further than you ever thought possible on a standard bike without breaking a sweat!
eBiking is a great alternative to driving to work which brings us to our next point:
Here at Free-to-Roam eBiking, our goal is for all New Mexicans to have access to safe, affordable, and fun transportation through eBikes and eBiking. This will not be possible until eBikes are safely classified as bicycles, and allowed for use on multi-use trails. Senate Bill 369 was introduced on February 11, 2021 by Senator Antionette Sedillo Lopez, this bill includes the PeopleForBikes 3-Class eBike System, defines electric bikes, and provides regulations and use guidelines for cities and state agencies, we are hoping this bill gets passed by 2023.
Key Facts About Electric Bikes (eBikes) in New Mexico
1. Laws prohibiting eBikes on bike paths are unsafe and #1 difficulty New Mexicans cite as reason to NOT to ride a bike more.
eBikes are safer riding with other cyclists on protected bike paths than on streets. Most eBikes are engineered not to exceed 20mph. Traditional cyclists average 10-25mph on a multi use trail. Motor vehicles on roads far exceed these speeds and accounted for nearly 700 cyclist deaths in 2020, even during the pandemic. On ABQ 2020 Annual Bike-to-Work Day Survey, all age groups report their #1 difficulty to ride more is “It feels unsafe riding around.”
2. Federal and neighboring state governments regulate eBikes as bicycles – not motor vehicles.
The Federal Department of Interior, including National Park Services and US Forest Services, and 28 states, including all New Mexico’s neighboring states, have adopted new regulations that classify an eBike as a bicycle – not a motor vehicle. PeopleForBikes anticipates 10 more states will adopt the same classification within the year.
3. eBikes are a healthier alternative to driving, ride-sharing, or other gas-powered vehicles – for riders, cities, and the environment.
eBiking has multiple public benefits. eBikers can efficiently travel farther while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.
4. The U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a bill to provide a refundable tax credit up to $1,500 for eBike purchases.
If the bill passes, the new legislation will make it easier for more people from all socio-economic levels to own eBikes and contribute to cutting our carbon output. Incentivizing the use of electric bicycles to replace car trips through a consumer tax credit will encourage Americans to transition to greener modes of transportation – directly addressing our climate crisis.
5. Use of eBikes is booming across the U.S. Aligning eBike regulation with federal and 28 other states would draw more riders to New Mexico parks and cities.
While the United States adoption of eBikes falsl far behind Europe and Asia, 2020 ushered in a new era of eBiking across the country with close to a 200% increase in market growth from June 2019 to June 2020. More than 130 million eBikes are expected to be sold between 2020 and 2023 – generating about $20 billion in revenue.
Riding your eBike regularly is a fantastic way to get your blood pumping, avoid traffic and reduce your carbon emission footprint while doing so. eBikes are sweeping the nation in popularity, but did you know that Albuquerque has been a biking hub for years? Check out our five reasons why Albuquerque is the perfect city for eBike riders!
eBikes Make for a Better Commute
eBiking is a year-round activity in Albuquerque since New Mexico is no stranger to warmth and sunshine. Take advantage of the state’s 290 days of constant sunshine by shaking up your daily commute! If you drive or rideshare to work every day, you’re probably used to sedentary waiting, parking, and most of all frustration. Hopping onto your eBike instead of picking up your car keys allows you to have an immersive and fun ride to work while staying at a safe physical distance.
Albuquerque is a City on a Slope, but eBikes Make it Easy
Think riding an eBike means you’re limited to flat sidewalks and basic trails? Not in Albuquerque! The city is home to a number of downhill and uphill paths that are invigorating for any level. eBikes have a pedal-assist feature that allows you to ride along up to a rate of 20 mph. Rolling trails and steep inclines mean more of an adventure for you, minus the exhaustion and fatigue you would experience from trekking with a traditional bike.
Whether you’re a local or a tourist drawn to the land of enchantment, here are 10 fun things to do in Albuquerque--our catch? We want you to have fun on an eBike too.
1. Bike in Cafe
Here for the weekend? Or just enjoying a day off? Bike in Coffee at Old Town Farm has got you covered! Ride in the morning to enjoy some delicious breakfast burritos or for lunch with live Jazz on the weekends!
2. Bike & Brew
Need a step up from coffee? Bike to one of the many local Albuquerque Breweries including but not limited to Tractor Brewing Company, Marble Brewery, Steel Bender Brewyard, Canteen Brewhouse & more!
3. Bosque Trail on the Rio Grande (pending legislation)
While locals might prefer “anything but the Bosque” let’s face it--it’s the go-to spot! A beautiful stretch of river, trails, wildlife, and trees, you can’t compete with a classic Albuquerque landmark.
4. Downtown ABQ Art Walk
For one night & one night only! Well, once a month, a gathering of local artists, small businesses, and brick and mortar establishments set up along Downtown Albuquerque for all the public to see. This is a great opportunity to light up your eBikes, put on some reflective gear and ride through downtown checking out all of the local talent.
eBikes "Back in the Day"
While you might be wondering about the best electric bikes, let’s take a look into how electric bicycles have transformed over time to become lighter, faster and more adaptive to its rider. Here are a few examples of the most influential designs in electric bike history:
Ogden Bolten Jr.’s battery-powered bicycle with a hub motor.
Hosea Libbey’s bicycle featured a double electric motor
The Phillips and Simplex Bike kicked off mass production in Europe
1989 Yamaha, had pedal-assist as opposed to a throttle.
These early designs and prototypes of electric bicycles set the foundation for many modern eBikes.
eBikers take longer trips by eBike, compared to cyclists.
eBikers experience the same physical activity gains as traditional cyclists.
Key Takeaways from an eBike Study
- Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives Journal
Comparing Styles of eBikes
You might be wondering what is the best electric bike, just like traditional bikes, eBikes are produced in a variety of different styles to accommodate different riders and activities. There are several different types, including but not limited to:
Hybrid eBike - City Cruisers & Off-Road
Cruiser eBikes are designed for more casual riding. This style puts an emphasis on comfort with a larger seat and a more upright riding position, making it perfect for midlife adults, less-abled people or anyone looking for a comfier, more casual model.
Mountain eBikes (eMTB)
Like fat tire models, mountain eBikes are designed to handle off-road conditions. This style is perfect for thrill-seeking adults who want to take their eBike off the beaten path.
The step-through style features a lower profile than other styles, making it easier to mount. This style is great for older adults or less-abled people. The step-through type frame can be combined with other styles of tires, so it’s totally possible to get a step-through style fat tire or mountain eBike.
As the name implies, cargo eBikes are ideal for those who need to ferry things from one place to another. They feature space to secure anything you may need to bring with you, like groceries, briefcases or even another person (or two.) This style is best suited for commuters and parents with young kids. eBikes can be augmented with foot platforms and cushions for riders who are looking to carry small passengers (most eBikes can carry up to 130 lbs of cargo or passenger weight).
Fat Tire Off-Road eBike
Fat tire eBikes are designed to be ridden on all sorts of terrain since the larger tires provide great shock absorption. True to its name, this style features tires that are at least 4 inches in width. Fat tires are well-suited for active adults and adventure seekers who want to broaden their riding horizons.
Foldable eBikes are perfect for individuals who transport their bike frequently or have limited storage space for their eBike, like urban commuters and students. These eBikes are designed to fold into themselves so they’re small enough to store in apartments or overhead compartments on buses or airplanes.
Electric Trike / Three-Wheeled Electric Tricycle
Three-wheeled (trike) eBikes offer increased stability and potentially more real estate for cargo. This style is well-suited for parents, active adults or commuters that have places to be and things to transport.
Between different bike styles and accessories, eBikes are super versatile and can be customized to fit in with any purpose or lifestyle.
The eBike Boom during Quarantine
Overall bike sales saw a bump during the COVID-19 pandemic as people sought family-friendly ways to exercise outdoors and keep their distance from others. According to the NPD Group, this past June saw a 63% year-over-year growth in sales, which they attributed primarily to specialty bikes, including eBikes.
Since pandemic conditions have led to a reduction in automobile traffic and a pent-up demand for socially-distanced exercise opportunities, many communities have instituted road closures for automobiles to allow space for walkers and cyclists to exercise (such as Albuquerque’s “Active Street”). Programs like this allow folks to try out eBiking in a bike-friendly environment and get a taste of what it might be like to shift to an eBike lifestyle post-Covid.
As eBikes have continued to evolve and gain popularity, they’ve become more of a threat to the motorcycle industry. While eBikes and motorcycles have some fundamental differences, folks who are on the fence about which car-alternative to buy for city-living are leaning towards eBikes for a few reasons, according to Medium. Compared to motorcycles, eBikes are:
Less expensive (on several levels) - Not only are eBikes less expensive as a whole, but buying protective riding equipment is also cheaper. eBike helmets are similar to regular cycling helmets whereas motorcycle helmets are much more expensive since they provide protection for faster riding.
Easier to ride - As the old adage says, it’s like riding a bike! And with eBiking it literally is; if you’ve ridden a traditional bicycle, you already know how to work a pedal-assist eBike. Motorcycle riders need lessons before getting out on the road.
Less regulated (read as: fewer hoops to jump through) - Motorcyclists need insurance for their bikes and a license to ride them, eBikers don’t need either of these things.
eBikes are evolving so rapidly that they are catching up with the functionality of lower-end motorcycles. That plus the price and ridability differences are forcing motorcycle companies to take serious notice of the eBike industry and what it means for the future of transportation.
4. You Are Naturally Social Distancing
Safety first kids! In a time where gyms and fitness centers are closed, and when it is considered unsafe to train in enclosed rooms with strangers, eBiking outdoors is the perfect option. It is naturally social distancing. Even if you are out with people, you are all outside, with masks on and fresh air constantly moving around you.
5. You Can See New Places & EXPLORE
Exploring New Mexico via ebike is more hands-on and immersive in comparison to a car or other form of transportation. You are on the street, alongside businesses and other people, able to speak and start conversations at traffic lights. Instead of being tired after, you’re invigorated to explore more.
6. Incorporate Fitness into Your Lifestyle
Biking is easy on the joints, great for stamina, and much more. An eBike allows you to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle in a more sustainable way than the gym. Some major benefits of eBiking include decreased stress levels, improved posture, coordination, strengthened bones, decreased body fat levels, and prevention or management of disease. Just ask our founder, it changed her world!
7. Update Your Commute
We fall into the sit cycle. We sit in our cars to drive to work to sit at our desks, sit to drive home and sit on the couch once we are back home. This sedentary lifestyle is not healthy. If you live close to your place of work, maybe you’ve thought of biking to work, but anything more than a couple miles would get you sweaty and wanting to shower instead of work. With an eBike, you are able to travel to your work, even in heels and a professional skirt, without breaking a sweat and at the same time breaking the habit of a sedentary lifestyle.
8. eBiking Reduces Fossil Fuels
If it isn’t apparent by now, we know that we need to change our habits so that our grandchildren will be able to live on earth happily. Cars and car emissions from the daily commute are one of the highest contributors to mass pollution. eBiking is a great alternative to driving your car. Even taking an eBike to run a few short errands instead of driving makes a huge impact. Why not try it out today?
eBiking Contributes to Overall Sustainability
Doing your part for the good of Mother Nature isn’t as daunting as it may seem, since eBikes are a fun, easy and accessible way to amp up your green game. A recent study found that a whopping 15% of carbon emissions could potentially be reduced if 12% of typical transportation was replaced by eBike transportation. Not only will eBiking help cities and communities reduce their overall carbon footprint, but you’ll also help your community reduce public transportation and ride-share expenses. Count us in!
eBikes Could Lead to a Potential 30% Tax Credit
eBiking is far from just a fad, and the industry's popularity has gained attention from U.S. lawmakers. In fact, this past February a bill was introduced to the House of Representatives that would offer a refundable tax credit of 30% (up to $1,500) on the purchase of a new eBike. That means your daily pedaling might just lead to a chunk of cha-ching. Many European countries, such as Belgium and France, also leverage tax codes to help lower the costs of cycling and ultimately reducing car emissions.
eBiking is a Healthy, Socially Distant Activity
It’s no secret that eBiking is healthy for physical health, but it’s also a convenient way to stay socially distant while still getting outside. It’s more important than ever to take care of yourself mentally and physically during the pandemic. Albuquerque is the perfect place to adventure with 290 days of warm sunshine and mind-clearing views, so take a break from your screens indoors and hop on an eBike today! Better yet, contact us at hello@freetoroamebiking, to be put on the list to join our Free Roamers club!
Safer eBiking Environments
While sharing the road with cars, busses and trucks is usual business for cyclists, it is still dangerous. In New Mexico, legislation is written but not yet passed that classifies eBikes as bicycles rather than motorcycles, which is safer for both riders and drivers on the road. With Alberqueruqe being a hub for biking paths, it is really important that we pass this legislation so that eBikers can trek with ease while knowing their trail is safe, since bike specific spaces means less collisions and injuries on roads shared with cars.
To learn more about eBike legislation in New Mexico, read our fact sheet.
Cost & Sustainability
Since people will be driving to work less, might as well cut out gas usage for commuting entirely!
By switching or ditching to an eBike, employees can save money on gas not to mention all of the other expenses of cars.
eBikes produce zero harmful emissions.
Employees can lower their overall gas usage, reduce their carbon footprint, and make the New Mexican air cleaner for everyone to enjoy. Who doesn’t wanna save money and the environment?
Fitness & Physical Health
Electric bikes are also a great way to encourage employees to exercise and get outside.
Fitness challenges are currently trending. Challenge employees to track their eBike usage and offer incentives for whoever has the most miles each week, or for whoever has the most hours! With Albuquerque’s more than 400 miles of bike paths, I bet there will be some real friendly competition!
These contests motivate workers to spend more time in the sun, getting vitamin D and fresh air, as well as improve their physical health.
eBiking allows workers to reap the benefits of exercise and being outside that a standard bike would provide without expending more energy than necessary to get to work.
These types of activities are a great bonding opportunity and a way to bring employees together while sparking healthy competition and improving morale.
Proposed Solution: 3-Class eBike System & Senate Bill 369
On February 11, 2021, Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez introduced Senate Bill 369, which includes the PeopleForBikes 3-Class eBike System, defines electric bikes, and provides regulations and use guidelines for cities and state agencies.
Quick Facts about Senate Bill 369:
It calls for eBikes to be classified as bicycles
It includes the PeopleForBikes 3-Class eBike System
All eBikes distributed (or manufactured) in New Mexico must have a permanently affixed label visible on the eBike showing the eBike classification, top assisted speed, and wattage of the motor
It was proposed by Free-to-Roam eBiking to promote the safety of eBike riders in New Mexico
Only people 16 years or older may operate Class-3 eBikes (reaching speeds of 28mph)
Albuquerque is Full of Natural Beauty and Recreation
Interested in New Mexico tours or Albuquerque adventures? Getting some fresh air while getting your blood pumping is both healthy and socially responsible. With its stunning mountains, rivers and painted skies, there’s no debate that Albuquerque is the heart of New Mexico’s biking scene. Experiencing these breathtaking natural wonders for yourself is a breeze with eBiking! With more than 400 miles of accessible bike paths and trails, the hours of you gliding through spaces like the Sandia Foothills are endless.
Ever-Growing Bike Friendliness in Albuquerque
Albuquerque is quickly becoming a cycling destination and has earned several rankings for its bike-friendliness, including being named as a “silver-level bicycle friendly community by the league of American Bicyclists”. With initiatives like national ‘bike-to-work day’ and numerous biking programs, it’s no surprise that Albuquerque is quickly becoming an eBiking hub. The city of Albuquerque is also committed to creating a safe environment for bicyclists. The city has made a commitment to Vision Zero, a network that works to create a safer street space for users.
5. Mural Tour & Public Art Tour
Driving through, you’ve probably seen all the unique public art in Albuquerque. Check out Albuquerque’s Interactive Public Art Map and plan a fun afternoon ride to get a better view of the local art! Lucky for you living in New Mexico you rarely have to worry about a cloudy day or rain stopping your adventure.
6. Sandia Foothills and Sandia Peak Tramway
Biking up Tramway seems daunting until you realize the advantage that pedal assist and a little throttle kick gives you. Now you can power through that steady incline with no problem. Best part? Take a break and reward yourself with a trip on the Sandia Peak Tramway and get the best view of Albuquerque all the way from the top of the Sandias.
7. Early Morning Balloon Fiesta
Interested in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta? New Mexico’s most famous event can be seen from all over Albuquerque! Not able to make it to the fairgrounds? Do an early (very early) morning eBike ride along the Rio Grande and watch the balloons take flight.
8. Rent-an-eBike Date & Find Your Own Path
Who doesn’t love a little adventure?? Join the Free Roamer’s club and meet up for an eBike rental date. Read why your first date should be an eBike date here. Spring is in the air!
Innovations for eBikes
Innovations are underway that will advance the future of electric bicycles:
Tesla’s ‘tabless’ battery could allow for more range from batteries and overall provide a less expensive way to produce them. As 3D printing technology becomes faster, it could also help the affordability of eBikes. The safety of eBikes is advancing as well, as additions like Helite’s “B’ Safe” airbag vests are made available to riders. These innovations will boost the sales of eBikes as the bicycles become more practical, safer and light-weight.
Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure
Although more Americans are purchasing both ebikes and traditional bikes (aka "acoustic bikes"), our bike-safe infrastructure is slow to keep up with other countries. As a result, many in the U.S. still feel unsafe while riding. While residents of Albuquerque feel that bicycling conditions are getting better over time, the top difficulty cited for people bicycling is that “it feels unsafe riding around vehicles.” This is according to the City of Albuquerque's 2020 Bike Thru Burque Survey Report (pandemic-adjusted version the City's Annual Bike to Work Day Event.) Prepared by the Mid-Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, the top three improvements respondents would like to see more of are: 1. protected bicycle lanes, 2. multiuse paths, and 3. buffered bike lanes. Last year’s top response was also protected bicycle lanes, making it abundantly clear protected bicycle lanes are very much desired to provide physical separation and protection from moving vehicles on roadways!
Thankfully, Albuquerque Mayor Keller signed ABQ’s Vision Zero pledge in May 2019. With this commitment, the City of Albuquerque has joined many other cities around the world in an effort to create safer streets for all through roadway design. This includes: new well-marked and separated bike lanes, better connections on trails and roads, and slower traffic speeds. Through Vision Zero, the City of Albuquerque also supports community events for walking and biking (such as ABQ CiQlovia), bike valets at large community events and other initiatives to facilitate safe, socially distanced outdoor recreation, transportation & food services.
Most recently, in February 2021, we here at Free-to-Roam eBiking worked with New Mexico State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez to introduce a new ebiking bill that would assure greater safety and enjoyment for all ebikers and fellow commuters in the state of New Mexico. Like many bills introduced for the 2021 NM Legislative session, sadly they simply ran out of time with the multitudes of pandemic-related bills. Nonetheless, this bill had the support of New Mexico's endeavOR business alliance consisting of 140 businesses from around the state who support expanding the OR economy and enhancing the OR experience. Together, in New Mexico, we’re all working to electrify our ride, modernize our mobility and propel our people.
eBike Market Growth is Predicted to Propel
Whether you’re looking for a better method of transportation or looking to get physically fit, eBikes are beneficial to a variety of individuals. As Americans begin to discover all the benefits eBikes have to offer, the sales growth for electric bicycles is expected to skyrocket. By 2025, eBikes are expected to catapult into a 23 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone.
So what are you waiting for? Ready to hop on the trend and see what the buzz is about?
Our business Free-to-Roam eBiking in New Mexico is at the forefront of elevating residents to a more sustainable, active lifestyle through electric bike experiences and sales. With businesses like ours, eBiking will become more accepted as a form of transportation, commuter life and a fun, active pastime.
Which eBike is right for me?
Self-Assessment coming soon.
"You should not have to own a car to prosper in this country, no matter what kind of community you're living in"
Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg
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Check Out: Albuquerque Vision Zero
eBikes Around the World
Europe was one of the first places to reap the many benefits of eBikes. Europeans began hopping on eBikes in the 20th century. If we fast forward to today, we’ll find that electric bicycles are part of everyday life in Europe and China as they’ve become a common choice of transportation for those who live in urban cities. Here are a few examples of their popularity:
In 2018, 173,000 eBikes were sold in Italy.
134,000 bicycles were sold in France in 2016.
In the Netherlands, electric bicycles account for 68% of total bike sales.
China has over 200 million eBikes, roughly one eBike for every Chinese car.
The popularity of eBikes is increasing all over the world as they become the new face of sustainable and fun transportation.
U.S. Slow to Adopt the Trend, But is Now Obsessed
Europe and China welcomed electric bicycles with open arms while the U.S. was wrapped up in the perks of the automobile. In 2015, it was found that fewer than 4% of Americans walk or bike to work. Bicycles were becoming ingrained in urban life for Europeans and others, while Americans purchased bikes mainly for recreational use. While the U.S. had a slow start, eBikes are becoming more and more popular as sales in eBikes increase and infrastructure and innovations shape the country into an eBike friendly place. Before we know it, eBikes in the U.S. will be a common choice of transportation like they are for the rest of the world.
Interested in learning more about eBikes in Albuquerque or wondering what biking in Albuquerque is like? Read our article on why eBikes are great for commuting and living in Albuquerque.
Pandemic eBike Surge
On the bright side of the pandemic, individuals were left with extra time which many used to focus on physical fitness. With the closure of gyms, Americans searched for ways to stay active. As a result, there was a surge in eBike sales. From June 2019 to June 2020 there was a 190% increase in eBike market growth in the U.S. In particular areas the growth of eBike sales was especially great. Here are a few examples of the market growth found in sunny California:
June 2019 to June 2020 there was a 200 percent increase in eBike market growth
In Hermosa beach from July 2019 to July of 2020 there was a sales increase of over 800%
918% sales increase in Manhattan Beach
453% sales increase in Redondo Beach.
Benefits of eBiking
Besides the seemingly endless ways that you can outfit & accessorize your eBike, there are also countless ways the eBiking can help individuals make positive changes in their day-to-day lives. But for fun, let's start counting a few of the ways, shall we?
According to a 2018 study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, eBike riders bike more often, take longer average rides and make more different types of trips than traditional cyclists. eBiking promotes a steady heart-rate increase rather than a sudden one which promotes fat burn.
A study by the Annals of Leisure Research showed that people who get 120 minutes of outdoor activity a week show decreases in symptoms of anxiety and depression and increases in cognition and overall well being
Since the motor takes some of the pressure off of the rider, eBiking is perfect for those looking to ride for therapeutic reasons. It’s easier on the joints than normal cycling and can allow for longer rides with less pain.
eBikes can make it possible for older and less-mobile folks to enjoy cycling again. eBikes also provide additional stability for those with balance issues.
By now you’ve probably heard the adage that “sitting is the new smoking.” While yes, riding a bike does require you to sit, moving your legs continuously for 20 to 60 minutes sure does add some movement to an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. (See Free-to-Roam eBiking's founder, Susan Gautsch's story about losing 12lbs of excess weight without even trying.)
eBikes are far cheaper than owning a car, require very little hassle maintaining it (especially if you're a FreeRoamers Club member with our to-your-door maintenance plan -- just sayin'.) Imagine not having auto expenditures like gas, maintenance, interest if you financed it, repairs, depreciation, auto-insurance and maybe add in a few parking meters and tickets. Then do the math!
Also keep an eye on the new EBIKE bill introduced in the US House in early 2021 that may just get ya a $1500 tax credit!
Using an eBike to travel locally instead of driving reduces your carbon footprint in meaningful ways. In fact, new studies show that for every 15% of your total transportation by ebike instead car (think quick errands, picking up kids at school, etc.) reduces your carbon footprint by 12%. A sustainable lifestyle can be attained pretty simply. And it's way more fun!
Accessible for All Ages & Abilities
The motor assistance and accessible styles offered by eBikes make it possible for people of all ages, lifestyles and fitness levels to incorporate eBiking into their everyday lives. The AARP knows this well as so many older people getting several more years of riding confidently – even with pacemakers, worn out joints, balance issues and all the inevitable physical limitations that come with age.
eBiking naturally enables a sense of community while maintaining social distancing guidelines. eBikes make it possible for you to travel longer & farther, creating endless opportunities for outdoor fun.
The motor assistance that eBikes provide makes it easier to ride uphill, in wind and professional clothes without breaking a sweat. Plus, eBikes aren’t subject to traffic jams! It's so doable, so keep your eye on Albuquerque's Bike-to-Work Day... or in 2020 Bike-Thru-Burque Day and 2021's Bike-to-Wherever Day!
The rise of eBiking and interest in greener methods of transportation are sending the message to cities that citizens want more livable communities. With the City of Albuquerque's Vision Zero initiative, we're joining many other cities around the world in an effort to create safer streets for all through roadway design. This includes new well-marked and separated bike lanes, better connections on trails and roads, and slower traffic speeds. Through Vision Zero, the City of Albuquerque also supports community events for walking and biking (such as ABQ CiQlovia), bike valets at large community events, and much more.
The Bottom Line
eBikes are the wave of sustainable transportation and with countless benefits and opportunities to fit your personal needs--who can blame them? Here at Free-to-Roam eBiking, we want you to expand your world through eBiking.
According to Jay Walder, CEO of bike-sharing company Motivate, “There are two types of people in the world – people who have never tried a pedal-assist eBike, and people who won’t shut up about them.”
Are you ready to ride?
eBike Popularity around the World
North Americans aren’t the only ones getting on eBikes. According to Forbes, a team of three Brussels-based cycling industry groups have projected that Europeans will buy an extra 10 million bikes per year by 2030 (including eBikes). If this prediction rings true, it will boost bike sales to more than twice the number of passenger cars currently registered per year in the EU.
Projected Growth -- Post Covid & Beyond
According to Deloitte, eBikes aren’t going anywhere but up. They predict that bicycle rides (both electric and traditional) will go up by the billions compared to 2019’s numbers. This is due to technological advances, population growth in cities and society’s focus on creating greener, healthier communities.
9. You Can Still Take the Kids
For some, driving the kids to school is some of the most precious alone time you have with your child. That is still possible with an eBike. A cargo eBike has room to fit another passenger, and carry their backpack and instrument too! You can also make traveling to and from the park or a cafe more personal by zooming along in an eBike.
10. eBikes are Transforming Transportation
The future is eBiking. You might as well dust off the wheels and give it a try because cities are currently changing their infrastructure to support more environmentally friendly transportation like bike lanes and paths. We are currently supporting legislation in New Mexico to help classify eBikes as bicycles instead of motorcycles, read more about our efforts here.
And of course, we had to surprise you with #11!
11. It’s Cost-Effective
eBiking is a cheaper, cost-effective mode of transportation than a car. Take into account the insurance, maintenance, constant refueling, and other aspects that a car has. Imagine an equally effective mode of transportation that is a fraction of that cost. Even using an eBike a few days out of the week would save you more money than constantly driving your car, and as you can see, the benefits are endless!
eBikes Lowering Cost of City Infrastructure
eBikes are accessible and easy to use, and many urban, suburban and rural communities are taking note of their massive spike in popularity. Albuquerque is a cycling hub with its constant sunshine and phenomenal wilderness, so more biking paths allow for more flora and fauna to flourish and be appreciated in their natural habitats. Biking paths are also cheaper to maintain, with an average cost of $3-5 per foot. Compare this to the cost of city roads, which are typically in the millions range in total, and it's easy to see why biking paths are beneficial from a fiscal viewpoint as well. In recent years, eBikers have been able to trek more public lands, since the US Department of the Interior has provided more access for eBikes on public lands. That means more breathtaking trails, more picturesque views and more coveted you-time.
eBike Support from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
While there's still much to be worked out on the Biden Administration's Infrastructure Plan, new Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, wasted no time speaking directly to the bike community about ebikes. Specifically, he sees ebikes as a critical factor in reducing carbon emission as they open up a much larger range that is reasonably feasible (and fun) to commute some of the time on just two wheels instead of four.
And he's not alone. Using data from a North American survey of e-bike owners, it's estimated that for every individual who replaces 15% of their total car trips with an eBike trip, their carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 12% or 225kg of CO2 per year. These estimates provide enormous opportunities for the city of Albuquerque and greater New Mexico (among other cities and states) to achieve our climate goals. But, as Secretary Buttigieg duly notes, we absolutely have to improve our infrastructure to assure the safety of all bike riders (electric or "acoustic") as well as that of pedestrians and motorists.
Use eBikes to Explore the Great Outdoors
New Mexico is a beautiful and scenic state to say the least. With lively suburbs and enchanting bike trails, there’s a go-to spot for every eBike rider to explore. Whether you want to go for a quick ten-minute trip down to the grocery store with the kids or for a scenic ride along the breathtaking Paseo del Bosque trail, Free-to-Roam eBiking can take you there. eBiking is a prime social distancing activity, and it's more important than ever to take care of yourself mentally and physically with some fresh air and mind-clearing views.
eBiking Creates A World of Possibilities
With eBiking, the possibilities of where your pedaling will take you are endless. We here at Free-to-Roam-eBiking take pride in helping you achieve your eBiking adventures in a safe and healthy way. Whether you want to pop down to the grocery store or buzz down one of Albuquerque’s biking paths and trails, eBiking can spice up your next outdoor adventure.
Aren’t convinced yet? Read our Top 10 reasons to Ride an eBike blog.
Healthy body, healthy mind & better morale for working!
Employees who exercise regularly are more likely to have better mental health.
Working out is proven to relieve tension and boost mental and physical energy.*
It has been determined in a study that workers who exercised regularly experienced a 72% improvement in time management.
Hopping on an eBike is a great way to manage your stress, fight fatigue, and have fun. So why not bring eBikes to your business?
Contact Susan at Hello@freetoroamebiking.com to plan how to electrify your employees' ride!
This is what passing Senate Bill 369 allows for:
eBikes on multi-use trails (way safer than the street)
People to enjoy the benefits of eBiking legally in New Mexico
Cities, counties, and state agencies can choose to prohibit the operation of any or all classes of eBikes on specific bike paths, multi-use paths or dirt/natural paths within their jurisdiction
While many bills did not make it to a hearing during the 2021 New Mexico legislative session, we are hopeful that they will pass this bill by 2023.
Stay Informed & Support the Cause
To learn more, receive updates and/or support this bill, go to:
If you’re interested in sending your representative a letter of support, click here.
Join the Lively Albuquerque Biking Community
Albuquerque's tight-knit biking community is more than meets the eye. The New Mexico Touring Society regularly highlights cycling clubs that offer bike swaps, non-profit organizations and more. Need to refuel after a long trek? Pedal by the Bike In Coffee at Old Town Farm, Albuquerque’s first and only bike-centered farm. Visitors can park their bikes while they grab a cup of coffee, shop local produce, order avocado tacos and mingle with other bike enthusiasts. Other Albuquerque biking clubs include BikeABQ, New Mexico Cycling, Duke City BMX and Bike Hub NM.
9. eBike & Hike
Calling all our weekend warriors! Who needs to drive to a trailhead when you could bike there? Better yet, bike there, charge your batteries while you hike, then head home, or swing by a brewery on your way back to reward yourself for your hard work!
10. eBike Museum Tour
In for a trek? Bike all the way to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History to learn the story of the Atomic Age. We also recommend checking out many other museums in Albuquerque including the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and more!
Would ya look at that! We still can’t count & had to surprise you with a #11. eBikes are just that great!
11. Sawmill Market
Vendors, options, deliciousness -- oh my! In our humble opinion, the Sawmill Market is one of the best places to eBike to with a group of friends. No one has to fight over which place they want to eat, and with a plethora of options, everyone’s taste buds will be happy.
Not sure where to rent an eBike in Albuquerque? Send email email@example.com to join the Free Roamer’s Club and we will get you set up with a test ride and put you on our list to join our pop-up eBike rentals.
Safety Tips for Riding an eBike
Whether you are looking for adventures in New Mexico, fun things to do in Albuquerque on an eBike or bike trails near me, educating yourself on safety precautions when riding an eBike is important, unless you want matching scars.
How to Safely Ride an eBike
A key safety component is the physical gear.
Make sure you are investing in a MIPS helmet, in order to protect your brain and be prepared for a possible collision.
We want everyone to experience a moonlight ride, but make sure you do not camouflage. Wear brightly colored clothing that can help other drivers on the road locate you.
Get the right headlights for the bike. Headlights provide a way to be seen and to see.
Don’t wear flowy clothes. They may get stuck in the bike gears.
A car has blinkers, eBikers have their hands. When turning or changing lanes stick out your hand in the desired direction to signal drivers.
Check Your Speed
While we want the breeze in our hair as we cruise through New Mexico's scenery, make sure you tame your metal foot. The eBike can legally go 20mph, but check your surroundings before you crank up the pedal assist. The same goes for the throttle feature. It can be easy to kick back and relax while you let the bike cruise, but you want to stay aware of other riders.
What about Stopping?
With an eBike, you will be moving a lot fast with more momentum. You want to account for more time when stopping. Remember to squeeze the right AND left handle breaks to stop quicker. Oh and never squeeze just the left. Just don’t.
Make Sure You’re Visible
Always make sure you have lights on your eBike so that you are seen and headlights so that you can see. Use a white front and a red rear light. Another important visibility rule is what you wear. Don’t wear all black at night, as you will probably not be seen. Try to wear brighter colors.
Sounds obvious, I know. Just make sure you pay attention to surrounding bicyclists and vehicles. Just because you see them, does not mean they see you. Make sure you yield to slower users and obey the rules of the trail.
Check Your Batteries
In for a long trek? Make sure your batteries are charged and even bring a second one if you’re going for a super long ride. Other battery safety tips include locking the battery into the bike so it doesn’t pop off mid ride and making sure that you charge the batteries and unplug them once they are all charged up -- aka don’t leave them charging overnight.
Here is a quick acronym that's as easy as ABC (literally) to check for before you enjoy your eBike.
Use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure.
Check for damage on tires.
Make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure listed on the side of the tires.
Make sure all of your brakes are working properly.
Inspect pads for wear; replace is there is less than ¼" of pad left.
Look to see that you can fit your thumb between the brake lever handlebar when the brakes are squeezed all the way.
C-Clamps, Connectors and Chain
Tighten and check all clamps on eBike.
Ensure all cables are connected.
Check to see that your chain is free of rust and gunk.
Now you are ready to electrify your ride (and not add to your scar collection) . Have fun expanding your world with your Free-to-Roam eBike! Speaking of gear and safety, make sure to check out electric bike laws by state to find out whether or not electric bikes allowed on bike paths, safety protocols for each state and more. Interested in New Mexico’s laws for eBikes? Check out our New Mexico Legislation page.