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Electric-assisted bikes expected to boost El Paso's SunCycle bike-share ridership

by Vic Kolenc | Aug 02, 2019
Vic Kolenc
El Paso Times
August 1st 2019


Officials with El Paso's almost 4-year-old, government-owned SunCycle Bike Share Program expect to attract more riders with the addition of electric-assisted bicycles.

The official launch of the white, so-called e-bikes was Thursday, when 12 of SunCyle's 16 electric bikes were added to its fleet of 160 regular, red bikes. Four e-bikes have been in operation for about two weeks as a test.  

"We're anticipating that the e-bikes will continue to improve ridership after a wonderful spring" of increasing ridership, said Cesar Martinez, SunCycle operations director. His company, Mesilla Pedicab, operates the bike-share system for the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority, the El Paso-area government agency which developed and owns SunCycle.

Other bike-share programs in Omaha and Madison, Wisconsin, saw ridership increases after they launched the e-bikes, Martinez said.

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Raymond Telles, executive director of the Camino Real authority, and Martinez said the e-bikes should help draw more riders because they are easier to ride longer distances than the program's regular bikes, and are easier to ride up the large hills near Downtown and in the UTEP area where the bicycles operate.

The e-bikes operate with a small, silent, battery-operated motor next to the pedals that makes peddling easier, Martinez said. The motor only works if the bicycle is being pedaled, he said.

The new e-bikes cost $2,400 each, or $38,400 for the 16 added to the SunCyle fleet.

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