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VBike - Creating a Bicycle Revolution in Vermont!


Happy spring to Ibrattleboro folks!

Some of you may know the work that has been happening in Brattleboro to rethink, revamp and re-energize the bike and bike culture towards a way more transport-oriented future. We're talking about a bike revolution and now it's going statewide - family cargobikes, e-assist options and all sort of designs for commuters, seniors & even businesses. Really, now almost anyone can ride with ease, even over our crazy, hilly Vermont terrain...

So, we're totally happy to introduce you to VBike and our exciting, fun resource - www.vbikesolutions.org ! 

Here's some of what you will discover on VBike's shiny, new website -

Take a moment to check out the rest of the website and go as deep as you like - yes, there's a lot to it.  And if you have any questions, certainly don't hesitate to ask us and by all means feel free to comment on our VBikeBlog!

 

And, if you really like the VBike website & what we are doing, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to VBike

This is the moment to redefine the bike as a real transportation option for a great number of Vermonters and big a great boost to local living and sustainable lifestyles in our state. When you get down to it, VBike is working to do is to make our world look, feel, sound, and smell much better. Doesn't that sound worth it?

Join with us and the bike revolution underway nationwide. We really think you will enjoy the ride, so let's get going right now! 

All the best,

Dave & the VBike team---

VBike - Leading-edge bike solutions for the future of Vermont
www.vbikesolutions.org     info@vbikesolutions.org

P.S. - Here's the rate card for the VGreen Bike loans ....................................>

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This looks amazing

What great work you have done. I really hope this takes off.

Any idea what the monthly payments on a loan for a cargo bike could be?

We are really, really interested, but were wondering what that might amount to.

 
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New Bike Loans

Hey Rolf,

Thanks for asking. The whole idea of VBike is to make biking possible for nearly everyone in Vermont. Traditional bike advocacy focuses on a select few that can ride and climb hills like ours and negotiate our crazy, poor infrastructure. What we are doing is showing how the e-assist option can mitigate for our silly lack of bike planning and get way more folks on bikes. We're talking families, seniors, businesses, households, folks with mobility issues and lots more

A big part of this is making these options as affordable as possible. The low-interest loans are only our first step. You can read all about it on our most recent blog post at http://www.vbikesolutions.org/vbikeblog You'll find a rate sheet there and I think you'll be amazed. Basically we are talking about 4.9% interest with either a 5, 12, or 15 year term. You could be paying as little as $25 a month for a great e-assist cargobike!

The more folks are actually showing up in the world (and not confined to metal boxes) will help create the conditions we need to spur change. That's why we like to say 'change the bike, the infrastructure will follow." We need bikes that match the landscape we live in so bringing a greater human presence to our streets and towns will have a much better of actually happening.

 
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At $25 a month, that starts becoming a real option

The appeal of the cargo bike for me is that it could replace the second car that we sometimes are tempted to get. We had two cars for years, and to cut on costs we didn't replace it the last time we had the choice. We currently have the temporary loan of my Mom's car, and boy is it convenient to have two cars. So, the temptation is large.

Not having a car is basically not an option in rural Vermont. Jobs are too few to restrict yourself to family and friends live far enough away that extremely few people don't own a car. It is not uncommon for job applications to inculde the question, "Do you have reliable transportation?" and they don't mean the Moover bus system.

However, if we had a cargo bike, it might really fill in the need. A second car would cost more than $25 a month to keep on the ride. Gas alone might be that much, never mind the extra cost of insurance, registration and maintenance and repairs.

Thanks for making this more tempting.

I think it would have a greater chance of taking off with a wider part of the population if you prominently featured the fact that the monthly costs could be this low.

When I lived in Western Mass, my roomate Lynn bicycled through the winter to Northampton from our house which was north of Amherst. Do they make studded tires for the cargo bike? Is it more stable on slippery roads than an average bike ? That would be my guess with that LONG wheel base, but I am sure there are other factors involved in what makes a bike prone to slipping.

I also wonder whether two families could share a bike. I mean you don't always need it. That would make it $12.50 a month.

Any thoughts about a rental cargo bike? It seems to me that a local rental would allow people to try the cargo bikes, and for those of us who can't afford or don't want to risk locking in another monthly expense, even a small one, renting might be an appealing option. Certainly there are millions of bicycles rented out on a regular basis, though of course in places with millions of tourists like Cape Cod. Maybe we just don't have enough people in here to support renting. Just an idea.

Anyway, again, great work. I hope this becomes a great success.

It would be so great if this took off.

 
 #

Bike Loans and Overcoming "Car Brain"

Rolf, it could be actually be even less expensive than $25 a month, depending on the options you choose and the terms. And here's a very long answer to some of your other questions...

Great ideas on the rentals and all that. That may be coming, but right for now VBike is doing workshops in Brattleboro and elsewhere all about the new generation of bikes and impact of a car-centric culture on our brains, body, and senses, not to mention our children. At the conclusion of the workshops, the participants get to try out an e-cargobike and that's when folks have lights going off in their heads. We are also set to be receiving a shipment of cargobikes that will be part of a demo fleet that families and households can try out, maybe for part of a day.

Also, I really like the replacing the 2nd car theme - that's exactly how VBike sees things happening. We're well aware that most folks are not going to not have a car, but can totally reduce their driving and get a vastly different experience of the world by biking more. That's why we call our consultations with families "car reduction therapy." And yes, you can put studded tires on a cargobike and the new longtail cargobikes actually handle better than a traditional bike in ice and snow. The long wheel base really helps and with an e-assist option on the bike, they really do great. It's another skill set to learn, but it is totally doable.

We frequently get questions about using bikes for transportation in ways that are rare in these parts. And so, VBike is making a conscious effort to overcome (or at least wiggle through) some enormous barriers and forces in our culture. Firstly, the bike in Vermont and throughout a good deal of New England is primarily seen as a toy. A lot of this dates back to a huge bike revival that occurred in the U.S. with the advent of mountain bikes and super-light road bikes. The “toyification” of the bike for adults has been vigorously promoted by the bike industry and by the vast majority of bike shops.

While recreational biking can be a totally beautiful thing, the US bike industry helped to spawn a couple generations of performance minded enthusiasts who may ride feather-weight bicycles for 100 miles over mountains, but outside of that, the bike is barely an option as a vehicle for everyday transportation. Biking became about performance with specialized clothing, expensive shoes, and weird headgear. This trend has run radically counter to the more advanced bike cultures in places like Denmark, Holland, Germany, Japan and China.

On top of that, there's the tons of psychological things going on between us and the "automobile" - the word literally meaning "mobility with little or no involvement from us." The automobile has so shifted our perspective that we no longer understand the magnitude it has altered our worldview. So, it has had a sort of magical effect of creating a strand of docility in us and we then get real quiet about how it is impacting us and our world, even though it is an immensely dominating and chaotic force upon the our landscape and biosphere. I've seen this in my therapy practice, but in a very different context - substance dependence, family secrets, and all sorts of systemic dissociation.

Of course, this psychological phenomenon is applicable to all our technologies in how they extend us in ways we think we understand and limit us in ways that are rather concealed. But the word "auto-mobile" says it right up front and I think it is something to address right now no matter what the odds. It's no time to be docile. But you might appreciate that if the bike is just a toy and the automobile has colonized our psyche and body to the point that it has impoverished our ability to imagine anything different, this is a tough nut to crack.

At the end of the day, nothing replaces getting folks on the bikes at our workshops and helping them to understand what it means to be physically and sensorily engaged in our transportation. We did that last Tuesday at a VBike workshop and folks were blown away. That happens every time! It's the game changer. The theory of the presentations hits them after they have tried the bike and have the embodied experience. It has a way of melting away "Car Brain."

 
 #

Low-Interest Bike Loan Rates

Hey folks,

I posted the loan rates on the original posting. Check it out. I know that problems generally get more attention than solutions here, but it would be great to hear what other folks think about the VBike program.

If you are a bit confused about what this is all about and want to get a better idea around what's happening outside of our kingdom of Vermont, check out the Less Car More Go video at http://www.vbikesolutions.org/less-car-more-go.html

If this doesn't excite you or at least get your interest, you might want to check your pulse!

Dave

 

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