Pedal power, zip optional

Western's e-bikes are getting some mileage

WWU has a small fleet of electric bikes available to students, faculty and staff who want to check them out for a day or as long as a quarter.

The bikes, funded by the Sustainable Action Fund, have caught the attention of campus offices, too: The AS Publicity Center uses a cargo bike instead of a truck to make campus deliveries, and employees of Huxley College of the Environment cruise to off-campus meetings on an e-bike.

The Viking e-bike collection includes five bikes, such as Canadian eProdigy Jaspers “built for maximum comfort” and a Danish Butchers and Bicycles MK1-e tilt-trike. Each bike moves with pedal power with an optional assist from a quiet electric motor that kicks in when riders want a little help up hills, for example.

How do they ride? Tim Szymanowski, a bike enthusiast and an associate vice president of University Advancement, checked out a bike for Labor Day Weekend. “There was a sense of freedom and weightlessness that initially surprised me,” he wrote on the Viking eBikes blog, “like some big benevolent hand gave me a nice shove from the back.”

The Viking eBike team hopes more campus offices will bring ebikes into their routines, cutting down on driving times, carbon pollution and parking demand. And someday, a third-party vendor could bring a share program to campus, making more e-bikes available to the campus community.

Learn more about Western’s ebikes at