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E-bike library lets you try one for free in Boston area, so you can "feel like Superman"

Somerville man lets you borrow e-bikes for free
Somerville man lets you borrow e-bikes for free 02:42

SOMERVILLE - Electric bikes are popping up everywhere in the Boston area and you don't have to feel left out if you haven't tried one. 

A Somerville man who loves them will let you ride an e-bike for a week for free.

"About 50% of the people who have tried a bike already bought one," said Christopher Schmidt, founder of the Camberville E-bike Lending Library. "I think a lot of people realize that when they are in the bike life that they can do a lot by bike."

Three week waitlist to try e-bike

Schmidt started with his own bike, but now he has 14 e-bikes for loan that sit in a shed in Somerville. They range from single person bikes to a tricycle that can hold multiple children. They have a wait list of three weeks right now.

"The e-bike has been a path for people who have been able to not buy a second car, or sometimes sell the second car," said Schmidt, adding that people often question if it will fit their lifestyle. "They would want to know does it work on groceries? Does it work on a commute? That was impetus for the library, and the reason that I wanted to start the library to lend out something, as well as have one for myself."

Ebike library Somerville
Camberville E-bike Lending Library CBS Boston

Schmidt started telling his friends how great e-bikes are and encouraged his pals to take advantage of a big sale. One hundred and eighty-three people used his referral code and bought a bike. It left him with $5,000 in store credits.

"A sane person might take $5,000 in credit, buy a bike and then sell it, but I have never been known as being a sane person, so what I did was buy more bikes," Schmidt told WBZ-TV. "It's free. You fill out waiver fees, and an online form, and you can take the bike, and do whatever it is you want from it."

Some of the bikes have a throttle that lets you operate it like a moped, others assist pedaling to make it easier.  

Christopher Schmidt Ebike
Christopher Schmidt, founder of the Camberville E-bike Lending Library CBS Boston

"You're going to ride it like a bike, pedal like a bike, but when you go up a hill you will feel like Superman," said Schmidt. "That really lets you keep up with traffic around Boston and Cambridge." 

Family e-bike ride, cargo test drive

Schmidt will be hosting a family e-bike ride on Memorial Drive on April 28th. There will be activities for kids as well. 

He also is hosting a cargo e-bike test drive event in the fall for people who may be interested in testing out bikes that can carry passengers, tow a trailer, or haul more groceries or items.

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