E-bikes vandalized in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

E-bikes vandalized in Aspen

Hub of Aspen owner Tim Emling stands with two of the three Trek dual-sport bikes that were vandalized last week. He called the vandalism "deplorable."

With all of the disincentives to drive into Aspen — including gridlock at the town’s entrance, the price of parking and the limited spaces to park — Lori and Larry Garon decided to buy two e-bikes to get around.

Having been visitors to Aspen for two decades as well as part-time Snowmass Village residents, they were well aware of the hassles of driving into town as well as the city’s ongoing campaign to get people out of their cars to use alternative modes of transportation.

So they paid about $3,000 each for two e-bikes from the Hub of Aspen earlier this month, and rode them from Snowmass to Aspen on July 23 to take in the Aspen Arts Festival.

“We did the arts fair, had lunch and came back to unlock our bikes, and on both of them there is a little computer that sits on the handle, and the button was popped off both of them,” said Lori Garon, who lives full time with her husband in Michigan.

Those buttons happened to be the ones that start the pedal-assisted bikes. With them gone, the bikes were effectively immobilized until the couple brought them to the Hub of Aspen, which relocated to 616 E. Hyman Ave. earlier this year.

Owner Tim Emling was able to restart the bikes by powering them up from the bikes’ undersides.

The Garons filed a report with the Aspen Police Department, and Thursday, Emling found himself doing the same thing. Three of the Hub of Aspen’s Trek dual-sport bikes, like the ones the Garons own, also had been vandalized in near identical fashion.

The only difference was that the light buttons, not the power buttons, were removed.

Emling said Friday the vandalism clearly shows that somebody, or some people, have it out for e-bikes. But their aggression toward e-bikes is misguided, he said.

“(The Garons) bought their bikes so they didn’t have to drive into down,” he said. “They were being environmental.”

Emling said he understands why people don’t want e-bikes on mountain-biking trails. Riders can get a false confidence and be under-qualified to safely ride the technical trails, particularly on the downhill stretches, he said.

But e-bikes — which top out at 20 miles per hour — have their place on paved trails and roads, where other cyclists can ride just as fast or faster, he said.

“The e-bike movement is here to stay,” he said, calling the culprit or culprits’ vandalism “deplorable.”

Chip Seamans of the Aspen Police Department said he was aware of the vandalism reports and police are looking into it.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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