🚲Wanna get paid to ride a bike?
Chart: Cat DeLaura | Source: Austin Energy
- 5 min read

🚲Wanna get paid to ride a bike?

Plus, chime in on how Austin's skyline could change in the next 20 years.

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Introduction

☀️ Howdy, Austin.

We dug into how the city will literally pay you to buy an e-bike. Car who?

Plus, Austin wants your thoughts on its waterfront development plans just south of Town Lake. And since spring is thunderstorm season, here's how to survive Thor's wrath if you get caught outside.


Get paid to join the e-bike trend

Did you know Austin will pay you to buy an e-bike?

That's right. In 2013, the city began an e-bike rebate program. Its use has slowly grown over the decade since. Then, last year when the rebate was doubled to up to $600, the program saw its largest year-over-year increase in applications.

There were 3,461 applications approved, which was 855 more than the number of applications approved in 2022. That year saw the second-highest year-over-year increase with 423 more applications than the year prior (less than half the increase seen in 2023).

A bar chart showing the number of e-ride rebates offered annually through Austin Energy. The numbers have increased every year and most dramatically in 2023, when 3,461 rebates we're offered.

Representatives from Woom, Austin Energy, City of Austin Transportation, MOD Bikes and Electrek gathered at a SXSW meetup last week to share their work and insight into the future of micromobility in Austin.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Let the city help you buy that e-bike that feels just out of reach.

The city's rebate program offers three tiers ($200, $400 and $600) depending on how much your e-bike costs. But you'll have to spend at least $2,000 to get that $600 rebate.

Another stipulation of the program is that bikes have to be purchased through one of the city's approved vendors (find the full list here), and applications must be submitted within 60 days. 

Good news for all my other lovers of two-wheeled vehicles. The rebate isn’t just limited to e-bikes. It also applies to scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, although 99% of all rebates are given for e-bike purchases, according to Austin Energy.

Big life changes are the perfect time to rethink mobility habits. 

The reconstruction of I-35 could offer an opportunity to both improve the city’s mobility options and change residents’ habits, said Jacob Barrett, Austin’s Transportation Demand Management program manager. That’s because big disruptions — like major road construction, a new job or moving — provide an incentive for people to reevaluate their mobility habits. And that’s where the city wants to be, said Barrett: meeting people as they go through big changes and helping them realize that just making a few small changes to how they travel can impact their quality of life. 

Moving soon? Maybe it’s time to explore new ways to travel to work or get around town. Find out what your options are using the “Plan Your Trip” feature on getthereatx.com.  

You might actually get more exercise on an e-bike than on an OG one

MOD Bikes founder Dor Falu Korngold dropped this tidbit while discussing their bikes' brand-new fit mode — a motor-assisted setting that imitates the feeling of riding a pedal bike while still giving you some support (without that support e-bikes, which are much heavier than traditional bikes, would be very hard to ride).

A man rides an e-bike with a child in a side cart.
MOD Bikes

It might be hard to believe, but some studies have shown that e-bikes, when using settings that require more pedaling from riders, still provide moderate to vigorous physical activity while riders report higher levels of enjoyment. One study found that the fact that e-bikes can go faster and appear to take less exertion might encourage riders to choose to use them. Essentially, e-bikes remove a lot of the pain of riding a bike (like getting over Austin's hills), which means it's a lot easier to persuade yourself to take the bike, instead of the car, and a lot easier to ride longer.

I'll be honest, attending the meetup has got me rethinking my opinion that e-bikes are mostly an unnecessary luxury. Anything that'll help me bike more often and longer (especially during Austin's brutal summers) might be worth spending the extra money on.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on e-bikes. Worth it or nah?

— Cat DeLaura, Reporter


Temperature: 64 degrees | Sun: Dancing with clouds | What to Expect: Cooler than normal

High pressure, our sometimes friend or foe, will be nice to us on Tuesday with dry weather, mostly cloudy skies and comfortable temperatures. Winds will be much lighter coming in from the south.

Mary’s Tip: Take your workout outside today and join one of the many park workouts with Camp Gladiator.


Here come more skyscrapers?

Do you have some capital-T Thoughts about Austin's skyline changing even more? Well, now's your chance to chime in.

The City of Austin wants your input on its plans to develop 118 acres of land just south of Town Lake, across from downtown.

They include hotels, office and retail space, residential units, and more. Here's an example of what it could look like 20 years from now:

Stephanie Bower for the City of Austin

Wild, huh?

So if you want to give your 2 cents, you can register via this link and tune into an online community meeting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Someone do us all a solid and tell officials to include at least one Whataburger in the plans.


T-storm season is coming. Here's what to do.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but lightning is super dangerous. It can heat the air through which it passes to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s five times hotter than the surface of the sun. And even if you’re several miles away from the storm, Zeus can still hit you with a bolt.

So it very much matters that spring is thunderstorm season in Texas. And we are absolutely about to save your life with these tips for if you can’t make it to a building or car for shelter:

  • Avoid open fields and higher elevations. This is not the time to hang out on the lawns in Zilker Park, visit Mount Bonnell or climb the 360 Overlook. 
  • If you are hiking in the greenbelts, stay away from the tall trees on the ridgetop and stay near the lower shade trees.
  • Stay away from water. If you hear thunder while paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake, get to land. Water doesn’t attract lightning, but it’s a conductor of electricity and will travel a long distance.

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist


Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura and Mary Wasson.