Pay it Forward

E-bikes a “game changer” for FPD

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Deena Bouknight

The Nantahala Bicycle Shop, Inc., in Franklin since 2017, has supported local law enforcement by donating two electric bicycles to the Franklin Police Department. 

“Why e-bikes for law enforcement?” offered Jennifer Smith, who is co-owner of the shop with Angelo Arduena. “Electric bicycles are a game-changer for our police force. They offer numerous benefits. E-bikes enable officers to reach emergencies quickly, even in congested areas; access to difficult areas; and, provide safety and support during community events and festivals. Plus, they are eco-friendly and cost-effective – a sustainable alternative to patrol vehicles, reducing our carbon footprint while saving on fuel costs.”

The donations of e-bikes to local law enforcement are part of Nantahala Bicycle Shop’s “Back the Blue” e-bike campaign. Donations are exclusively used to provide additional electric bikes as well as training and maintenance for Town of Franklin police officers. 

“Chief Devin Holland came in and talked to us about e-bikes last year, so we decided to establish the Back the Blue campaign,” said Smith. “He told us that it can be difficult to get to some places on the [Little Tennessee River] Greenway quickly, for example. And, during so many of the events and festivals in town, it’s so much easier for them to be able to respond to emergencies and to patrol if they are on e-bikes. We saw a need and decided to act by establishing the Back the Blue campaign.” 

Nantahala Bicycle Shop’s goal is to purchase additional e-bikes as funds come in. 

SGT. MATT BINGHAM patrols on the donated e-bike during a recent event in Franklin.

“The e-bikes will also need periodic maintenance, so donations help with that as well,” added Smith. She explained that a standard e-bike costs approximately $1,400 at retail, but a manufacturer supplier to the bike shop provides a discounted rate on the e-bikes purchased for local law enforcement officers.  

“Every contribution not only enhances the capabilities of our police department but also strengthens the bond within our community,” added Smith “Together, we can ensure our dedicated law enforcement officers are equipped to patrol effectively and keep Franklin safe.”

Donations online for Back the Blue can be made by scrolling to the donations portion of the main page of Nantahala Bicycle Shop’s website: Or, individuals can stop by the shop at 1863 Georgia Rd, Franklin.

Pictured top: Nantahala Bike Shop co-owner Jennifer Smith presented FPD’s Sergeant Matt Bingham and Chief Devin Holland with an e-bike.