In my last Tidechange.ca post Just Do IT—Saving Our Earth One Bicycle At A Time I was looking at ebikes with their light weight and highly efficient pedal /battery power as a most enjoyable and effective transportation alternative to climate heating/resource squandering fossil fuel powered cars.
I went out on a rhetorical limb and postulated that people switching to ebikes could be to climate change efforts what Ghandi’s salt march was to British rule in India. The key correlation between the two being that they both represent small actions that people can do without permission by any authority that can have huge social/environmental impacts.
What I didn’t realize when I wrote the previous post is that people are not only “willing to switch” but—I soon learned from enthusiastic email–those who have tried ebiking quickly become passionate promoters of this new environmentally sound transportation.
Riding a bicycle has always been a spirit-freeing activity. When I lived in Montreal downtown, I rode my bike west and down the waterfront to get somewhere quieter. At 20 I felt like 13 and now at 66, I’m still the same internal age. The addition of an electric assist to my hybrid bike has offered the ability to commute with a little more speed to get places when I haven’t really allowed enough time using my own power. The main reason to have the assist was to allow for more exploring of the Gulf Island, where the hills are daunting, well, in fact, impossible without the assist for me and my partner.
This is me returning from my 35 km commute to the farm after a full day’s physical activity. My ebike allows me to do this commute and work a full day without it being a huge effort at the end of the day to get home. This takes me about 1.5 hours each way. Some mornings are quite fresh and require dressing warmly. It is a great way to get about in the Valley.
This is me with a guest from Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, Canada on the electric cargo trike that I built in my backyard shed. It is an amazing piece of equipment that goes up to 30 kmh and carries up to 600 lbs of cargo. I use it for commuting to town from my home on Royston Rd as well as for working on the farm. I also pull a trailer 8 feet long, and use that for a 14′ orchard ladder and other long stuff.
This is my ebike that I bought from Trail Bicycles.
I use it for family rides with my two kids. My wife has her own ebike. We love the feeling of going places as a family in a way that is not consuming our children’s future. I also use it as a work vehicle. It has turned out to be wonderful family fun and economical work transportation.
Ross Hunt sent me this picture he took of an all weather family e-bike though he didn’t get the names of the family members who were enjoying Courtenay’s waterfront walkway and playground.
“Losing my ability to bike or even drive was devastating. I am deeply greatful for my friend Wendy Prothero who gave me this battery assisted trike that allows me to overcome my limiting disability and enjoy riding with my friends — and actually keep up!
“For me riding an ebike is about the freedom to explore the wonderful environment we live in without having to worry about making it up hills or running out of steam halfway home. I can chose to ride it like a regular bike or dial up the power to whatever level of assist I need. I get exercise and I’m not using my car as much. It’s a great way to get around.”
With moderate pedaling, an ebike/trike battery charge will last for more than 80 kms while propelling the peddler down the road at 25-45 kmh..
Traveling 15,000 miles, an electric bike is responsible for 300kg of CO2, while a car over the same distance emits a whopping 7,000kg! Electric bikes, while they do use batteries, are mostly powered by energy from your own body. The vast majority of cars (or trucks) on the other hand, get their energy from fossil fuels. Electric bikes get the equivalent of 1,000MPG!
Hopefully the covid crisis has taught us about the danger of atmosphere polluting jet travel. When we drop the jet and take up the bike both we and our planet will become a whole lot healthier for not pumping all that C02 into the upper atmosphere. A deadly virus will not spread from one country to the whole world in a matter of months on the wings of our atmosphere polluting jet planes. We will walk/bike around our neighbourhoods and get to know our neighbours better. We and our Earth will become much healthier.
Just as Gandhi’s salt march simply dissolved the mechanisms of British rule in India, a massive shift to electric bikes/trikes could put the gas/resource guzzling automobile into the museums of a destructive age.
Si Se Puede!