dandyARCHIVE: Electric Bugaloo

~ This story first appeared in they spring 2010 issue of dandyhorse (issue 4). ~

ELECTRIC BUGALOO

Story by Beth McIlroy, Photo by Peter Seifert

Like any cyclist, Ruth Carey loves her bike. The only difference: Carey’s ride has three wheels. She rides a Carro electric battery-powered tricycle by eZee Bike Canada – a beautifully designed piece of machinery with some serious curb appeal.

Carey is one of Toronto’s growing corps of three-season bike commuters. As a child, she suffered a series of ear infections which left her with rotten balance. “I can ride a bicycle – just not very well,” she says. “I wobble and tend to fall over. One day on the Danforth, I somehow ended up on the hood of a cab. After that, I completely lost my nerve.”

Carey, overweight and wanting to get healthy, bought a trike with a 250-watt pedal assist electric motor, which offers twice the power of her own pedalling. It makes steep slopes and full stops more manageable.

Today, Carey has lost 125 pounds and feels wonderful. Her trike is a minor celebrity in her Liberty Village neighbourhood. “Everybody stares!” she says. “I’ve noticed that motorists give me a very wide berth, which is nice and when I’m stopped, cyclists want to know about the trike and what it’s like to ride.”

Todd Johnson, eZee Bike’s director of dealer development, says e-bikes outsell their gas-powered scooters five-to-one, a by-product of the economic downturn. Carey’s trike is small enough for bike lanes (see page 21 for Ontario’s new e-bike rules).

Keep your eyes peeled for Carey and her trike this spring.

She’ll be glad to stop and chat – but will likely be first off the blocks when it’s safe to proceed.

~ This story first appeared in they spring 2010 issue of dandyhorse which you can buy here. ~

We'll have a new story about e-bikes here on the dandyBLOG soon, featuring interviews with physics professors, cyclists and scooter riders too!

We're really pleased that City council voted to refer the e-bike report back to the province for further clarification on the classification of what an e-bike is and how fast and heavy they can be to still be considered a bicycle.

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