Coffeeology delivery bike at the Green Living Show.
Green Living 2015 show recap
Story by Sonya Allin, photos by Robin Sutherland
The “Green Living” show has lots to tell you about greener cars, clothing and food. We went to the show this weekend, to learn how cycling will fit into our greener future.
By all signs at the Green Living Show this weekend, electric cycles will have a significant place in our future streets. Growth of the electric bike market in North America has been slow as cars are still cheap and mainstream, while many cyclists see people on electric cycles as “cheaters” or as a potential threat to the safety of commuters in bike lanes. Several young companies, at the Green Living show, however, are attempting to bridge the divide by creating light, portable electric cycles that are sized to co-exist with bikes and that can serve as inner-city travel extensions to car or train commuters.
The FLEX model folds up so that you can carry it with you on the TTC.
Revelo cycles, a young Toronto-based company founded by a local industrial designer, is effectively creating such a bridge by offering extremely light and compact e-bikes; both their LE-1 and FLEX editions weigh about 30 pounds, even with the battery. The FLEX, which is about to hit the market and was very popular at the Green Living show, folds into a tiny package (2ftx2.5ftx1ft) that can be taken on the TTC or put into the trunk of a car. According to the Revelo team, the bike can make it up Pottery Road without the need to pedal, and up a 14% incline with a little bit of an assist.
The Revelo FLEX electric bicycle.
The Revelo Electric founder is a Toronto industrial designer, Henry Chong (pictured).
Other electric bike and scooter vendors were also at the show, including Amego bikes and the Zümaround, a company selling electric scooters. Some of their scooters fold up, like the new miniZum, but they may be a little more difficult to schlep down subway stairs than the FLEX. You also can’t sit down when you commute, so it won’t allow you to become a potato on wheels (which is likely a good thing). And, just as they were in 2013, the Zumaround Scooters are a really fun to ride.
Still, most dandyhorse readers will testify: Nothing beats the fun and exhilarating experience of riding a regular ol' bicycle that you pedal yourself!
Traditional cyclists also found a few friends at the Green Living show. Cyclists with a bent for the high-tech found Vanhawks, for example, a Toronto-based company that makes carbon-fibre bicycles augmented with sensors and actuators. The bicycles have handles that vibrate if people get too close to your rear wheel, a GPS system along with lights that glow when you’re approaching your next turn, and it will call home if it ever gets stolen. It can also record all the potholes that you hit, so you have a hope avoiding them the next time (or so that you can relive the memories when you get home, perhaps).
Laurie Featherstone, bicycle courier for Coffecology (and our dandy delivery person), will cycle freshly roasted and fairly traded coffee beans to your home or business.
Cyclists who see greener living as involving less use of digital or electric cycling equipment may have discovered a sense of fatigue while walking the aisles of the Green Living show. Still, however, there was something for these cyclists at the Coffeecology booth. There’s nothing like a cup of fairly-traded coffee to restore your vim and vigor, particularly when it’s made from freshly roasted beans delivered right to your door by a friendly neighborhood bike courier.
Cycle Toronto signed up more than 40 new members on Saturday at the show. Evidently, many of the attendees of the Green Living show were cyclists, interested in advocating for issues like the minimum grid.
If after all the excitement of the Green Living show you find your bike tire is flat, don’t worry. If you’re a CAA member, CAA will be there for you. The CAA’s BikeAssist program will send someone to troubleshoot your bike problem, or to give you a lift.
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