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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

E-Bikes can change the world

‘Bicycles can change the world!’

Q&A with e-bike enthusiast, Moruya’s John Bourne

By Gillian Macnamara, for the Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance

Why did you decide to buy an electric bike?

I’ve always been a keen cyclist. Until I retired, I used to ride my push bike to work.

As I got older, I developed arthritis, but I thought I was still pretty fit. Then, when I

retired six or seven years ago, I joined EUROBUG, the local cycling group, and I

was stunned at how much faster the other riders were than me. Back then only a

couple of people had e-bikes. I gradually got fitter. But, along with all the other

members, I also got older! And as we all aged, more of us decided to buy e-bikes.

Some people who had stopped riding with us bought e-bikes and returned to

regular riding. It means that we can keep doing the lovely local rides, keep

socializing, and maintaining our physical and mental health.

How long have you had your e-bike?

About four years. I have two, a ‘cross’ bike and a road bike. The cross bike was a

demo model, so it was a bit cheaper, about $3,500. I bought it from Moruya

Bicycles. Of course, you can pay a lot more, up to $15,000. The more expensive

bikes are lighter.

Do you vary the amount of assistance you get from the motor?

Yes. I use low or economy a lot of the time but shift up to high when I need more

help – on a steep hill for instance. The motor cuts out once you reach 25 kph –

that’s the legal speed limit for e-bikes.

Do you use your e-bike for activities other than leisure?

Yes. I cycle from home to Moruya to do the shopping. It’s just a 2km ride but

there’s a steep climb of about 50 metres on the return journey that I couldn’t

manage on the push bike. With a backpack and two paniers, I can carry a fair bit

of shopping. It’s a lot cheaper than taking the car, as well as being so much better

for me and for the environment. Our house is off grid, so when I charge the

e-bike, I use electricity from our photovoltaic cells.

Are there any disadvantages to e-biking?

Well, there’s obviously more maintenance with an e-bike than a push bike. But

still less than a car. There aren’t many bike racks around Moruya, and it can be

difficult to find a place to secure your bike, whether it’s a push bike or an e-bike.

Of course, you need to wear the right gear – a windproof Hi-Viz jacket and a

helmet. Riding in the wind is fine as you have the motor, but heavy rain is not so

good. And just one word of caution: if you cycle anywhere near a golf course, as I

do regularly, watch out for mis-hit balls – they can be a hazard! But overall, for

me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by a long way.

What advice would you give to other people considering swapping their cars for

an e-bike for their regular commute? Don’t put it off! There will always be new models and refinements, but you can

get a decent bike now for a few thousand dollars. Go to a good bike shop and try

some out. And look at secondhand as well as new. If you have ridden a push bike,

you’ll find an e-bike easy. They are a great way of getting healthy and reducing

emissions. Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne all have dedicated bike lanes and

they are full during commuting times. It is definitely the way to go. Bicycles can

change the world!

Above: John Bourne Mick Langdon of Ride South Coast in Ulladulla told The Beagle that demand has been strong for quality e-bikes as the public begin to understand that there are various qualities out there and that after sales service along with guarantees of available quality spareparts is a must to consider with any purchase. "Our bikes are manufactured by Trek and Merida and we stand behind their reputation of being excellent value for money. The entry price presently for an Electra Townie is $3,399 but with that price tag you have the 8D EQ with a Bosch Active System motor and Flat Foot Technology frame geometry that makes this e-bike the perfect blend of comfort, control and fun. With up to a 160 km range, you can go to work, go to the shops and go wherever you want without breaking a sweat. This pedal-assist e-bike is easy to use and a blast to ride. "People want reliability and local after sales service availability. Many of our e-bike customers live outside of the region and come to us because of the reviews that Trek and Merida bikes receive. They are a quality product, but more importantly they are comfortable and very well designed." "Our most popular e-bike is the Merida eSPRESSO CITY 700 EQ that has a low centre of gravity, paired with a strong and stiff frame enables the bike to deliver fantastic riding characteristics in any situation which should be a consideration in the South East as riders need to occasionally go cross-country between roads and parks. Mounting and dismounting the eSPRESSO CITY is very easy due to its extremely low step-through height and that suits many of our older clients." "Our range also extends to those who enjoy more offroad enjoyment and want to add some power to their ride". "The Merida eBig Nine 300 SE is an electric hardtail mountain bike that is built to excel on any terrain. With this bike you can enjoy the best parts of mountain biking without the strain as the pedal assist Shimano STePS Drive Unit gives you a boost once you begin pedalling. The 300 SE is equipped with a 504wH Shimano E8010 battery and E7000 drive unit for a reliable and powerful combination."

Above: Mick Langdon of Ride South Coast in Ulladulla has seen a spike in customers coming forward to find a quality e-bike that has the back up of servicing and parts.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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