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Thursday, July 29, 2010

eBikes 'a unique experience': Kawartha journalist

Reporter Joel Wiebe takes an e-bike down George 
Street in Peterborugh.  Photo: Lance Anderson
Central Ontario writer Joel Wiebe recently took to the roads in Peterborough to, as the MyKawartha article puts it, "check out the fuss" about the new cycles.

Wiebe, who does have experience on licensed motorcycles, initially scoffed at the low-speed, under-powered eScooter "wannabees," especially after learning that his photographer colleague had just spotted a senior citizen riding one.

However, after a brief acculturation period riding downtown, he relaxed and enjoyed the eBike for what it is, rather than what it is not.

"Extreme it isn't," he wrote in MyKawartha, "it's not a motorcycle (though it does have a motor), a bicycle or a moped... it's a unique experience."  He continued, "it's for peaceful cruising."

Tries Electric Assist

Wiebe's second ride was on an electric-assist pedal bicycle, sometimes called a "pedelec," with a traditional open frame and "less storage", as local sales agent Vern Windrem observed.

The second ride challenged his long-disused bicycling skills. "I'm a lazy cyclist when I do ride. I find no shame in walking a bicycle up a hill," he commented. The pedelec motor engaged, "I had no trouble climbing to the top without breaking a sweat."

Wiebe's one regret is that of many commuters: "I remain envious of those who live near enough to their workplace to commute on an e-bike. My 38-kilometre drive is a little too far."

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