Electric bicycle makes grade on Baldwin St

Dunedin AvantiPlus bike mechanic Mac Robertson tests the eZee electric bike up Baldwin St in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Dunedin AvantiPlus bike mechanic Mac Robertson tests the eZee electric bike up Baldwin St in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

Even though the climb by AvantiPlus bike mechanic Mac Robertson (50) was aided by an electric motor, Chinese travellers clapped as he motored up Baldwin St.

The torque from the electric drive on the eZee bike started the front-wheel spinning half-way up the street, making Mr Robertson stand up and pedal to put weight over the front wheel and gain enough traction to complete the feat.

''I'm puffing, but I'd be dead if I didn't have a motor,'' he said.

Mr Robertson said he had demonstrated the bike to ''six bigwigs'' at the Dunedin City Council earlier this year.

Electric Bike Hub owner Jace Hobbs (58) said Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown owned an eZee bike. He distributes the brand throughout New Zealand, from Nelson.

However, the Wellington City Council and Dunedin City Council had not bought any bikes.

But councils in Palmerston North, Hamilton, New Plymouth and Auckland all had fleets of the electric bikes for deliveries and inspections.

The bike fleet allowed the council in New Plymouth to get rid of five cars, he said.

The bikes cost from $2400 to $2900 and to fully charge the battery used about 15c worth of electricity, he said.

Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis said he tested the ''marvellous'' bike on Baldwin St yesterday.

The bikes would be perfect for parking enforcement officers in Dunedin because bikes would be easier to maintain than motorcycles.

Motorists would also find it easier to accept a fine from an officer on an electric bike than on a motorcycle, he said.

On the bike, he reached speeds of 28kmh on flat land using the electric motor and pedal power.

Electric bikes would be an important part of the future transport mix in Dunedin but safety was an issue. More bike-friendly lanes were needed in Dunedin to encourage cyclists, he said.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

 

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