When Hobart illustrator Tony Flowers first bought an electric bicycle three years ago other riders branded him a cheater, these days they pull up to have a chat about how great his bike’s light system is.
Tony bought his Smart Motion Pacer e-bike three years ago when he was living in Canberra.
He’d been regular bicycle commuter for many years but then moved to a hilly area of Sydney and stopped riding. When he moved back to Canberra he thought he’d get back on his bike but the distances he needed to travel and being a bit older prompted him to take a look at e-bikes so he could arrive at his destinations sweat-free.
“I tried a lot of different types of bikes, converted e-bikes, front hub motors and rear hub motors, but as I lived in Tuggeranong I needed a bike that could handle hills.
“It’s why I chose the Smart Motion bike but also because it was made in New Zealand and had a great design and quality componentry.
“Three years later I’ve done more than 1000 km, replaced the disc brakes and tyres, and it’s still going strong.
“I use the e-bike to ride to the Sandy Bay shops every morning and four or five times a week I ride into the city.
“I wouldn’t visit the city as much as I do now if I didn’t have the e-bike because I find parking frustrating.
“The e-bike is good over short distances in Hobart.
“The other night I met my family in North Hobart for dinner after work and my wife offered to put the bike on the roof but I said no, I’ll ride and we’ll see who gets home first.
“As I turned the corner into our street they had just parked the car and were starting to get out, so the e-bike is competitive over that sort of distance in Hobart.
“When we lived in Canberra we found the e-bike was quicker for trips that were 10 km and under. For Hobart I think it’s quicker for trips of 3-5 km, but then again I don’t live near a cycleway. If I did, that distance would probably be greater.
The only problems Tony has faced with the e-bike in Hobart have been finding a recognised Smart Motion dealer and bike parking.
“Smart Motion had a dealer in Canberra but doesn’t in Hobart, but because they service Australasia I’ve still been able to get parts when I needed to.”
While Tony is able to take his e-bike inside when he’s at work in the city, when he’s out and about he finds parking an issue.
“Most of the available poles put the bike too close to car doors opening and closing. Hobart really needs more dedicated bicycle parking in high visibility areas.
The cost of running an e-bike has also been a factor in Tony’s satisfaction with the bike.
“You still have to get it serviced and replace parts but they are nowhere near as expensive as a car and having an e-bike helps you to drive your car less, which extends its life.
“The whole family uses the e-bike, including my teenage son who loves it.
“My wife currently works at the university, which is in walking distance from our home, but when they move into the city we’ll probably get a second e-bike.
HOBART E-BIKE EXPO
The Hobart E-bike Expo is being held on Sunday 24 November, between 10 am and 2 pm at the Regatta Grounds on McVilly Drive.
Most of Hobart's major e-bike retailers and sellers will be there and there will be a wide variety of e-bikes that you can test ride.
'CHARGE THE E-BIKES" HOBART CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
Fourteen enthusiastic members formed part of the ‘Charge the E-bikes’ in this year’s Hobart Christmas Pageant.
Decked with decorations, presents and bling, riders took to the streets to promote the upcoming Hobart E-bike Expo on Sunday 24 November.
The bikes came in their various shapes and sizes with a Cycling Without Age trishaw borrowed from the Masonic home at Lindisfarne, a recumbent and a bike pulling a trailer packed to the brim with presents.
Hobart’s CBD was packed for the parade and it proved a great opportunity to show off the versatility and ease of e-bikes.
The main challenge proved staying upright while we moved at a snail’s pace through the streets.
See photos from the day on Bicycle Network Tasmania's Facebook page.