The Western Environment Centre is about to launch their brand new Electric Bike Share Project in Corner Brook, which will let you or visitors to the city rent an electric bike to boot around the city on. After spending a week with one of the bikes, here are six things that I learned about the bikes that you should know.
1. It’s like riding a bike!
Riding an electric bike is just like riding a regular bike! If you can ride a bicycle, then you can ride one of the e-bikes. In fact, you can turn off the “electric” part of it if you want and it will function just like a regular bike.
2. They use “pedal assist”.
These bikes are “pedal assist”, and you can use the small handlebar-mounted control panel to adjust the amount of pedal assist that you want. Just starting out on a flat? Maybe start at around 30%, where you’ll feel the bike give you a little nudge every now and then. Trying to get up to the top of Massey Drive for a swim in Tippings Pond this summer? I’d use my left thumb to push that assist up to 100% and cruise on up to the top.
Even with the pedal assist at 100%, you still need to pedal — you just don’t have to put nearly as effort in.
There’s even a speedometer on the control panel to make you feel super cool when you realize you’re cruising along at 20 mph (it’s in miles, so you might have to do a little bit of conversion in your head).
3. They’re easy to charge.
You just have to plug it in to a wall! Yes, you just take the charging cord and plug it in to a regular wall outlet, and plug the other end into the bike battery. When you aren’t using it, the battery seems to hold a charge fairly well. There was a day or two where I didn’t ride and the battery didn’t seem to loose any of its charge.
The amount of use that you’ll get out of a full charge depends on how much pedal assist you use. If you have the pedal assist on 100%, you’ll lose battery faster than if you alternate between 30% and 100% (only going to 100% for when you need it). That said, you could easily do a loop around most of Corner Brook once or twice on 100% and still have a little bit of battery power to spare.
4. They’re adjustable.
Like to lean down over your handlebars while you’re riding? Or maybe you prefer to be more upright while you’re riding? No sweat, the handlebars and the seat are easy to adjust for any riding style or height. I preferred to keep my handlebars up higher so that I was more upright when I was riding around the city.
5. Driving in Corner Brook traffic wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.
For some reason I had it in my head that cycling in Corner Brook traffic was going to be some sort of death-defying stunt, like dodging around monster trucks. It was much easier than I expected (even during busy times of day), and as long as you’re courteous to other drivers, they’ll give you lots of space. Keep your eyes open for potholes though — if you think it’s bad hitting one in your car, I think it would be much worse on a bike.
6. They’re inexpensive!
Renting one of these bikes will only cost you $10 for a 24 hour period, or $40 for a full week.
Here are the full details about the E-Bike launch event on Saturday, plus how you can rent one for yourself (via wecnl.ca):
Our project will contribute to a culture of commuting by bicycle by providing a new, more convenient and affordable form of transportation to residents, and by running a campaign that encourages and celebrates active transportation.
Season: May 16 to end of November (end date is weather dependent)
Cost: $10 per day or $40 per week
Sign in/out: Cycle Solutions (35 West Street) or at the Residence Complex of the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University
Who can ride:
- Must be 16 or older and must know how to ride a bike
- Must possess a valid driver’s license or proof of completion of the WEC bicycle safety course
- Must have a credit card to sign out
Bicycle safety courses will be offered as needed throughout the season. They will teach skills such as safe conduct in traffic, proper signalling, and safe riding techniques. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in taking a bicycle safety course.
For more information or to answer any questions you may have, please email email@example.com.
The Corner Brook Electric Bike Share Program is a Western Environment Centre Project supported by the Grenfell Student Union, the City of Corner Brook, Memorial University, Cycle Solutions and the Government of Canada.