Bikes in Action
On this page you will find real information, in people's own words, about our bikes, why they have purchased them and how they are using them. We've also included some of the comments people have made about our bikes after our obligation free trial. This page also includes our "Bike of the Month" section and archive.
Bike of the Month
Chris loves his bike so much he now works for us as our electrical specialist!
In Chris's words:
Why I Love My E-Bike.
I had the opportunity to test a good range of E-bikes marketed by Switched On Cycles shortly after I retired from CSIRO in Jan 2011. This was after 25 years of commuting between Fraser and the City on a number of push bikes that I simply wore out, but then I realised that perhaps my body was wearing out too with those few niggling pains that wouldn’t go away. So, the idea of practically effortless riding had great appeal and I managed to test a number of models that Switched On Cycles had to offer.
In the end I opted for a fold bike that I could squeeze into the back of the Suzuki Jimny if I needed to with the longer range 16Ah battery option that would get me to and from the City plus a bit more if I wanted. So far I’ve clocked up just over 2,500Km and use the bike mainly to get me to the Wig & Pen every Thursday lunchtime, a round trip of 37Km, for a social chat over a couple of pints over the best beer in town with fellow retirees, mainly ex-military guys like myself. I also use the E-bike to pop over the hill to the local Spence shops, thus saving some petrol money and helping the environment. I like the notion of charging my battery for virtually free from the sun too, with solar panels mounted on my roof these days.
I enjoy passing other riders at my usual speed of 30km who are using the more conventional means of pedal power. I’m sure they quietly envy the ease at which I’m able to speed past them whilst some of the fitter cyclists seize the opportunity to slip stream very close to my back wheel which I don’t mind as I used to do the same thing to moped riders.
The other pleasures are just cruising along the bike paths on brilliant sunny days around Canberra just taking in the views, the bird life and keeping a wary eye for the odd snake that happens to be sharing the cycle path. You can’t beat a ride around Lake Burley Griffin or Lake Ginninderra on a sunny day, stopping for a half way soothing ice cream before cruising gently back to base with that satisfied feeling of been out and about with not too much exertion.
Previous Bikes of the Month
Carl came to us through a Demo day we ran at his workplace. He has had his bike for about 6 months.
In Carl's words:
Two years ago I was driving my car to work and back 4 times a week - a total of 120 ks a week. I decided to start riding my mountain bike instead at least twice a week just for exercise. I was extremely unfit. I could not imagine how riding was going to change my fitness levels (though I’m not an athlete yet) things are 3 times more than what they were. And I have become a fanatic....Some six months into the cycling I was fortunate enough to be able to meet Simone from Switched on Cycles doing a display at my work place. Then I hatched a plan to get one of those e-bikes for myself (ie be very nice to my wife lol). I have taken it on as a hobby and been able to do a few upgrades to suit me. The figures are like thi . The cost of driving to work 25 dollars a week, parking in the city in daytime is 15 dollars a day. Now I pay a grand total of 40 cents a week to run the bike. My car sits at home for 6 days out of seven. The savings in fuel and wear and tear and servicing and repairs on my car have gone through the floor. I now have to start my car once a week just see if it’s ok.
I will be honest with you, I am a heavy guy and have had some problems but have managed to be able to sort them out. My wife however is telling me that I should MARRY MY BIKE and teach it how to clean and cook . I talk about it so much. The major difference between the e-bike and the mountain bike is that the time taken to get to work is much shorter and I believe I still get plenty of exercise. I will recommend Kim and Simone as the dealings that I have had with them in the past has been fantastic.
Our bike of the month for September is Cath's 2nd hand Gear-ee. Cath spotted this bike on our website in March 2012.
Cath on her Gear-ee
In Cath's word:
My name is Cath and I ride my electric bike to client's homes. I am a Home Energy Auditor and feel great that I am reducing my own carbon footprint whilst 'on the job' advising folks on how they can reduce household carbon emissions and energy costs. Some say that I'm cheating by using power assist on my bike. I tell them that at my age, fitness level and the steep hill on which I live, that if I didn't have the electric bike, I would be using my car. And by the way, I still get a work out! A perfect all-round solution. I also purchased an iphone bike bracket from an electronics retail store. I use Google Earth and Google Maps together to show location of bike tracks in relation to my destination.
Cath's phone holder for her bike - nice accessory!
If you are interested in having a Home Energy Audit, call HEAT on 6260 6165 or go to www.heat.net.au
Colleen & Bill
Our bike of the month for January is in fact many bikes. Bill & Colleen Fulton are the proud owners of multiple bikes, including two e-bikes. While they don't actually own any of our bikes, (we have helped them keep their bikes on the road), what we like about this couple is the way they use different bikes for different purposes, rather than jumping in the car for everything. Read about their story here (PDF file).
Bill & Collen with folding bikes Albury Early 2011
Our bike of the month for September/ October is a cautionary tale and comes from Rebecca the proud owner of an E-commuter. Rebecca has had her E-commuter for 6 months.
I love my electric bike. It does give the green inner glow because I am using the car a lot less. My fitness is building up so I use the electricity less and less and pedal more and more. It is hard to think of an excuse not to use the bike when I don’t even HAVE to pedal. It keeps me fit and helps me sleep at night as I want to cut down my emissions.
But one night on a dark and narrow cycle track another bike and I collided. Suddenly I was sailing through the air and THWACK…my head hit the ground. The other cyclist was groaning. I hauled myself up and went to help him. He asked me call an ambulance…..and then I waited for one to arrive. It was a terrible half hour wait because I didn't’t know what had happened to the other guy. Other cyclists stopped to help us. Thank you so much to people who will care at these times.
After some weeks the injured man called me to say he hadn't’t broken his neck…but still had some bad injuries. I got off with lighter elbow, neck and shoulder injuries. My helmet was split to the crown…so glad I had it on.
Canberra’s cycle paths are not very safe. They are not lit and have tight corners. We all have to keep our speed slow especially at night and stay alert and attentive for every second to avoid prangs.
I cant stop riding because I love it but now I am now going to join Pedal Power who are working to improve cycling conditions in Canberra.
Godfrey has had his Breez-ee for about 7 months and has given us a great bike of the month.
"Once upon a time ---
there was a man who enjoyed riding his bicycle to work each day of the week.
In his youth cycling 16 kilometres from Queanbeyan to Civic in the morning;
And another 16 km back home in the evening was like eating yam---easy.
Good exercise, fresh air, clean refreshing sweat!
Then one day his knees started to complain.
A little bit of pain here and there.
Exhausted short legs.
Shivering, irritated muscles.
He would sit down and his legs dared him to stand up.
The legs won.
Serious. He could not ignore the complaints from his legs.
He knew it was the ‘A’ factor which kicks in as the years go by.
So he cut down to three days a week on the push bike and two days on a Deane’s bus.
The tired legs tax was 12 dollars return each day; 24 dollars a week on a bus.
One day, by accident, when browsing through a local newspaper
he noticed an advertisement in the Chronicles
“ Switched on bicycles”.
He did a quick calculation.
With the money he was spending on the bus
He could borrow money from a credit union, buy an electric bicycle
And pay back (using saved bus fares) the principal plus interest in one year and a bit.
Next day he bought the electric bike and sold his push bike.
A switched on bicycle give this man speed without sweat.
But the reason he loved a push-bike was the exercise.
So he has to control his desires. He only uses his electric bike twice a week. The other days he goes back to the push-bike.
Simple, he just leaves the battery at home. Or carry the battery along but switch it off . He is back
To familiar territory; pedal harder; sweat even more; wreck those legs to-day. He can do that without guilt now.
Because tomorrow he can rest and just pull the throttle. ---Godfrey Lubulwa (0407291725)" August 2011
Martin has had his E-city Roller, townie style bike for almost a year and lives in Redfern, Sydney.
"After a few years of riding the
I get a few looks because of the ‘euro’ design and the front basket, but mostly people’s eyes glance toward the battery and then their questions start. It can be quite the talking point at a set of traffic lights.
The main benefits to me are that I can ride in my work clothes ( and no need for lyrca), I have more confidence in the traffic as I can take off from lights quickly and maintain a reasonable speed, and that the design lets me sit upright, and therefore I get a good look at the traffic and pedestrians up ahead.
For me, it’s all about practicality and the ease with which I can get around the city at anytime – weekday or weekend. I can pedal hard for a bit more of a workout if I want, but I can also cruise home after a busy day". July 201
Mike on his bike!
Read Michael's SEE-change article here. March/ April 2011
Read Brian's account of retro fitting a bike here. March/ April 2011
Alys Wall has had her Gear-ee folding bike for about 1 month.
"I just wanted to send a note about how much I love the bike. I have ridden it to work from McKellar to Civic four times now and it takes about 35 to 40 minutes. I measured the bike path route on Google Earth and it is about 13km from my house to work. Driving to work in the morning can take 25-30 minutes on average so the bike riding time is very comparable, plus I get exercise and don't pay for parking. I can follow the bike path for almost all of the distance and I love the ride through the forest. I have no problems getting up the 'hill' past the stadium when I am going home. The electric bike has extended my range so I can ride to work from home (before I drove half way and rode my mountain bike half way - about 6 km). I tend to ride with the pedal assist on the lowest speed increasing for hills and turning off when I am going downhill. The battery holds up fine for a round trip and appears to be very robust. In fact one day I decided to see how much charge was left in the battery after a round trip to work. It took me an additional 40 minutes of riding around my neighborhood (without peddle assit, I only used power, and tried to find hills in McKellar to run it down) to flatten the battery completely. Very impressive. For me the best benefit is the trip itself. Riding the electric bike makes the journey to work a pleasure, I enjoy the entire trip. If I drive to work, I don't usually enjoy the trip, I just want to get there. Given a choice, I know which method of transport I want to use for my daily commute!" Jan 2011
Update on Colin - Colin, (see his story below), has now had his bike for 9 months. During this time, he has ridden it around 4000kms (the distance from Canberra to Perth!) This has saved him about $638 in petrol, and avoided around 1104 kgs of CO 2 emissions. Good work Colin! June 2011
Colin with his townie style "E city Roller"
"I have been riding to work every day for 3 months, which is about 110 Km‘s a week. I chose the E-Bike because I have three hills to negotiate and because of the distance which is longer than I would like to ride on a conventional bike. Riding the E-Bike takes me about 10 minutes longer that driving. In addition to the moderate daily exercise I am getting, my ride takes me along the bike path on the edges of Lake Burley Griffin - and this is a really great ride. On my way to and from work I am able to see the swans raising their cygnets. I like the townie because it’s more retro in style and has traditional things- like mudguards, a comfortable seat and a basket to carry gear in". Colin, November 2010
Katie Cole has had her Volto Star for about a year.
"Electric bikes make cycling a real and infinitely more sustainable alternative to driving cars! With my trailer attached to my electric bike, I can carry my entire family of three children (age 7,9,10) to and fro around Canberra, on OFF ROAD cycle paths most of the time, without encountering any traffic or arriving exhausted at my destination! And when I'm on my own, I simply detach the trailer so I'm not using fuel to carry dead weight - as one is in cars whenever the vehicle isn't full of people (or I ride my none electric bike1). I haven't had to buy a car yet thanks to the advent of electric bikes, probably never will! Thanks Simone and Kim". Katie Cole September 2010.
My other car is an electric bike!
Bike trial testimonials
" Goes like stink!!" Chris tested our crank drive kit in Ocotber 2013
Michael tested our light weight commuter bike in October 2013.
"Wonderful, a pleasure to ride, no loss of power after three hours, comfortable to ride even though I have a bad back, legs and backside.....I'm going home to sell my mobility scooter to get one of your bikes!" Lyn, tested the Gear-ee folding bike in September 2010.
"Fun to ride...very versatile especially the folding bike. Couldn't really fault it". John, tested a Gear-ee folding bike in September 2010.
"I really enjoyed the folding bike- it felt light and responsive. I wished it had gears! It ran out of battery on the way home from work but I could have re-charged at work (or pedaled a little more!). David, tested a Volto Star (folding bike without gears) in September 2010.
"All good. Throttle takes getting used to." Bill, tested a E-city Roller (townie style bike) in July 2010.
"It is too easy to not put in any effort and let the bike do all the hard work. I think I am too young to ride an electric bike....Great concept for others for commuting. My wife loves it!" Andrew, tested a E-city Roller in June 2010".
"An excellent bike! The extra weight is more than compensated by the sure footed tyres, handling response and the power to eat up the hills. I effortlessly managed to do a better time than my road bike on the 20km from Theodore to Holder in 45-50 mins. I' ld be very interested in fitting a power wheel to my road bike". Jim, tested a bike in May 2010.
"My dog is highly supportive of the bike. Very excited at the long ride!" Tracy, tested a townie style bike in March 2010.
"One I got used to it I found it very easy to use and did 34.6km effortlessly. Not a bit tiring". Tim, tried a Perpetual Motion (mountain bike style) April 2010.