Chat with e-bike guru Maurice Wells
Maurice Wells, one of Australia's leading electric bike experts visited Tasmania and Eco-Bikes. As the founder of Glow Worm Bicycles in Sydney, Maurice is a leading proponent of e-bikes as an alternative to car travel. We took the opportunity to have a chat at the Eco-Bikes office.
Garth (eco-Bikes): Hi Maurice, welcome to Hobart. What brings you here?
Maurice (Glowworm Bicycles): I'm here to see you at eco-Bikes. Were going to take our electric bikes on a real road test through Tasmania's rugged and beautiful countryside. I'm also here to see how the fledgling e-bike industry in Hobart is coming along.
G: Where are you riding?
M: The plan is to ride to Launceston via the Central Plateau, then on to Lilydale for the Circus Festival. Eventually we'll get to Devonport to take the boat back to the mainland.
G: Is it just you?
M: No I'm here with my partner Kaitlin. We've ridden bikes in Tasmania before, but riding electric bikes will be a bit different. We're going to do it in style. Kaitlin will be wearing a dress she made herself, and I'll be in a dress shirt - just for a change!
G: So, no lycra, no sweat!
M: And tomorrow, Garth, we'll be going up Mt Wellington, and you'll be coming with us!
G: Looking forward to it! We're going to see if we can get up the Mountain on one battery charge. It'll be a fun ride back down! How long will you take to ride to Launceston?
M: In between the hills, the lakes and the wine-tasting, we think it will be three days to Launceston. There we'll hold a e-bike test ride and info session. From there, it's off to have some fun at the Circus Festival. I'm excited!
G: Sounds great! Have you done any other long trips on your electric bike?
M: The longest e-bike ride I've ever done is Canberra to Melbourne. However, these bikes we're riding have been ridden across Africa, along the Silk Road, the entire length of the Mississippi, to name but a few epic trips.
G: Wow! How do you keep the battery charged?
M: We're going to have to stay in cabins or camp with access to power, or stop for long lunches somewhere with power. So won't have to rough it.
G: How much faster do you think you can do this trip on an electric rather than normal bike?
M: I haven't seen these famous hills, but for us, personally, we'll probably save a day, and have a cruisier time for wine-tasting and taking in the scenery. But for many other people, having an electric motor can make the difference between being able to go on this sort of trip or not.
G: So could anyone do this ride?
M: Some people might need more batteries or time than others, but if you can run errands and chase your kids around for most of the day, then you could do this ride.
G: Well, I hope you get blue skies and fine weather. Do your electric bikes get much use around your home town, Sydney?
M: Yes, they're becoming more popular as people discover how easy it is to use these bicycles in their everyday life. Riding an electric bike gives all the befits of cycling: it fun, fast, healthy, and cheap. Electric bikes are for everyone - no matter how fit you are, how hilly your neighbourhood is, or whether or not you need to arrive at work in a full suit.
G: What kind of people do you think would benefit from having an electric bike?
M: Pretty much everybody who needs to get around. It's not just for cyclist, it's not just for old people, or people who work in suits. If you have a bike or a car, or catch the bus or train, then an electric bike would be a useful addition to your life. People just have to test ride one and they're sold on the idea.
G: So, would you recommend e-bikes for Hobart?
M: Without a doubt. It's a beautiful city. Fairly compact. It would definitely benefit from less car traffic and it's very hilly.
G: Thanks so much for your time Maurice, and look forward to tackling the Mountain with you tomorrow.