My Three Wheeler Electric Bike by Pamela Jacka

Abridged version first published in the Bass Coast Post.

On Monday, February 24, 2020, I received a letter from Honda saying that my 22-year-old car was in need of airbag replacement. However, because of her age, the parts were no longer available for that model airbag, so she was being recalled. I was offered market value, which coincided roughly with the insurance value of $2700…It was time to look at my options.

I looked on the internet for local bicycle shops and found one in Wonthaggi that offered an electric three-wheeler…I made my decision and ordered an XDS E-SCAPE 24″ 7-Speed E-Trike Black from the shop in McBride Avenue.

While all this was going on, a thing called COVID appeared on the horizon and the subsequent lockdowns caused havoc with the expected delivery…It was ready for collection on Friday, March 20, which sounds like a reasonable timeframe to me now but was frustrating at the time. I bought a fancy new fluoro green/yellow helmet and swapped the bell and light from my existing two-wheeler “exercise” bike in the spare room.

For those who aren’t familiar with this type of bike, it has seven manual gears and five “electric” speeds. The battery sits under the seat and is removable for recharging or it can be charged in situ if you have electricity nearby. My shed doesn’t, so every now and then (the monitor shows me when), I remove it for recharging. It takes about four hours to fully recharge. The definition of the power is “pedal assist” which means that the pedals need to be rotated even when the battery is engaged but there is no resistance.

Naturally, when the power isn’t engaged, it’s the same as riding a manual bike but the three-wheeler is quite a bit heavier. If you get up a good speed with the battery on and you are on level ground, you don’t have to pedal until it starts slowing down. I think there’s a correlation between the manual gears and power speed. For example, if I had the bike in 7th gear and the power in 5th, I reckon I’d be going pretty fast. The top speed is 25km/h but I’ve gone over that by a couple of k’s when the wind was behind me. I broke the speed limit when I visited the State Coal Mine a while ago. It was quite thrilling!

My budget got a nice boost after I cancelled all my car-related expenses. The bike cost $2500 and the $200 balance from the car compensation was invested in a dozen red. There are no real costs with the bike except for a regular service at the local bike shop. I was given a free (labour) five-year service deal with the purchase and the first one cost $60 for parts. The rail trail gravel plays havoc with the chain which is what was replaced…When everything settles down a bit more, the plan is to head off to the general store at Dalyston, via the rail trail, for fish `n` chips. I’ve heard that the store is for sale again, so I’d better get a move on.

The full article is here.