Mike Clyde, Owner of Pedego Canada

Want New Bike Trails in BC? Here’s How to Help

stretch electric cargo bike pedego canada

The BC Cycling Coalition has been busy in the province of British Columbia recently and have recently announced several bicycling improvements including:

  • Seven Vancouver Island communities will get nearly $2.7 million in Bike BC funding for cycling facilities
  • Updates to Highway 97 in West Kelowna include wider shoulders and improved lighting from Glenrosa Road to Hebert Road
  • Upgrades to the Sea to Sky include the Porteau Bluffs cycling warning system and may include improved shoulders near Whistler

Another aspect the Coalition is working on is the taxation laws on electric bikes as well as clean energy vehicle rebates. Amazingly, if you were to buy a hybrid car in BC, you’d be eligible for rebates of up to $5,000 but you’d receive nothing for purchasing one of the cleanest energy vehicles known to humankind: that’s right, there are no tax rebates for electric bikes. Likewise, purchasers of electric bikes are charged Provincial Standard Tax in BC (thus adding 7% to the overall sticker price) but PST doesn’t apply to normal bicycles.

That means the purchaser of an electric bicycle in the province of British Columbia is saddled with extra costs and cannot apply for clean energy rebates. Thankfully there are proponents for change and organizations that are working to reverse these unfair practices in British Columbia.

In his column that appeared in the Vancouver Sun newspaper 8recently, Don Cayo writes, “The provincial government kindly kicked in $1,500 toward the purchase of my last fuel-efficient vehicle (but) my newest bicycle? When it is delivered next week, the price will include 12 percent tax – five percent federal plus seven percent provincial. Why won’t this bike get the reinstated exemption? Because I’m adding an electric assist motor, and this, under the arcane PST rules, makes the whole shebang taxable. Which makes no sense.” (To read all of Don’s column, click here.)

Mike Clyde, the owner of Pedego Canada pictured below, shares Don’s frustration. “There’s an apparent double standard at work here,” he says. “Electric bikes are one of the most super-efficient green vehicles out there and they’re replacing car journeys. If bicycles are exempt from PST because the rationale is they’re green, then electric bicycles should also be exempt.”

Mike Clyde, Owner of Pedego Canada

Thankfully the BC Cycling Coalition has started a campaign to remove PST and get tax rebates for purchasers of electric bikes. We spoke to the organization’s executive director, Richard Campbell, and he says he “started a petition in late November and it’s had good response. The recent article in the Sun definitely helped us and we’re seeing a resurgence in interest.”

Richard goes on to say, “The key part of it all is letting the government know. It seems like such a no-brainer so it’s just a matter of getting people to sign the petition.” Currently the BCCC has over 2,500 signatures and are now striving towards gaining 3,000.

Everyone connected with Pedego Canada has signed the petition and we encourage you to do the same. Please log on to the BCCC website and sign the petition that encourages the British Columbia government to remove the PST and add tax rebates for electric bikes. Also, share the petition via email, Facebook and Twitter.

To quote the latest release from the BCCC: “We’ve created momentum towards a future of BC that we all wish to see come to fruition. Still, it will take real effort to encourage the BC Government to act. The BCCC’s ability to push for change is powered by contributions from people like yourself who want safer cycling and walking.”

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

Sign Petition

 

Banff National Park

Electric Biking in Canada’s National Parks

Canada's 150 Anniversary

In a few short weeks we’ll be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and as part of the nation-wide festivities, the federal government has opened up all the National Parks in the country, making them free to visit.

We hope you have some fun activities planned with your family that involve bicycling this summer. Perhaps you could visit a section of the world’s longest bike path, the Trans-Canada Trail, which we featured in a recent article. Or, you could enjoy a free visit to one of the more than 40 National Parks and National Park Reserves across the country.

In honour of this historic occasion, we’ve compiled a list of the best National Parks to ride your electric bike in. Remember, all Pedego electric bicycles comply with Federal Regulations regarding power-assisted bicycles and, because they physically resemble conventional bikes, they are permitted in most parks. There are a very few exceptions however, such as in Gatineau Park where “all electric bikes are prohibited on the 90 kilometres of natural surface trails intended for hiking and mountain biking.” Be sure to check the rules of the particular park you want to visit before going.

Here are seven National Parks we highly recommend visiting to ride your electric bike in.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, BC

Located between Golden and Revelstoke, and intersected by the Trans-Canada highway, Glacier National Park is a biker’s paradise. It boasts incredible alpine scenery, beautiful valleys filled with ancient forests, well-maintained trails and incredible history. (Rogers Pass was the final link in the railway that brought Canada together as a nation.) There’s smooth pavement for those riding Pedego ebike cruisers or fun off-road trails for those on the Trail Tracker or Ridge Rider. Take note, however, biking is not allowed on the Beaver Valley Trail or Copperstain Trail beyond Grizzly Creek because those areas have been designated Priority Wildlife Corridors.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park, Alberta

It’s understandable why Banff became Canada’s first national park given the beautiful mountain peaks, turquoise lakes and abundant wildlife. Over three million visitors a year make the pilgrimage to the park for good reason: it offers a variety of activities for everyone including electric bikers. There are over 100-kilometres of mountain bike trails in the park, perfect for those who own a Trail Tracker or Ridge Rider, and there are also plenty of paved rides to choose from such as the “Great Divide,” an easy 10-kilometre stretch on flat terrain that’s closed to vehicle traffic.

Riding Mountain National Park

Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

Most people believe the prairies are extremely flat but the appropriately named Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba proves otherwise. Located near the Saskatchewan border, just south of Dauphin, the park boasts over 400 kilometres of hiking and biking trails and some climb up the Manitoba Escarpment, which soars to the same height of Toronto’s CN Tower in some spots! It’s a perfect place to see the lush prairie spread out below you. There’s also excellent beach-side activities as well so you can take a cooling dip after your ride.

Point Pelee National Park, Ontario
Point Pelee National Park, Ontario

Located at the southernmost point of Ontario, Point Pelee National Park is Canada’s smallest but most ecologically diverse national park. It’s the perfect place to bird watch as well as paddle, hike, swim and electric bike. One of the best paths to experience in the park is the Centennial Bike and Hike Trail, which begins across the road from the Marsh Boardwalk, and the park describes as “a mini-roller coaster ride that whisks you four kilometres south to the Visitor Centre.”

Gaspé National Park, Quebec

Gaspé National Park, Quebec

Created in 1937 to permanently protect the Gaspésie Caribou and the beauty of Mont Albert and the McGerrigle Mountains, Gaspé National Park is now a mecca for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. Located on the Gaspé Peninsula in Eastern Quebec, the region boasts a unique culture and history. And it’s also the perfect destination for electric bikers because it offers an astounding 700 kilometres of cycling trails including everything from easy family rides to challenging off-road trails.

Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick

Kouchibouguac, New Brunswick

Stretching along the Acadian Coastal Drive in Eastern New Brunswick, Kouchibouguac National Park offers endless stretches of sand dunes, some of the warmest salt water north of Virginia not to mention the fact it’s steeped in Mi’kmaq and Acadian culture. It also has excellent bicycle trails that are perfect for your electric bike. For example, there’s the Sentier NB Trail system that’s built on abandoned roadways. You’ll be treated to waterfalls, beaches and breathtaking cliffs along the way.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

Arguably one of Canada’s most beautiful places, Cape Breton Highlands National Park is where the mountains meet the Atlantic Ocean. The world-famous Cabot Trail coastline offers unparalleled views of ocean swells, red cliffs, and quaint communities. It’s the perfect place to take your electric bike because, according to the Lonely Planet, it’s one of the world’s top ten cycling destinations. Bicycles are welcome everywhere whether you’re enjoying the smooth pavement or off-road trails such as those at Freshwater Lake, Clyburn Valley and Branch Pond Look-off.

Canada's longest trail

Pedego Canada’s Owner On The World’s Longest Bike Trail

Mike Clyde, Owner of Pedego Canada

Recently we wrote about how the longest bicycle trail in the world is located in Canada. The Trans-Canada Trail, also known as “The Great Trail,” is set to open this summer for Canada’s 150th birthday and it’s 20,770 kilometres long! It extends from coast to coast through most every province and territory and connects Canada’s largest cities. The majority of it is paved and it passes through mountains, forests, meadows, lakes, cities and more.

Pedego Canada’s owner, Mike Clyde, has ridden bicycles and electric bikes all over the world, from New Zealand to Europe to South America, so we decided to ask him his thoughts on how Canada ranks in the world of electric biking.

Hey Mike. In your opinion how does Canada rank in terms of accessible trails for electric bicycles?

Overall, I think Canada has a great network of bike trails that can be accessed by electric bikes. Occasionally there have been access restrictions imposed in some jurisdictions, but these generally only apply to the scooter-style of an electric bike. Often the biggest ‘restriction’ is that people just don’t know the trails exist!

Ever been on any part of the Trans-Canada trail?

Having been across large parts of Canada with the business, I’ve been lucky enough to ride on quite a few parts of the trail. I’ve enjoyed cruising parts of it on my Pedego in Victoria, Vancouver, Banff, Calgary, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and many other locations.

What’s the best part about having a trans-Canada bike system?

In my native country of New Zealand, they are also close to connecting a network of bike trails from one end of the country to the other. I think the two main benefits of the trail system are always knowing there are great trails wherever you go, and a boost to tourism. The experience in New Zealand is that when you open up an awesome stretch of bike trail, it boosts or enables tourism businesses such as luxury bike tours and associated accommodation.

Do you think a Pedego electric bike could make the journey across the entire country?

I have no doubt one of our bikes could make the journey! Just look at Jon from my Nelson, BC. He completed a 3,000-kilometre ride to a music concert in California. It started out as a one-line joke by Jon to his wife about riding his bike there. Then he thought, “Hang on, maybe I can do this on my electric cargo bike!” When he approached me for my thoughts I instantly responded that I thought it was an amazing idea! That is one of the best things about electric bikes: they remove hurdles and enable bike journeys that you wouldn’t normally consider. Although, sometimes you just want to cruise up that hill on the way home from work rather than bike 3,000 kilometres!

What part of Canada would you love to ride your ebike through next?

Something that has been on my radar for a while is Nova Scotia. I heard the trails and scenery are amazing!

Everything You Need To Know About Security For Your Electric Bike

Pedego Electric Bikes Boomerang

An electric bicycle is an investment and you want to make sure you keep it safe and secure. In this article we discuss three issues related to electric bike security, namely how to transport them safely using a bike rack on your automobile, how to lock them properly and how to insure them.

INSURANCE

All Pedego electric bikes are classified under Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations as “power assisted bicycles” because their motor power is 500 watts or less and speeds are capped at 32km/hr. (Learn more about the legalities of electric bikes by reading our article, “Are Electric Bikes Legal in Canada?”) Because they’re bicycles, some home owner insurance plans cover them. But some plans don’t cover them because of the electric motor. Therefore it’s important you check with your insurance provider to ensure you’re covered. You’ll also want to ask these questions:

  1. What is the maximum value that the electric bike is insured for?
  2. What is the deductible on your ebike?
  3. Will your electric bike value depreciate each year? If so by how much?
  4. Is your ebike insured away from home? (You’ll definitely want to ask this if you own a foldable Latch and travel with it.)

If your home owner insurance company doesn’t provide coverage or you feel its plan is too costly, look into other options via an insurance broker.

You get what you pay for with bike locks so be sure to spend a bit more to protect your investment.

LOCKS

In our article entitled “Funniest Bike Racks in North America” we set aside a serious section to discuss how best to lock your bike when you’re out riding and need to leave it for a short period of time. In the story we touch on five key issues to remember about locking your bike and then stress that simply removing the ignition key and/or battery is not enough to deter thieves. This is because even without a battery your bicycle can still be pedalled away. We recommend you treat your ebike just like a bicycle and lock it to a rack with a strong U-lock and cable lock. If you’re leaving it in a risky area, consider taking your battery along.

The reason we here at Pedego Canada use both a cable lock and U-lock is because the cable can be strung through the wheels ensuring thieves don’t steal those. The U-lock is then used to connect the cable and the bike frame to the rack. In the world of locks, you get what you pay for so consider investing in a good U-lock, such as a Kryponite, to secure your ebike investment.

Swagman Escapee Bike Rack

CAR BIKE RACK

Finally, let’s look at vehicle bike racks that are suitable for electric bicycles. Because ebikes can be heavier than regular bikes, roof-top racks aren’t an option, nor are the trunk-mounted models nor the hitch-mounted ones that leave your bike hanging from the bars. Instead, we recommend the hitch-mounted platform models that seat your wheels in trays and have adjustable lever arms to secure the bike. Our favourite is the Escapee made by Swagman, which is a company based in Penticton, British Columbia. They’re robust, can easily carry two 50+ pound ebikes and are RV rated. Also, the Escapee, with its wheel clamp system, works really well with low step-thru bikes such as the Boomerang, which can be challenging on other types of racks.

The other thing we like about the Swagman hitch-mounted platform racks is they’re not situated too high off the ground so it’s easy to lift the front end and then the rear end of the electric bike to get it into the platforms.

Whatever model of bike rack you buy, make sure it’s strong and can accommodate the weight of your electric bikes.

As always, if you have any questions are comments regarding this article, please leave us a note below or email us at info@pedegocanada.ca.

Riding a Pedego Electric Bike

How Gears Can Save The Battery Life of Your Electric Bike

Riding a Pedego Electric Bike

In a recent post on the Pedego Owners Group, electric bike owners in Canada and the U.S. discussed how Pedego’s pedal assist functionality as well as changing gears during a ride, affects the bike’s battery life.

We got to talking about the whole concept in the office and realized we should write an article about how proper usage of gears can save the battery life of your electric bike so you can pedal father than ever. But first, have a look at our “How To Improve the Range of your Electric Bike” article, which explains why things like terrain, chain lubrication and, very importantly, tire pressure, affect your battery life.

That article also touches on how riding in the “correct” gear can save the battery life of your electric bike. We’ll explore that concept further in this article.

Gears

GEARS

For every ride you do on your electric bike, there are four factors related to riding efficiency that need to be considered. Firstly, let’s chat about the gears. They are controlled by the lever mechanism on your handlebars that shifts the derailleur, which in turn moves to the chain to a different sized ring. Most Pedego electric bikes have one lever that cycles through seven gear options on the rear wheel. The bigger the ring your chain is on (for a rear derailleur), the lower the gear you are in. We could get into some physics here, but the bottom line is a lower gear is easier to be in when riding up a hill and your legs rotate faster for a given bike speed. When you are in a high gear, your legs spin slower but you have less power (torque) for pushing up hills. High gears are needed for when you’re cruising at high speeds on the flat or downhill; otherwise you’d be pedalling like Roadrunner to keep up!

Pedego Throttle

CADENCE

This brings us to the concept of “cadence.” In our “How To Improve the Range of your Electric Bike” article we write, “There’s a term in cycling called cadence, which refers to your pedalling rate, or, more accurately, the number of revolutions of the crank per minute. Efficient cadence falls between about 70 and 90 revolutions per minute, depending on the type of riding. So, if you’re in a really high gear and you’re having to push hard (and slowly) on the pedals in order to get the crank to rotate, then it’s best to change to a lower gear. Likewise, if your pedals are rotating too quickly, you’re wasting energy without getting the benefits of the thrust on the crank – so switch to a higher gear.” A rider will intuitively know this: with cadence too low, it feels like you’re “grinding.” And with cadence too high it feels like you’re “pedalling air.” Bicycle racers spend a lot of time perfecting cadence because it directly impacts their efficiency. Likewise, correct cadence helps riders of electric bicycles maximize their efficiency, which in turn impacts the amount of battery power used. There is a sweet spot!

Pedego Pedals

PEDAL ASSIST

One of the best things about Pedego electric bikes is they have a pedal assist mode, which is controlled via the computer on your handlebars. You can select multiple power levels, from very low to maximum, and when you start rotating the pedals, the motor will smoothly give you the selected power. On the bottom left of the LCD display you’ll see a number indicating your pedal assist level. A low number reduces the amount of power (torque) delivered and also the top motor-assisted speed. If you are pedalling and reach a speed above the top motor speed, the power will fade out and you will be all on your own. Drop below that speed, and the motor engages again. Usually there are five or six levels of pedal assist, depending on your bike model. One thing to be aware of with electric motors is that they also have sweet spots; kind of like the cadence we mentioned about above. If a motor is rotating very slowly, it is inefficient. If you are riding up a hill under about 10 km/h, you will hear the motor working hard and this is using a lot of battery juice. We’ll talk about the effect of this in our summary below.

Cadance

SPEED

The final factor we need to touch on is speed, specifically, what speed do you want to travel at? In Canada, Pedego bikes fall under the federal category of “Power assisted bicycles” and are regulated to travel a maximum of 32 kilometres per hour under motor assistance. (You can certainly roll or pedal faster than that if you want to!) Just like a car, if you travel faster, you will use more energy. The only exception for electric bikes is if you travel too slowly up hills (below about 10km/h) using the motor, you’ll also use more energy.

SUMMARY

Think of you and your electric assist as a team: the bike works best when you are both contributing and working efficiently. Here are a some tips for maximum efficiency based the concepts we discussed above:

  • Ride slower – or at least be aware that zooming around at max speed will use more energy for both you and the battery
  • Change gears – if you are starting to “grind” the pedals as the bike slows down, change into a lower gear. Similarly, if you are starting to pedal like Roadrunner when the bike speeds up, change into a higher gear.
  • Pedal to start – When starting from a stopped position, make sure you are in the lowest gear to help the bike start rolling rather than using the motor to grind off the line
  • Cruise Control – When riding the flats, select the pedal assist level that matches the top speed you would like to travel at and then leave it there.
  • When you’re riding up a hill and start to slow down too much (below about 10km/h) either push the pedals harder or select a higher pedal assist level to maintain speed.

So there you have it. By working as a team with your awesome electric bike, you’ll conserve more battery power and see even more of this great country of ours.

As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below or don’t hesitate to contact us directly at info@pedegocanada.ca.