Roger Bull Feeling Stylish and Free on their Pedego Avenue Ebike

April 10, 2024


Expressing their personality, is immensely important for Roger Bull. For so many years, this wasn’t their way of being. As a Black, Indigenous, Two-Spirit person who grew up in foster care, being themself seemed out of reach. Today, Roger dashes around Edmonton, getting places on their new raspberry pink Pedego Avenue Ebike, feeling free and in-style.

Roger is a University of Alberta student who is studying the Cree language with the goal of connecting with their Indigenous past.

“I was raised by my Nimosôm (grandfather) and he spoke very simple Cree. ‘Astam or come here’ or ‘Pihtokwe or come in,’” describes Roger. “It was just the very simplest words, but I never actually picked up on it when I was younger. Then, after he passed, I just felt like there was something missing.”

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Roger’s commitment to learn Cree reflects resilience. But learning their ancestral language isn’t just about acquiring linguistic skills – it’s a journey of self-discovery. By immersing themselves in Cree, Roger taps into their roots while fostering a deeper understanding of their cultural identity.

Roger grew up with the Plains Cree community on Treaty 6 territory northeast of Edmonton. Growing up as an Indigenous Two-Spirit person on a reserve in Alberta was marked by unique challenges. The profound impact of colonialization means Roger also struggled with historical trauma along with intersectional discrimination and a lack of support.

When they were in high school, a small bag of beads opened the door for creative expression for Roger. It was a simple gift, but they found it relaxing and therapeutic. The coloured beads also inspired Roger who creatively transformed them into a treasure, the first of many. Today, they’ve got a vast collection of beads and jewelry including playful hoop earrings and thick bead rope necklaces and lanyards. They call their creative operation Sipihkisiw Creations, a Cree word meaning he/she is resilient.

Beading keeps Roger balanced while studying at the UofA. Between classes, Roger can quickly dart home and grab more beading supplies – colours and clasps, and then return to campus. They ride from the north side of downtown Edmonton, across the North Saskatchewan River to the University of Alberta campus.

“I was bussing, but I was constantly late so sometimes I would end up walking, especially early in the morning. Lime scooters were an option for a while, but the cost [of the short-term electric scooter rental] started adding up.”

Roger had been thinking about getting some transportation of their own for a while – something with wheels and electricity that would give them freedom.

Roger Bull beading on the University of Alberta campus during school break.

Wildberry Pink Pedego for Personality

When Roger saw the Avenue ebike at Pedego Edmonton, the only question left to ask was whether it came in purple or pink. And of course, Pedego makes this commuter ebike in Wildberry pink.

Roger says having the Avenue ebike has made their life 100 per cent easier. Getting to the U of A campus from just north of downtown takes only 10 minutes instead of around 45 minutes. Roger now has the opportunity to go home for lunch, grab extra supplies and get back for afternoon class. There are no bus schedules to juggle and no wasted waiting time, whether it be at the bus stop or in traffic. It gives Roger freedom, independence and is saving them lots of money.

“I have a very chaotic lifestyle where I am on the go constantly. One thing I especially like about my Pedego, with the basket I just bought recently, I can throw all my bead supplies in there, all my school supplies in there, and just cruise on to where I need to go,” says Roger. “The battery lasts me quite a bit, especially because I like to use pedal assist. When I’m stressed, I like to just cruise across the bridge at night or discover new quiet areas.”

Roger hasn’t seen a lot of ebikes on campus, but they feel a Pedego is a valid consideration for any post-secondary student, even if the ebike isn’t a bargain. Even with spending a bit more than a student might on a Costco bike, Roger says it’s a much smarter purchase than a “cheap rundown car.”

Roger wanted to spend enough to get lasting quality, a warranty and local store support. Pedego Edmonton owners Seann and Michelle Childs have already helped them keep their bike on the road, repairing a cable that snapped during a severe cold snap.

Yes, they are even out there on the coldest Edmonton winter days – that means – 35 degrees Celsius! Roger contributes their tolerance of cold-weather riding to growing up on a reservation, a rough and tumble outdoor childhood.  “Back then, I was like ‘a little pain is not going to stop me.’ And now, even though it’s like burning cold out, it’s still better than waiting outside for the bus for half an hour and then being late for class. On top of that, hauling all my beading stuff, my class stuff… And at the end of the day, when I’m, like, tired and everything – having to do it again to get home, it didn’t seem worth it.”

Ebikes and Beads – Tools for Resiliency

People around Edmonton may have noticed Roger on their pink Avenue. Their friends do and mention it “I saw you riding last week.” It makes Roger smile. They love their stylish, ebike that already stands out in a crowd. They’ve even added a few more stickers.

Showing their personality is of greatest importance to Roger:

“I grew up in a way where it’s like I was not allowed to do anything. I was forced to cut my hair. I wasn’t allowed to have piercings or allowed to wear colour. Basically, my family said you’re supposed to be this person and you cannot walk outside of that … Then, I kind of just stopped listening to people around me and just focused on being my true self.”

“As a two-spirited Afro-Indigenous person, I know how cruel this world can be. Like, you have to have a lot of tough skin to make it. So, I want to give anyone questioning their identity a reason to be themselves more often. I want them to feel empowered to say ‘I’m going to start being my own person. I’m not going to listen to anyone else.’”

Special thanks to Pedego Edmonton for connecting us to Roger. Do you want to get connected to a great ebike of your own? Reach out to Seann and Michelle at Pedego Edmonton.