Record gas prices drive Sooke commuters to e-bikes – Vancouver Island Free Daily

After years of driving to Naval Station Esquimalt, East Sooke resident Dave Dyer decided to conduct a little experiment. He made sure his van’s gas tank was full before he left for work, and after driving, he filled it up again, to see how much gas he was using.

“I had never paid attention before, but I filled it up and realized I was spending $14 and changing gas every day, just for my commute.”

With the cost and worsening traffic “getting awful,” Dyer said — turning a 35-minute ride into an hour and 15-minute ride — he decided to start researching e-bikes. He went to Fuca Cycles on Sooke Road and was convinced. He got rid of his truck and bought an e-bike for $3,400 earlier this year, and said he has no plans to go back.

Dyer had cycled to work in the past when there was a ferry to catch in Colwood to take him to base, but with the e-bike he is able to cycle along the Galloping Goose Trail and from the E&N rail trail to the base in about an hour and a half. The fuel savings will be enough to pay for the bike in two years.

“It’s extremely healthy, you get to work and your exercise is done for the day. My wife owns a gym and I never go there.

Along with the health benefits and the cost factor, bicycles are good for the environment. Dyer said he was considering an electric car, but noted that a bicycle takes fewer materials to make and uses less electricity.

Fuca Cycles owner Chris Forbes sees traffic along Highway 14 passing his business and more and more people – about five a day – come into the store to ask questions about e-bikes.

“Last year, the impulse was all about exercise and just getting out there and, ‘Oh, I can’t travel.’ Now the impulse is actually, ‘I want to ditch my car.’

Forbes said a number of people like Dyer made this change.

“He came and told me it had changed his life, that he felt 100 times better. But also the fact that he meets people on the Goose while they are in traffic.

The store currently has just over a dozen bikes of varying prices in stock, which is far more than they had in previous years with supply chain issues and massive demand for recreational equipment. during the pandemic. Their cost varies, starting around $2,000 and reaching as high as $17,000 for higher end ATV-style models. There are cheaper models that people can order online overseas, but Forbes said they are not designed to ensure they stay under the 20 mph speed limit. West Shore RCMP have also stepped up surveillance of the trail system with quick guns, so people should beware before buying a more powerful bike, he said.

An e-bike’s battery life – how long the rider can be assisted – varies depending on the amount of assist used, but Dyer said he can get to and from work without have to load. As for the impacts on the electricity bill, it depends on the size of the battery. Canada has a limit of a 500-watt battery, which takes about four hours to charge, meaning the cost would be around $0.22 per charge, according to BC Hydro. cost calculator.

In addition to putting in place measures to reduce traffic congestion and encourage people to use public transport, the Sooke District is looking to improve its trail system to alleviate traffic problems. Projects in the District’s Parks and Trails Master Plan identify the need to connect existing trails to bike lanes to make cycling easier.

With the Galloping Goose Trail already right next to Sooke, Forbes expects to see more people make the switch.

“It’s not just a fad, honestly, it’s a real change in society.”

Interested riders can learn more about e-bikes at an information session scheduled for Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 56871 Sooke Rd.

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