Ecology North hosted its E-Bikes Unite event on Sunday, in the parking lot of the Multiplex, bringing community members together to ask questions and talk on the impact of electric bicycles.

“There’s definitely a lot of interest, but then also folks that have gotten into it and are excited to share what they’ve learned,” said Dawn Tremblay, executive director of Ecology North. “So it’s nice to see that the vision, the idea, that there was a potential was accurate.

“It was nice that people had the opportunity to share to ask the questions, and then those that have the answers can share,” she added.

The event was a first for the organization, who partnered with the Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) to give those who attended a fun and unique opportunity, according to Tremblay.

“It was really nice to have have (AEA) present, they were giving folks a chance to ride their E-bike, which is really fun to try out,” she said. “The EV electric vehicle subsidy program, I think that if there were similar programs in the (NWT), it would be really beneficial.”

The federal subsidy distributes up to $5,000 for a new battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or up $500 for a new charging station.

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AEA’s rebate program officially began in June 2020.

According to AEA’s annual report for 2020-‘21, there were a five rebates given in the NWT, with four being in Yellowknife and one in Hay River.

Why E-Bikes?

Kevin Cull, communications coordinator at the AEA, was on hand for the organization to help provide additional information about e-bikes.

“I think they’re a great way for people to get around when you don’t necessarily want to put in all the effort of a regular bike,” Cull said. “But it’s a great way to save energy compared to using a car (with the) greenhouse gas emissions, you’re not going to be burning all that gas.”

Cull was also able to provide details on what the most notable differences are in regards to e-bikes versus a regular, standard bicycle.

“(On) an e-bike, you’d have an electric motor that does some of the work for you,” Cull said. “You still have to pedal, but you can control how much of the work it does. So if you want a bit of exercise, you can dial it back so you’re doing most of the work,” he explained. “You have a range for how much you put in on any given day or for any given hill.”

Cull added that the speed of the bike, with its electric motor, can get up to around 30 km/h.

Electric bike enthusiast Phil Nolan, who attended the event, shared his excitement regarding e-bikes becoming more common in the city.

“I usually do two or three runs a week,” he said. “I use the same routine, very predictable, but I ended up at (Somba K’e Park), I’ll just park there in front of the statues and meet some other enthusiasts. They’re becoming more common.”

“They’re a great way to get exercise,” Nolan continued. “Put your car away for a substitute to get to work.”

The event helped to continue Ecology North’s “key mission” in bringing people and knowledge together for a healthy Northern environment, according to Tremblay.

“I think that learning is what allows people to make choices that will reduce their impact on Earth Day,” she said. “Also, the land, and the health impacts of riding a bike are great.”

Regulations surrounding E-Bikes

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