A Thunder Bay man has used a bright idea to get around the city on the cheap, by attaching solar panels to the back of an electric three-wheeled bike.

Richard Small finished the project just this week — and his solar-powered ride is already causing a buzz.

"I have people [who want] to look at it and see it," he said. "Every time I'm parked, people … come over and … there's another 20 minutes, 30 minutes of answering questions."

If he wanted to, he could put some distance between himself and those inquisitive bystanders. Small said on a sunny day the bike can run for 300 kilometres.

The solar panels on the back absorb sunlight and produce electricity, helping to power the three-wheeled vehicle. The whole unit weighs about 18 kilograms.

Small lists a few reasons why he took up the project.

"I don't want to spend any money on gasoline," Small said. "And [I want] to help the environment. It's emission-free [and] there's no pollution coming out of it. The No.1 reason is showing [people that] it's possible." 

He plans to put the bike to the test on a cross-country ride to British Columbia.

Small also said he plans to keep riding the bike through the winter.