New Brunswick

E-bikes give cyclists that extra boost to get around city

Gaston Daigle doesn’t own a car and says he doesn’t need one. He says he’d rather ride a bicycle equipped with an electric motor to help him get around.

User says adding motor makes a difference for commuting cyclists

Ebikes are regular bikes with electric motors attached to them. They're meant to assist pedaling for longer journeys. 1:00

Gaston Daigle doesn't own a car and says he doesn't need one. He says he'd rather ride a bicycle equipped with an electric motor to help him get around.

The owner and operator of Ypedal.com helps others do the same. Daigle installs e-bike kits on bicycles for about $1,000, something he did recently to a fat bike.

The motor is in the front wheel and the batteries are in the canister

"An e-bike is a bicycle fitted with an electric motor and it's meant to assist the pedal not replace them."

The converted bikes are growing in popularity in Moncton.

Daigle said he got into customizing regular bicycles into e-bikes 14 years ago when he discovered them online. He bought his first kit, used from Alberta.  

Commuter bikes

He added it was perfect for those who bike to work.

"When you work in an office showing up all sweaty wasn't ideal, having to bring a change of clothes and and finding a place to change at work."

Gaston Daigle says he has been using an e-bike for 14 years. (CBC)
Daigle says he's never driven a car because of his eyesight which limits him to daytime driving, so bicycles have always been his means of transportation.

"A lot of people use bicycles as exercise and competition and don't see the purpose to adding a motor to a bicycle but when you use it as a commuter, as a vehicle, a means of transportation adding a little bit of electric power makes a big difference. On windy days, in hilly areas, you just pedal like you are on flat land and get to where you want to go nice and fresh."

Popular ride

E-bikes are growing in popularity said Daigle adding he's doing his best to add as many as possible every year.

The e-bike enthusiast says lithium batteries help keep the bike lightweight.

"There are gasoline powered bicycles, you can buy a kit, two stroke, four stroke, I've built a few to compare and try for myself just to see the difference but I'm a firm believer that electric is the way to go, it's nice and quiet, you don't disturb anybody, it's clean, there's no fumes, it's really a better alternative."

Gaston Daigle says he converted this fat bike to an an e-bike for $1,000. (CBC)
Daigle said he can make the bikes run up to 100 km/h but he doesn't recommend it. He said staying at a speed of 30 km/h is enough.

Provincial legislation states that a motorized bike with a top speed of 32/km per hour and a battery of 500 watts or less, is treated as a bicycle. The operator must wear a helmet, have reflectors and use hand signals.

But Daigle admits he's added a bit more power to his e-bikes. He did it to pull a friend around.

"I've got a 60 pound Samoyed, his name is Smurf. I pull him on the back of a heavy steel trailer so I've carried a hundred and fifty pound friend on the back, carrying a friend is not a problem, you just need a little more power."

With files from Tori Weldon