Thunder Bay

Solar bike turning heads in Thunder Bay

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 built bike to save money, help the environment and show people 'it's possible.'

Richard Small plans on riding his solar powered bike from Thunder Bay to British Columbia. (Jennifer Keiller/CBC)

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.

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