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E-Rides Spark Fun!


1st “Spark" EV Gathering on Hornby Island July 28, 2019

Text & Photos by Will Thomas

Zero Emission -Will Thomas photo

TESLA -Will Thomas photo

Will Thomas Photos


She wheeled her new Cargo Bike into the parking lot of the former fire hall with a grin matching everyone else prowling Hornby Island’s first electric vehicle gathering. Pointing out her family's Nissan Leaf, she declared through that signature smile of all e-riders, “The electric world is wonderful!"

Oh. Yes.

Another woman awaiting imminent delivery of her new Voltbike Yukon happily confessed, “I’m sure I had bugs in my teeth after my first ride.” 

At least three riders were in their 70’s. (We still are.) 

Ideally suited to Hornby’s rough roads and extensive mountain trails, a brace of folding Voltbike Mariners bolted from the woods to join their full-size Yukon sister, looking like flowing sculpture dressed in pearl white. Each model comes with its own front suspension. Disc brakes are standard. Geared-hub motors provide stump-pulling torque and 35+ km range over Hornby's hilly rural roads and extensive trail network, with reserve. 

Eminently rugged and capable with those big four-inch knobbies, the Voltbikes shared pedal-assist pride of place with three Cargo Bikes featuring front and extended rear cargo racks and a state-of-the-art, sealed mid-drive Bosch e-motor for maximum, trouble-free efficiency.

Hands down favourite was Tig’s streamlined blue Electrom. A regular visitor from Victoria, 95+ hilly kilometers distant, this Hornby-inspired, indiegogo-funded travel machine featured heavy-duty hydraulic brakes, covered 20kg cargo compartment (convertible to child seating) and “total control” twin-handle steering. Its innovative, high-output pedal-recharging system gave this ebike a 125km range. Peddling easy, of course.

Ultimate two-wheel guy-magnet was the Sorco 60-volt electric motorcycle. Equivalent to a 49cc carbon-burning scooter, no license is required (though insurance is mandatory) for this zero emission, non-pedal e-cycle. This Sorco cruises over 70km at 45+kph. (Range can be doubled with an optional second battery.) Newest models go even further and faster.  

While the owners of the Tesla and Chevy Volt stokingly compared notes, the S3 made many onlookers crazier than they already were  just sitting still. Don’t believe all the negative press Tesla is getting from non-owner naysayers. Detailing throughout is immaculate. And after nearly a year’s constant use, the entire family's lovin' it. Especially after Musk's headquarters hit a button and wirelessly upgraded their S3 with a free software tweak providing 20% more range, with no detriment to the temperature-regulated floor-mounted batteries. No knobs or gauges clutter the dash of this touchscreen rocket.

Current Cdn prices range from $1,600 for the Mariner, $1800 for the full-on Yukon, into the 4,000’nds for those profoundly popular cargo bikes, five-ish for the Sorco... on up to whatever an S3 is currently selling for. (Running and maintenance costs for electric conveyances are negigible, compared to nighmarishly-complex carbon-burners.) 

Total kudos to our newly opened DIY fixit co-op, Hornby Spark, for sponsoring this island's first EV-gathering. After years riding alone, I am thrilled to see electric bikes "taking off" on Hornby. With 13 ebikes and three well-proven electric cars in attendance, a critical threshold has been reached. Whether two wheels or four, low-maintenance electric vechicles are the perfect island-and-town transportation.

Did I mention, FUN!

Will Thomas

July 28, 2019

[Full disclosure: My Mariner and I are Voltbike “ambassadors” on Hornby.] 


Spark ribbon-cutting

Voltrider HOME -King Anderson photo


See Also:

                    Full Throttle

                              Snow Bike!

                My Voltbike Adventure Continues!

“RESIST MUCH, OBEY LITTLE”   发件人     William Thomas 2023