Dale Burgos, Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District spokesman, test-rides an electric-assist bike during a demonstration of the bikes at the school district offices Monday morning. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bullet

Nanaimo school district staff test-ride e-bikes as commuting option

Environmental stewardship and sustainability a school district priority

A Nanaimo bike seller and School District 68 staff got together to test ride electric bikes Monday.

The demonstration by B.C. ebike was to let school district staff get a taste of alternative transport options for local commutes to work.

“E-bikes have been popping up everywhere lately and people are looking for different ways to get to and from work. This … presentation today really helped out with some people’s questions,” said Dale Burgos, school district spokesman.

The bikes’ retailer, Robert Hanna, touted their benefits, which include being able to travel longer distances with less fatigue and even giving riders with fitness challenges the ability to surmount steep hills found in Nanaimo that they otherwise couldn’t.

“[This is] just to get people a little familiar with how they work, how useful they are,” Hanna said. “They’re an environmentally friendly ride. Basically, an e-bike, compared to a litre of gasoline, say at $1.40, that will take you about 4,000 kilometres.”

He said being able to dial in assistance from the electric motor as needed helps people with previous injuries or other physical limitations get back in the saddle.

“If you’ve got a bad knee or a bad hip, you’re not as able as someone else, so you need a little bit more help. That’s where the e-bike really shines. It keep people that, say, normally couldn’t ride, keeps them riding for years into the future.”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lower age for B.C. e-bike riders

Looking at low-carbon footprint transportation fits in with the school board’s focus on environmental stewardship and sustainability, which is one of its goal in its draft strategic plan.

“For many, many years we’ve been looking at different initiatives in the schools – for example, changing light bulbs and changing the way that we use hydro with thermostats; kids using the Energy Cup Challenge in the schools to go against each other as a challenge,” Burgos said. “Most recently the board adopted a draft strategic plan, which one of its goal has to do with sustainability … there was a belief statement that the board approved back in June about climate crisis, so this goes in line a lot with what we’re looking at, as a district, in terms of going green and if you’ve ever given one of these a ride it’s a lot of fun.”

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