Are you aware you can trial the University eBike?

Having never used an eBike before Marcus Harvey, Library Technology Services was curious to know how it would work between the Kelburn and Pipitea campuses. He was given the whole week by the Sustainability Team to have a go.

The verdict—terrifying!

I used to be an after-high-school bike courier, but this was in an age before Japanese car imports flooded the roads, the population was 2 million less, and only math teachers had computers.

Now my bike has a computer.

How does the whole system work? The bike is parked down in a garage on Wai-te-ata Road. You get a pass code to collect a garage key from a lock box. Open the garage, take the bike off charge, grab a helmet, put on a safety vest, stuff your bag into the pannier, turn on the computer, get the bike out of the garage, lock up and away you go.

Strangely enough you can get quite quick at this.

The terrifying part is negotiating with the Wellington traffic. This is not a bike town. Not even close. Those little green safety strips are only there to soften the palette of an otherwise grey road. You’re lucky if you can get ahead of traffic and claim your right to hog the road. Cars all have tinted windows these days so who knows when a door will be flung open to knock you down as you squeeze between car and bus.

I don’t want to put you off.

After five days my heart isn’t thumping like it was. Except the time I biked up Bolton Street. Just to try it. It’s demoralising, take The Terrace. The bike coped o.k. but you still have to pedal and it’s a long way up.

The great part is the time it takes to travel between campuses. Very quick and obviously better on the wallet than walking, taking a bus, Mevo, Uber, or taxi (in that order). I arranged security access to Rutherford House so parked the bike there each night in the underground carpark and collected it in the morning. Highly convenient to the Railway Station.

So, I’d say give it a go. But again, to reference the 80s: “Let’s be careful out there.”