Sunday, August 28, 2011

Translink bicycle bridge over the Fraser River

If you happened to be a cyclist you would know that there was an alternative way to bicycle from Vancouver to Richmond


Of course if you happened to not live in Vancouver you would not know where this bridge was located . At the south end of the city you reach the southern boundary of Vancouver which ends at the Fraser River. The other evening I had the opportunity to borrow an electric bicycle and go on a test ride.


After a block or two to figure out how to manually shift the gears and work the electric propulsion system I was nearly ready to tackle more than a block . This is an eZee Sprint 450 watt powered motor with disk brakes front and back


It is a front wheel drive bike with the motor hidden in the front hub


The large battery sits vertically on the seat post and is the newer Lithium Polymer high capacity type. I am not sure of the specs but I believe it has a range of approx 50 kms and more if you help by pedalling. It can be fully recharged in 4 hours


Most of the controls are on the right side. The bike has a 7 speed shimano drive system and you are able to shift gear ratios while stationary and it is not a deraileur system as on most less expensive bikes. The throttle functions just like a motorcycle, as you turn the bike goes faster

I didn't want to borrow the bike for too long so I decided to cycle over to the Translink bicycle/pedestrian bridge which spans the Fraser River and takes you over to Richmond


At the bottom of the ramp I notice the pedestrian and bicycle Icons


The ramp snakes you up to the deck level which also serves as the bridge for the Skytrain (rapid transit) This is the first time that I have been up here


It is a suspension bridge


There does not seem to be very many people using this bridge today


So I stop for a quick self portrait


Vancouver has a compulsory helmet law but my helmet was safely tucked away at home, as this ride was unplanned and unexpected


This was where this photo was taken, looking West over the North Arm of the Fraser River.


You can barely make out the bridge in the distance, but that is the Oak Street Bridge and is part of Hwy 99 which heads south to join up with I-5 in Washington State

Soon enough my time is up and I have to head back to Vancouver and as I exit the ramp onto Kent Avenue you are able to see this welcome sign

(Welcome to Vancouver)

It was refreshing to be able to cycle without actually cycling. A quick twist of the throttle and you seem to be going fairly fast. If you pedal then you can go faster or help conserve power for longer distances

I was wondering how much these electric bikes were so on Saturday I stopped at Urban Wasp to visit Bob, the owner


You'll have to excuse the "blurry" photo, when he told me the price I started to shake. It is more than a low priced gas 49cc scooter. But I also had a chance to look at the other models


I thought that this folding model was just my style


With all the hills around here I think an electric bike could come in very handy


  1. Bob, there's a guy in our village that sells electric bikes and when I was cycling up a steep uphill grade recently, he passed me like I was standing still!

    A good blog article on their use in the Alps here:

  2. Dear Bobskoot

    When we were deciding about my scoot commuting we actually looked at this being an option. But you are definitely right about a used 50 cc scoot being a little more affordable and that is why we went the scoot route. I think these electric bikes are pretty cool, someone who works in my building has one, I see it parked there from time to time.

    Some fellow was trying to sell an electric bike at the scooter rally back in May, but I almost splorfed my pop all over him when I overheard him say the pop. I think I will just stick with pedaling the old fashioned way for now.



  3. I'd love riding over the bridge, great views, and as you know I just love bridges. How did the electric bike do for climbing, and does it feel heavy when you are pedaling it yourself? I think these bikes are a great option, and seems like they could be a great way to get around the city.

    Ron and I did some mtn biking today. Visited a trail we haven't been on for years. A bundle of fun, but my bike took two naps and dragged me down with it! Silly little bike! Nothing broken, no pain, not even any war wounds for bragging rights :)

  4. So how much does the damned thing cost? Why are you shy about writing down a dollar figure?
    At first glance a bicycle helmet law seems a pain but there again the government pays your medical bills so it seems a very reasonable compromise on second thoughts.

  5. Hey Bob.

    Mark and I tried them that same afternoon as you. We have a couple of electric bikes at work too. Definitely something I'm interested in for commuting.

  6. I like the concept of an electric bike and that company even has kits to retrofit into your own bike. I think it is still expensive. I was wondering the same thing, how fast is it and I assume that you can pedal along with it to further increase your speed. Especially on the hills...

    I like the shots of the bridge.

  7. Bob, you scofflaw....riding about without a helmet. tsk tsk. : )

    As to pedaling helping the range on the electric bike, is it because your pedaling takes load off the motor or because it recharges the battery somewhat?

    Electric conveyances such as these have come a long way but range and costs continue to prevent their wide acceptance.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  8. I think an electric bike would be a hoot to ride, but I agree - they need to bring the price down. They are expensive down here so I can only imagine how pricey they are up there.

    Great pictures from the bridge. Looks like you had great weather.

  9. Geoff: I was impressed with the concept of an electric bike, but I wasn't impressed with the huge price. If you pedal you get higher speeds and it helps the motor use less power.

    Dar: The gas scoot is more usuable due to increased range and the fact you can fill the tank rather than have to wait 4 hours for a charge but you save on Insurance expenses so it really pays for itself if you are stay in an urban area within a small radius

    BlueKat: being an avid cyclist you should try one. I found the frame heavy to pedal. On flat ground it is okay, but uphill you really feel the weight. I think it is the battery and perhaps stronger frame.

    I hope you are okay from your spill. I also had a spill a few years ago when I went down a grass embankment and used the front brake. I was thrown down the hill and my arm got caught on my backpack and my arm was sore for weeks. Same as you, no damage to the bike.

    Mr Conchscooter: why didn't you just click on the link I supplied with Urban Wasp. It takes you to the electric bicycle page with photos of all the bikes with prices for each model. The bike I rode cost nearly $2,500. plus 12% HST. If it were half the price then perhaps I would get one

    Hey Tony: why are you selling all your bikes ? Just to fund the electric bike ? I did like it but I went to Urban Wasp and if I were to buy one now, I would go for the eZee Chopper. I think it would run rings around the eZee Sprint, and the Chopper cost a few hundred less

    RichardM: Electric bikes are mandated to only go 18 kmh, but these ones go faster, perhaps closer to 30 kmh and will operate without pedalling. I had it going very nicely and it felt very fast. This would be good in the downtown area as we have lots of bike lanes here. Pedalling doesn't help much with speed, it just helps the motor to be more efficient and increases your range.

    Charlie6: while we have a mandatory helmet law many cyclists don't wear them. Pedalling just helps the motor to not work so hard, making your battery last longer. going uphill on manual power alone is a chore as you can feel the extra weight of the battery and motor, but pedalling on flat ground is easy

    Trobairitz: the hyperlink for Urban Wasp displays the prices, that's why I didn't mention them. the bike is really solid feeling and it makes cycling more enjoyable, esp on the uphills. Last week we had really good weather, too hot during the day, but when I tested the electric bike it was nearly 7pm and temps were just perfect.

  10. Dear Bobskoot:

    The last time I rode a bicycle over a great bridge, I was 15-years-old and it was the Groege Washington Bridge, connecting New Jersey wioth New York. A froend of mine who is still into bicycles recently dropped $3k (USD) on a street model that had n auxiliary power. I told him he should have his head examined.

    I can think of a thousand reasons why an e-bike would be practical for many people... But until they get down to $750 (USD), I'd go for a used scooter.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads