The Creating the Greenest County Awards Ceremony is being held on Wednesday 18 March at the West Wing in Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds.
FWIW I'd like to sound my endorsement to LEV getting an award. The owner James Fitzgerald is a former racing car engineer who has become a passionate advocate for electric bikes and has a vision we should be listening to.
Although I don't own an electric bike yet, I figure when my legs get too old to push me along on my Dahon folder, I'll be getting one too.
I have seen a lot of misunderstanding about electric bikes bandied about in the press and on blogs lately. These machines can massively increase your range without being huge and heavy (I very much doubt James' Sparta pictured is any heavier than an old Pashley) because they provide 'power assist' where electronics deliver juice from a Li-ion battery to a motor to take the edge off the hills and enable you to speed along on the level with very little effort. If they were fully powered, they would be electric motorbikes and would need road tax, helmets etc. I've tried these bikes and they work. A trip of 30 miles seems like trip to the store and back. In Suffolk you can now hire one of their bikes and use a network of charging stations for free.
Suffolk County Council are thoughtfully putting on some coaches for people to travel to the awards ceremony (it would be a bit foolish if they didn't consider the carbon footprint of all those trips to Ickworth for a beanfeast) but I know James will be making the trip on his bike. He makes the following calculation for travelling from Leiston to Ickworth:
James will thus save £1.75 in fares, 31kg of CO2, and have a couple of hours to work (read: snooze) on the train.
James says It’s always interesting to see how this would pan out on a national scale (LEV’s long term aim): If the entire population were to make this sort of journey by trainebike once, it’d save 1.519Mt of CO2, or 44% of the NHS’s entire transport related emissions.
With the governments’ commitment towards reduction of green house gas emissions, electric bikes are becoming very popular in Europe, where 124,000 were sold last year alone. Estimates put this years figure at 750,000 units!. Electric bikes stand out among many sustainable transport products because they allow individuals to travel when they want and where they want. Most rail companies allow them to travel free. Ebikes could be the biggest contributor to reducing the UK’s green house gasses: *assuming current UK nuclear, coal and gas energy mix, and excluding renewables, ebikes emit only 0.0036Kg per kilometer. Government figures (SQW, Nov 2007) put the monetary value for each additional cyclist travelling 8km 160 days a year at £560 (combined benefits of improved health and reduced pollution and congestion).