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Journal Yaztromo's Journal: The new YazMobile 7

Gas prices here on the island have finally surpassed $1.50/L, thanks in part to the new BC Carbon Tax coming into effect on July 1st (which, FYI, I fully support). As I'm driving a '97 Chevy Lumina V6 Sedan with a 60L gas tank, if I were to drive everywhere our gas budget would be huge. Never mind the fact that parking is pretty expensive at the University. As such, for the past 6 months or so, Gigi and I have been taking the bus whenever we don't need to transport a sufficient quantity of goods (such as doing a big grocery trip). This works for us right now as we're still registered as grad students at the University, and have a bus pass included in our tuition that is significantly cheaper than the usual pass.

The bus, however, isn't exactly a speedy way to get around from our place. You waste a lot of time walking to the nearest bus stop, then waiting for the bus, riding on the bus (as it stops at nearly every stop to let people on or off), transferring to one or more other buses if we're trying to get anywhere more interesting than the University...etc.

I'm finishing up my thesis this month (defending in late August is everything goes well), and have accepted a full-time development job here on the island starting August 5th at a location only about 6km from our place, and so I decided to take a look at alternate forms of transportation. I settled upon and purchased a GWEV Super 8 electric scooter. And let me tell you -- this thing is just so much fun to drive around the city I keep looking for excuses to get out on it. I've been using it between home and the University for the past week, and its significantly faster than the bus, with less expense (or hassles) that driving the car (and nearly as quick so long as I don't have to get on a highway). As the Province of BC classifies it as a Motor Assisted Cycle, it can be driven anywhere you can ride a bicycle, and can be parked anywhere you can park a bicycle. It only costs about 15 to fully charge the battery from empty, and in our case we're not even paying that -- our building management has given us a special underground, secure parking spot next to a concrete support pillar with an electrical outlet for free -- so they're paying for the electricity.

Some people do look at me a bit oddly now and then -- mostly people who mistake it for a gas powered scooter and think I can't park it on sidewalks and such. It's also less than whisper-quiet -- even under power, about all you can hear is the sound of the rubber meeting the pavement.

When I bought it, as the dealership is downtown, Gigi and I went in the Lumina, but as the bike is too big to put into the car, I had to ride it home. The dealership had it fully charged and ready for me, so Gigi and I left at the same time (me on the bike, her in our car). We had a ~6km trip home each -- she taking the roads, and I taking an old railbed which has been converted into a cycling trail through the city. We got home at exactly the same time.

I can't recommend this gem of a vehicle highly enough. Obviously, it's mostly useful in an urban area with good cycling infrastructure (and legislation which permits you to ride it anywhere a bicycle can). I keep looking for excuses to get out and go for a ride, and now that I don't have to worry about paying for parking or the cost of use, I find myself wanting to go downtown more frequently.

Our only issue now is getting one for Gigi so she can join me [0] :).


[0] - Technically, the vehicle does have room on the seat and the necessary foot rests for a second passenger, but apparently only children under 12 can ride as a passenger in this configuration. Still, we have tested it and it will physically work, but we're just not up to testing law enforcement on this one. Besides which, we don't have a second helmet for her at this time.

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The new YazMobile

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  • I've seen a few (in Montreal traffic, no less - talk about being brave and/or stupid). Gas prices here were $1.49.4 a few days ago, and that's w/o a carbon tax, so I expect to see more in the future.

    BTW, for our American and British friends, $1.50/litre is $5.94/US gallon, or $6.81 per Imperial gallon.

    I laugh when I hear Americans crying about $4/gallon gas. They're in for a real shock over the next 2 years.

    • Trying to wean myself off fossil fuel dependencies was certainly a big consideration for my purchase. I've already replaced all my bulbs with CF bulbs around the apartment, and have installed a digital set-back thermostat for our electric heaters in the apartment, and while there are still other areas of improvement (getting rid of my old CRT TV and replacing it with an LCD panel display would probably be a good start), transportation is still probably one of our biggest energy costs, so getting that down

      • The payback time here would be a lot longer, since we *do* get a lot of snow. I'm thinking that the optimal solution (at least for me) is a combination of:

        1. move closer to work
        2. 4-day work week
        3. bike during the summer

        In the winter, it would be nice to be able to hook the dogs to a sled ... but rather impractical having them roam around the office :-(

        • The payback time here would be a lot longer, since we *do* get a lot of snow.

          I lived just south of Montreal, in St. Jean-sur-Richaleu back in 2004, and I remember what the snow was like. To be honest, even here in Victoria where we rarely ever have any snow, I'm not completely certain whether I'll be riding the scooter in the winter; it still gets cold enough, and it's often very, very wet. I know some people love Victoria's winters (compared to the rest of Canada), but other than the fact that I don't

          • I've ridden my motorcycle in -10 weather (Montreal-Ottawa-Montreal). Not that I'd recommend it without proper gear, but it *is* doable.

            Tried taking it out in a fresh snowfall one time "just 'cuz" ... went to the end of the street, decided that "this is *not* a good idea" and parked it until the thaw ...

  • I rode a motorcycle for a number of years (didn't own a car), and really liked how quick and easy it was to get around. There is a danger though, that automobile drivers just won't see you.

    Anyway, it's pretty cool that you found an electric bike that does the job. Save yourself some fuel money, and, save the environment. :-)

    • There is a danger though, that automobile drivers just won't see you.

      I've admittedly just ran into this earlier today, riding home on a fairly busy 4-lane road. The problem in this case has more to do with the fact that I (legally) ride in the bicycle lane, and earlier today some idiot didn't signal until just starting to make a right hand turn just after a red light, didn't see me, and cut me off as I was starting to go through the intersection. They didn't check for pedestrians, but the woman with chi

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