The electric bike leaves its owner feeling respected on the road
Stacey McCool runs Sugarbomb, the only women-owned and operated print shop in Toronto, and the Really, Man? clothing line. Living downtown for two decades, she has never owned a car. To get around the city, the Aboriginal artist rode a bicycle to where she needed to go. But with knees and hips that she admits aren’t what they used to be, her pedal ride from her Queen Street home to her Junction-based business was becoming a chore.
While looking into electric options, McCool came across Beachman and their cafe racer-style e-bikes that are handcrafted in Toronto. Unable to find another model that “looked this cool,” McCool placed her order for a Beachman Founder’s Edition, which she picked up at the bike shop last November. She tells us why she loves her vehicle.
“I’ll be 40 this year and I’ve realized that I’ve never felt the sense of freedom from just jumping in your vehicle and going somewhere,” McCool said. “This bike allows me to do it without gas or insurance. I don’t have to worry about that.
“I was blown away when I took the test drive. I jumped on it and drove, and I couldn’t believe how natural it felt. It can go up to 30 kilometers and needs charging after about 70 miles but I charge it when the battery gets about halfway because the voltage drops a bit and you don’t quite get the pickup when you go uphill. the shuttle every day, I recharge it just at the weekend.The battery detaches from the bike and recharges in about five hours.
“As a cyclist for 20 years, the most important thing for me when I started riding an e-bike was having turn signals and a headlight. It’s tough being a cyclist in the city, especially on the main streets, but now that I look like I’m on a motor vehicle, I get a little more respect on the road. It’s something I hadn’t felt before. Cars don’t pass by me. It’s really refreshing to be in the flow of traffic instead of being the person motorists don’t want there, which is what I felt as a cyclist.
“I modified my bike a bit,” McCool said. “I bought a few bags of food from an outdoor supply store, and they’re big enough for things like coffee creamer that I might take on the way to work, or to store a few packets. J am using my bike to drop off orders for my online store, which is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. It’s exciting.
“The e-bike makes me want to get out and do more things even if it’s cold, or during COVID for mental health to just take a ride. Because I’ve never owned a car, I’ve never been one to say, “I’m going to take a drive and clear my mind.” And now I can do it,” she said. “I can just cycle there and it saves me time and money. I’m also glad to go to Value Village in Etobicoke instead of the one on Bloor Street. It’s just little adventures like that.
To look closer Beachman Founders Edition Cafe Racer
unique look“The look of the Beachman is completely different from any other e-bike I’ve seen. The closest has been a few people converting real vintage motorcycles into e-bikes. I wanted something that looked cool. I’ve had people on the street stop me and say, ‘Whoa, is that electric?’ said McCool. “My mother was a biker and she rode a motorcycle. So I couldn’t buy anything that looked less cool than what my mom used to ride when she was a kid. Everyone is surprised when they see me walking away and there is no noise.
Fit and feel“It’s one size fits most,” said McCool, who is six feet tall. “It’s shaped like a vintage motorcycle and you lean forward. I’ve seen short people ride it and I’ve seen tall people ride it, and you just lay further on the seat or the back depending on your height. I find it quite comfortable. It also looks like a real motorcycle. It has the weight of a real motorcycle; it doesn’t look plastic and it doesn’t look like a bike with a battery in it.
Feeling of freedom“I used Bixi bikes for a while, but when they sold the business, they changed it so there were no more subscriptions,” she said. “Every time I wanted to rent one, I had to sign up, put in my credit card, pay a deposit, and that was just too much. Now there’s only a half-hour limit on these; to get from the junction to Queen takes at least half an hour. So I was pedaling on my brain. TTC service was also reduced in COVID so my commute went from 45 minutes to an hour and a half sometimes.Now with this bike I have the freedom that I didn’t have before.
- Training methodElectric drive hub
- Battery72 volt, 500 watt
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