October 30th, 2014 by Richard Lord
With the adoption by the States of Guernsey of a new transport strategy, several deputies have changed their travel habits in Guernsey by investing in electric bicycles.
Five States of Guernsey deputies: Yvonne Burford, Roger Domaille, Michelle Le Clerc, Roger Perrot and Lester Queripel have purchased electric bicycles recently for travelling around the island and a sixth deputy, Mark Dorey, is in the process of purchasing one.
Deputy Yvonne Burford, States of Guernsey Environment Minister, and principal author of the States of Guernsey newly approved transport strategy, said she had to do more than talk about the strategy but also adopt its principles as part of her own lifestyle, which is to use alternate modes of transport to the private car when appropriate, and she is extremely pleased she has done so.
Deputy Burford and Deputy Le Clerc both said they felt ‘more alive’ cycling along Guernsey’s roads.
“I see a lot more than I used to sitting in a car,” Deputy Le Clerc said.
“Also, I find car drivers are very courteous to me. I have found their reaction very heart warming and I am really enjoying the experience of using my electric bike.”
“When you live at the top of a hill in St Peter Port as I do, the electric motor on the bike just helps that little bit get up the hill,” she said.
Deputy Le Clerc has set an initial goal of using her electric bike on at least two days per week.
Deputy Lester Queripel is also enjoying the use of his electric bike, which makes its presence known with a loud horn.
Deputy Queripel turned up at a St Peter Port parish douzaine meeting on his electric bike and cycled to the first October meeting of the States of Deliberation.
Deputy Burford who lives in St Saviours cycled 4.74 miles from home to the bicycle racks by the Sunken Garden in St Peter Port to attend the States of Deliberation meeting on Wednesday 29 October 2014.
The journey took 22 minutes but she said it could have taken only 17 minutes, as she had done before, if she hadn’t been stuck behind traffic.
Deputy Burford said “I would have never thought of getting an electric bike but all the research I did for the transport strategy convinced me that this was a good choice, and I saw the health benefits.”
“It is absolutely fantastic and now I actively dislike having to use the car,” she said.
“I have already cycled 500 miles in the five weeks I have had my electric bike.”
“It is so much more fun riding my electric bike and I don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to park.”
“I have saved a small fortune on petrol already. At this rate of use I think I will need only about three tanks of petrol in my car this year and I feel healthier riding my bike. What’s not to like?” she said.
Deputy Burford has waterproofs and she has ridden her electric bike in the rain but she said “there may be days when I will use the car.”
“When it was blowing a force 8 gale I thought I might get blown off my bike so I used my car instead.”
“I won’t promise I will use my bike everyday of the winter but I really enjoy using it,” she said.
“I bought a basket for the front and back. The front basket can carry a coat and on the back I have two other baskets that clip onto the side, which just clip on and off so I don’t have to carry them all the time. I can get a three-bag weekly supermarket shop on the back of my bike.”
Deputy Roger Domaille who enjoys cycling and has been a keen cyclist for a long time decided to buy an electric bike because his old bicycle was showing its age as it was falling apart and had a twisted frame.
He said “I reckon that the battery can help propel me 60 miles on one charge during normal use.”
“With full-pedal assist turned on all the time, my electric bike will take me 35 miles around the island including up and down all the hills,” he said.
Other Guernsey deputies are regular cyclists too including Barry Brehaut and Heidi Soulsby who cycled from St Martin in a bright reflective jacket, before changing clothes to attend the States of Deliberation meeting.
The cycling deputies are showing that for many of us there are alternatives to using a private car all the time to travel around the island, and these alternatives can be more convenient, less expensive, and healthier.