Tania Farman and Karl Jackson, owners of Tik-e Tours Rarotonga, this week talked about the developments that eventually led them purchasing e-bikes to add an extra arm to their electric tuk tuk business.
“The electric bikes came about when we were looking to expand on the electric tuk tuks that we had and we wanted to offer a new product to market,” Farman said.
“So we probably started looking at it about mid last year, and we thought that we’d done enough research on them and that we needed to touch and feel the actual bikes.
“So we went to New Zealand and came across a supplier, liked what we saw, found a really good couple of bikes and brought them over for ourselves to try, to see if they were right for the environment.”
After they’d tested the bikes out for themselves, it wasn’t long before visitors came knocking on the door at Tik-e Tours, interested in renting the machines.
“After about nine days, people began wanting to rent them out, and those bikes have been out ever since. Once we found that there was a market, we purchased more, and they are all out basically every day.”
Farman said some visitors they spoke to said they’d been wanting to enjoy the experience of cycling around the island, but didn’t think they could manage it on a traditional bike.
“So we thought, ‘hey, an electric bike would give them the confidence to go around the island, as well as giving them an opportunity to keep fit’.”
Not only are e-bikes a healthy and cleaner alternative to riding a motorcycle or driving a car, there are of course no fuel charges or license fees. Riders only need to understand the three options that the bikes offer.
Said Farman: “Firstly, you can ride them like a normal push-bike, with no help at all.
“The second option is a pedal assist, so when you cycle it helps you along, so the more energy you put into it, the more help it will give you.
“Pedal assist has five levels, from easy in level one to the fastest in level five. This will get you riding along quite nicely.
“The third mode is fully electric, which is activated by a little throttle on the handlebars. So if you’ve had a big lunch and you’re going into a headwind, you don’t need to pedal. Just turn the throttle and you’re away,” Farman said, laughing.
“The beauty of the electric bike is that you still get a really good workout - you can just go twice the distance.”