Rev Trevor Sargent’s Ecological Notes for October 2019

Getting about on a E-Bike

Three weeks ago, I got myself an e-bike* from Maurice O’Byrne and Tommy Corcoran in Tramore Cycle Services. It is a pleasure to cycle for many reasons. Here are some:

Cycling made easy: Headwinds or hills are no longer obstacles, because the electric motor gives pedalling a boost whenever cycling speed falls below 25kph.

Enough juice for a day’s journeying: The bike comes with a cable to plug the bike in to a domestic electricity socket. Once the battery is fully re-charged overnight, it contains more than enough power to last a day of parochial trips. Trips so far have taken me from Tramore to Annestown on the Copper Coast, to Waterford City, to Dunmore East and on to Passage East.  200 kilometres is the average daily range for a battery charge according to the manufacturer.

Low running costs: It is much cheaper than a new electric car. My 2006 Prius hybrid car is still needed on a Sunday to travel between Services, and for journeys further afield wherever bus and train services are less than adequate. However, the less I use the car, the longer it should last. Aside from that, the running costs of the e-bike are tiny, compared to maintaining the Prius, or even a new electric car.

No bureaucracy such as motor tax:  Although it has a motor, this only operates when one is pedalling and will not operate beyond 25kph. Accordingly, it is not classified as a motor bike. Hence, it is like an ordinary pedal bike and does not require tax, insurance, or indeed a licence. Mind you, there are places one can go to learn road skills and how to cycle well and safely in Ireland and elsewhere. (

One solution to transport pollution: As a zero emissions mode of transport, ideally recharged by renewable energy, the e-bike is part of the solution to global warming. According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland: ‘Transport is by far the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland. In 2017 it was responsible for 39%. It is also the sector where CO2 emissions are growing the fastest.’

Seeing and been seen: Anyone who cycles knows that you generally see more from a bike than in a car. Buzzards by day and bats by night make journeys all the more interesting. It is important to be seen also, of course. Thankfully the latest e-bicycle technology means lights front and back are now stronger, like those on a motorbike. Luminous jackets, luminous bags etc., also make sense when cycling.

As sociable as walking the dog: Compared to driving around the parish, cycling is very sociable. Stopping to greet a pedestrian no longer causes a traffic jam! Indeed, the e-bike itself often becomes a topic of conversation, not unlike the way people stop to chat if one is walking the dog!

Embrace a younger you: According to a study by scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland, riding an e-bike is just as good as a regular bike at keeping one fit. The UK National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation found that regular cyclists enjoy a level of fitness equal to that of a person ten years younger.

*This BH e-bike has a rear 500W electric motor on this Evo City model which retails at €2,500 in Ireland,   A reduction of €1,000 is available if one avails of the Governments’ Bike to Work Scheme, 

Mudguard sticker on the new e-bike: ‘Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’, (Isaiah 40:31).

Trevor heading off on the e-bike after celebrating lunchtime Holy Communion at Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, with robes, stole, Bible and Prayer Book in a luminous briefcase on the back carrier.