When Colleen Scott lost her driver's license due to a medical condition a few years ago, she quickly realized how much she took driving for granted.
"Friends and family say call them anytime for a ride, but after a while you know it's becoming a burden on them"
Scott remembers the independence she lost when her driver's license was revoked under doctor's orders due to a seizure she suffered but the ordeal led her to find out about a different mode of transportation.
The E-bike or scooter as many refer to them as is a battery powered bicycle that is similar to scooters used in Japan and Europe. The affordable bike is quickly catching on in Ontario since they were introduced about three years ago.
And for good reason...
"You don't require a driver's license or auto insurance" Scott said as several customers entered her store, "they're great for someone who may have lost their license for medical reasons, or for those who don't have a license or can't afford to own a car"
The battery needs to be re-charged about every 100 kilometers, "most just plug it in after using it so they know it's fully charged, it doesn't take long to charge the batter" Scot said.
Colleen and her husband Jay started selling the new bikes out of their garage, but due to strong demand they decided to open a store in the Wellington Square Mall in November of 2011.
The small store is crammed full of the latest models that vary from a smaller unit to one that can include a passenger.
"They are operated like a bicycle, you have to be 16 and older to drive on, wear a helmet and drive on the side of the road" Scott said.
"These bikes are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, even if you own a car, they're ideal for a quick trip to the store or to visit friends and family around town"
Scott said a lot of their clients are students at university who need a cheap way to get around.
The price seems right for any budget starting at under $900 to $2,400. "They're equivalent to a high end mountain bike in price"
An added function of the scooter is each unit is equipped with pedals for those who want to get a little exercise instead of using the battery. When using the battery, the bikes can go up to speeds of 32 km/h.
Their store, Scootz, also sells regular mountain bikes and accessories and the couple is looking at expanding the line to eventually include cars. Currently they stock E-bikes, Electronic Scooters , Electronic motorcycles along with gas powered ATV's and bikes.
"We had mild winters the last few years and people can use them in the winter, it's a little cold but if the roads are clear you can still use them during good weather in the winter"
You can learn more about Scootz by visiting their store in the Wellington Square Mall on Trunk road or visit their website, scootz-soo.ca
"We use the product and I love seeing our customers as happy as I was when I first got one" said Scott, "they really give you your freedom back"
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Craig Huckerby for local2 sault ste. marie
June 16th, 2012 at 4:53pm | Last Updated at 10:27pm