Mario Chartrand zips by the Tourism Tofino visitor centre on a high performance e-bike on May 29. The eco tour operator challenged himself to push the speed and time limits of the 35-km ride as part of Go By Bike Week. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Guide scorches Ucluelet-Tofino ride on electric bike

“I feel like I’m a Tour de France rider. I can keep up with the peloton.”

Pacific Rim Eco Tours adventure guide Mario Chartrand amped up his usual workout for Go By Bike Week, which took place across the province from May 27 to June 2.

The Ucluelet-based e-bike tour operator rode a high performance e-bike from Ucluelet to the Tourism Tofino visitor centre in one-hour and three minutes.

“I feel like I’m a Tour de France rider. I can keep up with the peloton,” Chartrand said with a huge smile as he rolled into the Tourism Tofino visitor centre on Wednesday afternoon.

On a normal road bike, the 35.4-km ride would generally take a good, seasoned, rider at least one- and-a-half hours, notes Chartrand.

“I think [the e-bike] shaves off about a half hour of really hard riding. I was riding hard at about 80 per cent.”

Chartrand said he thought it was the first-time anybody has ever raced the Tofino-Ucluelet highway on an e-bike.

“Hopefully somebody can better it,” he challenged. “I had a headwind. I could probably do it in about an hour.”

Chartrand, who is 55-years young, did the feat on a Giant Toughroad E-edition, which runs in at about $4,200.

“They’re starting to race them in Europe, so there is a lot of room for expansion on e-bikes for sure.”

His e-bike has five e-speeds: eco, eco-plus, normal, sport and sport plus. Chartrand cycled to Tofino in ‘normal’ e-speed, and said he used up only one bar on his battery, giving him loads of power for the trip back. He referred to ‘sport plus’ as “ludicrous speed.”

Chartrand, a professional ski patroller, avalanche technician and canoe skills instructor for the Canadian military, encouraged more people to try electric powered bicycles.

“I think you get a more consistent workout and when I get home I could probably go surfing and feel pretty good about that. E-bikes are 100 per cent easy. Anyone can access them,” Chartrand said, adding that he’s taken a 72-year-old out on a scenic, two-hour tour of the Ucluelet peninsula.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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