Tag Wheels 2 Work

Electric Wheels 2 Work?

Could Wheels 2 Work South West go Electric?

Well, taking the Super Soco TC Max and CPX electric powered motorcycles out for various ride outs certainly turned some heads. Everywhere we stopped, “excuse me, is that electric?” and ‘what’s it like’ and of course the most asked question is ‘how long does the battery last?’ I suppose people are getting used to seeing electric cars but electric motorbikes and scooters are much rarer and as such haven’t been in the public eye as much. 

The CPX scooter variant allows capacity for two batteries and with our countryside range of around 30 miles reliably on one battery, you can see how the second battery may well be needed for most riders. That’s not to say that one battery wouldn’t be the perfect scooter for someone commuting locally. With a charge time of 3.5 hours it was ready for use in a relatively short time, certainly within most riders work schedule.

The TC Max is another breed, nippy acceleration and easy to maneuver, it’s got a light feel and handles remarkably well. It tops out at around 60mph with a stable 50-55mph on the flat, we even managed the odd overtake. The brakes are good but when you’re used to riding geared bikes, you do find yourself looking for the footbrake. Both front and rear brakes are on the bars and the rear is linked to the front giving a stable feel under braking.

Both bikes have a three stage power mode which is controlled on the right hand with a simple slide switch. It’s best to use this to get the most out of the battery. The first power mode allows you to travel through town without the risk of speeding, use the 2nd power mode in a 40mph limit and on the open road you flick it into full power and off you go. It’s really simple and easy to use and in no time it becomes second nature.

On a test ride with a Wheels 2 Work beneficiary, we were zipping down a series of country lanes and came across two horses pulling a cart, how novel it was to accelerate away once they had passed, knowing our silent electric motors wouldn’t spook them.

One thing we noticed was how people who wouldn’t have considered a traditional motorbike or scooter were suddenly considering smaller electric motorcycles as a mobility option for local town/city transport. We were approached by an older lady who thought the electric scooter would be ideal to get her back up the hill to her house.

We have had the electric bikes for a couple of weeks now and to be honest they are our first choice for various short trips to deliver parcels or pick up other items from town, it’s just so easy. We don’t really want to give them back! 

So could Wheels 2 Work become electric? Well we’ve committed to converting 25% of our fleet to electric over the next three years so the answer to that is a big yes! These models come in under £5,000 each so although more expensive than our current PTW options, they are much more affordable than the Zero models we have looked at previously. We’re keen to see what else is out there, so watch this space…

Many thanks to the team at V-Moto for letting us test these bikes, it’s been a real eye opener.

Ride to Work Day 2021

Monday 21st June 2021 is the 30th anniversary of Ride to Work Day in the UK. For 30 years motorcyclists all over the UK have put on their helmet, jacket and gloves and chosen a more fun way to commute to work.

A couple of months ago we asked Katie, a Wheels 2 Work beneficiary, to share her morning commute:

So I’ve had my breakfast and coffee and it’s time to leave, for once it’s not raining. My ride to work takes me along the A39, the Atlantic Highway. People come here on holiday to ride this road but for me it’s my daily commute.

I wrap up warm as the weather changes quickly around here, and jump on my scooter. I love this bike. It’s so comfortable and has just enough power for me. The usual folk on my estate are getting ready to go to work in their tin cans and I smile to myself. It’s a lovely bright spring morning and I’m leaving in good time. I pull onto the A39 and head South, the road isn’t too busy as it’s quite early but it’s dry and bright and I have a good feeling this ride is going to be FUN! Out of town the road to work is one of the best with long sweeping bends and some tight and twisty bits, you have to keep your wits about you here.

I drop into one of the many dips and feel the sting of cold air on my cheeks, the sun hasn’t made it here yet. I’m careful here too as a couple of drain covers make me adjust my ideal line, but I’m used to that, on a regular route you learn the road, who would have thought I would know where drain covers were on the road, but I do. I pass a couple of holiday parks with some early risers emerging from the gates, wondering what they will be doing today?

I pass the road to one of the many small coves, I’m early so I pull over, check behind me and do a u turn to head down to the beach. There’s grass in the middle of the road but no ones around so I bimble along scattering a few pheasants until I reach the car park. I ride past and down to the sea front, a fisherman is readying his boat for a day on the waves, we nod, I take in the view, take a deep breath and turn to head back up the hill.

Back on the A39 it’s still quiet. I hang right and head south. The ocean is on my right and I take in the view, Lundy Island is rising from the mist as I near Clovelly Cross, the next series of bends need my full attention, I feel so lucky to have this road as my ride to work, its so beautiful and today is no exception. The daffodils have all but died off now except in the odd sheltered spot but they are rapidly being replaced by a whole rainbow of wild flowers with rich scent filling my senses and the beech trees are almost in full vibrant, almost luminescent light green leaf, I love this time of the year its just the best. I pass a few other regular bikers and nod, I wonder if they are having as much fun as me?

Off the A39 and through a busy Bude, I slip through the traffic to the front of the queue, you can’t do that in a car! All too soon I approach work on the cliff tops, I almost carry on along the coast but hey, I need the job (and I love it!) One day I’m going to do this journey and carry on down the coast, I’m going to make a day of it maybe even longer, who knows? I arrive at work fresh and happy, ready for the big shift. In 30 hours I will be heading home, I can’t wait, I hope I have as much fun as I did today.

Find out more about Ride to Work Day 2021 here

Wheels 2 Work User, Katie, test riding an Electric Motorbike on her route to work

East Sussex: Goodbye For Now!

Yamaha Scooter in Hastings

East Sussex Wheels 2 Work has been a brilliant project to run over the last eight years. We started back in 2013 with a new workshop and five excellent new employees and for four years operated from impressive premises in Eastbourne, involving local biking groups and staging some other  events to involve the community.

In our first year we even won the ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ award from Sussex Business Council. 

That was amazing for us as we had worked so hard to establish the new business.

For the next four years the business went from strength to strength and all looked well for the future but…

In 2017 our funding was significantly reduced which caused us to close the main premises on Hammonds Drive. The subsidy on each and every one of our scooters makes it affordable for those on low incomes, without the subsidy Wheels 2 Work just doesn’t work. We kept the program running from our headquarters in Devon, which worked well, with day to day issues supported by Eastbourne based business’.

The program continued to support local communities with funding through East Sussex County Councils Active Access for Growth fund. It was great to work with other local service providers to continue project delivery in the area and we supported some really inspiring young individuals to enable them to access employment, education and training opportunities helping them to achieve their own personal goals in life.

The real reason for this post is actually to announce the closure of the program, we were unsuccessful in gaining continuation funding and have therefore had to close our doors for the last time. It’s a little bit sad, but without funding to subsidise the scooter loans we are unable to continue with Wheels 2 Work in East Sussex.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank East Sussex County Council for their support over the last 8 years, with special thanks to Lisa Simmonds and Marina Littek. Without their support none of this would ever have happened. We would love to come back given the opportunity, Wheels 2 Work is definitely needed in the area and we proved how successful it can be.

Over the duration of the scheme we have supported around 550 local people to improve their prospects and introduced them to joys of life on two wheels helping to reduce traffic congestion, link up existing services and reduce the carbon footprint of their daily commute.

Yamaha Scooter in Hastings

We gave them freedom, independence and choice and I’m proud to say I was a part of that.

So it’s an end to my 5 ½ hour commute, the many nights away from home, the walks in the lovely Sussex countryside and the joys of A27 traffic on a Friday evening.

Goodbye for now, Max Jowett. East Sussex Wheels 2 Work CIC