Saving the world – one bike at a time

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An Oamaru man has started a project to help the environment and have a bit of fun while he’s at it.

Zim Sherman, through the Natural Heritage Society of Oamaru, has imported nine electric bicycle kits from China in an effort to get people to use more sustainable transport.

Mr Sherman, who has a background in climate science, said he started to come up with ideas for environmentally-friendly travel after Banners on the Beach, a South-Island wide protest against off-shore oil and gas exploration, in February last year.

During the protest that Mr Sherman attended, a speaker addressed the crowd saying that something needed to be done about climate change immediately and if anyone could do something they must do it straight away.

He first looked at kits to convert vehicles into electric cars but realised the start-up cost of about $20,000 would put many people off.

After finding out bicycles were relatively cheap to convert, he ordered nine kits from China, which took two months to deliver and arrived a few weeks ago.

Mr Sherman has kept three for his family, sold several to Rob Connolly of Vertical Ventures and hopes to sell the rest, at cost price, to others in Oamaru who are interested in helping the environment in an easy way.

“I just think we should all try to do what we can.”

The kits only take a few hours to set up and cost between $650 and $1100 depending on battery size.

A battery, if being pushed to the maximum, would last about 25km but could go further if the rider pedalled more, he said.

It also only cost about 25c to charge each time.

If he received a lot of interest, Mr Sherman said he would look at importing more.

“I just want to get people out of their cars.” The electric kit made it much easier for him to get from his home in Weston to Oamaru and back.

They make a town like Oamaru really accessible and easy to get around, he said.

Great, especially for a town the size o f Oamaru. Really accessible and easy to get around.

Anyone interested in purchasing an electric bicycle kit can contact Mr Sherman on 434 9761.

Oamaruvians will have the chance to test out one of the bikes at the Sustainable Skills Summer School course Electric Vehicle Playtime at The Hub, 4 Wansbeck St, on Wednesday, February 4 from 11am to 1pm. Entry by donation.

By Ruby Harfield

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD – Zim and Levi Sherman (14) with their electric bicycles that were converted using a kit from China.