By Luke Voogt
Bell Park pensioner Wolfgang Klemenz has returned to the pedals after two knee replacements, thanks to a Geelong-based electric bike (ebike) trial.
“I’d prefer to ride that bike rather than a mobility scooter,” he told the Indy on Tuesday.
Wolfgang picked up the ebike from a Malop Street shop six weeks ago and rode 8km to his home after several years away from the pedals.
“I was blowing like a stream train by the time I got home,” he said. “I was swallowing bugs because I had my mouth open.”
But soon the 69-year-old was riding all over his suburb, enjoying bike tracks and back roads.
“After the six weeks it was a lot better,” he said.
“It was just a good feeling to get a bit of fresh air and get a bit of exercise at the same time. It was exercise which I could do with.”
Wolfgang joined five other locals in the six-week trial which was the first of its kind in Victoria, according to the RACV.
The ebike used a small electric motor, with three levels of assistance to amplify the cyclists’ pedalling, Wolfgang explained.
“It’s not a motorised bike – if you stop pedalling it will stop going,” he said. “It really goes pretty well up steep inclines.”
Wolfgang had a knee replacement five years ago and another two years ago, which limited his cycling to an exercise bike in rehab.
He discovered the trial in an RACV newsletter and thought “that sounds like, fun I’ll give it a go,” he said.
Wolfgang recently handed back his ebike, which he credited for rebuilding his fitness enough for him to return to his normal bicycle.
“If you can afford it I reckon they’re great,” he said.
The RACV’s Dave Jones said data from the trial would help the insurance company better understand how customers could use ebikes.