Man riding enclosed tricycle

First ride in the new ELF  (click to enlarge)

Here on Gabriola Island these days, my father-in-law, Ted, is turning heads, attracting crowds and prompting smiles every time he goes out.

It’s not just because he’s well-liked on the island – though he definitely is. The buzz is because of his hot new wheels: an electric-assist ELF tricycle, which arrived on a foggy morning in early January.

This is not your ordinary pedal trike. Aside from its smooth, continuously variable transmission and its comfortable ride, it has the added bonus of an electric motor to help get up slopes, powered by a battery that’s recharged by the the ELF’s solar panel or by plugging in to household power. It also has brake lights, turn signals and other safety features, a locking trunk that can carry 150 or more pounds of cargo, plus a pod-like body to keep off the rain while you pedal or cruise along. Tiny, practical AND deluxe all in one!

Ted, who is 94, has been an active cyclist for a long time, pedaling a recumbent trike to get around ever since he retired his car and driver’s license some years ago. He’s still very fit and capable, but nowadays a bit of occasional electric assist is welcome – thus the upgrade to the ELF.

He’s pleased to see how well people are responding, and hopes the ELF will encourage others to consider climate-friendly transportation alternatives. He knows how urgently the planet needs a green revolution, so he’s happy to roll out his new electric wheels for the cause. Aside from that, he has to admit that the ELF is a whole lot of fun.

A couple more photos (click to enlarge):

Unpacking ELF from its shipping crate

Removing the ELF from its crate after its arrival from North Carolina

Man adjusting side mirror

Adjusting one of the side mirrors

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer and writer focusing on nature and the environment

12 responses »

  1. Doug stanley says:

    Wish we could get a movement going in the N.West . BCFerries would charge it as a smart car – $ 80.00 though .

    • They might have a hard time doing that – the ELF has a label inside it that clearly shows it’s rated as a bicycle. We haven’t actually tried taking in on the Gabriola ferry yet (it was delivered here in a large truck) – but when we do, we plan to tell them it’s a bicycle and pay cyclist’s rate! Thanks for the comment, Doug.

  2. Susan says:

    Oh, how I love that photo…am sending it to a couple of friends in their 80s who are fairly fearless, but not as intrepid as Ted! Thanks so much for this, Laurie. Susan

  3. franciska says:

    I lov u n ur vehicle..kiss

  4. I am constantly amazed by the continual quest for better answers.

  5. Louis Vallee says:

    Hi:
    This is Louis Vallee on Mayne Island the guy who builds electric assisted bikes. I’ve had my eye on the ELF for a while. Could you give me some idea how much it cost delivered to Gabriola. I would like to know how well it does on the hiills (speed, grade) and range. Can you keep me posted? Thanks!!!

  6. Sherry Galey says:

    I was waiting for this. So exciting! I love that it’s practical, fun and so good for health and the environment. I hope more people will hear about this…

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