Vicki Wray-Watts’s family have labelled her a ‘super grandmother’.
The Morley senior is not only a patrol officer for her local surf club, she also cycles up to 80 km a week which she says not only keeps her fit but saves hundreds of dollars in fuel and also wear and tear on her car.
Ms Wray-Watts is one of the first West Australians to own a Roadster e-bike, a cutting-edge e-bike designed by Fremantle start-up business Tiller Rides for people who want to replace car trips with a healthy, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get about in their community.
After a chance meeting with Tiller Rides Founder Julian Ilich, Ms Wray-Watts says she immediately put her name down for one of the first prototype models.
“I loved it as soon as I saw it and after owning it for six months, I still love it, I’ve even called her a name – Edwina,” she says. “I’ve always had a road bike, but replacing it with Edwina has meant that I can use it more often, and I never arrive at my destination puffed out.
“I ride most days because it’s just so convenient, I will use it to get to my local shopping centre or visit one of my daughters in either Carlisle or East Victoria Park, where I can attach a bike cart and take one or two of my grandchildren with me, or I might ride to the local train station (10kms away) and catch the train up to Joondalup, ride around up there and train it back.
“It’s just so easy to use, you never get sweaty because of the electric assistance which means you can wear your everyday clothes, and it has so many practical features, like a retractable cable lock which makes it easy to secure, enabling you to park right out the front of your destination – and that obviously means you save time and parking fees too.
“I also love the fact that when you take-off the electric motor gives a little boost so you’re not struggling with the pedals, and then when you go uphill the electric motor responds and does more of the work. It makes riding such a pleasure, and I feel so good for being out in the open and getting some exercise, as well as saving money by not using my car.
“I have been able to use the Roadster far more than my traditional bike, I’m able to go further and for longer because of the electric assist, so I can use it far more and can do trips I previously wouldn’t have attempted because of the distance.”
The founder of Tiller Rides, Julian Ilich, is a designer, engineer, and behavioural change expert. His team has been road testing six of the bikes for the last six months – one of which is the bike Ms Wray-Watts has – and the company has already pre-sold more than 115 Roadsters, enabling it to secure more than $375,000 in pre-order value.
“After two years of customer research, design, engineering, prototyping and testing, we’ve created an e-bike beyond anything else offered in the world,” Mr Ilich says.
The Tiller Rides Roadster has a unique lightweight pressed-aluminium frame that integrates a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a keyless motion sensing alarm and GPS ‘find my bike’ tracker, as well as built in cable lock, automatic brake lights, sturdy double stand, greaseless belt drive, integrated lights, tyre repair, and even a USB port.
With all these features, the bike weighs a light 25kg and the long range battery has a range of 80km on the highest power setting.
“As the cities of the world grapple with transport and pollution problems, electric bikes are certain to become a major part of the solution,” adds Mr Illich.
“The Roadster multiplies your riding efforts by detecting how much force you put on the pedals and adding a proportional amount of power to the motor. You put in a quarter of the effort of a normal bike and it goes up to 25km/h.”
Tiller Rides was founded in 2016 when Ilich spotted a gap in the market for stylish yet functional ebikes. Before that, he regularly cycled to business meetings in city traffic and felt there must be a way to make cycling easier. Despite searching the globe, he couldn’t find a bike that he considered aesthetics whilst also highly functional.
In 2015, he teamed up with two friends – a 3D modeller and a graphic designer and set about designing a bike that was both stylish and highly functional. The first prototype was designed and built in 2016 before Julian and his co-founder Ray Glickman set about establishing a board, approaching investors and commercialising the project.
“Despite a growing electric bike market globally, bicycle manufacturers have so far failed to create a stylish ebike that makes urban riding as appealing as taking a car, which is why we felt compelled to step in and service this market,” Ilich adds.
Mr Ilich and his team are now raising the finance to take the bike into production using equity crowdfunding platform Birchal, which will enable everyday Australians to be part of how Tiller Rides revolutionises urban transport. Since opening the round in late September more than 107 investors from across Australia have already invested close to $500,000. To find out further information about investment, go to: https://www.birchal.com/company/tillerrides
More information about Tiller Rides can be found at: https://www.tillerrides.com/