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Loving the Ride — Motorbike-Riding Eco Warrior

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Bernard Lakey grew up on a farm some 60 kilometers from Melbourne in Victoria. It was a genuine rural environment up to the late ’70s, when subdivisions started to change the area. In the ’60s, it was all horses and working dogs, but as the ’70s rolled on, motorbikes entered the scene — firstly as wrecks that were restored for thrashing around the farm, and then genuine road bikes. Bernard was loving the ride.

“Horses are brilliant for stock work, but bikes could be jumped over anything and we could play around while the sheep drifted in the right direction. I did lose the mob a few times through playing in the gullies a bit too long, then having to find them again,” Bernard remembers.

He was hooked, his road bikes started with the British: ’69 Norton 750 Fastback, ’68 Triumph Trophy, ’69 BSA Rocket 3. The mid-’70s saw the heavy Japanese bikes from Kawasaki & Honda match it with the Moto Guzzi 850T, amongst many others in the family. 40+ years of riding bikes, in 2018, he bought the Suzuki GS 500, continuing to commute the weeks away.

Bernard joined the Queensland Greens political party in 2016 to fight against the proposed Adani coal mine and is now the convener of the local branch in Wynnum, Queensland.

In 2019, he started the Queensland Branch of Certified Public Accountants Australia’s Sustainability — Accounting for Climate Change discussion group, as sustainability impacts every organisation and business. The group looks at how accounting standards are changing to incorporate ESG (Environment Social and Governance) reporting, initially on a voluntary basis but step by step moving to mandated reporting as part of International Financial Reporting Standards.

So, with that background, he started looking at what he could do to reduce his carbon footprint.

Loving the Ride

Eco Warrior Bernie and Evoke electric motorcycle.

An electric bike was the logical answer, but there was not much on the market, Zero having withdrawn. In November 2020, he put a bid in with Evoke Motorcycles for delivery in February 2021, but eventually coming through in July 2021. Then it was on to the Evoke and selling the Suzuki. The Evoke is an excellent commuter bike with about 160 km of range in the city, and about 120 km on the highway.

Loving the ride

Evoke and Zero electric motorcycles.

No clutch, no gears, so simple to ride. Quiet is the most noticeable thing, second is no vibration, third is the smoothness as the bike takes off. He will guarantee that once a commuter gets on an electric bike, he will not go back to a petrol one. He is loving the ride. Charging is 6 hours if flat for the 9.5 kWh battery. The bike handles very well, sits on the road confidently, holds the line in corners, in general gives good feedback to the rider, has plenty of grunt for passing trucks, and hits 120 km/h pretty quickly.

At AUD$15,000 to buy the bike, that is close to the cost of a conventional 400 cc without any of the maintenance costs. The hub motor means no belt drives, cogs, or sprockets to maintain either.

Riding the Evoke Bernard has saved approximately 12 L of fuel each week (34 weeks) for close to 408 litres over the time period. At an average price of $1.50 per L, that is a $612 saving. The Evoke has a 9.5 kWh battery, so charging it 80% at 40c per kWh is $3.04 per charge. He charges for free on the weekends with his rooftop solar system, so his estimated running cost is $105 for the same 34 weeks — that gives net savings of $519 just in fuel. The Suzuki would also have to be serviced at a cost of $100 (oil being the main cost), whereas on the Evoke all you have to do is kick the tyres — check that they are properly inflated. “It is a task, I know! I also have to put some grease into the two nipples on the swing arm once in a while.” He sighs.

Now he is standing for the Greens in the seat of Bonner. Climate change is here and needs an immediate response, not the do-nothing nonsense from Angus Taylor or Scott Morrison or the half-hearted response from the Australian Labour Party. Bernard also brings an extensive financial accounting background and detailed knowledge of business to his candidacy. The solutions we need are here now, he says. Government needs to make the right choices, not redo the past in tinsel paper, pretending it is change. The future belongs to our children, and it is our responsibility to pass on a thriving sustainable world, not one in flames & flood.

For more, see: Bernard Lakey — Greens for Bonner | Facebook

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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