Electric assist bikes (eBikes) are a great innovation in Wellington, but until recently WCC has ruled that they are motorised vehicles, and not allowed on the Open Space reserve tracks. However WCC is now trialing eBike access to a selection of tracks for one year.
The tracks include:
- Hataitai to City Walkway (commuter link track)
- Newtown to Hataitai Walkway (commuter link track)
- Te Ahumairangi Hill (commuter link track)
- Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park – downhill tracks north of Snake Charmer, and restricted to uphill on the 4WD tracks. (Not open to e-bikes: Koru, Sally Alley, Nikau, Leaping Lizard and Possum Bait Line, as these cannot be accessed from the 4WD tracks)
- Skyline Walkway from Makara Peak to Old Coach Road, including 4WD tracks at Chartwell and Sirsi Terrace
- Old Coach Road
- South coast (Te Kopahou) along coast line and the Tip Track and Red Rocks Track
- Spicer Forest Road and through to Tawa (Chastudon Place) and Broken Hill Road, Porirua
- Sanctuary Fence Line, through to Wrights Hills via 4WD tracks only
See here for Maps of the tracks
As part of the one year trial, WCC is surveying track users about how they have been affected by eBikes. Please fill out the survey whenever you use one of these tracks – as a walker, bike rider, or eBike rider.
For the trial, an eBike is defined as a bicycle that is mainly powered by human energy but assisted by a maximum continuous rated electric motor of up to 300 watts. The power assistance is limited to 25 km/h. eBikes complying with the EU Pedelec specification, e.g. have the Bosch motor system, will already have this limit built in. If you don’t have the power cutoff set on your eBike, you can probably set it on the controller of your eBike. It’s best to consult your user manual. As guide, here’s how you do it on the common King-Meter controller:
- Hold both + and – buttons down for 2 seconds to enter user settings
- Hold both – and M buttons and enter password 0512 (this step may not be necessary, or the password for your controller may be different)
- Select “Limit Speed” and set this to 25
- Hold M for 2 Seconds to confirm
It’s great that eBike users, who are often older mountain bikers like me who no longer have the fitness to tackle the big hills, will be able to enjoy the Open Space reserves. The trial will also open up some useful commuting routes.
It’s important that we respect other users so all get to enjoy the trails.