Electrification is changing the two-wheeled world in a big way. Riding a bike is fun, but you get that extra zip when you’re riding an e-bike. And if you’re on the new ʔapsčiik t̓ašii Trail (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) between Tofino and Ucluelet, now you can ride it in style.
That’s because a Ucluelet family has opened the first Indigenous-owned e-bike rental company. They celebrate their first birthday this July.
T̓iick̓in (Thunderbird) Ebike Rentals opened a storefront at Tofino-Ucluelet junction with a fleet of 35 electric bikes. It was started by Gordy Taylor Jr, a member of the Ucluelet First Nation and a local entrepreneur.
Taylor Jr.’s parents are residential school survivors. Following in his dad’s footsteps, he worked as a logger. When jobs in the forest sector started drying up, Taylor Jr. got work at the Ucluelet fish packing plant. He stayed there for 25 years.
But he got tired of the $21/hour mindset.
So in 2012, he bought the Cynamoka Coffee House and ran it with his family until 2016. After years of smelling like coffee, he was ready to do something different. He knew he wanted to make a positive impact on the environment and also create local jobs.
Like his old business making espressos, the bike rental company is a family operation.
His daughter Catherine is manager, Kaleena George is assistant manager and often the one answering the phone, and Gordy Taylor III is the guy on the wrenches fixing and maintaining the bikes.
The family took the winter off, but they opened up again this spring. The plan is to grow the business into a full-service bike shop that offers retail sales, service, and tours.
Their business motto is “Everything E.”
“Everything E to me is respecting our environment. And how do we respect our environment?” he asked.
“Park your car. Park your car in the Tofino and Ucluelet area so there is less gas consumption and less emissions,” Taylor Jr told the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News.
With fancy bikes like these, it’ll be easy to leave the car behind!