Hi, I'm Chris and I'm a reformed motor vehicle-holic.
My story isn't that dissimilar to many in my generation. I went to University, got a full time desk job, and physical activity went the way of history.
My first job was based in the Brisbane CBD, and so my means of transport was the bus. By the age of 20 I'd bought my first car, and not long after got a job in the western suburb of Toowong. While it was still on the bus route from my home in Kenmore, I had free parking available, so I drove. And so began my addiction to private motor transport. I would drive to and from work. Drive to the shops. Drive to my girlfriend's house. Drive to the bus to the football.
Not surprisingly, obesity took hold and by the age of 25 I was tipping 130kg. Not pretty. An ankle injury suffered playing Oztag, a type of non-contact rugby league, was something of a wakeup call to get my weight sorted out. The rehab was so incredibly slow and painful because of my weight, I thought it was ridiculous. Walking, weights, and a stationary bike, Oztag refereeing and more playing, and within a couple of years I'd shed over 40kg - and a failed marriage. To celebrate I climbed Kilimanjaro for my 30th birthday.
But still the motor vehicle was central to life. Now I worked at the Gold Coast and really had no choice but to drive each way.
In 2010 I changed jobs back to the Brisbane CBD for the first time since I was 20. I was living in Jindalee with my wife and 2 kids, and bus travel was painfully slow with the Centenary Highway, so I was driving to Oxley station and catching the train. We were a typical 2-car household.
Mid-2011 some financial pressures were creeping up. It was a case of deciding which bills to pay on time and which to let lapse a bit to deal with the cashflow. It wasn't because of much lower income, but something wasn't adding up. It was then that I started looking into e-bikes and whether or not the concept of riding to work was viable. However, the initial cost outlay of an e-bike seemed high for something that, if I didn't stick to it, would be a waste.
So initially I used the crappy mountain bike I'd got from Subway from $50 for one of their promotions to get to the train station, leaving the car at home. The bike itself was pretty painful to ride, many of the gears simply didn't work or slipped, the brakes sounded like an Airzound and the tyres ran flat quicker than my wallet emptied. But it proved the concept to me.