Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

15.2.2019 Fairfax Tech Column 134


In my youth growing up in Dubbo, one of my favourite pursuits was motocross racing at Morris Park – and other venues around the State. I remember one particular rider who was an exceptional racer. The story around the track was that he honed his skills during the week doing his day job. He was a postie. He had his faithful Honda CT90 that he would ride up gutters and weave in and out of trees and the occasional traffic. At the time I thought it sounded like a great job. Ride a motorbike all week and then race on weekends!

Well for a modern postie, that world is about to change.

With electric cars slowly making inroads (tick for weekly pun) it is inevitable that electric motorbikes will also start to charge ahead (too many puns?) For the modern postie, the change is slightly different. An electric motor will replace the internal combustion engine but the transport method will also grow by one wheel. The bike will turn into a trike.

At first I thought this may have been related to the actual size of the battery required. But no. Back in the seventies when the CT90 was the main delivery vehicle, letters were being delivered. This is in the days before e-mail when people put pen to paper. But now Australia Post is increasingly being used to deliver parcels. The volume of parcels through Australia Post has grown ten per cent per year over the last three years and the expectation is that by 2020 one in every ten retail items purchased will be bought online. Tough time to be a retailer!

In addition to the e-trikes, Australia Post has ordered a new fleet of 4,000 electric pushbikes. I first rode an electric pushbike at a conference in Tasmania four years ago and they are an impressive piece of engineering. They are designed to add to your pedal power rather than take over from it – it is not designed to be a motorbike.

The added bonus for the e-trike delivery drivers (not sure if they are drivers or riders) is that it keeps them safer. Not necessarily from falling from their bike – but from the sun and from swooping magpies as the trikes have a small canopy. A trial has been running in Tasmania since 2017 but expect to see these e-trikes on our roads in the area soon.

The only down side I can see with the change in machinery is that any budding motocross riders may no longer be able to hone those skills for the track – but who knows. How long before we will start to see e-trike racing? We could even attend without needing to pack our earplugs.

Mathew Dickerson