Massive groups of people on electric unicycles are taking to Toronto streets
People have been taking to the streets of Toronto on electric unicycles in huge numbers, and they're being joined by people on e-bikes, Onewheels, e-skateboards and e-scooters.
Some of them have even banded together to make trips all the way to Burlington and back on rides that last eight hours.
Pretty much all of these people are part of the Toronto E-Riders group on Facebook, which has around 1,500 members. The group is inclusive of all "PEVs," or Personal Electronic Vehicles.
30 to 50 people usually show up to their group rides all around Toronto, which can be organized or impromptu, and every Wednesday they put on an Electric Race League at Ontario Place with time trials and races.
Their biggest rides are typically on Friday nights, and start at 7 p.m. at Queen's Park, making a circuit from there to the CN Tower, Distillery District, Evergreen Brick Works and ending at Ashbridges Bay for sunset.
LA transplant Nick Brown joined the group to foster his love of speed and movement after moving to Toronto in 2015 for work and then finding himself in a dark place after a few years.
He tried running but found it too hard on his body, and tried skateboarding but found it didn't satisfy his need for speed.
"Riding an EUC is by far the most fun I've had since I was a little five-year-old riding a bike," Brown tells blogTO.
"It is the closest thing to flying with a jetpack at a reasonable price. It literally feels like dream-flying. Like an infinite skydive, or close proximity wingsuit flying. It is pure magic."
The top speed for an electric unicycle is 82 kilometres per hour, and they can last up to 128 kilometres on a single charge.
"Some people use it for practicality as their primary mode of transportation, but I use it purely for fun," says Brown. "I can go out for hours and hours, getting lost and exploring new places."
While less expensive than a car, as a hobby it's not exactly cheap: Brown learned on an EUC that cost about $2,699, and has upgraded to one that goes for around $5,000. However, he says it's much easier than it looks.
"Although it may look daunting to learn, I think anyone who can ride a bike can ride an EUC. It only took me about 20 to 30 minutes before I was up and riding on my own," says Brown.
"It takes a few days for some people, but I'm a big believer that most people can do it. I've seen a wide range of shapes, sizes, ages able to ride with no problem, from small to large, young to old."
PEVs are still a bit of a grey area when it comes to laws and regulations, so the Toronto E-Riders play it safe by wearing full safety gear, not riding on pedestrian sidewalks, riding in bike lanes and roads and following all rules of traditional bikes on roads.
The group is talking about doing a trip to Niagara Falls in the near future, so if you're eager to hop on your PEV for a long-haul ride or just want to find out more about PEVs, you can find the group Fridays at Queen's Park or Wednesdays at Ontario Place.
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