It's been almost three years since The Wheelies was formed. What began as a simple hobby between 6 people in 2013 has now grown into a community of interest of 4000 members. It's a phenomenon fueled by the cool and exciting nature of wheeling, as well as the friendly and sharing nature of our local community, amongst which new friendships are regularly formed, and exciting developments are willingly shared such as new wheels, maneuvers and cool mods.
But challenges lie ahead. Where we could once wheel freely in parks and PCNs with friends and family, Nparks had now banned us in large part due to legacy problems with errant electric bicycle users. Public perception is also an issue. Some members of the public do not accept EUs, and even called for them to be banned outright without having an understanding on how the wheel works.
An EU operates totally different from e-Bikes and e-Scooters. Although both of them have lower battery wattage, a smaller motor, a smaller wheel, they generate more power and speed than an EU. The reason behind the faster speed in the other wheels is in the momentum and kinetic energy that is gained during movement, which is not possible with an EU.
Most of the EU in the market, the maximum speed is between 18-25km/h and a power rating for 450-800W. A higher rated power is needed to keep the wheel upright and balance given it is a single wheel. Additional power allows the rider (especially) heavy riders to stop safely without risking injury to himself or others around him. High power does not equate to high speed. There are maximum speed limitations within the firmware too; higher-powered motors provide added balance especially in extreme situation e.g. emergency brake, going up/down slope or hump.
The Wheelies also actively participate in various public activities to educate the public about EUs. Examples include LTA Family Day, Chingay 2016, PA Fiesta @ Heartlands, OCBC, Night Fest 2015, Salvation Army Charity event, Wheelies Safety day, Grassroots and RC events and many more. Besides sacrificing our own time on these activities, we even bought additional wheels to serve as training wheels for the public during these events. For our love of EUs and our local community, we felt that we needed to do all of these in order to garner a stronger and more positive public opinion about EUs.
At the end of the day, we believe that if we are united, we will be noticed and our voices will be heard. We are trying our best for the sport, but we are all imperfect and we acknowledge that there can be better ways to achieve our objectives. We encourage and remain open to such ideas, so that at the end of this road, we can all wheel freely and lawfully in Singapore.