After two heart attacks Whangārei man Craig Suester thought it was time he got fitter and healthier.

So a year ago Suester ditched his car for his commute to work and turned to his ebike for the financial and health benefits.

A year later the daily ride has seen him get healthier - as well as saving money and losing weight - and he's urging others to do the same. It's also helping him have a better night's sleep.

Suester has been riding his ebike to and from work for about a year. The trip is 50km return from his home on Kara Rd, Maungatapere, to his work at the Kauri Fonterra dairy factory.


It takes Suester about 45 to 50 minutes each way.

"It would probably take me an hour and a half on a normal bike," he said.

Over the past year he has done 5000km on the bike, which works out at about 100 trips.

"It is 5000km that my car hasn't had to do."

He has been told it costs about 10 to 15 cents a day to charge an ebike.

"I'm very fortunate that my bosses let me charge it at work, so I take my charger with me and charge it up at work."

Suester worked out that the trip to work each day in his car would cost $10 a day in diesel and road user chargers. That is not including the cost of tyres, maintenance and insurance.

The cost of petrol per day would have added up to $1000 over 100 trips, while the cost for 100 trips on the ebike works out at about $10.

The difference was a no-brainer.

''It's 10 cents vs $10 a trip."

The only days he doesn't ride to work are when it is raining because it is "uncomfortable and he struggles to see".

In the first six months of riding he lost 6kg, but he hasn't weighed himself lately.

"I feel a lot fitter and sleep a lot better," Suester said.

"You can choose to not pedal but that's cheating. I do it to get fit and lose weight, so I pedal as hard as I possibly can the whole way to work and home. By the time I get there, I've had a pretty good workout."

Suester only uses the assisted pedalling uphills.

"The assistance you get on the uphills is amazing. I can cruise up Maunu Hill from the hospital at 20km/h, I'm working hard to do that but I've got the help."

Myles Green from Northland eBikes, in Whangārei, which sells ebikes, said from his experience "ebike sales have doubled every year".

Green said the most popular ebikes were initially trail bikes. However, he has noticed a large amount of interest around commuter bikes as more people are wanting to ride to and from work.

He has noticed people are more interested in biking around Whangarei because of the increased infrastructure which makes it easier for people to bike around town.

Whangārei District Council is developing a network of shared cycling and walking tracks through the city.

After the spike in petrol prices last year, it influenced some people to make the shift to buying an ebike.

''There is a large upfront price, but in the long run it is cheaper as there is hardly any ongoing costs," Green said.

"There is an increase of young people who are buying ebikes."

Green said the ebike is changing people's lives.

"It's pretty common for customers to come back into the shop and say thank you."

Craig Suester ebike facts:
Weight lost - 6kg at last check
Kilometres covered - 5000
Petrol costs saved - $1000
Environmental impact - none, zero emissions
Health - feeling much fitter and healthier
Tyres worn out - none, yet