Boasting a fleet of 35 electric bikes, T̓iick̓in (pronounced t-eets kin) EBike Rentals opened up shop at the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction on July 1. For $99 a day, folks can rent an electric bike at two locations: Khan West Kitchen & Campground or at West Coast Shapes Ukee (kitty corner from Khan West).
Owned and operated by Ucluelet First Nations family Gordon Taylor Jr., Catherine, Kaleena and Gordy, T̓iick̓in EBike is set to lead the country into a sustainable, electric mobility future. Taylor Jr. says T̓iick̓in EBike, which translates to Thunderbird EBike, was founded based on the concept “Everything E”.
“Everything E to me is respecting our environment. And how do we respect our environment? Park your car. Park your car in the Tofino and Ucluelet area so there is less gas consumption and less emissions,” said Taylor Jr.
His generation, his parents’ generation, and his grandparents’ generation were all raised differently, having survived the struggles associated with being part of a residential school system, Taylor Jr. shares.
His dad was a logger for 40 years, and Taylor Jr. also worked as a logger for a few years before posting up at the Ucluelet fish plant for over 25 years.
“Logging was great when I first started. It went from a group of 300 plus men down to a group of maybe 20 or 30 so I went to work at the fish plant because that was 11-months out of the year,” he said.
In 2012, he bought Cynamoka Coffee House because he says he was sick of being stuck in the $21/hour mindset. He ran the Ucluelet-based business with his family for three years before selling in 2016.
Now with T̓iick̓in Ebike Rentals, Taylor Jr. says he has built a foundation for his family to have full-time work 100 per cent of the time with the goal of being environmentally friendly.
“We want T̓iick̓in to be a full bike shop where we do rentals, we do tours, leases, and we sell bikes and we have the ability to repair,” Taylor Jr. said, adding that he hopes to expand to Kwisitis Visitor Centre on Wickaninnish Beach next year.
His daughter and bike shop manager Catherine, 35, is in full support.
“This is something my dad has been talking about for most of my life. It’s really exciting and we all have the same sort of mindset. We want to help the environment,” she said.
Son Gordy, who is T̓iick̓in’s bike tech manager, is working on getting trained to fix Ebike motors.
“It’s going to be great. We’re going to have a guy come down to do the course,” said Gordy.
Partnerships with local tourism operators are on the horizon as well. Hello Nature Adventure Tours is offering an Ebike / hiking tour to Wya Beach, a secluded gem in Ucluelet First Nations traditional territory.
“To me, that’s another step to our goal of being environmentally friendly. It eliminates Hello Nature from travelling down to Wya with their vehicles. Now they’re travelling down on Ebikes and doing the trail path,” said Taylor Jr.
In Nuu-chah-nulth stories, the Thunderbird had the ability to throw thunder and lightening and would use this power when it had fights with whales, Taylor Jr. notes.
“Because we’re talking about electric… Thunderbird, lightening, T̓iick̓in, the Tbird is the one,” he said.
T̓iick̓in EBikes was able to lift off with support and a grant from the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation. Taylor Jr. expressed gratitude to Ucluelet First Nation management, OHM Electric Bikes in North Vancouver, Nutcase Helmets, Arrowsmith Bikes, and all the local West Coast community partners that helped his family turn a business plan into something real.
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