Rick Small is cruising across Canada on his modified solar trike to raise awareness of the potential of solar energy. Small began in his hometown of Thunder Bay July 31 and came through Cranbrook on Friday

Rick Small is cruising across Canada on his modified solar trike to raise awareness of the potential of solar energy. Small began in his hometown of Thunder Bay July 31 and came through Cranbrook on Friday

The power of the sun keeps wheels turning

A Thunder Bay man is hoping to raise awareness on the uses of solar power by riding a modified trike from Ontario to Victoria, B.C.

A Thunder Bay man is hoping to raise awareness on the uses of solar power by riding a modified trike from Ontario to Victoria, B.C.

Rick Small began his journey on July 31 and has been on the road since then.

The trike is a Dragon e-bike that’s been modified into the Light Dragon. It runs on solar power and the elongated scooter carries one large solar panel on it and pulls one behind.

The vehicle doesn’t move fast – with a top speed of 32 km/h, but Small said the trip could have been a lot quicker with a few modifications. One of those would have been battery wall charger.

“If I would have brought my battery wall charger I would have saved myself two weeks,” he said.

The electric trike would usually have a range of about 50 km, but thanks to the solar panels, Small can go over 200 before having to let the batteries recharge.

Small originally made the bike because he is a solar enthusiast and hoped to cut his emissions down to nothing. He also hopes to see the day the roads are filled with solar vehicles that are charged through low hanging lights over the highways as they are driven.

He also noted that solar vehicles are economical and don’t require the further investment of gasoline or other fuels. So once the initial investment of the vehicle and solar panels was made, the vehicle can be charged up with the light of the sun.

So what will Small do when he reaches Victoria?

“Victoria is just a destination,” he said, adding that he could have made it anyplace. For him it was more about proving the journey across most of the country was possible on a solar-powered, three-wheeled scooter.