“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands.
- Name: E-Bike KC, Dave Abadie
- Makes: Custom battery boxes; converts regular bikes to e-bikes
- Location: Sugar Creek, Missouri
- Background: Freelance computer programmer
- Number of years as a maker: 5 years as a hobby, about 7 months as a business
- Cost: $800 - 1200
- Speed: 20 - 25 mph
- Distance: 15 - 20 miles on a charge
On electric bikes rather than electric cars
"About five years ago, I got really interested in electric cars. And I saw somebody doing a project of converting an old car to electric power, and I thought that was really, really neat.
"So instead of just jumping in with both feet, I decided to do a bike project first. I did my first project, and it went really well. It worked better than I even expected it to. And I kind of forgot all about doing a car, and I just kind of focused on bikes. So I've been doing bikes ever since then."
On being a maker
"I've made a custom battery box — and this one's made out of aluminum and with plastic sides to kind of fit into the triangle of the bike there ... The motor is about 12 [pounds], the battery is about 8.
"I, personally, like to make more of a custom-type enclosure; I think it looks a little more original, it blends in a little bit better, and if it's constructed properly it will be a lot more durable than something that was just bolted on later. In that sense, that's kind of what I make."
On the appeal of an electric bicycle
"A lot of people don't really seem to understand why you would want to put an electric motor on a bike, past just not wanting to pedal as much. And that certainly is a big part of it.
"But what I usually like to tell people is that most people are not cyclists. And the difference between riding your bike and being a cyclist is quite a bit, especially on some of the hills that we have in the Kansas City area. So try to think of it more as an assist.
"It's a true hybrid vehicle in the sense that you really get two ways of power: You can use your legs, or you can use your electric motor, or you can use both."
Maker Faire Kansas City, Saturday and Sunday, June 24 - 25, Union Station Kansas City, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108.
Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.