Jack Kelleher of Clonakilty, West Cork in an outdoor area with other people and his electric bicycle.
Jack Kelleher from Clonakilty his self-converted electric bicycle and some friends.

Meet Jack Kelleher, retired but active from Clonakilty, County Cork. Jack converted his own conventional bicycle into an electric bicycle before buying a factory made one. He uses it now for his daily commuting around West Cork.

“The electric bicycle has given me a new lease on cycling for work and pleasure.”

Jack Kelleher, Clonakilty

Three years ago, I purchased a Kreidler electric bicycle from City View Wheels in Cork. Owning this bike changed my perspective entirely. I now cycle about twenty kilometres daily, using the electric bicycle as my primary transportation.

On weekends, I ramble the by-ways of West Cork just to enjoy the salt air and open road. The electric bicycle has given me a new lease on cycling for work and pleasure.

In its way, the electric bicycle is my dream come true. I’ve finally found a way to power a bicycle without noise, petrol stink, or dangerous proximity to chains, pulleys, petrol, and grease. Cycling an electric bicycle is a lot like flying in my dreams. I feel like Oisin in Tir na nÓg, forever young.

My first electric bike was a ZAP direct drive power kit I purchased mail order in the 1990s and installed on my shopping bike, a proto-cargo bike with big wire panniers and a kid seat on the back. The ZAP wasn’t my first attempt at powering a bicycle, I’d previously owned a ‘chicken power’ two-stroke petrol engine and had a long trail of other attempts at powered cycling.

I even briefly owned a French Solex motor bike, the kind Bridgette Bardot famously posed with. But I preferred my analogue bikes for their simplicity and grace. The power-assisted bicycle was more noise and trouble than it was worth.

About six years ago, a Canadian friend began sending me articles on electric bicycles soliciting my thoughts, all originally quite negative. I viewed electric bicycles as toys for the unfit.

However, she was persistent and forced me to upgrade my understanding of the modern pedalectric bicycle. A long way from my first bicycle, given to me for my seventh birthday, seventy-one years ago. It was a 24” Rainbow Frame Schwinn I called ‘Double Bubble’.

I’m a part of the Clonakilty Bike Circus, where I share my bike mechanic skills with others and show them how to convert a regular bike into an electric bicycle. My electric bicycle has replaced my car and gets me everywhere I want to go around the Clonakilty hinterland. So can yours!

Paddy and Anna Lane of Mallow, Co. Cork walking with their electric bicycles in a field.
Paddy and Anna Lane, Mallow
Conor O’Callaghan and his younger brother, Cormac, of Kinsale, County Cork on a country road with their electric bicycles.
Conor and Cormac O’Callaghan, Kinsale
Teresa Watkins of Youghal, Co. Cork with her electric bicycle in Youghal town centre.
Teresa Watkins, Youghal