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Roshan Thomas’ company, Biktrix Electric Bikes, was started in 2014 and has been growing ever since.
(Photo by Joanne Paulson)
Electric Bicycles
City company selling bikes worldwide

If the world is truly going electric, Roshan Thomas has a big head start on the trend.
Admittedly, he’s going about it his own way: Thomas is creating electric bicycles, as opposed to turning gas-guzzling cars into, say, hybrids, but the initial inspiration was similar, and some of the effects on the environment are also there.
“I was out to build an electric motorcycle, but it was too expensive and not easily feasible,” said Thomas. “So I built an electric bicycle and everyone who test rode it wanted to buy it, so I started selling them.”
That was the beginning of Biktrix Electric Bikes in 2014. Last month at the NSBA Business Builder Awards, Thomas (and his company) was presented with the Young Promising Entrepreneur Award, winning the accolade after those in attendance at the banquet voted by text.
He’s not new to entrepreneurship. His father is an entrepreneur, and when Thomas was a youngster in Bangalore, India, he started a couple of his own companies, selling them before moving to Canada. He’s always on the lookout for opportunities, and admits to being “influenced by his surroundings.”

Giving up Internet cold turkey can give you the shakes

I put my phone on airplane mode as we departed from Saskatoon.
It was going to be eight days before I would have regular access to the Internet. I was on my way to Phoenix with my mom, Sandy and one of our sons, Brandon, to prepare my mother’s winter home for sale.
Since the home has been empty for two years, my mother had wisely cancelled both Internet access and her cable television package.
I wasn’t sure I could get through eight days without two of the staples in my life. If somebody said you have to give up one of television, the Internet or your dog, well, I hope we could find a good home for good old Dodger.
When we arrived at my Mom’s home, I started feeling the shakes almost as badly as I did when I quit smoking 35 years ago.
I feared turning on the data on my phone would result in exorbitant roaming charges.

Eight points the B.C. premier really needs to get

All right, Premier John Horgan. One more time.
I awakened early to the sound of explosions and police and fire sirens this morning, as a hotel under construction near my home burned down and basically blew up. I’m therefore tired and not in a good mood today, so forgive my snark. Or don’t. I don’t care.
I want to chat about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
I’m going to give you that there are always concerns in bringing fossil fuels to tidewater. I’ll also give you that the tidewater in question is in your province of B.C. and you have reasons for being wary. I might, maybe, give you that the pipeline should go through Prince Rupert instead of the Port of Vancouver. Maybe.
That’s all, though. Let’s consider the facts.
One. Pipelines are without doubt the safest method of transporting difficult products. Nothing else even comes close. Railcars, tanker trucks, whatever: pipelines are safer and much, much more efficient and effective. In themselves, they create fewer emissions than above ground transportation. So, those fuels are still comin’ at ya. The question is how. Subsidiary note: Railcars aren’t exactly pulling their load these days anyway. They suck in cold winters. Just ask our farmers.

Music festival raises awareness about mental health

Michelle Nelson wants to raise awareness about mental health issues, and she is using music to help accomplish that goal.
Nelson, a mother of three, lost her husband, Barett, to suicide in April 2016. In 2017, she was the driving force behind the first annual Barett Nelson Memorial Music Festival for Mental Health Awareness. The event was held just after the one-year anniversary of Barett’s death and raised $10,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association — Saskatoon Branch, Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Services and the Radisson fire department and first responders.
Nelson is now organizing the second annual music festival, which will be held on May 5 in the Radisson Arena. Radisson is located about 65 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, along Highway 16.
“Our main goal initially was to raise money for local mental health programs, but I think even more importantly now we want to continue to reach people and change the way mental health is looked at,” Nelson said.

A contract isn’t a contract when it comes to recycling

My understanding is that a contract is a binding agreement between two or more parties which outlines an exchange of goods or services, the compensation involved and penalties for breach of terms or conditions.
So why, mid contract, did city council agree to having the recycling contractor exempt plastic bags from the collection bins? What is the penalty to Loraas Disposal for the exemption, or better yet, what is the benefit to residents who pay for the service?
I harken back to the debates in 2012 as to whether the recycling program should be single or dual stream. The smart people said dual stream, which would separate paper waste from other products thus enabling a good quality recyclable paper that was marketable. The smart people said not to collect the glass, and if glass was to be collected, not to mix it with paper. The smart people lost the debate.
At that time, our city was in the midst of a boom. We were a rapidly growing progressive metropolis and every other large city had a recycling program and so must we. It was my impression that the council at that time wanted a recycling program and in order to get the public to buy in, the program had to be as inexpensive as possible.


Uncle Robert meant a lot to me

Of all the uncles who had influence on my life one stands out.
Uncle Robert wasn’t a very tall man, maybe five-foot-seven, but he was built like a rock. He had arms so big they were bigger than my legs. Basically, he was all muscle.
As an out-of-control teenager there were times I found myself being held by the police. I didn’t go around stealing or breaking into places. My biggest problems were always alcohol or drug related.
I would phone Robert and he would always come and rescue me. He would come by and tell the police I could stay with him and his wife, Irene. I had a great time staying with them because he taught me many things.
He was one of the supervisors in a huge sawmill in northwestern Alberta. He was also a backyard mechanic.
On weekends he would be working on vehicles and I was his assistant. He sometimes called me his trainee, but I was basically his flunky.
He would make me run for this tool or that tool, but I didn’t care because I was learning lessons I carried throughout my life.


Mayor Clark nails the message we need to hear

I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with Mayor Charlie Clark these days.
I’m probably more sheepish about than begrudging of my praise for Mayor Clark. I have definitely been a vocal political critic of him in the past, but that’s kind of a thing with me. Politics is never personal (until, of course, it is).
Admittedly, I’m not a super fan of municipal taxpayers’ dollars being spent on social justice issues messaging, particularly around broad scope issues that I really don’t see as being in city council’s domain, like climate change.
On that, our provincial governments and federal governments are spending more than enough money using it to promote their political agendas, so I think the city can stay out of it.
However, Clark’s administration has created a conversation around one of the most important issues facing our city today: racism. The city, driven by Clark, is forcing a narrative on truth and reconciliation, and our individual and community relationships with Saskatoon’s Indigenous residents.
With that in mind, initially my eyebrows went up when I saw some of the statements he made last week in this year’s state of the city address, which he delivered at a luncheon hosted by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.