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eBike Trip to Ceres!

We went a visiting to CERES today! It was the first outing for my eZee Torq having only just got heem back yesterday, and even with the long hiatus, battery charged fine and I didn’t even come close to running out, even going back via Merri creek and stopping in at FOE on the way home.

At Ceres, Chris had a bit of a look around the bike shed area, then we went and had a lovely lunch – there wasn’t a huge rmenu but the salad and the gluten free orange & poppy seed cake + bush chai were all great. My salad looking delicious:

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But Chris looked a little alarmed by his muffin:

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Got asked by one of the staff about my tshirt, and had to provide a business card, heh. Then we went wandering, and I took many photos:

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I then went and bought a bunch of seedlings at the Nursery, we wandered back down past the hoardes of chilluns, and then all loaded up zee bike, we chuffed off back to the city, via the Merri trail, though the way was confusing at times and we ended up having to go up stairs at one point. Oops. Of course, we had to stop for photo ops along the way:

Here’s a pic of Chris’ Brompton Folder “at rest”:

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and ready to roll [it’s really neat the way it just flips over!]

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and finally here’s me and my eZee Torq [not the most flattering pic of me ever, but eh]:

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And then, just when I thought we were almost in the city, we came upon the Collingwood Children’s Farm which I had no idea was there! It was delightfully green, and very traditional farm vibe, almost a little too tidy and pristine, like Switzerland (if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know what I mean). Must go back for one of the Farmer’s Markets there or the Convent next door, as well as a nice breakfast at the Cafe [nom]. I have to say, the food at Ceres will be hard to beat.

So there, that was our Adventure. It was neat. I am hoping to do more eBiking rides in future. If you can suggest any good rides in Melbourne, please do!

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Trikke! … and respoking.

As mentioned in my last post, I decided to buy a Trikke. It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and it took me at least a week to find a day dry enough to ride it home from work – we’ve had a ton of rain here! I’m glad I didn’t just take it out for a short spin instead though, because I think without giving this little HPV a bit of time, I would have given up. I’ve now done two trips to and from the city and an afternoon’s riverfront casual riding with friends on rollerblades. It’s a neat little toy, nowhere near as efficient as good rollerblades or a bicycle, and certainly not as energy efficient as an ebike by a long shot – yet a really fun experience once you become accustomed to the very different motion; more like ski-ing than anything else, though I’ve yet to ski it definitely looks similar. It’s not got the freedom or the reach of rollerblades, at least, the smaller [and cheaper] Trikke6 I decided to go for didn’t. I imagine the bigger models may have better gliding capability – this one I got for a steal on eBay though, and may consider buying a bigger one in future, especially if I can find one cheaper than the standard $400 odd dollars…

Here’s a tiny video I just uploaded to youtube, to give you an idea what fun we had on Saturday:

And because this post has had very little ebike content, I should mention that I needed to have my rear wheel respoked by Chris a few weeks back. The spoking pattern put in initially wasn’t as strong as it could be, and the new pattern hopefully will be much more robust. The GL-2 is a hefty motor though, and because of its shape, is a bit trickier to spoke than motors with a smaller diameter. Here’s pic of Chris respoking:

Chris respokes my rear wheel

I am looking forward to getting out and about tomorrow, I’ve been a lazy thing about fixing a puncture: my least favourite bike job, even though it’s not really that hard I will procrastinate for far too long if I have other transport options available.

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Random pic:

Somewhere around Bega….

Just a random pic taken before the rain began on Day 8.

More commentary & selected pics tomorrow or soonish after. Have uploaded all pics to the gallery, but they are not all sorted, nor do they have captions. If you were on the ride, you won’t need them, and if not, well, you can extrapolate for the meantime.

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It’s been a week…

… and I’ve only just got around to downloading photos from my phone to my pc! I couldn’t do any pic uploading easily in Sydney, and as soon as I returned home work engulfed me, so this has been the first moment I’ve had to look through everything and start to try and take stock and process.

And it’s made me realise that it’s taken me a week to re-adjust and think about the ride in a rational way.

We really did an amazing thing. As I scroll through my photos I am having moments of memory far more vivid than on other trips or journeys. Everything in retrospect is framed with an aura of hyperreality. The trip exhausted me far more than I expected, and I know for at least the second half I was really dog tired every day, and my mind was far from its’ best. But looking back I am reminded of what we achieved and how important I think the event will come to be in retrospect. I really look forward to the doco coming together.

But in the meantime, I’ll be uploading all the pics I can to a new gallery here, and start uploading to youtube as well, with more blog posts to follow with my favourite pics and perspectives of the trip. First two vids are up, from the launch:

More on the way!

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Ooh! PREZZIES!

ebikeHey folks, I have arrived safe and sound in Melbourne. Yesterday I went down to the warehouse where the bikes have been stored, charged and in all manner made ready for the trip, to meet some of the guys, and to pick up mine! It is a gorgeous thing of beauty indeed. Here’s what she looks like over to the right. The motor has a bit of a whine to it, but I have been informed that has alot to do with the speed limiter. Rides wonderfully, soooo comfortabuls and very sturdy. The dynamo which I initially poo-pooed is actually quite good too, and didn’t feel like too much resistance when riding at night. I will be riding it a lot more today, so expect another update if I get time to get near the Interweb.

The other rather cool thing I got was a brand spanking new Crumpler bag – they are sponsoring the ride, and each rider gets a Crumpler to show off! In typical style I got a black one. It’s big enough to carry anything I’d need on the ride, and very comfy too. YAY CRUMPLER! Below is a pic of Christian, who will be making a documentary of the ride, unwrapping his shwanky million-pocketed Crumpler camera bag, while being filmed by Stephen, and Ilka watching on. Plus you can see one of the very cool cruiser eZee bikes in the background too:

Crumpler

We also had a small meeting in the evening last night for most of the riders to meet and get together. It was pleasantly informal. Unlike the launch; which looks like it’s going to be HUGE: Peter Garrett is confirmed to do the honours, which is a great show of support, and Kate Ceberano will be putting in a guest appearance to support her brother Phil who is playing at the launch and doing the whole ride! Stephen says in the last week media interest has gone through the roof and it seems like critical mass has been reached in regarding people believing in the event. Huzzah!

Have had some random intermittent problems with sending email from my phone [grrr] so updates may or may not happen directly from the launch tomorrow. Will see how we go! Wish me luck!

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Cor!

Here is a great pic I’ve just been given by Stephen of him, his gf and Phil Ceberano down on St Kilda beach with 3 of the bikes for the ride, which have arrived safely in Melbourne. How sweet do they look???

St Kilda eBikes

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OoooOoooooooooooo BIKES!

Just got told which bikes we will be using for the Suitable Transport ride [my pic and bio is up on the riders page now btw]. They are going to be these: the “eZee Torq”. I think they could have come up with a less cheesy brand name, but the bike specs are sweet!

30Klm/hr
36V 10 Ah Lithium Ion or 36V 9Ah NiMH battery
35 klm Li Ion, 30 klm NiMH
23kg including battery
Brushless Servo motor nominal rating 200 watts with planetary gears
Automatic Smart charger, maximum charge time 5.5 hours
Road bike, Al alloy 6061
Kenda 700 C x 45
Tektro V-brakes front Shimano Roller brakes rear
Shimano Sora 8 speed
~ 80%
< 60 dB
@ 5N-m 120 watts, 4 amps, 36V, 200 rpm

AWESOME! These look a fair bit like the zbike I was keen on a few months ago – but these only weigh 23kg – including the battery[the zbike was 50kg, eeek]! Stephen has tested them and says they do pretty well up the hills, and he’s been riding longer than me, and is an electronics engineer, so I would say has a pretty good eye for such things. I’m super excited, if just a little bit trepidous for my bum, which will I expect get a little sore from that much time on a saddle seat.

Still: WHEEEE!

And now… here’s an interesting tidbit about bikes and helmets:

It’s safer to wear a wig

KAMALA HAYMAN – 14 September 2006

Cyclists may be safer wearing a long-haired wig than a helmet, new research suggests.

In England, a Bath University study found drivers gave a wider berth to cyclists with long hair than those wearing helmets. The study, by psychologist Dr Ian Walker, also found bare-headed cyclists were given more room than those wearing helmets. Walker used a bicycle fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to record data from more than 2500 overtaking motorists. He wore a helmet half the time. During his research, he was struck by a bus and a truck – both times while wearing a helmet.

In research to be published in the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal, Walker found drivers, on average, passed 1.33m from his bicycle. However, when he wore a long-haired wig – to give the impression he was female – overtaking drivers gave him an extra 14cm. By contrast, when he was wearing a helmet, they passed 8.5cm closer. Larger vehicles also narrowed the gap, with trucks passing 19cm closer than cars and buses, 23cm closer.

He wanted to do more research to understand why drivers appeared to give female cyclists such a wide berth. It was possible they were seen as less predictable than male riders because they were not seen on the road as often as male cyclists.

He suggested drivers saw cyclists with helmets as more serious, experienced and predictable than those without, and therefore needing less space when overtaking.

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Dun Dun DAAAAA…. in CARS? [part II]

Thankyou everyone who responded to my little poll so far. I would like to make a few comments regarding responses. I have been gathering some very interesting information overnight, and this evening too.

So. It seems there are very few cyclists in our midst, with the majority of folks either driving or taking public transport for most of their commute.

It is great to see people using public transport instead of cars [though in some cases, because there doesn’t appear to be any other choice ie no license, no money for a car. But there IS another choice, in some cases] But I don’t use PT more than once every few months, and haven’t for a long time: too expensive & too slow. My scooter is much cheaper than public transport, and about 1/5 cost of a car to maintain. But it still spews pollution [nasty nasty pollution at that] – so I will sell it very soon. But it’s been a good transition! My ebike is about 1/5 of the cost of my scooter, probably less: and is faster for most of my daily trips. It will be faster than PT for most bus trips I’d be comparing it to, and if you add walking time, will win all out in nearly all cases. The only time I’d consider PT now is to go to the end of a line, or take my ebike and extend range from those points. So for most points I refute for cars, consider the ebike advantages over PT too.

So.

One of the major reasons for using a car for commuting is that it is faster than other forms of transport:

Over half of you travel less than 10km each way. Did you know than an ebike will get you a full 10km of distance, in about 20-30 minutes even on busy roads? This would be comparable, and in many cases, faster, than a car for the same distance. Even for longer distances, depending on traffic conditions, congestion and speed limits, an ebike would very likely put you in front.

And this is before we even begin to get into the area of “effective speed” – which examines how fast you are really going, when you take into account how much time you need to work to earn the money to pay for your transport, as well as your own personal maintenance time, if any. Here [pdf] is an excellent analysis of the effective speed of various vehicles for commuting purposes. Cars: between 12 – 23 kph, depending on model. Bus: approx 21 kph. Cycling: approx 18 kph. Ebike??? … not on that report, but taking the data I know of from my own use, I calculate it to come out at about 25 kph.

The other main reason for people using cars, is that people are just plain lazy.

Did you know you don’t even break a sweat using an ebike if you don’t want to? You can go up to 30kph easily using no pedalling at all. It’s hilarious doing no work and passing all these sweating hardcore cyclists with ease. Seriously – it’s so much fun.

Also, I have been reminded that safety is a really important issue too, and a big reason why people aren’t using public transport, and just have to use their cars. Sure, I would agree about public transport late at night, and I myself don’t recommend using PT at late hours, if I can avoid it. So…. supposedly cars are the only option for late night travel, or indeed safe travel at any other time? Wrong. Bikes are probably not as dangerous as you have been told. You are significantly less likely to die cycling than in a car for the amount of time spent doing either, and the more people who ride, the safer it gets. You are also, surprisingly, safer cycling at night, as long as you are using lights and following road rules [the reason statistics show night cycling is more dangerous is because many accidents happen at night due to lack of lights or bad cycling]. Why are we constantly told cycling is more dangerous? Because the car has ruled the road and anything that requires extra attention on the part of the motorist is removed if possible. But we are now aware of the very serious risks we run by continuing current practise, and continuing to use fossil fuels even when there are better alternatives. Plus ebikes improve safety over bicycles as they reduce the speed differential, and give you extra acceleration capacity to get out of potential trouble.

Of course, other people responded the reason they use their car is because of health issues. Do you realise that the sedentary lifestyle encouraged by car use is responsible for about half of the life-ending health issues in typical “top 10 cause of death” statistics, including heart disease, lung disease, strokes, diabetes and suicide – all causes of death which may have been prevented by exercise. Do you know that, despite it being possible and at times desirable to be lazy on an ebike, because of the likelihood of owners using them far more often than regular bikes, they end up exercising more, without really trying, and thus get fitter? If your health reason for driving is because of your inability to sit on a bicycle seat – there are recumbents which have seats similar to car seats. If you have balance issues, there are etrikes. If your health reason for driving is because you can’t pedal – as stated before, on an ebike – you don’t have to.

Just another wee note. Carrying stuff. It’s a great excuse for taking the car instead of a bike. But did you know you can get great trailers, kid-seats as well as panniers, bike racks, baskets… there’s a huge range of options for tranporting things, and people, on an ebike.

So. If you want to get there safer AND faster AND be lazy AND be healthy AND carry stuff, an ebike is the answer! *nod*

nb. I know there are situations in which an ebike is not practical. But think carefully about your situation. There is probably a greater than 50% chance it would be a better choice for you for commuting, and you would be healthier, happier and have more time and money to spare, if you were using one.

[Goodie Goodie Yum Yum]

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Bike cont.

Hehehe… top speed this morning on way to work: 44.9 kph ^_^

The motor looks like this, for those who are interested:

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