eBike blog – personal experience with sustainable transport for the new millenium

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In Warrigal

Hey folks, have had no luck getting photos through so far but will keep trying! The launch went really well, and the ride yesterday was slower than hoped and free of any major drama! I am feeling bright and sparky after almost a hundred km yesterday too, proving so far that it’s a lot easier than a regular bike ride. My bike had a couple of issues: a blown fuse that was fixed very quickly, and my seat lost a spring so was replaced at the next pit stop. Many of the bikes had minor problems, Stephen even re-attached some wires that had come undone while we were stopped at traffic lights! Also one of the Red Cross relay team girls, Esther, is from Perth and did Bollywood classes with me! Dinner last night was lovely and we just had breakfast in bed. Tonight we will be in Sale. Gotta go now and get ready, will be trying to update more often now I can at least post even though I’ll only be able to post photos when we stop somewhere with Interweb.

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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:


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!


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!

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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Oh and errr…

You’re probably sick to death of hearing about ebikes today, but, qamar just linked from her radio show lj, aclimateaffair about a really exciting awareness-raising ebike ride coming up in April! It’s from Melbourne to Sydney, with about 20 riders riding on ebikes for about 8 days, in their work gear, to prove you can do this without breaking a sweat, and that anyone can do it, not just super-athletes! It’s just everything I’ve just spent hours ranting about, and I’m bouncing around like an excited bunny at the thought of being involved!!

EEP! This would be the most awesome thing to do!!!!!

And one of the coolest things, I’d get to see in person the Schwinn World GSE electric bike pre-release model which Stephen will be riding – one of the 2007 Schwinn ebikes I have been salivating over since I saw them announced a few days ago. They don’t provide those for everybody though, damnit. Still, I was planning on getting another ebike anyways…

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