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The Economist plugs eBikes: “Two wheels good”

A2B

A pleasant surprise indeed to find a mainstream and conservative magazine like The Economist plugging the humble eBike in a very positive article just a few days back. The article is fairly short, but includes a review of the rather snazzy A2B eBike from Ultra Motors, a well designed and compact eBike with a good range and a well placed battery pack. A top end ride, this is a bike I’d definitely like to own.

The article concludes with a derisive comment commonly flung at eBike users, the old “is this just for lazy people” epithet made by dedicated cyclists covered in lycra and swigging from an electrolyte drink bottle.

I just want to bash my head against a brick wall when encountering this attitude. Yes, I realise you need to make yourself feel more important and better than everyone, lycra brigade. But the fact remains – eBikes are more efficient that human-powered-only cycling, and by choosing to eBike, you are making a choice to use the most efficient form of transport that we currently have. This is not “lazy” – it’s smart and responsible. The benefit of arriving places not covered in sweat is really the icing on the cake.

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Carnival of the Green # 109!

Carnival of the Green

Happy New Year eBikers, and welcome to the first post of 2008, which is a bit of a change of pace for the blog as today I am hosting Carnival of the Green, a weekly linkfest from Treehugger which travels from blog to blog, with each weeks’ host choosing the best of submitted links to discuss and feature each Monday. There has been no Carnival for two weeks over the holiday period with the last being hosted at Great Green Gadgets, and so the pressure is on with dozens of links and a brand new year to celebrate and promote being green.

As part of a range of green transport links I’ll focus on to begin with, totally on theme and early in is Joe from Green Living Online, who gives a basic round up of ebikes for getting around college in style – the big man on campus is anything with two-wheels. Students who have clued into the fact that most travel is local are turning to a variety of plugged-in options.

Of course, to power your ebike you want to use renewable energy. Go Greener, Australia has an interview with Eloise Dorch, who recently campaigned against a price rise for renewable energy in Western Australia, where the sole power retailer has a monopoly and consumers cannot choose different companies as they can in the Eastern States. It’s a travesty that coal powered electricity is still being subsidised and making it harder for those with tight budgets to chose green power, and Eloise outlines her experiences in protesting this issue.

And while the temperature here in Oz is scorching, on the other side of the planet things are pretty cold! Mike from Hybrid Car Review gives some info and advice about how cold weather affects hybrid cars. Nice to note that hybrid sales are powering ahead and the Prius was one of the top 10 cars in the US in 2007 – that’s not just hybrids, that’s all new car sales – awesome.

And while you’re feeling chilly, or even just in need of a good excuse to reduce your power bills, Brave New Leaf has some simple easy to follow tips to improve your hot water heating efficiency.

And while most of us know we need to reduce our carbon emissions from travel – Veggie Revolution brings us a brief overview of Carbon Offsets to neutralise air travel and Susan J presents carbon friendly travel options with her Environmental Guide to San Francisco posted at Go San Francisco Travel Blog.

On to recycling. Stephanie presents a frugal and cool idea: Using Scraps of Wrapping Paper, posted at Stop the Ride! and Cindy of myrecycledbags.com has a new design for a recycled knitted plastic bag doormat. Adam at lifegoggles blogs about a very funky recycled can opener, and Green Deals Daily alerts us to a recycled and recyclable plastic tumbler which is more attractive than many I’ve seen in the same price range and style.

Last but not least, Adam from lifegoggles also submitted a blog post I rather enjoyed which is a bit of a catch-all, with fun green roundup #7: a humorous look at the best of Treehugger. A diverse range of links but the minimally lit billboard is my favourite for sure.

That’s all for Carnival of the Green today. Look out for next week’s at American Inventor Spot!

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Bike news

Picked up a new ebike today – well, new to me 🙂 Chris decided he wanted to sell one of his, and instead of getting a new bike and having him spoke in one of the GL2s he has lying around, given that I won’t be here for too many more months, I thought I may as well take the easy option with a cheapie bike. As the batteries I’d ordered before I even put my hand up for the Suitable Transport ride had just come in on Friday, Chris tested and put everything together so I could pick it up this afternoon. Yay! Now on the ST ride I did notice a difference in the performance of the NiMHs versus the lithiums: I liked that the NiMHs didn’t have a cutout and go kersplatt dead on ya, but they didn’t have quite same vavoom when fully charged. Not a huge difference mind: and would make less difference on my old bike being a direct drive and only 24 volt as opposed to this 48 volt baby :))) Very impressed with the improved torque over when I borrowed it with NiMHs a couple weeks ago. Shame the lithiums are quite so expensive, but I think totally worth it 🙂

The GL2 is so smooth and climbs hills so well I am thinking it’s probably got a touch more torque than the eZee Torq… but I’d need to compare them side by side to be sure. Maybe I will take it over to Melbs, or get the Torq shipped here so I can do just that! 🙂

Sorry… haven’t posted specific pics and commentary on the ride, work has swallowed me up. If you were on the ride and you’re reading this, where are your pics??? 🙂

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Bike cont.

Top speed this morning: 45.8 kph. Time to work from driveway to laneway: 12 minutes. ^_^ Distance is about 8km, so that’s ummm… let’s see – .66 kilometer per minute, which makes average speed approximately 40 kph. Unless I did the math wrong. If it’s 7 km, it’s more like 35 kph average speed. I’ll have to double check the distance. Also, it’s downhill more into the city than home, so going home should be a little slower. But not by much.

*edit* distance is 6.7km, so that makes av speed 33.5 kph. If I want to get down to a 10 minute commute, I need to be averaging 40 kph. What’s funny is that on my scooty it would usually take about 20 minutes to get in due to traffic and route required. Heh. *hugs electric bike*

I am very much liking the geared motor. It has a learning curve similar to using a geared scooter or motorbike: as I haven’t ridden one of those regularly for years [though I used one in NZ for 4 days] it’s reminding me it requires a different riding style, and a measure of skill, familiarity with the gears and also preferably the route. When I have done this for a few weeks, I expect to be able to get my commute down to around 10 minutes and thus have an average speed of about 48? Nah, I don’t know if that’s possible. Though – maybe my velometer is a bit out? It’s certainly possible, if not actually likely! I will check the figures some more, though I am going on my velometer to tell me how far the distance is I suppose I should check my scooter odometer and compare them.

But I don’t want to bother picking my scooty up from the shop, even though it’s fixed – I’m going to sell it soon for sure. Electric bikes FTW!!

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