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

Archive for May, 2007

Bike bus – a great idea!

Posted recently on the CM-Melb list was this great idea which is getting some Sydney media: The Bike Bus. It seems to be a particularly Australian and even more Sydney-centric idea, which is understandable as Melbourne does tend to have much better bike lanes than Sydney so the need would not be as great. In the US and the UK, the term seems only to refer to a bus that takes bicycles, which is cool, but I like the bikebus concept here: it means a scheduled group bicycle commute.

One particularly strident argument I hear against cycle commuting is the danger inherent in riding in heavy traffic during rush hour on roads with no bike lanes in areas where traffic is not friendly towards bicycles. I am thinking of some major arterial roads in my own city, but even more so in many parts of the USA. Safetly in numbers is definitely improved, and taking up a full lane, while it does slow down traffic to a degree, is something traffic other than bicycles should be getting more accustomed to, because research has proven [pdfs] that the more cyclists there are on the road, the less accidents happen.

I would love to see this idea grow. If you are in an area where you think you might want to start one, there’s some guidelines on how to over here. I’m lucky, I live along a rail line with an excellent bicycle path for 90% of my commute, but many people are not so fortunate, and this could be a great way for individual cyclists to ride more safely and also more socially. And with ebikes, the weaker riders can easily keep up with the stronger ones, keeping the overall speed higher and more competitive time wise for those who don’t want to ride at a slower “social” pace to get to work.

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Random ebike meetings

So rode down to Fremantle today to see my accountant. Had planned to ride back via a supplier on the south side of the river and visit a friend but the accountant took so long I ran out of time.

Nearing Fremantle I rode past not one, but two, petrol powered bikes, they had stickers on them and I got the impression they may have been hired, but I was in a hurry so didn’t stop to ask. I got to Fremantle in about 4.5 AH, and in about 40 minutes from the CBD [20km distance= average speed 30kph, which means I must have been cruising at around 35 to account for traffic lights & other stops/slowdowns]. Not bad eh! 🙂

On the way home I managed to run into a guy on the corner of Barrack St waiting for the lights to change who had an old currie chain drive [I think?] on his rear wheel. Hi random ebiker if you are reading! [I gave my blog details ;)]

Not only that, but who should ride into view just as we were chatting? Chris! He had a replacement charger for me too, so it was a most fortuitous and exciting meeting – there are so few ebikers in Perth still, and it’s truly exciting meeting any others randomly. I complained about the petrol powered bikes, and lamented the difficulty of getting friends to even borrow a bike to see what they’re like. But we are agreed that electric bikes are aaaaaalmost at that critical point of becoming adopted widely in western countries 🙂 We just have to get people to try them!


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??? 🙂


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.


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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