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

Archive for May, 2009

World Record Attempt for “longest eBike ride” a sham?

Hitting international news all over the world is the story of Eddie Sedgemore, a 66 year old Brit, who is claiming to be making a world record attempt for the “longest journey on a motorized bicycle” according to Powabyke.com. Eddie has previously completed several trips the length of Britain on electric cycles, and has raised hundreds of pounds for charity, which is fantastic: and he’s now set his sights significantly greater than his previous rides. However, having researched the story a little more, I’m in two minds about how valid this world record attempt is, given the record it’s claiming to break is not for an electric bicycle – but for a mobility scooter. No matter what the age or physical fitness of the rider, these are NOT the same things, and gives entirely the wrong impression about electric bicycles. Not only that: there’s already been a MUCH longer record breaking attempt, on a mobility scooter, not an eBike!

The current “official” world record for “Longest Journey on an Electric Mobility Vehicle (scooter)” was set by John Duckworth in the UK – he travelled 2,662.8 km (1654.6 miles) around mainland UK on a Horizon Mayan electric mobility scooter between June 20, 2004 and July 27, 2004, finishing in Hincaster, Cumbria. However since this world record ride there had since been another MUCH longer ride made by the same charity organising John Duckworth’s currently listed ride: after 117 days riding, they completed 5,349 miles – completely blowing away the currently underway 1,655 mile “record breaking attempt” planned by Eddie.

Now don’t get me wrong – I believe that supporting charities and rides like this are very worthwhile, and raising awareness is even more important; but I’m simply astonished that the rider and bike company in the first place would mis-categorize a fully functioning eBike as a “mobility scooter” like this – and that major media outlets like the BBC would publish this and have it syndicated worldwide, after have done so little research to confirm the facts being bandied about. I imagine the mobility scooter riders who’ve done the previous world record attempts may be feeling… well, a touch miffed might be putting it mildly!

I’d also like to point out the differences between the two types of vehicles, a motorized scooter clearly seen above, contrasting with the image below of Eddie with the Powabyke X-byke electric bicycle he will be riding for this claimed record breaking attempt:

Not the same kind of vehicle in any way, shape or form, no matter how you try to slice it. What there should be of course, is a new category of vehicle for the world record attempt. However, Eddie might find that Spaniard Guim Valls Teruel who is this month beginning his Electric Bicycle World Tour might be beating him by just a little bit…. try 5 continents compared to just tootling around the UK!

Seriously – I’m impressed at the media coverage, and that’s good for electric bikes which are getting more and more mainstream press now (finally!!!) – but let’s do it under appropriate auspices, please?

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Nathan Fillion’s electric skateboard!

Great, and you JUST finished paying off the settlement over the Wayne Coyne hamster ball incident.

So it’s another post not strictly about electric bicycles – but the electric skateboard is probably its closest relative! Thanks to xkcd‘s latest comic (pictured and linked above) I now know that Nathan Fillion does indeed have an electric skateboard – an 800w one from this EW account, and after a little bit of web ferretting, I’m going to guess he most probably owns a board from Altered because they seem to be the best known and apparently are the originators of the vehicle. And when I say vehicle I do mean it, because 800 watts is a serious amount of torque, much more than any of the eBikes I own! Those boards are designed for all terrain and can go over grass and rough ground. Yikes! Below is one of the more standard street versions:

There also seems to be one manufacturer in Australia, Kronik Boardz. They also do a couple of 800w models including one with foot locks – and I wonder how on earth they manage to get away with that in this country! I guess maybe electric skateboards are yet to be classified? If 800w electric bicycles were legal here, we’d probably have a hell of a lot more converts… see below for a Channel 10 intoduction to Kronik electric skateboards in Oz!

While they don’t look too exciting on video, I’m a bit of a nanna when it comes to riding, so seriously, I could even consider getting one of these. I’ve never been keen on skateboarding, and my very brief flirtation with a Razor scooter ended in several bruised bits (including my ego), but an electric skateboard might be something I’d be able to pick up a fair bit quicker. And while I really enjoy my Trikke, it’s a whole lot more effort than a bike to ride, so it’s stayed in storage for a while. An electric skateboard would be considerably more portable than either, too. Plus I could say yeah, Nathan Fillion has one of these, when people ask me about it in the street. *chuckle*

Looking forward to Part Two from xkcd tomorrow!

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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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