Posted by Bruce Ponder, Product Designer - Loko Bike Parts on 8th Jun 2016
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I took 3+wks to check the math, test bikes and solar-options and it's finally obvious - eBikes are BEST for those committed to biking regularly. For under $200, you can try a quick-release eBike-kit (plus battery) -- and I've decided to give a FREE ($30-60 value) mount-set to the first 1,000 who follow us, Share on FaceBook or accepts any Copenhagen-Challenge -- to try "motor-assist" inexpensively on any bike. Now anyone can ride a lot, more.
For 6 wks of this 12 wk experiment, I used bikes for transportation not just recreation. Hauling luggage, laundry, pets or passengers for miles or nearby errands - with few rides from friends, I ride 80+% of the time. Despite being a fit cyclist, having a flexible schedule, and a Vespa for some trips, I often wish I had something pushing me. Hills, heat, wind or any cargo-weight slows my will. Learning that 2-wheel transit can save $2+ Million by driving less (at standard IRA rates) I began testing motors to see if my biking can be any easier. I first asked: 1) if bikes go 20-28-mph, carry 100+lbs of cargo -- and solar can push it continuously at 1300 mpg -- why use so much bloody-fracking oil 2) which $4,000+ eBike is BEST, any drawbacks, 3) what if one bike does it all: pedal-bike, eBike and a clean, quiet motor-bike? Having a bike go a bit farther, faster, easier -- and that does far more for less cost -- proved to be more valuable than I ever imagined.
The Copenhagen-Challenge started as a dare:" try a Car-Diet, see what you save." What I found was shocking - million$ in health and wealth returns almost anyone can access in 3-Steps: 1) do basic math below, 2) drive just 20% less- 1-day/wk or even 30-mi/day for 30-days, 3) keep what you $ave - repeat regularly. At this rate, I'll see Copenhagen (and Nairobi) on 6 month's of savings. So what do cars REALLY cost? As a former mortgage-banker and financial-advisor, I interviewed 1,000's of people and know well that by age 55, half have less than $10,000 saved, 33% have zero. Not to consider a priceless lifelong health benefit (and $avings) take $8,000/yr (AAA says that's below average) ÷ 12,000mi/yr = $0.66/mile for cars then compare: 1-3 cents/mile for a bike, eBike or motor-bike. Biking 1-day/wk gives us $500,000+ for trips, education or retirement. Stunning stats below. Enthusiasts can join our fight for more tax-credits (like SUV's and sec-179) for solar-recharging bikes. Our climate (and our wallets) need this. Motors are scoffed at by purists but provide the help many need to bike. Car alternatives can't be painful or we'll just drive because the system is rigged for cars - billions is spent convincing us to drive their lastest/greatest. But cultural-capital develops momentum as our values align with small actions it compounds, then it rewards us. Ebike riders use their bike 5x more than pedal-only riders - now I know why.
Copenhagen Challenge Rules: 1) Decide to Drive Less, Bike More and set a destination and travel date, 2) Bike 1-day/wk or 30-min/day for 30-days, 3) Keep what's $aved, consider giving 10% to charity. Challenge or tag friends (or maybe you two can meet us in Copenhagen) as this Challenge and Free-Riders (any solar-recharged bike) gather more momentum. Cyclists who Follow us, Tag friends or Share the challenge on FB will get a FREE* (details below - up to $60 value) Instant EBike Mount and 10-40% off eBike motors or light-weight folding solar-kit to help you Ride and Save More. Instantly, these mounts let any bike attach, 250W-750W GNG or Cyclone electric-kits, light solar-panels or quiet 4-stroke 38-49cc motors. Kits cost $300-600, propane kits, running 98% clean ship this fall, and belt-drive will ship next year. If you NEED A BIKE - order from the BIKES menu above and get 25-50%-off on Bikes and eBike kits… for life.
Bike, Ebike, MotorBike or… a Free-Rider.
These last few weeks, and next few, more motorized-bikes and eBikes were and will be tested on buses and trains to cover more ground. Two sad events in the last weeks: my girl-friend's bike being stolen and a fellow NM cyclist killed riding slow on fast streets, caused some soul-searching. Shocking analysis showed: 1) how a faster bike is safer, 2) how much biking actually saves, 3) how many Free-Riders, solar-recharging 1300+mpg/20-28 mph bikes, now exist - LINKS BELOW.
Cars Vs. Bikes, Costs Vs. Benefits. I thought, "I always need my car" yet 5+Billion people don't or drive far less. Cars are needed when equally fast forms of transport don't exist. Tesla solar-charged and self-driving cars are nice but who can afford that and we enjoy controlling many things, so: 1) if bikes offset car-miles which bike is BEST to drive less, 2) can Bike-Benefits outweigh Car-Costs, and 3) do I care more about climate-change, college/debts, healthcare, foreign-wars/oil-policy OR my social-media or car-culture status? These are "real" questions each must answer personally but the growing global consequences are profound and also, quite real.
Cars Vs. Bikes, Speed Vs. Safety. It seems obvious, "bikes are more dangerous" yet 1.2 Million die in cars yearly! A car averages 15-20 mph in city traffic with lights, parking, and is driven 80+% solo/empty so that begs two questions: 1) if bikes average car speeds in city, why spend as much driving, 2) are bikes that average this speed actually safer? Motorcycles or scooters must ride in traffic. Bikes or eBikes share bike-lanes or paths at a proven safety/speed max of 18-28mph so a bike or eBikes with ride-sharing, bus or train provides the most affordable and perhaps BEST transport there is.
Bikes are safer but often hard to use. The physical, fiscal, personal and social gains are huge so cities who study this spend Billions on bike infrastructure. Bigger, expansive U.S. cities have poorer public transport, so assisted-bikes are even more important than to Germans who bought 500,000 eBikes last year. Perhaps our biggest cost is Opportunity - what isn't spent on trips, travel or education when we spend $8+k/year AAA says on cars - what jobs or pursuits can be made by driving less? Cars cost most 25-35% of income after housing costs so many of us become broke, overweight, depressed and isolated. 65% never leave the USA, it's sad. Biking can add more adventure and travel in ways we can reconsider.
Ebiking/Motor-Biking Advantages to pedal-biking and (more accurately) rising Car Costs and overall Pollution:
1) averages 2-3x the speed of normal biking, 2) get used 5x more than a pedal bike, 3) low cost to buy, repair, operate and don't require license, registration or insurance in most cases. To compare eBikes to Bikes is to miss the point. Biking must be easier or we simply drive then fail to add up its costs. If miles are biked or walked obesity or depression, personal-savings and local-shopping rates greatly improve; it's far more social, enjoyable and relaxing than more traffic.
Inherent eBiking Cost/Benefit: 1) expensive to buy, 2) repairs not local, take long, 3) recharging, 4) theft risks rise with a bike's value, 5) heavier to transport, 6) non-upgradable parts, 7) slower than motor-bikes, 8) it's no longer a pedal-bike. 9) 3-6 hours recharge means plugging-in every 20-40 miles, 10) no gearing, hard or impossible to convert to pedaling. It can get 1300 mpg and recharge for a dime though. Skeptics on $2M in (SAVINGS) or MPG, see it here (1300mpg) and it's (SAFER) is why California just allowed eBikes to go 20 mph on many paths, 28 mph on roads with certification but no license. If gas returns to $4-5/gallon (or when you turn 65) you will feel like a financial-freaking-genius, guaranteed.
Inherent Motor-Bike Cost/Benefit: 1) most are loud, dirty and illegal by exceeding 49cc and 30mph laws, 2) heavy to lift, 3) noxious to store, 4) not allowed on safer bike-paths/lanes, 5) repair/assembly not easy or fast, 6) hard to pedal along, 7) requires mechanical ability to setup or repair, 8) shops won't touch them due to liability and insurance, 9) most gas-bikes become a semi-permanent "thing" unlikely to be a clean crowd-pleasing pedal-bike or a quiet solar-charged 1300+mpg electric bike. It's easy to see why eBikes are favored, yet a 4-stroke/38cc Honda pushes a bike 20-30mph at 150+mpg for 100+ miles, refueling in seconds. I'll review a propane version next. 2-stroke kits are lower cost to buy so many using bikes for transport bolt them on, but it breaks down fast; not nearly as reliable. Any gas-bike isn't allowed on paths, parks or public transport so bikes with instant or exchangeable electric may be the BEST - we'll see next week.
Climate-Change be Damned, $500k-$2M in personal-savings is enough for Americans to bike; economic, ecological and overall health benefits are bigger than SUV's that exploded in popularity after section-179 IRS code let a broker or "sole-proprietor business" using accelerated depreciation on cars not equipment; a Big-Oil favor and Bankster loop-hole. The BankRate calculators factor 7% returns, 3% inflation and 4% in retirement - typical factors financial-plans provide. How this differs is that BIKES GIVE YOU CASH many lack to start, or continue to save. Chose your own factors but don't fool yourself, any car costs $6,000+/yr. Make a percentage to bike, stick to it, then save it. Start with $3-4k, a first car's average cost, then 20-80% of $8,000+/yr we'd spend on costlier cars. Ride 1-4 days/week instead of driving, it's a simple habit.
I revised trip ratings by eBike (motor-bike next wk) and rated 1-to-10 where 1 = anyone can, to 10 = hardcore only. No wonder cargo-eBikes are so popular in Europe - they carry more than a scooter or moto - add electric and it hauls 100+lbs, pulling 200-lb trailers. Bicycles ride on prettier side streets, park on sidewalks, cut thru lots, going slow but steady in many protected lanes. Cars average just 10-15mph in many, if not most US cities, due to rush hour and long lights.
Ratings are subjective but I can't relax if I'm worried my bike/eBike may be stolen. Even locked or at a valet it's often a $3-5k loss/risk. If it's a low-cost bike or motor-system removes, ratings drop 2-points - nearly same as driving and more enjoyable. We rarely see $3,000+ bikes parked on streets and quality eBikes cost $3,000-5,000 so they're also not used as often; that's a shame. I put my savings into a jar after logging estimated miles or use Strava/MapMyRide, if I remember.
Yoga Studio/Gym, Restaurants, Shops, Movie --- difficulty rating 3-5 (Savings is $0.63+/mile or $2--8.00 per trip)
Market/Grocery / Shopping / Errands ---------------difficulty rating 4-5 (Saving, plus its more social and far more fun)
Hardware Store / Heavy Objects -------------------- difficulty rating 3-5 (Savings, trucks rent at HomeDepot/Lowes)
Business Meetings / Parties / Events ----------------difficulty rating 3-4 (Savings plus people see your convictions)
Vacations / Road-trips / Getaways ------------------ difficulty rating 3-4 (Depreciates a rental vehicle, more variety)
$800 is in a "Cars $uck" jar already. Ebikes are a conversation starter and a social fabric builder - good clients, family and friends appreciate you living your ethics. In 4 more wks, I'll have saved enough to buy a ticket to see my daughter in Kenya and we'll very likely meet in Amsterdam to ride bicycles.
Overall Observations (and FREE* mount details)
There's no perfect bike but one I like most in city, is an electric cruiser for reasons I'll describe in coming weeks. I'll also review each of my bikes, and motor-combinations for commuting, hauling or hauling ass, just for fun. I can't take my scooter or motorcycle onto public transport and despite being less powerful, I prefer a bicycle's portability (I'll post train/bike trips to Santa Fe, LA, and Chicago). My bicycles carry 3x more than my motorcycles or scooter and it easily hauls a trailer without no special license. Motorcycles are better on highway but dangerous. Bicycles with electric may be best the overall. I'll also review the best bike types, cargo-bags, folding/lightweight solar-panels and alternative fuels.
There's no free-lunch. Your savings and ROI will vary. Cash taken earlier means less interest/dividend-reinvested, so savings may be less, or more. Most will buy less expensive cars. Try it, and if you show us a BETTER less risky way to do it, we'll enter the top-10 ideas to win a free Loko-Bike. It's our favorite bike, a detachable electric motor kit, a folding-solar panel and a trailer combo ($2,000+ value). We're refining a combination-eBike/Motorized upper-mount and this "give-away" lets us fund development of our own motors while utilizing bikes and motor kits, already are well proven.
FREE* MOUNTS ($40+ value) work like this - if you pay $20 S&H, we credit you $40 on any Bike, Motor-Kit or Folding Solar-Panel, with our hardware and quick-release parts included. Installation takes 30-minutes by a bike mechanic. It's also No-Risk - it's 100% Guaranteed Money-Back, just ship it back. Complete kits available now cost $300-600; electric is only more initially. Our mounts allow 50-75% lower costs to buy and repair than most eBikes, are far less than a non-upgradeable/fixed Bosch/Bafang electric unit, or quality (4-stroke) motorized-bike kit.
Thanks for SHARING our FB page and vids. Now let's roll… Bruce
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World's Most Popular Transport is often underpowered. Ever want to carry more, faster or easier by bike? Us too. The Loko Bike Rack fits most "standard" bikes and makes clean motors instant and temporary. 1 Billion bikes around the globe may just get... "better."How can you use it? Carry 4-6 bags of groceries + 40 lb [...]