Posted by Bruce Ponder, Product Designer - Loko Bike Parts on May 18, 2016
WEEK ENDING May 17 of the 2Wheel/$2Million Copenhagen Challenge.
Bikes Used: Folding 20" Dahon 7-spd, '95 26" Fischer MTB w/ basic rack/pannier, tandem MTB, Santa Cruz Blur full-suspension with no rack, LiteSpeed Ultimate titanium road-bike with no rack. Next, I'll use a scooter and motorcycle for various trips based on speed, distance or passenger(s) I need to transport. Then, I'll begin to use eBikes with a folding solar-panel to recharge, comparing lightly-powered assisted bikes with racks and trailers, to scooters or motorcycles.
Sunday (yesterday) finished wk-2 in a 90-day, 80% Bike/Bus/Walk - 20% Car Challenge.
Using my car 1-day not 7 and combining errands, I save 100-200 miles/wk with 4-6 bike trips/day. I noted challenges below and rate each trip on ease and how likely others can duplicate it. Averaging 12-15mph, no matter the time, travel-distance or terrain seems key as car speed (40-50mph) often average 8-12mph ! Rush-hour and many factors affect actual speed. Major cities are banning cars after studies proved bikes travel in cities faster. Electric motors expand a bikes range, speed, and ease of use - stats prove eBikers use them 5x more than typical cyclists. Germany was first to understand "green" and they bought 500,000 eBikes last year - http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/20/biking-faster-than...
Daily (pedal only) Trips - Easy or Challenging? I rate from 1-to-10, with 1 = anyone can do it; 10 = hardcore cyclists. People can pedal big things (pedal-cabs = 500 lbs) but it's often too slow or difficult. Electric triples any biker's output.
Yoga Studio/Gym or Restaurants and Movies --- difficulty rating 1-3 (fun and easy to do)
Market/Grocery / Shopping / Errands ---------------difficulty rating 2-4 (depends on trips/wk)
Hardware Store / Heavy Objects -------------------- difficulty rating 3-7 (depends on object)
Business Meetings / Parties / Events ----------------difficulty rating 3-6 (depends on event)
Next Week - I'll rate similar trips using detachable electric motors to compare difficulty ratings. Also, I'll compare a quiet gas/propane kit (150mpg/30mph) to loud, often illegal 2-stroke motors. Many use these kits used as powerful forms of transportation, not just recreation, but legal, quiet and clean is better. A quick-release (lockable) motor or rack may be more helpful in ways unknown. Theft-risk, lifting heavier bikes or repairs are common problems for daily cyclists.
Weekly Observations -
I resisted parking costly (Santa Cruz/LiteSpeed) bikes, lowering the likelihood that I'd bike. Next week I'll use far cheaper beach cruisers with removable racks and motors. Folding bikes come in handy; store anywhere (in a car) but are slower and don't carry as much. Full-size folding bikes may be ideal for serious travel or commuting. More bike-valets mean that faster, more expensive bikes get ridden. Engineer, Zach Krapfl's TedxTalk proves eBikes with solar = 1300 MPG when all factors considered. Most trips are easy to bike with practice, some fitness but (mostly) take small habit shifts. I wish my tandem-bike folded and rear cranks removed - that's a near perfect cargo/family or Ebike platform.
My mood overall, fitness, flexibility and how I feel in a 50-yr old body, after two car (driving) accidents and back-pain, all improved as I cycle and stretch more. Activity is a self-fulfilling prophecy - by planning activities that take moving more, I get far stronger. I've met far more interesting people who love this eco-challenge - doing something about big issues many do little about. SHARING cars lets me connect; builds community and fosters wellness/happiness. Biking lets me arrive alert for work, unwind afterward and shop for fresher, more local, healthier food. It's far more social than driving.
Clearly, 20% can be biked by anyone but 80+% is tough to pedal without help. Americans aren't that fit and often are: 1) pressed for time or travel more than 7+miles, 2) attend events that may be difficult to "dress-down" or arrive sweaty, 3) are physically injured, disabled or are 65+yrs - though even a fit cyclist can be passed on 100-mile rides by those 70+. Wireless recharging would be great. Repairs that removed my bike had my driving habits return fast. A bike's cost, convenience of repairs, changeable/modular options and chance of theft are all factors for biking more, driving less.
Allow 10-20% more time for trips over 7miles, if uphill or in high wind, since I was 20 minutes late to a dinner party, after business hours (5pm) for an errand and missed a business meeting NOT by biking, but not planning ahead. Make sure tires are aired and locks, tools, spare tire, reflective jacket, helmet and bike-pump are in your regular bike-bag. Panniers help carry these and other items you'd carry in a car-trunk. Having car-backup, like Enterprise Car-Share or Uber makes this far easier and removes many car costs. Trucks can be rented for $20/hr or $50/day, a big savings as few haul often, carry much cargo and most drive 80+% of trips with cars or trucks 80% empty.