Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My bicycle - once a tortoise now a hare!

Over the weekend, I installed an electric conversion kit that I had purchased from Solarbike, onto my 15 year old Trek hybrid. The motor is 200watt and powered by a 36V lithium battery. This combination should allow me a top speed of 30+km/hr with the battery lasting for around 50kms before it needs to be recharged.
I have ridden it to work for the last couple of days and I can report that it has turned my bike into a rocketship! I am arriving at work in half the time it normally takes and no longer in a lather of sweat. I seem to be able to use a higher gear overall even without the assistance of the motor because I can use the motor as I am starting to pedal to get me up to a good speed which I can maintain with further blasts from the motor as required. There is a little more friction with the motor off, but in reality it is not really an issue.
There is a hell hill just before my home that I have been forced to push the bike up as my usual strategy of zig zagging up does not do the job. With the electric motor, I can get all the way up without too much trouble albeit in the lowest ratio.
So it has made making the decision to use the bicycle a far more viable proposition and I am still getting plenty of exercise. Highly recommended and I can confirm that:
"Electric bicycles are a joy to ride, without even using the pedals it is possible to travel over 30 km on one charge and further if you pedal. The bicycles are healthy, quiet and relaxing and are ideal for people traveling up to 40 km each day. There are so many good reasons to ride an electric bike. Firstly, they are very healthy. Because the bicycle is so much more enjoyable to ride than a regular bike you use it far more often. You will use it for most journeys and when you do you will have no concerns for hills, traffic, parking, getting sweaty, wind or distance. Because you can pedal as much as you feel like you will gradually begin to increase your fitness and will tend to cycle more – all in a super relaxing healthy way! Because you ride faster using less energy the wind chill keeps you cooler and it seems that sweat it totally eliminated. Electric bikes are also very safe, in some ways more so than a regular bike. With the increased speed you do not suffer from being dangerously overtaken nearly as often. Also, you will not feel the need to rush downhills at dangerous speeds. Costs and convenience of using an electric bike are incredibly superior to using a car. The initial outlay will be $800 for a high quality conversion kit with the best lithium ion batteries available. There are no insurance or registration costs and maintenance is very minimal – the same as a regular bike. The motors are brushless, which means the only moving part is the wheel and they will last a long time with no maintenance. The only additional cost you should have is for a new battery every 3 – 5 years. This works out to be about 1 cent/km! Finally and most importantly, electric bikes are a great way to aid the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. The continual burning of fossil fuels is not sustainable and probably the best way you can help is by consuming less petrol! We cannot avoid using commercial energy unless we revert back to the stone age but you can reduce your usage dramatically. Using renewable energy will also push along the technology in a sustainable direction."

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