"For those who might think of an electric bike as cheating, consider that not everyone has the energy and stamina to ride a pedal only bike in a competitive lean-forward riding position. The creation of some power assistance to overcome hills and winds has made it likely for millions of consumers who would not likely ride, let alone purchase, another bicycle in their lifetime."
I totally agree. If you ride an e-bike, inevitability somone will call you a cheater. But I must admit, I do feel like I am cheating. I would not normally ride a bike to work unless it has an electric assist motor. Instead I would take a car!
Filmmaker Liz Canning is on a mission to document the recent boom of cargo bicycling in the USA. Global economic conditions, concerns about the environment , and disenchantment with the automobile are factors creating wave of people taking control of their lives by using cargo bicycles as transportation.
This year's winner of the Oregon manifest Utility design bicycle challenge goes to... an e-bike?
“We need to adjust our view of the cycling future.”
- Tinker Hatfield, the renowned Nike product designer.
Yes, the veridic is in: E-bikes are cool as long as you are carrying cargo.
Q: What is the Oregon Manifest Challenge?
A: "The Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge is a one-of-a-kind design/build competition, in which some of the country’s best custom bike craftsman and select student teams vie to create the ultimate modern utility bike." (link)
Q: But I thought e-bikes were cheating?
A: That was under the old rules. Under the new rules, e-bikes make sense for utilitarian tasks such as moving you and your things around town.
Q: Wouldn't that make my car redundant?
In the next morning, we went over to the final assembly factory to make a pre-production build. While I wait for some critical parts to arrive by carrier, I explore the section of the facility where cargo e-tricycles are made. By the time the bike comes alive, it's time to clock out and get some dinner with more suppliers.
Nov 2, 2010: Today was the last day in China before I returned to the states. We got a chance to take the e-bike out for a little trip around the factory before lunch. There was just enough time to test the normal bicycle version before I left. The bikes will be painted and later flown to San Diego for more testing.
We had breakfast with the Bafang guys in the morning and then drove over to Kunshan, China to the factory where the battery enclosure is made. I can see now we need to reduce the amount of plastic we use - even if that means an increase in cost.
We later made our way back to Shanghai for a night of rest. The next morning we drove the van to Jinhua where we do the final assembly. In the next days, we will build up a pre-production sample to evaluate the sourced parts and figure out how to efficiently manufacture the bike. http://www.juicedriders.com
The next morning, we headed over to the frame factory to check up on the samples. There was no way to escape without having lunch and booze with the factory managers. That made us really late getting into Suzhou and the Bafang motor factory was about to close. Another big dinner with the Bafang managers rounded off a long day.
In Part 1 of the video documentary, I head to Shanghai to help Justin Lemire-Elmore over at Ebike.ca/Grin Tech with his parts suppliers before meeting up with my team in Part 2. It was an epic journey through China where we visit the The Controller Garage, The Nine Continent Factory and later spend a little time in Shanghai.
Mint.com has an infographic showing which cities spend the most and least on gas per month. San Jose, CA is at the top of the list with $216 while not surprisingly, New York, NY is at the bottom with $102.
It is interesting to compare this to Bicycling.com’s list of top 50 best bike cities.
The Ridekick Trailer gives cyclist another option for electric assist. The trailer attaches to a normal bicycle, instantly turning it into an e-bike with a range of 15 miles (24 km).
The electric-assist trailer format is very clever as when you need a boost, it is often when you are carrying cargo. This solution serves dual purpose and quickly disconnects when not needed.
- 19 mph (30.5 km) maximum assistance
- 15 mile (24 km) range
- 10 minutes installation
- $729.00 including shipping
- Available for now for online ordering
There are no batteries or electronics to ruin the lines of your pedal bicycle. All of the heavy electronic components are protected from the elements. The unit can be wheeled "carry-on style" indoors for charging. Check out the video of the Ridekick in action.
This is a well written article which documents the moment when the mental switch is flipped and the rider discovers how e-bikes fit into the transportation paradigm.