Pages

Loading...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Understanding Shanghai Traffic: Lesson 4: Avoid Traffic - Take the E-bike! - Tripfilms

That's funny! :-)


Watch more travel videos at tripfilms.com

Video Details

Uploaded: 09/29/2010
Filmed: August, 2010

When traffic gets a little too crazy in Shanghai (when is it not), just jump on your electric bike and ride like the wind! This video is dedicated to DiTraveling and her trusty companion Sparky (I think that last shot may be DiTraveling incognito in China...watch and judge for yourself.)




Understanding Shanghai Traffic: Lesson 4: Avoid Traffic - Take the E-bike! - Tripfilms

Shimano kit converts regular bikes into e-bikes - Springwise



Published on 16 September 2010 in Transportation


Much the way Sähköautot–Nyt — now known as eCars-Now — aims to facilitate the conversion of standard Toyota Corollas into electric vehicles, so Shimano has developed a kit to help convert traditional bicycles into electric ones.
The new STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System) component kit is designed to preserve the feeling of the traditional bike while adding the parts necessary for delivering electrical power. A 250W electric motor can take bikes up to 25km per hour, while a regenerative braking function focuses on recharging the 24V/4.0Ah lithium-ion battery, such as when riders travel downhill. The battery is removable for charging, requiring just an hour to juice up when empty, Shimano says; it can be recharged more than 3,000 times, or every day for roughly eight years. Electric switch buttons for riding mode, display mode and a light switch, meanwhile, are integrated into the 4-finger brake levers, and cables with slim 5mm plugs allow easy internal frame routing. A removable cycle computer, finally, offers a clear and quick overview of all e-bike functions, including riding mode, battery power, speed and odometer.
Pricing on the STEPS kit has not yet been announced, but it's expected to become available in December. Bike-minded retailers around the globe: one to offer eco-minded commuters near you...? (Related: Folding electric two-wheeler offers new take on urban cyclingLightweight electric bike targets urban commuters.)
Website: cycle.shimano-eu.com
Contact: bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/contact_us.html
Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann



Shimano kit converts regular bikes into e-bikes - Springwise

E-bikes take China's streets by storm

The Hindu : International : e-bikes take China's streets by storm

e-bikes take China's streets by storm Ananth Krishnan
They outnumber cars in cities
— Photo: Ananth Krishnan

Ubiquitous:e-bikes at a busy intersection in Beijing. The number of e-bikes has grown rapidly in China, from a few thousand a decade ago to 120 million today.

BEIJING: Last week, as the streets of Beijing were paralysed by a record 140 traffic jams, residents found themselves taking two or three hours to cover 10 km in their cars.Wang Meng, however, had no such problem. As Beijing's roads became sprawling parking lots, he zipped in and out of the rows of stranded cars as he sped to work on a battery-powered bike he bought for 1,000 yuan (about Rs. 6,700).

“There is no sense in owning a car in Beijing today,” he said with satisfaction and some smugness, watching agitated taxi-drivers yelling at each other in the middle of yet another endless gridlock on Beijing's Third Ring Road.

The electric bike revolution has taken China's streets by storm. Since ‘e-bikes' were given formal approval five years ago, their numbers have grown so fast that they now outnumber cars in many cities.With the fast-growing number of car-owners among China's middle-class increasingly straining the infrastructure, e-bikes are emerging as a cheap, practical and environment friendly solution for commuters.

Cost-effective

Unlike the e-bikes marketed in the West and India, China's bikes are low-end and cost-effective. The cheapest range of e-bikes, which are essentially cycles fitted with a 12-36 volt battery, cost around 800 yuan (around Rs. 5,360), while a mid-range model costs twice as much.

How do e-bikes work? When the batteries are fully charged — they take around five hours to charge and can be plugged into a regular wall-socket at home — e-bikes can cover more than 40 km. Given that 40 per cent of all commutes in Beijing are less than 5 km, they have proven hugely popular. A decade ago, there were only a few thousand e-bikes in China. Today, by some estimates, there are 120 million.

Much of the explosion has taken place since 2006, when policies first began to support e-bikes, giving licences to more than 2,000 manufacturers.

“Only four years ago, were there hardly any electric bikes in Beijing, but today they are everywhere,” said Shi Zhao Hui, who owns the Huo Yan Niao (literally, Bird of Fire) e-bike store in Beijing. Could e-bikes catch on in India? Pawan Agarwal, director of Ebike India, which imports e-bikes from southern Zhejiang province and sells them in India, says there is a huge market potential, but not enough policy support.

Cycle lanes

One obstacle is the absence in many cities of cycle lanes, which local governments in China have been building with increasing vigour since the early 1990s. Another is high import duties. With 27 per cent, a 1,500-yuan (about Rs. 10,000) e-bike is sold for Rs.20,000 in India.

“The price in China is what people would expect here,” Mr. Agarwal says. The market is not large enough yet for bikes to be made locally. But with rising fuel costs, he believes more commuters in India will begin to consider the e-bike option.

The e-bike explosion in China has not been without its negatives. As the speed of e-bikes has grown with improved battery technology, from 20 km/h a decade ago to 45 km/h today, cyclists and pedestrians have voiced concerns at road safety.

The government last year put in place rules to register bikes whose speed exceeds 40 km/h and to reserve lanes for cyclists. However, with wide public opposition, they have not been enforced.

“Without cycle lanes, electric bikes do not make sense,” Mr. Shi said. “If they are unleashed on the roads,” he added, in a warning for urban planners in India, “they will definitely not help traffic congestion. They will only bring chaos,” he said.

UL Warns of Electric Bike Charger With Unauthorized UL Marks

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Sept. 29 /CHICAGOPRESSRELEASE.COM/ — Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is notifying consumers that the electric bike chargers identified below bear unauthorized UL Listing Marks. This product has not been evaluated by UL to the appropriate standards for safety for the United States and Canada and is not authorized to bear the UL Mark. It is unknown if these products comply with appropriate United States or Canadian safety requirements.
Name of Product:  
XTD2000
Number of units:  
Unknown
Manufacturer:  
Changzhou City Xintai Electric Fittings Mill
Changzhou City Xinbeiqu Electrons Zone 0519-5487263
Date of Manufacture:
Unknown
Known to be Sold and Distributed at:
Daymak Company (Toronto)
130 Oakdale Rd.
Toronto, ON, M6N 1V9
Canada
Product Photographs and Identification: on the product: Photos available athttp://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/corporate/newsroom/publicnotices/
About Underwriters Laboratories
UL is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for more than a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems for more than 66,000 manufacturers annually. In total, there are more than 20 billion UL Marks appearing on products worldwide each year. UL’s global family of companies and network of service providers includes 68 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 102 countries. For more information, visit: www.ul.com/newsroom
SOURCE Underwriters Laboratories

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cop's talk...

E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Whistler » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:12 am
What are the opinions on here regarding electric scooters and the law?

They are becoming VERY popular around here... From what I understand, if they have pedals located somewhere on the scooter, they are considered bikes by the law, even if the driver never actually uses the pedals to power the vehicle or the pedals aren't even actually attached.

However, they travel much faster than the average bicycle and are much larger and more cumbersome.

Some problems which I have seen with this:

1. Even though they are driving similar speeds as a gas scooter and in the same traffic, the driver needs no license or schooling to operate it. Also like a bike the riders do not have to legally wear helmets over a certain age, even though an E-bike is much faster.

2. Some e-bike drivers use the road, others use bike lanes, and they are much larger and faster than regular bikes leading to safety issues.

3. They can legally drive on recreational paths around the city, again causing safety hazards because they are larger, faster, and more cumbersome than bikes. Also many recreational paths are intended to be shared between (real) bikes and pedestrians leading to safety issues as a E-scooter going 30-40kph can really hurt someone who is walking on the same path.

4. A lot of e-bike riders, like cyclists, seem to only follow HTA/Bylaws when it is convinient for them. A regular bike riding on a sidewalk is illegal, but is not generally a HUGE safety issue as they go pretty slow and most of the time can avoid a pedestrian easily. An E-bike on the same sidewalk takes up pretty much the whole sidewalk and can go MUCH faster than a bike. I have also seen E-bikes do the whole "drive on roadway, then cross on a crosswalk when the light is red" thing that cyclists do from time to time.

5. Not as much of a big deal but a lot of these things decide to take parking on the street without paying or park illegally, and they can't get tickets because they don't have plates or VINs.

I'm curious on the opinions of city cops on these things, how you guys enforce them, and if the laws are up to task in dealing with them.

I really think they are kind of existing in a bit of a loophole right now since they are more like motor-scooters than bikes, and IMO should fall under the motor-scooter laws. I really don't think they should be allowed to drive anywhere that a motor-scooter isn't allowed to ride (bike lanes, recreational trails, sidewalks, crosswalks, etc).

These are the vehicles I am talking about:






Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby argyll » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:28 am
sounds like some of your bylaws need to be re-written - these things should not be treated as bicycles for things such as bike paths, etc and while me may not enforce a bicycle using a pedestrian crosswalk to make a quick move, I should as hell would for one of these.

What's next - the Tesla isn't considered a car because it is an e-car.....at 3.5 seconds for 0-60 I sure as shit hope not !!!
.....____
/l ,[____],
l---L []lllllll[]-
()_) ()_)----)_)
User avatar
argyll
Poobah Overlord
 
Posts: 4569
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:49 am
Location: on the beach
 
 

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Jframer7 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:49 am
I have been meaning to check these things out.

I pulled one over a few weeks ago. What I saw was what I believed was a motorized scooter with no licence plate. The problem was he was also driving down a 60kph road doing 30 kph. Traffic backing up and swerving around him. I pulled him over and first thing he says is he doesn't need a plate as it's a bike. He directs me to the pedals.

I confirm he doesn't even have driver licence. In fact I ask him why and he says his eye sight is too bad to get a licence!

I am thinking WTF! Here is somebody who is driving a motorized vehicle which could cause an accident just like any other vehicle and it's not insured and the guy driving on the roadway cannot even qualify to drive any other vehicle on the roadway by way of obtaining a licence. Something is really wrong with that.

Now I am not versed on the Applicable section of bylaw/TSA to deal with it. Some hot calls came in and I let him go giving him a route through a quiet industrial area rather then on a busy road.

So yeah I have been meaning to educate myself on them. That's the only one I have come across but they are priced cheap ($500-$1000) so I expect to see more and more.
Carpenter Cop - If your a nail I will hammer you, If your hammered I will nail you! ;)
User avatar
Jframer7
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:55 pm
Location: Edmonton


Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Snowman » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:30 am
E-bikes are just part of the problem in these parts. What about non physically disabled individuals using electric wheel chairs as transportation ? Nice to all but run over one of these clowns at night when they do not even have so much as a reflector on the chair, but happen to be in the middle of the road. Have to criss cross the road to grab all the aluminum or empty liqour bottles out of the recylcing containers. :dubious:
User avatar
Snowman
Lord of the Poobahs
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:15 pm



Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby TwE@k » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:37 am
I have the ability to charge under a section of our bylaw that covers the parks/bike path issue. The definition in our bylaw was amended to include e-bikes as a motorized vehicle for the purpose of the bylaw. This only really applies to parks/bike trails ect... which alleviates some of the problem but until they change the bylaw to include streets I am SOL on that front. I have an issue with those pocket bikes aswell, can't do much of anything when they are on the street.......for now :smirk:
WADDAYA MEAN I CAN'T TAKE OFF MY SWEADDER??? I'M HAWT!!!! - Drunken Mr.Rogers
User avatar
TwE@k
Grand Poobah
 
Posts: 747
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:24 am
Location: Toronto
 
 
 

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Alberta Blue » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:41 am
Jframer7 wrote:I have been meaning to check these things out.

I pulled one over a few weeks ago. What I saw was what I believed was a motorized scooter with no licence plate. The problem was he was also driving down a 60kph road doing 30 kph. Traffic backing up and swerving around him. I pulled him over and first thing he says is he doesn't need a plate as it's a bike. He directs me to the pedals.

I confirm he doesn't even have driver licence. In fact I ask him why and he says his eye sight is too bad to get a licence!

I am thinking WTF! Here is somebody who is driving a motorized vehicle which could cause an accident just like any other vehicle and it's not insured and the guy driving on the roadway cannot even qualify to drive any other vehicle on the roadway by way of obtaining a licence. Something is really wrong with that.

Now I am not versed on the Applicable section of bylaw/TSA to deal with it. Some hot calls came in and I let him go giving him a route through a quiet industrial area rather then on a busy road.

So yeah I have been meaning to educate myself on them. That's the only one I have come across but they are priced cheap ($500-$1000) so I expect to see more and more.


In Alberta, they are a considered a special type of vehicle under the TSA called a "Power Bicycle".

You do not need a DL at all to ride one, and they are not required to be insured or registered. However, the operator must wear a motorcycle approved helmet. Also, they can be utilized on a highway provided the driver follows all applicable rules (signalling, riding on the right hand side of the road unless making a left-hand turn, etc.)

Since sidewalks are considered part of the highway, they are permitted on the sidewalk. Most municipalities deal with this by way of a bylaw.

I have a handy cheat sheet made up that I can send you, PM me if you are interested.
Alberta Blue
Lord of the Poobahs
 
Posts: 1399
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:22 am
 
 

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Dave Brown » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:16 am
Most provinces have enacted legislation to govern their use. Google "electric bicycle traffic laws" and the name of your province and it usually shows up.

Every province is different.

They must also meet federal legislation, including federal motor vehicle safety standards. This means that homemade bikes, and bikes fashioned by buying cheap parts made in China over the internet and attaching to a standard bicycle do NOT meet FMVSS. Regardless of provincial legislation, they will not meet federal safety standards.

Personally, I would love to see these moving roadblocks legislated out of existence. Because the gas engine versions don't need to meet modern motor vehicle emission standards, while some self-absorbed hairy armpit buys it for the tremendous gas mileage, they pollute about 1000 to 10,000 times more in a trip than a modern motor vehicle, and they are literally killing our children.

As for the homemade jobbies cobbled together from internet parts, these unsafe pieces of junk should be shipped back to China with all the rest of the spammers we have to deal with every day on this forum.




But aside from that ... I think they are great ideas.

[sarcasm]
User avatar
Dave Brown
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2404
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 5:01 am
Location: Winnipeg, MB
 
 
 

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby argyll » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:30 am
that's the thing - they have 0 mpg but what do they cost for a hydro charge ?
.....____
/l ,[____],
l---L []lllllll[]-
()_) ()_)----)_)
User avatar
argyll
Poobah Overlord
 
Posts: 4569
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:49 am
Location: on the beach


Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Leeworthy » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:50 am
I really like these e-bikes. They allow people to get around a lot quicker and they are envorinmentally friendly. What I don't agree with is the helmet law on them. All you need is a bicycle helmet on them. The riders should be made to wear a full motorcycle DOT approved helmet while riding, as well, I think that you should have to obtain a LSM license to be allowed to ride one. They drive them on the road like any other vehicle and they are all equipped with lights, horn, signals and such, they should be treated as a vehicle. Thats just my opinion though.
User avatar
Leeworthy
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:03 pm
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario
 
 

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby CourtOfficer » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:24 pm
I have no problem with them. Haven't seen them cause any problems in these parts and there are a lot around. I think they'd actually be fun to ride as long as your buddies don't catch you. (Cue fat girl joke).

CO
User avatar
CourtOfficer
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17793
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 6:01 am
Location: Canada


Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby argyll » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:42 pm
CourtOfficer wrote:I have no problem with them. Haven't seen them cause any problems in these parts and there are a lot around. I think they'd actually be fun to ride as long as your buddies don't catch you. (Cue fat girl joke).

CO


She was so fat, when she walked across the dance floor, the band skipped
.....____
/l ,[____],
l---L []lllllll[]-
()_) ()_)----)_)
User avatar
argyll
Poobah Overlord
 
Posts: 4569
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:49 am
Location: on the beach
 
 
 

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby devilwoman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:43 pm
We have quite a few on campus and they ride along pedestrian/bike paths all the time......which I do have an issue with as they can get more speed than the average cyclist. Add to that, many of their owners ride like mooks and speed through, causing an issue at class change. Many of these riders also don't have the ability to move around people as fast as cyclists and that also presents a hazard. I'm waiting for some pedestrian to get nailed by one, which is definitely going to leave a mark, IMHO.

I tell them to stick to the roads and, in a few cases when their riders seemed to not want to take a hint, gave them a $75 chunk (university ticket - goes to collections and such if you don't pay it) for unauthorized use of pedestrian zone. :D
"Defeat doesn't finish a woman -- quit does. A woman is not finished when she's defeated. She's finished when she quits."
"Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go EVERYWHERE."
User avatar
devilwoman
King Poobah
 
Posts: 1902
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:35 am
Location: Any place I can go in my Chally.


Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Podhalan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:17 pm
Motor powered vehicles - electric bikes.
Insurance Corporation of BC
A/Cst. RCMP 'E' Div.
Podhalan
Seasoned Member
 
Posts: 307
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:34 am

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby fenceline » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:09 am
Snowman wrote:E-bikes are just part of the problem in these parts. What about non physically disabled individuals using electric wheel chairs as transportation ? Nice to all but run over one of these clowns at night when they do not even have so much as a reflector on the chair, but happen to be in the middle of the road. Have to criss cross the road to grab all the aluminum or empty liqour bottles out of the recylcing containers. :dubious:


If you are in Alberta, then the people on "mobility aids" such as wheelchairs or those electic seat thingies are considered pedestrians in the TSA. They are noted specifically as such.
Patch Trader? Go to My Patch Page
User avatar
fenceline
Grand Poobah
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:47 am
Location: CPS

Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Snowman » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:40 am
fenceline wrote:
Snowman wrote:E-bikes are just part of the problem in these parts. What about non physically disabled individuals using electric wheel chairs as transportation ? Nice to all but run over one of these clowns at night when they do not even have so much as a reflector on the chair, but happen to be in the middle of the road. Have to criss cross the road to grab all the aluminum or empty liqour bottles out of the recylcing containers. :dubious:


If you are in Alberta, then the people on "mobility aids" such as wheelchairs or those electic seat thingies are considered pedestrians in the TSA. They are noted specifically as such.


Had to look that one up, same in Ontario. Most I've seen have reflectors/tape/flags on them, except for the one I mentioned.
Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)
Do not require registration, licence plates, driver's licence or vehicle insurance.
Persons operating motorized wheelchairs are treated in the same way as pedestrians.

The expected behaviour of people who use wheelchairs to improve their mobility, is generally established by municipal by-laws. Operators should check with their local municipality to ensure by-laws permit their use on sidewalks.

A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity.

If there is no sidewalk available, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.
User avatar
Snowman
Lord of the Poobahs
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:15 pm

 
 
 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Worldwide e-bike interest trend according to Google search

http://www.google.ca/trends?q=e-bike

http://www.google.ca/trends?q=e-bikes&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all


This is a short term worldwide forecast for electric two wheeled vehicles



      Recently I was playing with Google Trends service and that's when I've got this idea to try it with "e-bike" search term, and that's what showed up... Quite illustrative, isn't it? :) The search for "e-bikes" produces even more pronounced graph! Europe is leading. Canada lags behind, but still far ahead of US :) Feel free to experiment with other keywords relating to e-biking and share your results in comments. Let's have fun! :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Maybe that's what we are going to use for our e-bikes in some distant future?

The following page from the "Ultra Capacitor - Super Capacitors - Super Battery?" web site has been sent to you by Lubo Ebiker ( ebiker@bikerider.com ).
You can access it at the following URL:
http://www.ultracapacitors.org/index.php?option=com_content&Itemid=80&id=108&task=view

Article from Wheels.ca

Hi, folks! I think you might be interested in this article "Living with my electric urban commuter" from Wheels.ca which originally appeared in the Toronto Star news paper.
Please visit link: http://www.wheels.ca/article/791798 

And here comes the full story for your convenience...

Living with my electric urban commuter


Sep 16, 2010
Valerie Hauch
Toronto Star
It’s black, but hardly bad-ass.
It’s certainly nothing that would seemingly register on the friendly scale with a serious business biker.
So when I recently stopped at a red light, going west on Lake Shore Blvd., I expected to see the face of a westbound biker dude, with tattooed tree-trunk arms, hunch with contempt as he rode his heavy-duty Harley and turned in front of me onto Leslie St.
He went by and I turned my roundish, blue helmet (with an unfortunate resemblance to that worn by dummkopf Sgt. Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes sitcom fame) towards him and waited, stoically . . . er, Shultz-like, for the sneer.
Instead, I got a goofy grin and a head nod from Mr. Muscles as he passed.
I managed to close my mouth before riding agape along the bike path, on my almost-noiseless ebike, musing on the merits of motorized solidarity.
For me, it isn’t about the love of a two-wheeler. My motivation to buy one at the end of Julywas mostly monetary — it’s cheap and parking is free on city streets. Yes, you could say the same for bicycles but for longer distances and on hot, humid days, it’s nice to arrive at work without needing a shower.
My modest 500-watt model, which delivers a 50-70 km range on a single full charge to the 12V battery and supports up to 250 pounds, cost $999 before tax. The helmet rang in at $99.
The ebike, which has drum brakes, comes with a one-year comprehensive warranty on the bike itself and a six-month warranty on the battery. The latter made me pause, but when I asked the sales person at Blue Avenue about battery longevity, he advised that most last two or three years, sometimes more, depending on use and care. (More on the battery in a sidebar to this story.)
The battery comes with an adaptive piece that plugs into a regular three-prong outlet when you’re ready to recharge. You can lift the battery out (a pain at about 50 lbs.) and plug it in, or just plug one end of the adaptive piece right into an outlet on the bike, which connects with the battery, and put the other end into an electrical outlet. (This is the preferred, easier method if you have a garage or a place that protects the bike and battery from rain during charging.)
I was told to bring my ebike in after two weeks’ use for a checkup; then there are regular maintenance checkups advised at the three-month, four-month and six-month points.
The cost of charging the battery, according to Blue Avenue, is less than 8 cents per day or about $28.50 per year.
I have been interested in ebikes since seeing one on the street about three years ago, and talking to the owner who raved about how much he liked it, how easy it was to drive and how it increased his mobility..
The province’s three-year pilot program for ebikes ended in October 2009 and they’ve have been allowed to continue under the same conditions: riders have roadway rights equal to non-motorized bikes. No licence or insurance is required and you are allowed to park, for free, on city streets.
All ebike riders must wear helmets and you cannot legally take the pedals off (they’re what make it an ebike) — although some owners do because they think the bikes look geeky with them. Theoretically, you’re supposed to be able to pedal the bike if there’s no power. Of that, I’m dubious and haven’t tried.
I took my ebike model for a demonstration ride before purchasing. While my 21-year-old daughter, Kira, watched apprehensively from the sidewalk — muttering about “motorcycle mamas’’ and wasn’t I too old — I sat on the bike, got my instructions and slowly drove off, with only minor meandering while my hand got a feel for the acceleration control in the handle.
After three weeks of regular riding from the Beach to One Yonge, I can make some observations:
•  Bicyclists who take the same bike path are divided in their reactions. Some smile and ask what it’s like, others frown. One cyclist riding towards me, shook his head disapprovingly and I’m sure would have wagged his finger if he could have.
Although my speedometer has numbers that go up to 50, the fastest my bike has gone on a flat road (not a bike path!) is about 32 km/h. However, a test on a steep hill in the Beach had the ebike straining at the top, where the speed fell to 18 km/h.
• The tiny side mirrors are essentially useless. They are a pain to adjust because you need a crescent wrench and the visibility provided is minimal.
• The cruise control option is a blessing because it takes the pressure off holding the accelerator hand grip control for long, flat distances. A flick of the hand control brakes ends the cruise control.
• There’s quite a bit of lockable storage built into the ebike (under the seat), a front compartment and behind the seat — but the lock seems a bit flimsy. I wouldn’t leave anything valuable there.
• The built-in alarm is handy — and you can turn it on from a distance with the key set — should you wish to back off curious, unsavoury sorts hovering and dripping mustard from street hotdogs. (It works.)
Ebike facts
Check the warranties to see what’s actually covered on the bike itself and the battery. Find out if the outlet will service the bike after the warranty is up.
Batteries have to be stored at room temperature during winter so make sure, if you don’t have a heated garage, that the ebike battery is removable.
Check what weight the ebike will support — you can lie to your friends but on a hill the truth will have an effect. Blue Avenue recommends nothing less than a 350-watt motor if you’re 200 pounds or more.
And for those who like to talk ebikes, there’s an online chat group for Toronto aficionados at www.ebikeriders.com
Nothing takes the whee! out of the ebike experience, than when something goes wrong. When it comes to ebikes, or for that matter any vehicle, purchases, customer service plays a big part. My own personal bad experience does not dispute anything in the main article, but it should sound a note of caution.
Having gone on a recent two-week vacation, I came back and turned on my ebike. No power. I thought, maybe it needs a battery charge so I charged it for about five hours. (The day before I’d left I’d used the bike and had charged it that day for about five hours, too.) No luck after this charge, however. In fact, the charger wasn’t even warm which usually happens. I called Blue Avenue and was advised to bring in the battery and charger. They checked the charger, said it was fine, and tried to charge the battery at the store on Danforth. Wasn’t working well. I had to leave it over the long Labour Day weekend and then was called on the Tuesday. The battery was dead, I was told, and could not be revived.
It must have been neglect, said owner Vince Balatbat because new batteries, which cost hundreds of dollars, don’t die. Therefore it would not be covered under warranty. I protested that I had not neglected the battery and kept it charged up except for the two weeks we were away. He said two weeks of it not being used should not kill a battery. He queried whether I was really away for two weeks – maybe it was longer? No, I only had two weeks off.
Then he suggested that someone could have stolen my battery when I was away and switched it with another battery. What? For one thing, the key to open the battery compartment was inside a locked house which was watched closely by my neighbour. Secondly, the alarm was on the ebike, which could not be easily seen as it’s hidden at the back of the house. Thirdly, no signs of tampering.
Well, maybe you left the bike on, said Balatbat. No, I did not. I suggested that perhaps it was a faulty battery but he said no, not possible. Battery not covered. Cost of a new one is about half the cost of an ebike.
Valerie Hauch

[Flickr] Lubo_Ebiker (Lubo Ebiker) shared a Flickr photo with you

Flickr®

Lubo_Ebiker (Lubo Ebiker) shared a Flickr photo with you.

EcoCab comes to Toronto 1

Uploaded by Roger Cullman on April 22, 2008
© All rights reserved

EcoCab comes to Toronto 1

As seen in this issue of 24 Hours newspaper in Toronto.
Toronto, Ont. April 21: Phil Pancer, 48, takes a ride in a new EcoCab at Yonge-Dundas Square. Supported by a rechargeable electric battery, the three-wheel vehicle can travel up to 12km/hour and will be offered around the city's downtown streets for free starting May 1. Photo ©Roger Cullman.
Just follow this link to see and comment on this photo:
Flickr®
You received this email because a Flickr member wanted to share something with you. To report abuse, click here.

Flickr is a global photosharing community. Learn more.
Your use of Flickr is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and the Flickr Community Guidelines