It has been an absolutely beautiful week! The weather has been amazing for bike riding. I even broke a sweat! I love the e-bike. I feel good not using the old red truck. I can’t stand how bad the gas mileage is on that thing. Using the e-bike is the best way to start my day. I get a nice brisk ride and a good view of the rising sun.
Archives for February 2016
In this week’s blog post, we’re going to dive into the basic function of the electric motor system on the E-Bikes and give technical context to their contribution to making commuting with a bicycle more accessible.
The basic components
Electric bikes typically have three major components: a motor, a battery, and a system controller. Common production bike setups are hub drive systems, providing power from the hub of the rear wheel, and mid drive which are sealed units with a motor running power through a gear box to provide power assist at the pedals. Batteries come in many shapes and sizes and mounting positions, and as one would expect provide energy to the electric motor. System controllers vary by manufacturer but they all perform the same task of monitoring battery level, and regulating the amount of power the motor applies to drive system of the bike.
Watt do you mean?
One of the key distinctions of electric bicycles is they are “Pedal Assist”. This means the electric motor only applies anywhere from 200 to 1000 watts of power when the rider is pedaling and the bike is moving. Most common systems today however are between 250 and 500 watts, with Viking E-Bike’s Solexity commuter bike sporting a healthy 400 watts. These are all nice numbers but for most of us wattage of any kind only gets talked about when we’re replacing bulbs. So to provide some context let’s talk about horses or more specifically horsepower. The Solexity has a 400 watt motor; this is equivalent to 0.54 horsepower, which in a time of thousand horsepower supercars might not sound like much. However if you consider that one horsepower is enough to move 330 pounds 100 feet vertically in one minute,(Imagine carrying about 330 cans of canned vegetables up the stairs of a ten story building, in only a minute) its not hard to see even about half a horsepower is capable of providing some serious oomph to help you along while riding your bike.
Watch this space for more on E-Bikes and the Viking E-Bike Project!
So you’re still commuting with a car? Besides the environmental impact, there are a multitude of reasons why cars are a drag on our society. Bike commuting, on the other hand, provides a whole list of benefits. However, people have reservations about bike commuting. In this post, we look at how E-bikes are changing drivers’ minds and making it easier for people to begin bike commuting.
- E-Bikes require less fitness to ride. Because there is a motor helping you get up hills, E-bike riders expend less energy. People who can’t physically commute via bike are now are able to commute. Also, this means that E-bike riders won’t get sweaty or stinky while riding.
- E-bikes can go faster than traditional bicycles. E-bikes have an average speed of 20 MPH, something only athletes can maintain on regular bikes. E-bike riders can ride more defensively in traffic, reach their destination faster, and keep up a busier lifestyle.
- Riding bicycles in general makes people happier. When you bike, you get outside, you exercise, and you are more social. Research has shown that people who commute by bike feel they are part of a community. Riding an E-Bike provides all of these benefits.
- E-bikes are significantly cheaper than owning a car. No insurance, no gas, and a lower cost to maintain. According to an article from a leading E-bike website (ref 1), the energy needed to ride one mile on an E-bike costs half a cent. As well, the intrinsic benefits of more exercise, calmer mindset, and better productivity add even more value to E-bike riding.
- E-Bikes are great for the environment. Because they run on electricity, E-bikes are extremely efficient and don’t produce fossil fuels themselves. If everyone commuted by bike, one report (ref 2) states, we would cut our CO2 emissions by 45% and create thousands of new jobs.
- E-bikes are easier to park, easier to store, and easier to operate than a car.
If you’re wondering how an E-bike will change your life, test out one of our E-bikes. We loan E-bikes anywhere from a day to a full quarter. Fill out this survey to get involved: www.wwu.edu/q/ebikecommuter (for commuters) or www.wwu.edu/q/ebikedepartment (for a Western office or department interested in using an ebike for university business).
The Viking eBike project now has six bikes to loan to members of the Western community. Our job is to connect bikes with Vikings as much as possible and the first step to riding our eBikes is to get a quick and mandatory orientation!
Check our calendar for bike availability and orientation schedule, and then email our coordinator, Jillian Trinkaus (email@example.com or x7245) and include your W# for verification to schedule your orientation.
Once oriented, here are three ways you can ride one of our eBikes:
You just want to try it? Perfect! The Office of Sustainable Transportation has a eBike for short-term test rides and for demos. You’ll be able to use our eBike from an hour to four days if you’d like. Use our calendar to reserve the eBike.
No Longer Available:
- You commute to Western in a car, but you dream of becoming a bike commuter. We were accepting applications for our 10 week eBike loan program. In exchange for the loan of an electric assist bicycle with many of the trimmings, our riders contributed feedback on where, when, why, and how much they were riding and how we might improve this project.
- Your department uses a Western vehicle to get to or from campus as part of the job. Office downtown? 32nd street? Or maybe on campus but frequent trips off the hill? Your department was eligible to host an eBike for a quarter for use by staff and students.
The Viking eBike team
Beth, Jenny, Jillian, and Kellen