I hesitate to bring up fitness on this blog simply because being fit is not a prerequisite to commuting by electric bicycle. What I have found is that most Americans, my personal friends and family included consider an adult on a bicycle a fitness oriented activity. This notion is pounded into our heads mostly through marketing. Marketing creates the demand; manufacturers create products to satisfy demand. We form our opinions about things that we don’t really think about based on marketing. Thus we are predetermined by Madison Avenue to have a belief that a bicycle is a fitness machine and that an electric bicycle is somehow cheating. I have ranted in the past regarding this idea and posited the question if my electric bicycle is cheating isn’t a motorcycle or car? I can attest that driving a delicious donut and coffee down my gut is not very easy on my electric bicycle.
I read an opinion peace recently regarding minimalism. It was a criticism that suggested those who voluntarily choose to consume less are doing so from a smug perspective. It further suggests that only those with something to give up can be minimalists. That clown doesn’t get it. The idea is not about giving anything other than pointless consumption up. One does not have to give up fish, or coffee, or liquor to be a minimalist. I think the writer must have been thinking of one of those religions that gives things up in a vain attempt to save themselves from the boogeyman. Consuming too much is not about your bank account, although it does grow when we don’t consume as much, it is about not spending our time pursuing things that cannot possibly make our lives better.
Pursuing what we are passionate about and not being driven by collecting items to impress those who we don’t know or who don’t matter is what minimalism and living deliberately is all about. Consider that feeling you get when you see an item that your neighbor has and you like it for any number of reasons. You are also passionate about helping feed hungry children. You now have a choice to make. Will the object of your affection cause you any happiness, or fulfill your life in any way? Will taking the money you were going to use to purchase the object of your desire and spend it on your other passion make any difference? BMW will still make cars if you spend the 80K on your local soup kitchen instead of one of their cars, and you will still find a way to work, and your neighbor will still feel as unfulfilled as they did before they made their purchase.
The idea of dedicated bicycle infrastructure is not new. The dutch have been very effective in the last 40 years of separating bicycles from cars. The concept is simple you take a finite amount of roadway and rather than figure out how to cram more cars into the finite resource you take a portion and dedicate it to cars and another portion to mass transit and another portion to bicycles. In areas where this has been accomplished, the Netherlands comes to mind, the bicycle becomes a viable means of transportation. Perhaps a bicycle takes a person from their home to the train station, the train station can hold a lot more bicycles than cars in the same amount of space. You begin to flex your resources in new ways and by doing so ease the burden on the taxpayer when it comes to upgrading infrastructure. Barriers between auto traffic and bicycle traffic give the would be cyclist a sense of safety and security. Fear of being struck by an auto is a often recited reason not to leave one’s commuter coffin. I suppose the idea of dying is much more palatable inside a minivan than on the sidewalk in the open, perhaps a bit more civilized way to be torn apart or crushed to death, keeps the brain safely contained in the car so cleanup is a bit simpler as well. Continue reading
When people look at my electric bicycle (pictured) they are typically drawn to the classic Dutch Commuter styling and may comment on my panniers that cover the battery and look at the controller on the handlebars and mention that my “speedometer is pretty cool” etc. I have debated in my head when the best time to mention that it is an electric bicycle. Up front, let them go on about fitness and exercise, or just not mention it at all. I normally am right up front about it, I want people to ride electric bicycles, I want people to begin to shift their conceptions of a transportation paradigm that favors autos for all trips in favor of one that rewards alternative transportation for some trips. Clearly a trip four hours by auto to grandmas in rural America is not going to be very realistic for an electric bicycle, at least not yet.
I mentioned in another post that last winter I found my LBCEBT (Lowest Bicycle Commute on and Electric Bicycle Temperature). When I left work today it was 101 Fahrenheit degrees. It felt kind of like the feeling you get when you open the oven to check on your famous chocolate chip cookies, with one important difference, you cant close the oven and you can’t move from the oven. It was hot, and dry there was no relief from the breeze because any sweat that was excreting from my pores to coat my skin for evaporation thus cooling the blood that was seeking the surface for a chance to cool because the inside was so fucking hot, was gone before it had a chance to do its job. Unfortunately the heat of vaporization was not to be on this blessed day. I was wearing a black polo style shirt so I could make sure that I was able to collect as much solar radiation as possible and enjoy my ride. So long story interesting I did not find my HBCEBT (c’mon don’t make me spell it out). Continue reading
Living deliberately is certainly a noble challenge and also an interesting concept. Some might argue that living deliberately excludes spontaneity I disagree. If one chooses to consider the impact of their decision prior making it does not mean they are not spontaneous. When many say spontaneous they still work through a decision making process prior to sailing off to Cuba on a Saturday afternoon. Granted in that example it may not be terribly drawn out, but it is a deliberate thing to do. This does not mean that we all are living deliberately, I simply point out that they are not mutually exclusive. Continue reading
Check out this new invention:
My invention relates to an improvement in electric bicycles and it consists in, first, a revolving armature carried by the wheel, the field-magnet, and the operating parts inclosed within an outer ring, and side plates which protect the parts from moisture and dirt; second, the hollow axle, the rods embedded in insulating material placed therein, and the conducting-wires secured to the inner I and outer ends of the rods; third, the battery,
the rheostat placed upon the handle-bar, the bearing-surfaces upon the post, the contactpoints and the conducting-wires which connect the parts, all of which will be more fully described hereinafter.
The objects of my invention are to secure the armature to the plates which not 0111 y inclose the operating parts, but have a portion of the ball-bearings connected to their inner edges, to inclose all of the operating parts so that they are protected both from the weather and injury, and to secure the inner ends of the spokes to the ring which incloses the armature.