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short-range commuter options (excluding normal cars and motorcycles)? by PerKr
Started on: 04-20-2011 09:32 AM
Replies: 21
Last post by: theBDub on 04-22-2011 05:12 PM
PerKr
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Report this Post04-20-2011 09:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PerKrClick Here to visit PerKr's HomePageClick Here to Email PerKrSend a Private Message to PerKrDirect Link to This Post
watched a tv-show the other day and caught a glimpse of what must have been a velomobile. And it got me thinking. I need a quick, easy and cheap way of getting to work. A bicycle (and especially a racer, which I happen to have a spare one in the basement) would be quick enough, but bikes are no fun when it rains. And during the last decade, there has been a tendency for heavy rains about half-way through the summer. Plus it would be fun if I could move along at higher speeds than 40kph.

Any ideas? Bicycle with fully enclosing bodywork perhaps (though that would make for an interesting experience in crosswinds)?
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Stubby79
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Report this Post04-20-2011 09:55 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
An enclosed trike/velo with electric assist is my suggestion (and what I'm working towards).
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avengador1
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Report this Post04-20-2011 10:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for avengador1Click Here to Email avengador1Send a Private Message to avengador1Direct Link to This Post
I think you would be interested in an enclosed recumbent bike. The only drawback is that they can get to be expensive.

http://www.electric-bikes.c...tterbikes/index.html
http://www.nycewheels.com/goone.html
http://www.wired.com/scienc...s/news/2006/01/70026
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Marvin McInnis
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Report this Post04-20-2011 10:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Marvin McInnisClick Here to visit Marvin McInnis's HomePageSend a Private Message to Marvin McInnisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by PerKr:

Bicycle with fully enclosing bodywork perhaps ... ?



1) Bodywork adds a lot of weight.

2) A bicycle with fully enclosed bodywork gets HOT fast. One significant design problem on the Gossamer Condor human-powered aircraft was providing adequate cooling for the pilot with the minimum possible increase in drag.
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Blacktree
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Report this Post04-20-2011 12:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeDirect Link to This Post
Instead of fully enclosing the bicycle, maybe you could just put a canopy on top, like a golf cart. And maybe put a plexi wind/rain screen in front. That would be a good compromise between airflow and protection. Although, if it's raining AND windy, you'll need to wear rain gear.
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Zeb
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Report this Post04-20-2011 01:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ZebSend a Private Message to ZebDirect Link to This Post
How long of a commute? What is the terrain like? Lots of hills? This info will help add or remove options. The weather is a big factor, and you've described that adequately.
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JazzMan
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Report this Post04-20-2011 01:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JazzManClick Here to Email JazzManSend a Private Message to JazzManDirect Link to This Post
40kph on human power with weather protection isn't going to be real feasible, unless you're in really good physical condition, and even then your range will be fairly limited. Inclement weather usually is associated with winds, so 2 wheels is probably out.

I think you're at the point of choosing two of three options:

Fast
Cheap
Weatherproof
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PerKr
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Report this Post04-20-2011 03:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PerKrClick Here to visit PerKr's HomePageClick Here to Email PerKrSend a Private Message to PerKrDirect Link to This Post
I must admit my first thought went towards recumbent bicycles with aero bodywork. I then realized that with an aerodynamically great body, I would have problems when coming to a stop (a slight compromise would solve that though, so no biggie). So, a recumbent with not-great-but-good-enough bodywork should work. compromises would be needed to let some air in and out, but speeds in excess of 40kph shouldn't be too hard to reach (we're not talking average speeds, this is for short bursts)

A second thought was sidecar racers (I had almost forgotten about their existence). They should fit somewhere in-between cars and motorcycles. Maybe not better economy than a small car, but smaller (easier to find a storage space for) and should be way quicker (and fun).

My intended use is for commuting. Distances up to 12 miles, relatively flat tarmac roads in spring-summer-fall (starting when the snow has gone and ending when it returns). I might need to have items with me which would fit in a medium size backpack. Speed and weatherproofing have a higher priority than low initial cost, though compromises will be made.
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ray b
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Report this Post04-20-2011 08:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ray bClick Here to Email ray bSend a Private Message to ray bDirect Link to This Post
lots of electric golf carts on the side streets here resently
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williegoat
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Report this Post04-20-2011 08:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for williegoatClick Here to visit williegoat's HomePageSend a Private Message to williegoatDirect Link to This Post
I commute to work on a bicycle about four days a week. When the weather is bad, I drive. But it's only a 6.6 mile round trip, and I live in Arizona. I figured such a short trip is bad for my motors, but good for me.

------------------

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spark1
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Report this Post04-21-2011 12:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for spark1Send a Private Message to spark1Direct Link to This Post
Portland's e-bike motor maker EcoSpeed will power 'One Bulb Tour' across America



 
quote
Look! Crossing the continent! It’s a bike. It’s a car. Actually, no. It’s ... it’s .. it’s a car being powered by an e-bike motor?

OK, this is bound to drive automobile and bicycle purists alike a little batty.

A father-and-son team say they plan to cross the United States this summer on the equivalent of the energy needed to power one 100-watt light bulb each day.


Here's the company that makes the bike/trike:

[This message has been edited by spark1 (edited 04-21-2011).]

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Marvin McInnis
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Report this Post04-21-2011 12:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Marvin McInnisClick Here to visit Marvin McInnis's HomePageSend a Private Message to Marvin McInnisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote

A father-and-son team say they plan to cross the United States this summer on the equivalent of the energy needed to power one 100-watt light bulb each day.



An energy budget of 2.4 KWH or less per day. That's going to be great fun in the mountains (or even in the molehills).

Assume that the vehicle is in motion only 8 hours a day, total weight (vehicle + driver) of 200 pounds, zero friction, and zero wind resistance. Such a vehicle would only be able to climb about 66 feet per minute.

[This message has been edited by Marvin McInnis (edited 04-21-2011).]

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spark1
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Report this Post04-21-2011 04:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for spark1Send a Private Message to spark1Direct Link to This Post
The battery pack specs are impressive:

Lithium Iron Phosphate, 10Ah, 51V, Replaceable Cell Useable energy is about 500 Wh. Weight: about 13 lbs (6 kg) including case, Dimensions: 14.5" L x 6.5" W x 3.75" H (370mm x 165mm x 95mm).

All for only $1495.00
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MidEngineManiac
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Report this Post04-21-2011 08:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MidEngineManiacSend a Private Message to MidEngineManiacDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Marvin McInnis:


1) Bodywork adds a lot of weight.

2) A bicycle with fully enclosed bodywork gets HOT fast. One significant design problem on the Gossamer Condor human-powered aircraft was providing adequate cooling for the pilot with the minimum possible increase in drag.


NOT necessarily...If you make your body out of 3/4 and 1/2 SCH40 PVC and cover it with dacron fabric, you will probably come in under 15 pounds. AND, if you base the design on triagulation (think tube aircraft fuselage) PVC should be plenty stiff. Then power it with...oh, I dunno....a 20hp briggs or something

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Marvin McInnis
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Report this Post04-22-2011 12:43 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Marvin McInnisClick Here to visit Marvin McInnis's HomePageSend a Private Message to Marvin McInnisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by MidEngineManiac:

... you will probably come in under 15 pounds.



That was my point. 15 pounds will almost double the weight of a bicycle.

[This message has been edited by Marvin McInnis (edited 04-22-2011).]

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JazzMan
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Report this Post04-22-2011 11:46 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JazzManClick Here to Email JazzManSend a Private Message to JazzManDirect Link to This Post
Not to mention the aerodynamic drag at speeds above a jogging pace. Basically human power + weather protection = nearly impossible and expensive to do if possible.
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theBDub
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Report this Post04-22-2011 11:58 AM Click Here to See the Profile for theBDubSend a Private Message to theBDubDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JazzMan:

Not to mention the aerodynamic drag at speeds above a jogging pace. Basically human power + weather protection = nearly impossible and expensive to do if possible.


My school placed first place across the nation last year for their human powered vehicle (in the race). 60+ mph with ease. The only problem is stopping because there isn't anything to stop you from falling over.

EDIT: And it's cheap.

[This message has been edited by theBDub (edited 04-22-2011).]

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JazzMan
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Report this Post04-22-2011 01:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JazzManClick Here to Email JazzManSend a Private Message to JazzManDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by theBDub:


My school placed first place across the nation last year for their human powered vehicle (in the race). 60+ mph with ease. The only problem is stopping because there isn't anything to stop you from falling over.

EDIT: And it's cheap.



Link and details, please. I remember when they broke 55 like two decades ago for a single rider it was a major effort in both financial and physical terms...
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theBDub
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Report this Post04-22-2011 04:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theBDubSend a Private Message to theBDubDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JazzMan:


Link and details, please. I remember when they broke 55 like two decades ago for a single rider it was a major effort in both financial and physical terms...


http://humanpowered.mst.edu/whatwedo.php

There ya go. Idk where top speed and finances are recorded. I know people on the team, AND have driven it.

EDIT:
In case you're interested, you can also check out our other student design programs. I'm part of the Solar House Team: http://solarhouse.mst.edu/

Here are our other programs: http://design.mst.edu/teams.html

[This message has been edited by theBDub (edited 04-22-2011).]

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JazzMan
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Report this Post04-22-2011 04:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JazzManClick Here to Email JazzManSend a Private Message to JazzManDirect Link to This Post
Still looking for data, found the blog, though, doesn't look encouraging?

http://experiencethis.mst.e...red_speed_challenge/

Can you post detailed links? I can't seem to find the 65mph run info.
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theBDub
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Report this Post04-22-2011 04:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theBDubSend a Private Message to theBDubDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JazzMan:

Still looking for data, found the blog, though, doesn't look encouraging?

http://experiencethis.mst.e...red_speed_challenge/

Can you post detailed links? I can't seem to find the 65mph run info.


I don't know where the links are. I never read the info on the links, but just know the guys on the team. They claim 60 mph and I trust them.

You're right, I don't have any info from myself; I'm just a secondhand source. However, since this isn't about my school, this was on the link you posted and should be of interest: "we send congratulations to Amanda Chu and Todd Reichert who both scored the new collegiate of 55.8mph and 63.4 mph respectively."
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theBDub
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Report this Post04-22-2011 05:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theBDubSend a Private Message to theBDubDirect Link to This Post
If I may, I'll give you a little more explanation of what I mean. Since I'm part of the Solar Team, specifically the PR side of things, I travel with other student design teams often. We go showcase our designs to raise funds and represent our school. The HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) team travels with us, so I got to know a few of the guys. They let me ride the bike around one day, but I was only allowed to go in circles. They told me they could go right over 60 mph. I asked them if it was hard to do so, and they said it was just as easy as riding slowly because of the gears.

I never thought I'd have to validate their claims, so that's why I don't have the links or know beyond all reasonable doubt that they were telling the truth. I'm sorry if their claims can't be validated, but I do know that they won nationally last year, and always scored high if they didn't win in other years. So their claims aren't entirely unbelievable. However, if you really want to press this issue I'm sure I could get something in writing for you
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