Just for fun, here are a few numbers I measured this morning, in an effort to make my blog a little more precise:
70 pounds — the unloaded weight of my Hammer Truck, battery, motor, bags, lights, etc. That’s actually somewhat heavier than I expected. And that doesn’t include the canvas shopping bags, rain cover, bike lock, water bottle, bungee cords, and other things I keep in the side bags for easy access. No wonder I feel a little weak when I turn off the motor (only occasionally) and try pedaling up our hill.
30 pounds – the weight of my non-powered bicycle for comparison. But I almost never ride it if the cargo bike is available.
10% grade – the incline of the road in front of our house.
18% grade – the incline on the steepest section of road on our way to school every morning. It lasts for about 100 yards. When I’m hauling a 70-pound kid and 20 pounds of books and instruments up that part of the hill, the motor and the human are both close to their limits. This is when you begin to appreciate the miracle of cars. Just press that accelerator a bit more towards the floor, and 10 times the mass of my load leaps up the hill at 5 times the speed. But that challenge only lasts for 100 yards, and most people don’t have 18% inclines in their daily routes. The 10% grade feels more reasonable, as you can see in the first part of my Electric Cargo Bike video (http://mycargobike.net/2010/05/06/cargo-bike-video), where I haul my son and his stuff around the corner and up the hill.
7 months — the length of time I’ve been riding my bike down that hill, often with two kids as passengers, without any brake replacements or adjustments. I think that is the best aspect of the BionX regenerative braking system. I’m just beginning to think that an adjustment might be necessary in the next month or two. My wife wore the brake pads on her traditional bike down to the metal in that same span of time.
Good news: I’ve found an owner as well as two local bike shops who have the Kona Electric Ute. I hope to take it for a test drive this weekend at a local sustainability faire!