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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-10-2004, 11:17 AM   #21
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Re: Stagflation?

I've never tried an electric bike, but if your commute is only 5 miles, you could probably find an inexpensive electric scooter with that range. Make sure you get enough horsepower to make it up a hill.
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Re: Alternative Transportation
Old 05-10-2004, 11:29 AM   #22
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Re: Alternative Transportation

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I came across another interesting form of transportation this weekend: electric-assist bicycles. Some have a motorcycle twist-grip, and some just sense your pedaling and help. I live 5 miles from work and have thought of biking for fitness, but I don't want to wear myself out or get sweatty on the way to work. (I'm very out of shape at the moment.) Supposedly these electric assist bikes can flatten the hills and cancel out headwinds and make biking a more even form of workout.
.
As you drive to work and back, think about a "you" riding a bike over there in the right lane every day. Good idea? Or likely result in a fast trip to an ICU Unit after getting hit by a car? A guy I worked with once started on a bike kick. He started riding to work and back. He went out of his way to avoid traffic (well, most of it that he could). On a quiet side street intersection, he had a real close call with a car. Not long afterwards, he got tangled up with a street storm sewer grate, and a big fall. More like a catapult launch, really. Got pretty busted up. Couldn't ride for a while. Decided to keep bike riding as a leisure pastime, rather than as a way to work. Probably saved his life. Your mileage (or life!) may be different
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-10-2004, 11:43 AM   #23
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Re: Stagflation?

I have to say that bike paths have had a tremendous impact on my quality of life. * I worked in Orange County, CA for about 10 years and bike-commuted most of that time. * They have an extensive network of bike paths along the flood channels and the beach -- I could easily go 30 miles without coming within crash distance of a car.

Even now that I live in a beautiful rural part of the country, I miss that network of urban bike paths.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-10-2004, 12:08 PM   #24
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Re: Stagflation?

I actually have an electric bike. Used it in my old neighborhood where we had some horrendous hills and lots of them. Gave it to my dad when I moved to the flatlands.

Mine is a currie USPD equipped folding full sized mountain bike (frame folds in half and the wheels and seat come off) so it can be carried in a trunk. I bought it on ebay for about $350. The USPD kit can be added - by a bike mechanic or someone with extensive knowledge of bikes - to an existing bike, and there are several premade bikes using this add-on kit.

What you'll find in these are three types. An "add-on" with friction wheels that engage the front or rear wheel (like the ZAP bike), an "add-on" with an extra gear set on the left side of the front or rear wheel, and an "assist" bike that doesnt have its own separate gear setup, it just boosts you when you pedal. The first two can propel the bike on its own, the latter only provides so much help when you pedal first.

Some of these bikes are VERY small, and some are VERY heavy and all have weight restrictions. Mine was a full size bike that weighed about 40lbs on its own, with a load limit of 200lbs. I weigh 215, and it was too much for it, so the weight limits are not conservative. The weight isnt hard to figure out...these things carry 24 and 36v battery packs usually made up of 12v small lead acid batteries like you might find in a home battery backup unit for a PC. Some bikes are using Nicd or Liion batteries, for twice the price. The speed and range are usually also a little liberal, presuming the passenger is a gerbil and the road is downhill all the way, both ways.

Some of the add-on kits have motor overheat problems. Mine did, so I added a big AMD CPU heat sink to the motor "can". Worked like a charm, but looked pretty funky.

For a non-add-on look for those with a few buckaroos, Heinzmann makes some very elegant and well made bikes. Mercedes even made a beauty once. Ford and Lee Iaccocca got into and out of the business pretty quick. Giant makes a well regarded bike in this area, with a very strong motor. You can get these on ebay and on "fell off a truck" sales for $500-600, but they usually get 750-1250. I actually considered upgrading to a Heinzmann and won one on ebay for $650 and the seller weaseled out on selling it to me.

Laws around these are funny. Many states consider these with a motor up to a certain wattage to be nothing more than a bike. Some require helmets, drivers licenses, and so forth. Some consider them to be mopeds. Many recommend that you carry a moped type insurance policy as an electric moving at 25mph with a set of acid batteries strapped to it can do a little more damage than a regular bike.

Kind of a fund tinkering experience, and I can see where an ER'ed engineer could have some fun with one of these for a week or two, but I wouldnt want to rely on it for any sort of transportation.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-10-2004, 02:09 PM   #25
 
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Re: Stagflation?

MY "bike" has a big old V-twin on it. Runs on gasoline,
which (although near $2.00 per gal here) still is way more economical than my monster V-8 pick up.

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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-12-2004, 07:20 AM   #26
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Re: Stagflation?


Price of gas at a station in Santa Barbara, Calif. Tuesday morning May 11, 2004, was $3.11 for full service, 91 octane. It was later changed to $3.13. The Utility Consumers Action Network, a San Diego-based consumer group says California should declare a state of emergency to help fight rising gasoline prices. (AP Photo/Mike Eliason)
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-12-2004, 10:04 AM   #27
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Re: Stagflation?

I like this design: http://www.sceadu.com

I am thinking about having one made and putting a diesel motor on it. Should be close to 100 mpg. The designers says he will make them for about $3000.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-12-2004, 10:41 AM   #28
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Re: Stagflation?

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I like this design: http://www.sceadu.com

I am thinking about having one made and putting a diesel motor on it. *Should be close to 100 mpg. *The designers says he will make them for about $3000.
I wish everyone drove something this small and economical on the streets I travel on. But they don't. And I'm afraid this kind of vehicle would end up squashed like a bug by some giant SUV or dump truck before I could get to the grocery store.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-12-2004, 12:55 PM   #29
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Re: Stagflation?

Yep, pull that out in front of my expedition at the wrong time and I'll be picking you out of my grill for a week!
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-13-2004, 07:17 AM   #30
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Re: Stagflation?

Retired Army motor pool sargent - the only one I know who actually owns no car and uses a bike. BUT he's getting tired of flying vacations and may get a 'small' motor home this summer - he lives in a RV park.

The 'back' road past my swamp out of New Orleans is getting(spring) the spandex/helmet crowd -sometimes with a 'pace car' containing spare bicycles on top.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-13-2004, 07:22 AM   #31
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Re: Stagflation?

Yeah, that's the big problem. Vehicles like Sceadu and motorcycles and bicycles really shouldn't share roads with Expeditions and tandem Peterbilts. We need a segregated road system for lightweight personal transportation, but that's probably financially impractical until gas prices go up an order of magnitude or two.

By the way, I was just having new toy fever with the electric bike idea. I pulled my decent quality human-powered bicycle out and rode it around. First, it's not very hilly around here; second, I'm a big heavy guy and I doubt an electric bike would last long under me; thrid, I'd have to be really conditioned to the saddle before trying a daily commute! And biggest of all there is no bike-safe route to work. There are bike trails here and there, but only two high-traffic and under-construction roadways between here and work, and it would not be safe at all to bike it. Oh, and I dont see myself biking in the rain, and the weather around here is unpredictable.

John, you'll be happy to know that there is a Harley dealership near my apartment, and they rent Harleys. I recently got an itch for a Harley, but a real one doesn't fit into my near or mid term financial plans, but I'll probably rent one for a day or two this summer. Maybe this winter or next summer I'll buy an immitaion Harley from Honda.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-13-2004, 08:06 AM   #32
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Re: Stagflation?

It depends a lot on where you live. We chose a house within walking distance of a small downtown, public beaches, marina and my boat, work (ugh) and grocery store. Outside of the small town we live in, there are a lot of rural roads and forest roads. I don't really need to enter suburbia or megacity to get things done. And to be honest I don't think I could live out in the country where you have to drive a car to get anywhere.

So a bicycle works now, and the Sceadu would be great for cruising the beach and maybe some forest tours. I would avoid interstates and big cities, as I already do while driving my Ford Escort.

If you choose your location right, you can get by with something less than an Excursion. Even an electric golf cart is allowed on the city streets here, and is a real, low cost alternative to a car for someone living in a small town. Or at least a switch from a two car garage to a one car plus a buggy garage.

It all depends on where you choose to live.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-13-2004, 09:57 AM   #33
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Re: Stagflation?

...And your total load. Try putting 300+lbs of dogs, 3 or 4 people and a bunch of stuff with intentions of 100-250 miles of travel in something smaller than an expedition.

Not to mention that aside from the regular day "vacation" trips, I'm likely to fill the tank about once every 4-6 weeks from regular around town driving.

$56 on the last fill though. That hurts.
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$2.049 in Plainfield, Indiana
Old 05-15-2004, 02:07 PM   #34
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$2.049 in Plainfield, Indiana

Good grief gas went from $1.899 to $2.049 in a big hurry! I just paid $25.64 for 12.515 gallons.

I'm within a month (plus a day or two) of paying the credit card debt off...maybe a motorcycle is in my near future...or maybe I'll trade my V6 Lumina for my brother's Toyota Echo...or find an off-road bicycle route to work.

Naaaaahhhh.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-15-2004, 02:51 PM   #35
 
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Re: Stagflation?

Hey BigMoney Jim.................I filled my monster pickup today. Already had 1/4 tank. Fill up was $52.00!
Doh!!!!!!!!!!! I will be cutting back my travels for sure,
except maybe for bike trips this summer.

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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-23-2004, 11:12 AM   #36
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Re: Stagflation?

For those looking for ways to reduce gas needs, check out:

www.zapworld.com

I can't see myself with any of these vehicles in the near future, but maybe some day. . .

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