California law proposes 3 e-bike classifications

An electric bicycle with pedal assist, but capable of 28 miles per hours, would be banned from bike trails under the proposed law.

An electric bicycle with pedal assist, but capable of 28 miles per hour, would be banned from bike trails under the proposed law. Bikes capable of only 20 miles per hour could use most bike trails.

Bicycle Retailer reports today the California legislature will start hearings Monday on a bill to classify all e-bikes. A similar move is underway in New York State. The Retailer reported:

“AB-1096, sponsored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would create three classifications of e-bikes: Class 1 for pedal-assist bikes, or pedelecs; Class 2 for bikes with throttles; and Class 3 for “speed??? pedelecs. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes would be limited to an assisted speed of 20 miles an hour, while a Class 3 bike could reach an assisted speed of 28 miles an hour.

“The bill also defines where each type of e-bike could be ridden.

“Class 1 bikes could go wherever traditional bikes are allowed, while Class 2 bikes would be limited to paved surfaces. Class 3 bikes would be restricted to roads or bikeways that are adjacent to a road.

“In a nod to concerns from cities and counties, the measure allows local governments to opt out of allowing e-bikes on bike paths or trails.”

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Electric bicycles are not cheating health!

pedal-assist bike

Commuting on a pedal-assist iZip Peak gives the same exercise as a standard bike for the veggie biker, but in half the travel time and very little sweat.

“Riding an electric bicycle is like cheating. You can’t possibly get the same level of exercise as you would on a regular, manually-pedaled bicycle. It just makes sense intuitively, but new research just now being published by the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Exercise Physiology Department torpedoes that notion once and for all.”

QUIKBYKE reports, “After collecting, tabulating and analyzing the data, Master’s Candidate Taylor La Salle reached three key conclusions:

“(1) The actual amount of energy expended by the riders was nearly identical for both modes: electric-assist and manual.

“(2) The biggest difference was in the time it took to complete the circuit; on average riding the eBike took around 1 minute less than in the non-electric mode.

“(3) Significantly, all the riders rated their perceived exertion (RPE) using the ACSM’s scale as being easier using electric mode made. If riding the bike in manual mode was rated 15, riding it in pedal-assist mode was a 10. That’s a huge difference in rider perception between the two modes.”

Read More: http://epedaler.com/blog.cfm?blogid=188

Dutch build freeways for e-bikes

Intercity bicycle motorways dedicated to 30 mph e-bikes could soon get the green light in Holland, reads a press release from the Environmental Transportation Association, a British non-profit insurance company. 

Bikes with the speed of a 50cc moped are popular in Holland and the e-bike freeway would allow commuters to move without frequent stops between four cities.

Germany and Switzerland have established a separate class for higher power electric bicycles. These bikes can travel at speeds of 30mph and face less stringent requirements than mopeds.

Read More

https://www.eta.co.uk/2015/03/10/30-mph-bicycle-motorways-e-bike-commuters/

BikeShare stations officially launched in Fullerton

Bike Nation Mechanic, Christian Vallejo was polishing the BikeShare rides before today's dedication ceremony, until early guests started asking questions.

Bike Nation Mechanic, Christian Vallejo was polishing the BikeShare rides before today’s dedication ceremony, until early guests started asking questions.

Inexpensive bicycle rental has come to Fullerton. And it is among the things marking the beginning of the end of the freeway culture.

County Supervisor Shawn Nelson hosted a gaggle of politicians at the South of Commonwealth Parking Garage in a dedication ceremony making official the BikeShare partnership between BikeNation, the County of Orange, the Orange County Transportation Authority and the City of Fullerton.

Nelson said the country is at an end of an era of freeway construction. The future belongs to trains, buses and bicycles.

BikeShare currently has 11 stations across the city. Two more are planned. And two more are hoped for, the BikeShare website reports. Currently, they serve the flat areas of Fullerton. St. Jude Medical Center will have to wait.

BikeShare Map

Blue tags mark BikeShare stations from which you can pick up a bike and ride. The red tags are stations being planned.

The stations consists of bike rack holding a row of bicycles and a vending kiosk where, with the swipe of a credit card, one can purchase a daily, monthly or annual membership permitting one to ride as much as one wants at no extra charge–if one plans trips of less than 30 minutes per bike.

Shawn Nelson

County Supervisor Shawn Nelson takes a turn on a rental bike. It was noted by many he did not wear a helmet for this test ride around the parking plaza.

“Passes cost $5 for a one-day pass and $12 for a 7-day pass. Annual memberships are available to frequent users for $75,” the OCTA website reads. “There is also a discounted $45 annual membership for students. Bike rides lasting longer than 30 minutes will incur an overtime charge of $2 to $5 per 30 minutes.”

Others attending today’s dedication included the mayor pro tem of Fullerton, Greg Sebourn; City Council Woman Jan Flory; and North Orange County Community College District Trustee Leonard Lahtinen.

City of Fullerton Bike Users Subcommittee members

City of Fullerton Bike Users Subcommittee Members Vince Buck, Jane Rand, and John Carroll, speak with City Councilwoman Jan Flory (right of center). The committee reviews policies, plans and projects affecting bicycle travel within the city. The committee meets at 5 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month.

The short ceremony was followed by an opportunity for attendees to ride BikeShare rigs.

Christian Vallejo & Jane Rands

Jane Rands gets an explanation of the gearing on the BikeShare bicycles from Christian Vallejo, Bike Nation Mechanic. The bikes are nearly indestructible because of safe-guards that a first-time user must learn.

The chatter among those bikers attending, who have tried the BikeShare equipment, is one really can ride all day for the price of a membership if one rides from one bike station to another in less than 30 minutes, swaps rides, and then proceeds to the next station in under 30 minutes.

Only two complaints were heard. The rugged bikes are not speedy, $2,000 touring bikes; and if a rider meets a friend and stops to talk, as happens often in Fullerton, the rider probably will pay BikeShare an overtime charge.

Teams trying to build urban assault bicycle

wpid-free-vector-downloads-bicycle-vintage-graphicsfairy21.jpgThe Veggie Biker has sought two things. The perfect pannier and the perfect bike–an urban assault vehicle–for navigating railroad crossings, pot holes and broken glass. There’s hope for a perfect bike.

An Urban BIKE DESIGN PROJECT plans to unveil the perfect city bike July 25, reports Fast Company magazine.

And readers of Fast Company get to vote on the design.

“The Quest To Design The Perfect Urban Bicycle
This spring, five design teams will compete in the Oregon Manifest’s Bike Design Challenge to innovate on what two-wheeled transportation can be.

“With more major cities adopting public bike programs as a cheaper, healthier, and greener forms of transportation, the urban cycling craze is at an all-time high, leaving industrial designers with a challenge: to design a better urban bike.

“This spring, Co.Exist and Co.Design are partnering with Oregon Manifest’s Bike Design Project, which has tapped teams of top designers and bicycle craftsmen in five major cities to create the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike.

“The five participating teams of design firms and bicycle craftsmen are MNML x Method Bicycle in Chicago; Pensa x Horse Cycles in NYC; Industry x TiCycles in Portland; Huge Design x 4130 Cycle Works in San Francisco; and Teague x Sizemore Bicycles in Seattle. Each will compete to create a pair of wheels that’s safer and sleeker than anything that’s come before, prepared to weather the grittiest of urban commutes.”

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Fullerton’s BikeShare offers sturdy bikes for short trips

There are supposed to be 15 BikeShare stations across the City of Fullerton. This station at California State University--Fullerton has empty slots for incoming bikes rented from other station, while offering bikes one can jump on for a quick trip to a downtown station on Wilshire.

There are supposed to be 15 BikeShare stations across the City of Fullerton. This station at California State University–Fullerton has empty slots for incoming bikes rented from other station, while offering bikes one can jump on for a quick trip to a downtown station on Wilshire.

By Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC), Courtesy of the Fullerton Observer, December 2013 Edition

Bicycle sharing has come to Fullerton.

Fifteen BikeShare stations are in place around town and being made available to the public. However, riding the new bikes is not as simple as it seems. I was one of several “beta-testers??? and have a few suggestions on using these bikes (details on how the system works can be found at on the Orange County Transportation Authority website.

BikeShare Bikes

BikeShare rides have sold tires and no chain. You have to stop to shift gears. But that means there are fewer things for the previous riders to break.

If you are used to riding a standard 27-speed road bike or a mountain bike, the BikeShare bikes will take some getting used to. If you ride a beach cruiser, the adjustment will be easier. These are slow, heavy bicycles. The only reason anyone would steal one is for scrap-metal.

The bicycles do not have chains and the tires are solid. They do have a basket, lights that turn on when the bicycle is moving, three speeds and a bell.

Handlebars of Bikeshare

Sturdy, utilitarian construction is the hallmark of the BikeShare bike. Figure 8 mph tops.

The configuration is similar to a beach cruiser, but since I ride a road bike, I found it difficult to control. My first suggestion is to do your initial ride in a safe place until you get used to controlling the bicycle.

Other suggestions:

  • The bikes do not shift when pedaling. You must stop pedaling, shift, and then resume peddling. Since the bicycle is so heavy, having three gears is very helpful and shifting is essential. The shifting mechanism is a ring around the right handlebar.
  • The bell is a ring (no pun intended) around the left handlebar. If you do not know it is there you might ring it by mistake which is startling.
 The bicycles are slow, probably about 8 mph, half the speed of a road bike, so take that into consideration when planning your trip.
  • The lights work only while the bike is moving, so you may not be visible when stopped at a traffic signal. The front light flashes. It is not for lighting the street but to make the bike visible. Be careful not to obscure it with items in the basket.
  • Seat height must be adjusted. On the front of the seat post are some marked gradations. Once you know the proper adjust- ment—in my case, 7—you can easily go to it each time you take out a bicycle. Once you know your height, it is probably easiest to make the adjustment before removing the bike from the rack. For the first time adjustment, a rough guide is to have your leg fully outstretched when your heel is on the pedal.
BikeShare instructions

The bikes come with only a few instructions. Riders must get used to “taking the road” and not dodging in and out of parking spaces. Let the car honk. Of course, they don’t rent the helmets

Bicycles can be “rented??? on a daily or yearly basis. (Pay your money and you can hop on and off any bike at any time.) If you sign up for a year — and students are subsidized — you are given a card. All you need to do to take out the bike is pass that card over the sensor. On a daily basis you can use a credit card, which is a more involved process.

No charge is made for the first 30 minutes of use, once you are signed up, or have paid the daily fee. If the bike is returned before 30 minutes have expired, you can take it out again for another 30 minutes with no charge. (You can ride all day, switching bikes every 30 minutes, for just one charge. You really can ride across Fullerton this way.)

When the bicycle is replaced it is important to make sure it is locked in. That requires an extra push. When it is fully in, lights will flash.

While this may seem complicated and the bikes cumbersome, they will serve useful purposes and be a good supplement to getting around town, especially when all the stations are in place.

Solar BikeShare station

BikeShare is part of the Green Movement. It is an attempt to get people out of their cars and use sustainable, non-polluting transportation integrated with buses and trains.

Similar bikes are immensely popular in large cities around the world. New York had five million rides in the first five months of operation. Still, regular users will probably want to buy their own faster, more comfort- able bikes.

Commuters should know that there are bike lockers at the train station, so your personal bike can safely be stored overnight. Bikes are also allowed on trains and on buses, so you can put your bike aboard the bike car and have a bike when you get to your destination.

But if you just want to ride from Fullerton Transportation Center to Cal State Fullerton—Bikeshare will get you there easily.

 

 

 

Bicyclists are dying for OCTA public education

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority  engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zome between car and bike.

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zone between car and bike.

Editorial

It was ugly.

The high-dollar, black sedan pulled up behind me. The driver laid on his horn scaring me and causing me to swerve. The car then swooped to my left and up next to me. He rolled down the window and began shouting, “Get off the road! Bicycles don’t belong here. There’s no bike lane here!???

I yelled back. “You’re wrong. You’re supposed to wait until I get by. You don’t know the law.???

 It got uglier.

We were in the north-bound entrance to Interstate 5. I was churning up the overpass and he was trying to enter the freeway. Most bicyclists fear freeway ramps where CalTrans just abandons us in a no-man’s land of accelerating cars.

Finally, he hit the gas, cut hard right in front of my bike and zoomed down the freeway ramp.

That was the second incident between a bicyclist and a car during my ride to work today. A bicyclist was riding properly on the right side of Commonwealth in Fullerton. He changed lanes safely, crossing traffic and entering the center, left-hand turn lane. He was turning into a strip mall.

A car behind him just had to honk at him for no reason.

Potentially Fatal Failure to Communicate

What we have here in Orange County is a potentially fatal failure to communicate.

octalogo2My Orange County Transportation Authority representative, Gail Eastman, asked this Veggie Biker to write a letter about the problems he observes commuting about Orange County. But, I also need a blog post this week to keep up my “Likes,??? so I am writing the letter as a post.

I have received similar (but not as violent) abuse from drivers of all descriptions. And I have observed bicyclists of all descriptions doing totally stupid things.

Most people, like the man today, appear to think bicycles should only be in bike lanes or, if there are no lanes, on the sidewalk.  Few bicyclists are aware that one must ride with traffic—even on the sidewalk. Few bicyclists,  and certainly no drivers, are aware several cities ban riding on sidewalks. And few pedestrians on a sidewalk want to get hit by a bike averaging 17 miles per hour.

But wait! There’s more! Bicyclists text while riding, nearly running into other bikers. I have seen this not just once, but several times.

And few if any drivers know they should check for bikes when opening car doors. Twice I’ve had drivers just stand there, zombie-like, unable to understand why I should be upset they almost “car-doored??? me.

And I was car-doored by a truck that stopped in the left lane, and the passenger jumped out into the bike lane. He hit the door. I didn’t.

Drivers and Bicyclists Never Trained

I believe much of the stupidity comes from the fact the California drivers’ test has only two bicycle questions, none relevant to anything above.

OCTA has a legal obligation to teach Orange County drivers and bikers California laws. The campaign has to be in English and Spanish. Most bicyclists with whom I commute appear to be poor immigrants.

I suggest the rear of every OCTA bus should have large posters that cars can read. “Yes, bicyclists can do this!??? The posters would show bicyclists riding properly in the street or making left-hand turns, as examples.

The right  sides of busses should be devoted to messages for bicyclists. (I do understand, that ad revenue pays many of the bills.)

As I noted in another post, riding in the older cities of North Orange County is just a series of missed opportunities to die. (I could not believe when I rode through Irvine Friday just how nice urban biking can be with a choice of trails and really wide bike lanes.)

Last Mile & Last Minute

Our OCTA representatives, including Ms. Eastman, are very concerned about the last mile problem. How do people (and Orange County is getting older every year) get from the train station and bus stops to their final destinations?

I suggest Marshrutkas. These yellow mini-busses zip around Ukrainian towns following a set route, but not set times. They can stop anywhere to get as close to anyone’s apartment as possible. It’s a “swarm??? of public transportation. Forget the big hogs that flex in the middle; Give people little busses that totally flex. (Using bicycles to haul supplies, instead of using large trucks, is how General Giap won the Vietnam War.)

The Metrolink gets better every day. I no longer drive to Los Angeles in the mornings. But it is the devil to go from North County to South County in the mornings—or to go anywhere in the middle of the day.

We need more trains going opposite directions at more times.

My wife retired because she no longer wanted to waste up to four hours of her life each day in the Orange Crush. She needed a train that left Fullerton at 6 a.m. and arrived in Tustin by 6:45 a.m. She could easily walk the two miles to her office—plus earn exercise points. She worked a 10-hour day, four days a week. But the trains stopped running northward before she could walk back to the station at night. And, as in North County, South County busses, are much slower than just walking or biking.

Our OCTA representatives are caught in a chicken-and-egg quandary. We voters must get on board the entire concept of mass transport, not just a bus or train.

I can’t solve this one. But I believe I can solve the problem of public ignorance about bicycling. Let’s just do it!

Road killings are going to happen

This Public Education program cannot wait until next year. People are dying for it. Really, It’s getting ugly out here.

white bike

The number of white bicycles often placed at the site of bicycle deaths could be reduced with an Orange County Transportation Authority bicycle rights and responsibilities campaign for drivers and bicyclists.