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-   -   4 miles? Pshh... EASY! (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/4-miles-pshh-easy-11201.html)

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 03:50 AM

4 miles? Pshh... EASY!
 
As you guys probably know, I dive 4 miles to and from school every day. Today, I am pulling out all the stops. I think I am going to build a gas powered bicycle. I will update later on my plans. :)

My route is actually 3 miles, not 4. der (just checked) Below are 2 route choices for me, tell me which one makes more sense.

EDIT: I just noticed that there is nearly a 1 mile difference between the two. Option 1 it is. So it should take me ~12 minutes to get to school, vs. ~5 minutes driving.

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 04:55 AM

Route 1 takes me the way that I drive. There is a sidewalk the entire time, with very little traffic. I will have to cross 4 lanes of traffic (45mph speed limit) with a median in the middle. Then I have to climb a hill, not sure the grade or length, but it's tough. Then I have 2 relatively big intersections (with crosswalks) and I am at school.

Pros: Sidewalk the whole time, shortest, probably fastest
Cons:Steep hill, cross 4 lanes, busiest (on the road at least)

This is my favorite option.

http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/k...56/Biking1.jpg

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 05:02 AM

Options 2 makes me climb a steeper, but shorter, hill. And lets me travel on the road with traffic (limit is 30 or so). I would park my bike at a church instead of the school if I did this.

Pros: slower traffic
Cons: one road is pretty busy ( I think ), longer

http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/k...56/biking2.jpg

Christ 11-28-2009 08:35 AM

I like option 1 because it's fairly straight... I don't pay too much mind to vehicle speed on non-locked highways, because it's fairly relative... just because the speed limit says 40 doesn't mean the guy on your ass isn't trying to do 55 anyway.

I'm not too fond of Option 2, it seems like you're going a good bit out of your way, and making alot of turns... all those intersections will prove more dangerous than maintaining a steady ride in the same direction as traffic, anyway.

Option 1, man. It's the safer bet.

dcb 11-28-2009 10:13 AM

One note,
I wouldn't rely on taking a gas powered anything on the sidewalk. Those electric assist bicycles can get away with it in many places but there's no exceptions for gas that I know of.

dcb 11-28-2009 10:53 AM

Here, I don't want to be one of those sort who obstruct with vague legal concerns.

Section 32-1-1.1
...
(4) BICYCLE. Every device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels either of which is more than 14 inches in diameter.
...
(34) MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE. Every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor which produces not to exceed five brake horsepower nor to exceed 150 cubic centimeter engine displacement, and weighs less than 200 pounds fully equipped, and every bicycle with motor attached.
...

(81) VEHICLE. Every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or electric personal assistive mobility devices; provided, that for the purposes of this title, a bicycle or a ridden animal shall be deemed a vehicle, except those provisions of this title, which by their very nature can have no application.
...

Section 32-5A-52

No person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.


So we know what constitutes a vehicle in alabama (a motorized bicycle counts) and that it cannot be used on a sidewalk.

thatguitarguy 11-28-2009 12:28 PM

Might not be interested in this solution, but why don't you just pedal. :o

I wish I lived that close to anything. Last year I lived close enough to work that I pedaled half the time all summer. That was a 34 mile round trip with 1000 ft climb on the way to work, and coming back home I could hit 30 MPH in a few places. :thumbup: Infinite MPG, and I was in the best shape I'd been in years. But enough of that...

The little 66cc motors that people are using to convert bikes don't have any pollution controls, and even though they get up to 150 MPG, they are not very green burning two-stroke oil all the way.

An electric conversion is much more expensive, basically because of the battery, but much quieter and eco-friendly.

I guess I'm just an old tree-hugger... :rolleyes:

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 01:10 PM

Oh guys, I must have mislead you. I am using the gas powered bike for recreational purposes on the weekend. It will still be able to be pedaled to and from school. I may use the gas engine to help me up the one hill, because I don't want to be sweaty when I get to school.

I found a bike to use yesterday, I need a new seat post and handle bar.

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thatguitarguy (Post 142226)
Might not be interested in this solution, but why don't you just pedal. :o

I wish I lived that close to anything. Last year I lived close enough to work that I pedaled half the time all summer. That was a 34 mile round trip with 1000 ft climb on the way to work, and coming back home I could hit 30 MPH in a few places. :thumbup: Infinite MPG, and I was in the best shape I'd been in years. But enough of that...
<snip>

haha

Electric is in the future for this bike, right now gas is simple.

Cd 11-28-2009 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thatguitarguy (Post 142226)
Might not be interested in this solution, but why don't you just pedal. :o

I wish I lived that close to anything. Last year I lived close enough to work that I pedaled half the time all summer. That was a 34 mile round trip with 1000 ft climb on the way to work, and coming back home I could hit 30 MPH in a few places. :thumbup: Infinite MPG, and I was in the best shape I'd been in years. But enough of that...

The little 66cc motors that people are using to convert bikes don't have any pollution controls, and even though they get up to 150 MPG, they are not very green burning two-stroke oil all the way.

An electric conversion is much more expensive, basically because of the battery, but much quieter and eco-friendly.

I guess I'm just an old tree-hugger... :rolleyes:


What he ^ said. :thumbup:

If you must have help riding there, you can get a cheapo electric bike from Wallmart.

Walmart.com: E-Zip 2008 Trailz Hybrid Electric Bike, Men's: Bikes, Scooters & Skates

Again, If you build a bike and install a small gasoline engine on it, you will more than likely be creating several times the amount of pollution that you would just driving there.

Think Motorcycles and Scooters are Great for the Environment? Wrong! | Hypermiling, Fuel Economy, and EcoModding News - EcoModder.com

Frank Lee 11-28-2009 01:49 PM

If your school is anything like mine was, there's no parking available within a 3-mile radius anyway because they oversold the permits so badly. :mad:

Just pedal it.

There was a monster hill on my route. I looked forward to the challenge. It took several months of chugging up that thing before I successfully made it all the way up without walking the bike. And that was way back when I was in great shape!

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 03:51 PM

I am just pedaling it, with a gas motor for the weekend and when i'm tired.

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 06:53 PM

Biked 3 miles today. Hardest thing i've done in probably 6 months. :o I am glad I did it though. Because I was going to bike to school Monday, and that aint gonna happen. I sweated like a pig, but I didn't stink. YAY! lol I am insanely tired so I think I have at least a month more of "training" before I start biking to school.

Frank Lee 11-28-2009 07:05 PM

:thumbup:

The exhaustion is a good sign. Means it's working.

MetroMPG 11-28-2009 07:10 PM

Congrats on the bike riding!

Am I mistaken that way back when you joined EM a couple of people suggested biking to class, and you were pretty set against the idea?

Quote:

I am just pedaling it, with a gas motor for the weekend and when i'm tired.
You ever seen anyone pedaling a moped? Me neither. ;)

Go electric! If all you want is a bit of help up a few hills, you could make your own, super cheap.

brucey 11-28-2009 07:21 PM

I've worked with electric conversion kits, the kind that are meant to give you a boost are great and cheap. no maintenance really required either. I'd definately go for one of those before strapping a weed eater mower to your bicycle, attracting all sorts of attention.

The e-bikes are pretty stealth, when riding one I've even told people its electric assist and they said I was messing with them!

alohaspirit 11-28-2009 07:21 PM

i could have sworn ive seen mopeds for around $300 too

gltux 11-28-2009 07:41 PM

I had to pedal my motorized bicycle home when it broke down. You're not gonna want to do four miles there and back pedalling. Heavy on hills and cumbersome. No longer quick and nimble as a bicycle should be.
It'd be a brilliant work out though :)

MetroMPG 11-28-2009 08:30 PM

Agreed: my mom's e-bike is a bit of a pig to ride, because it's got a lead acid pack and despite an aluminum frame the whole thing is heavy. 65 lbs?

But if you truly only want occasional ASSIST, you can actually build a lightweight electric hybrid. How does a 100 watt motor and 4.2 pounds total system weight sound?

See: Super Lightweight Assist -An ultra light-weight DIY electric assist system for a bike or human-powered vehicle

The problem with most e-bikes & kits is they're designed to be e-bikes you sometimes pedal.

Christ 11-28-2009 10:17 PM

Darin -
I probably suggested biking... and it probably fell into the "this guy's a dick" file on his computer desk at the time. :)

Eventually, he realized that I'm only cynical on days that end in "y", and now we're OK. :thumbup:

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 11:04 PM

Christ pissed me off one day, I don't remember what it was about, but i'm good now. :)

Yeah I didn't want to bike because it was "lame" and only kids that were nerds did it. But then again, I am on an Ecomodding forum talking about driving 55mph in my Geo... haha

I went to a local thrift store, picked up a second bicycle nearly identical to mine, and I want to experiment on it before I mess up my "new" one. I have a few things that will probably help in my electric endeavor. An old electric scooter of mine... Do I need anything else? lol

Christ 11-28-2009 11:26 PM

Hey, you could salvage batteries from most people's throw aways... most times, like in stereos and CD players and such, people replace all the batteries, and it's usually not that they're all dead. Of course, these are also usually alkaline, and you'd need all kinds of adapters and pack holders to make different types of packs that wouldn't last very long, so maybe you could just use them for stuff around your house... making this post completely irrelevant to the topic of the thread! :)

OTOH - if you wanted to make a battery pack out of, say, AAA cells, you can get them from cordless phones for free. Break the packs open, there's 3 AAA cells in there, and they're Ni-MH usually. 1.2V ~2200mAH each.

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 11:37 PM

Will that type battery work? I have the two batteries from my electric scooter.

Christ 11-28-2009 11:41 PM

I'm going to build a battery pack for my TwinStar from C cell Ni-MH batteries. They don't require a stupid charging process, so my alternator won't destroy them. I had briefly considered AAA or AA's, but it would take too many.

I was half joking about the AAA thing, but I use them in my remotes around the house, from cordless phones and the like. The two batteries from your scooter would be great for what you want, if not a bit heavy.

You'll probably want to look into lightening the bike as much as you can before adding weight, and being minimalist in what you do add to it.

That means the handlebar dingy bell has to go, man. :thumbup: (Probably those grip tassels, too... )

MadisonMPG 11-28-2009 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 142371)
That means the handlebar dingy bell has to go, man. :thumbup: (Probably those grip tassels, too... )

DAMNIT!

But seriously, they are pretty heavy, and so is the motor. But they are "free", so I don't know what I want to do. Pay money to make my life a little easier, or save some money and have to work a little harder.

Christ 11-28-2009 11:50 PM

Well, see what you can do for now with what you have. Get it working, upgrade later.

Like, if you can find some 5/8" aluminum tubing later on, it's lighter than the steel you have for handle bars right now, and fairly easy to make decent bends around an old bike rim. You might find it free, too.

There are several places that you can lighten frames by literally cutting holes in it, but I don't usually recommend it, especially if you're going to add stress to it. They're usually pretty over-engineered, though.

Another thing that can really affect you is proper maintenance. Make sure you have lightweight grease in the bearings, and make sure they're not overly worn, or if you're unsure, replace them.

Ensure that you don't have tires with lugs on them, since you're not going to rough terrain. If you can find smooth tires, they'll be easier on you. You can get them at K-mart for around $10 each, usually. Bell brand.

MadisonMPG 11-29-2009 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 142377)
Well, see what you can do for now with what you have. Get it working, upgrade later.

Like, if you can find some 5/8" aluminum tubing later on, it's lighter than the steel you have for handle bars right now, and fairly easy to make decent bends around an old bike rim. You might find it free, too.

<snip>

I'm not nearly as concerned about the weight of it as I am the RR. The wheels are 24" and Walmart doesn't carry that size street. I will go to K-mart of maybe a local bike shop and look around for thinner/smoother tires. The ones one it are pretty luggy. *is that a word? lol

It is an old Walmart bike, so i'm not sure about all the bearings, i'll probably go through the bike in the next week and see what all is worn. It does squeak sometimes though.

The 3 mile trip was REALLY hard, and I thought/think I am in good shape. So there may be something to this RR thing.

Christ 11-29-2009 12:04 AM

On a bike, when you're only making ~500 watts of effective propellant energy, aero is a large consideration as well. If you can score some bits of coroplast, maybe work on that?

MadisonMPG 11-29-2009 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 142382)
On a bike, when you're only making ~500 watts of effective propellant energy, aero is a large consideration as well. If you can score some bits of coroplast, maybe work on that?

I draw the line at aero... (as of now) it's just too lame.

Christ 11-29-2009 12:11 AM

Noone said you had to make a huge fairing or anything, but you could consider things like clear wheel covers, etc.

Of course, "for now" still applies, right?

Aero could be as simple as remembering to tuck after you've stabilized yourself, ya know? Lowering the handlebars could help out a bit, but don't make yourself uncomfortable doing it.

MadisonMPG 11-29-2009 12:12 AM

Let me actually be able to ride to school and not die, and then we'll talk about aero. :)

EDIT: Actually, give me some suggestions on what I could do. Let's say, 30% of max aero mods.

Christ 11-29-2009 12:14 AM

But aero would help you be requiring that you expend less energy... :P

It's a great goal, you have, though. I think you'll end up enjoying the ride.

thatguitarguy 11-29-2009 12:14 AM

I still say pedal the damn thing.

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, it's just that I'm speaking from personal experience. If pedaling for 3 miles is the hardest thing you've done in 6 months, then it's without a doubt something that you should do more. If you pedal for 3 miles everyday for a week, it won't feel so bad. If you pedal 3 miles a day for a month it will feel like nothing.

It took me 2 years to lose a hundred pounds, but the thing that really took me over the top was when I got back into biking after a long hiatus. Once I got my momentum going it felt so good that I committed to riding a hundred miles average a week. That quickly turned into a minimum of a hundred miles a week. It did wonders for my body, mind, and soul. And a bicycle (that you pedal) is the perfect eco vehicle.

OK - I'm stepping back off the soapbox...

Christ 11-29-2009 12:17 AM

thatguitarguy -

I'm not disagreeing, but the point has been made earlier, and he's made it obvious that he wants to go forward with the motorized vehicle. I'm just giving advice to aide his thoughts.

I'd probably just pedal it myself, because as lazy as I can be at times, it'd be too much work for me to really convert a bike. That's the reason I haven't done a pedal-trike yet, besides lack of time.

MadisonMPG 11-29-2009 12:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thatguitarguy (Post 142390)
I still say pedal the damn thing.

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, it's just that I'm speaking from personal experience. If pedaling for 3 miles is the hardest thing you've done in 6 months, then it's without a doubt something that you should do more. If you pedal for 3 miles everyday for a week, it won't feel so bad. If you pedal 3 miles a day for a month it will feel like nothing.

It took me 2 years to lose a hundred pounds, but the thing that really took me over the top was when I got back into biking after a long hiatus. Once I got my momentum going it felt so good that I committed to riding a hundred miles average a week. That quickly turned into a minimum of a hundred miles a week. It did wonders for my body, mind, and soul. And a bicycle (that you pedal) is the perfect eco vehicle.

OK - I'm stepping back off the soapbox...

Well, to be perfectly honest. I'm in shape. I squatted 285 for 3 sets of 5 a week ago, and I benched 185 for the same number of reps. (I weigh 150) I just am not "in shape" as cardio goes. I can pedal fast, I can run fast, I just can't keep tempo. I do plan on pedaling it, but I need a cheap project to work on.

If I end up liking it, I may get a road bike and start biking A LOT!

Frank Lee 11-29-2009 02:30 AM

Quote:

Christ pissed me off one day, I don't remember what it was about, but i'm good now.
I talk to him a lot, especially when I wreck something. :rolleyes:

Is your route hilly or fairly level? You are nice and light; for a level route I have found the bicycle's weight to be not very important i.e. I've been favoring my heavy steel mountain bike over my (relatively) light Fuji because it doesn't seem to be harder to pedal or slower but man is it more comfy. But I'm sure if I brought my MTB to my old college town and tried to scale that hill I'd probably only get half way up and then there better be some EMTs waiting!

Give yourself some time at first too, you don't have to work like a madman if you have time to take it easy. Maybe no sweating then either.

I see you mentioned 24" wheels- my guess is that bike is too small for you. Get into something like a MTB with 26" wheels and you can put smoothies on there and lemme tell ya, I couldn't pull top gear for long on my bike with the knobbies but with the smoothies I can pull top gear the whole ride- and they aren't running higher psi either! :thumbup: Another nice thing about 26 inchers is the wide selection of cheap tires. 27 inchers are good too. I live in hickville so the 700c stuff is pretty much non-existent here yet- can't comment on any pros/cons for that.

MadisonMPG 11-29-2009 10:31 AM

I'm 5'7" on a good day, if that helps you decide if the bike is too small. The bike was free, and the whole point in my riding to school would save me money. I am going to do some math today and figure out how long it would take me to pay back say a 100 dollar bike.


I lost the battery charger to this scooter, can I use another type of battery charger? (like one from Harbor Freight?)

thatguitarguy 11-29-2009 11:49 AM

At 5'7" a 24" bike is small for you. Look in your area on craigslist. I did and this is the first thing I saw: Schwinn Varsity Road Bike

A 24" bike limits your tire selection, as you have already found, and since they are made for a smaller person, it's not made very strong, and probably wouldn't be adequate for a motor conversion. A bike that fits you well is a lot more important than most people realize, but if it doesn't fit you well, you won't ride it, and it won't help you. Would you like to walk those 3 miles in shoes that don't fit? Get a bike that fits with a comfortable saddle, before you start thinking about aero and motor conversion.

If you get a 26" or 27" bike you have a lot more tires to choose from. Even with a knobby tire, if you pump it up to about 50 lbs, you are reducing the RR a lot. Be careful though, because it's easy to over inflate and pop it off the rim. That will blow the tube and you'll have to buy a new one.

Aero doesn't make any difference on a bike until you get above 15 mph, and if you have a hard time with 3 miles, you're a long way from being able to maintain that speed long enough for it to make any noticeable difference.

MadisonMPG 11-29-2009 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thatguitarguy (Post 142467)
At 5'7" a 24" bike is small for you. Look in your area on craigslist. I did and this is the first thing I saw: Schwinn Varsity Road Bike

A 24" bike limits your tire selection, as you have already found, and since they are made for a smaller person, it's not made very strong, and probably wouldn't be adequate for a motor conversion. A bike that fits you well is a lot more important than most people realize, but if it doesn't fit you well, you won't ride it, and it won't help you. Would you like to walk those 3 miles in shoes that don't fit? Get a bike that fits with a comfortable saddle, before you start thinking about aero and motor conversion.

If you get a 26" or 27" bike you have a lot more tires to choose from. Even with a knobby tire, if you pump it up to about 50 lbs, you are reducing the RR a lot. Be careful though, because it's easy to over inflate and pop it off the rim. That will blow the tube and you'll have to buy a new one.

Aero doesn't make any difference on a bike until you get above 15 mph, and if you have a hard time with 3 miles, you're a long way from being able to maintain that speed long enough for it to make any noticeable difference.

REALLY? I finally bought a bike too small! I've never done that before. :)

I will look around for a 26" bike, thanks. I am actually looking for a road bike, one that I can ride once I get the hang of biking again. I wouldn't mind biking 20 miles or more a day, for the hell of it.

Christ 11-29-2009 05:50 PM

Hell, I used to ride a 20" six speed. If you're comfortable, I don't believe it's too small.

However, it's easier to ride taller bikes long distances without fatigue.

If you're any good with welding, you may have the room to upgrade your rim size without getting a whole new bike... you could get 26" rims, they might fit.

In fact, fronts probably will go right on, rear might need the brake bracket moved up.


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