Friday, October 07, 2005

Electricity on Two Wheels

the pirate's electric bike

back in 2001 when we lived in santa cruz some non-profit outfit, whose mission it was to reduce auto traffic, a noble cause, offered a $500 rebate on the purchase of an electric bike, the only condition being attendance at a 2 hour bike safety class. so we did the class and bought 2 fat tire cruisers with electric drive add-on equipment manufactured by curry and installed by electric sierra cycle, a small business right in santa cruz. the bikes cost $800 each and we didn't even have to come up with the total and work for the rebate. $600 out of pocket and we were on the street. we loved our bikes. RD commuted to UCSC 5 miles one way and up some serious hills. i often rode with her and went to work afterward.

we liked the owner of the bike business and went by often to say hi. when he showed us the new model he had designed and caused to be manufactured we wanted it. the cruisers were good but they were unsprung and the battery and motor added quite a bit of weight, and thus they had a kinda rough ride. his new model has front and rear springs, the battery is in the center making the weight distribution much better, and applying the brakes turns off the motor. we bought one for each of us. RD rode off every morning light rain or shine and i rode along many days. we took our new bikes on some adventures in the hills. in the last year we lived in santa cruz we had sold our house and lived in a rental closer to the ocean, so we rode down to the sea after dinner quite often. down was easy 'cause it was literally down a semi-large hill. coming back up was also easy with reddy kilowatt at our fingertips.

our synergy cycles have a range of about 20 miles and a top speed on level ground of about 17 mph. they have a modern twist shift that controls 7 speeds and front and rear brakes. the motor drives but is freewheeling for over speed. it is controlled by a little thumb thing analogous to a gas pedal on a car. the battery recharges in about 4 hours from very low. the bikes have a very good battery powered headlight and bright blinking taillights. also nice "luggage racks" on the back. the bums recommend keith hodgson at electric sierra cycle.

bonus picture. the pirate and his bike somewhere on the upper campus of UCSC

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I'm very interested in Bicycles . OK, I'm a Bicycles
    freak,nutcase,or whatever you want to call it. I'm searching all the time for info about it. So I'm glad I found you! Thanx