This is all about augmentations of human energy with electric power for cycling
as the most sustainable form of human transportations

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trike back on road with power assist

It is more than a month since I returned home from my trike trip. I am taking trike rides almost everyday - for pleasure, for collecting GPS tracks & to bring home groceries too. Few days after coming back, I could not use power assist system. I was mistakenly under impression that the controller is having problems and resorted to pedaling only mode.

Putting the trike on the top of the bus while returning from Bijapur did really create some problem because of rain which I realized much later. After lot of attempts to rectify the problem & exhausting all possibilities I had approached ezeebike who promptly sent one controller plus throttle. WaiWon had given me hint that water may have entered into the controller while riding in rain but then I retorted have done fifteen km ride in perfect weather and there was no rain past two days. He had asked me to open up and dry the electronics inside.

Once they wrote that new throttle and controller are on the way, I did not attempt anymore to prevent further damage to the motor. Since it is not easily replaceable, I was very careful while handling the assist unit. Soon after receiving spare controller from China, just by chance I connected old controller and surprised to see it working. So there was no problem after all, just some moisture getting into delicate electronics. So I am using old controller now.

It was good that I did not have power support for a few days. I did ride about 20 km per day many times and improved my pedaling technique. I was covering about 13 km per hour then whereas with power assist, my average was about 20 kmph. I wanted to increase my cadence as they say now that higher cadence with lower gear leads to pedaling better efficiency.

Recently I came across a story about a American couple using same ICE – adventure model trike (but no power assist ) to cover about 2222 miles in 92 days this year. They have had problem of tire rubbing carrier, loaded trike tipping over and many such similar experiences like mine. One good things I learnt from their story is communication network in rural US, both net and mobile are worse than in India.

Something that stands out in their trip is they have pedaled during night also to avoid hot daytime. It was sometimes whole night and not just small part. The security and road conditions in India will never allow me to dream about this. The roads here not properly marked will add to more confusion.

Some newspapermen interviewed me few days back. I was shocked to find that importance is given to irrelevant issues and main issue using power assist cycle in place fuel guzzling vehicles is mostly ignored. The report carried a photo of mine sitting on a ATV which I felt is sort of contradiction. Another report gave prominence to handicap & tricycle but the power assist issue unfortunately is not given due importance.

Today morning @ 9.30 AM I went to nearby town Vitla to fetch groceries and came back by a different route. The total distance 25 km took 1 hr 23 minutes to cover and I had stopped for 27 minutes to make the purchases. By the way, I was driving boys to school in Vitla for ten years and used to take about 12 minutes to cover 7 km. Today same distance was covered in trike in 24 minutes. Totally it took 2 hours consuming about 220 Wh and it was pretty comfortable ride. So electric assist trike can be useful to me for everyday trips.

1 comment:

Pejathaya said...

Dear Govind Bhat
Good thing that you are finding your trike useful for your daily use.
You save lots of petrol!!
YES! That is the plus point.