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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Used Recumbent tricycle available for sale – cheap.

I  am  not using  my recumbent    tricycle  any more,  I spent about  150 K  for ICE  Adventure trike  when I imported six years back. I  used  it extensively for  almost  two years  till I had that  nasty   accident.  It is lying unused more than a year now partly because of health reasons.  Tricycle  have  normal  rear wheel now  and  motorized back wheel  is  kept separately

The eZee  pedal assistance system  is  imported separately from China  did cost me around  100 K but  only motorized  wheel  is  usable  now. Li Ion batteries  are expensive to import  and  I  don’t have them. 

I  expect  100 K  but  open  for discussion / negotiation

Please mail me    if you are interested -  bhat59 at   Being  hearing impaired,   I am unable to share phone numbers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Suntrip - propelled by SUN

The Sun Trip is a simple and powerful idea : a starting point, an end point  7200 km away  and a free path for adventurers    on   solar cycle.    So  twelve   days  back  many  bikes, tandem, handcycle  and  trikes,  all   carrying solar panels left France  headed  EAST.  All had common   goal   Astana  in Kazakhstan  but  no fixed route to reach there.    This is  a  An adventure in energy independence   as  put by a  competitor on a   trike -  Jorge Mo├»ta.

The  story  being  told  in    French language all the way  and we  have to be  satisfied  with  google  /  bing translate.  Azub  team  posts their  progress  in English  also
and  that  seems  easiest way to  follow  the race. 

Three  years  ago  a  Frenchman  Florian Bailly  pedaled  into Tokyo.  It was  a long trip   through 12 countries and across two continents.     Uniqueness of his  trip   lies in the use of  solar panels to recharge his batteries.  After leaving France, the    solar cyclist traveled    through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China, before finally reaching his destination, japan.  

In the future he says its his dream to create a new solar electric bike race from France to other places in the world  in    the following  article  -

Sure.  He kept  his word.  He has organized  a  7300 km  solar electric bike  race  that  is now in progress.  Now there  are about thirty participants and no two  machines are  alike.  Every team  built  their  own   e-bike   and  traveling without support crew.    No  fixed  route.  Just  two  checkpoints.  Naturally  their  position is all spread out  now   in     

Northern route    means  less solar  radiation but  flatter  terrain.  Southern   route means  more  help  from Sun  to   tackle  hilly  roads.  The leaders of the North route are now in Ukraine, the South route leader is in Turkey  on different  sides  of  Black sea  with    all others  behind them. 

One of the  lead racer in North  Raf Van Hulle  is a Belgian  Architect  and he explains the  build of  his  e-bike in this video  -  Yes.  I am partial to video with subtitling  because of my hearing loss.  He  has  modified  a Hase Pino  tandem  placing extra solar panel on front seat.  

Here is another  competitor,  in trike - Jorge Moita  who is  also doing very well. 

While  searching suitable trike  for me  three years back,   I   had short listed  AZUB   trike   from Czech  republic.  They are  one  among top five  manufacturers in the world.   Naturally  Honza Gala with whom I exchanged much correspondence  appears  familiar.  Honza and his wife  had  pedaled in  India  in  the same year   2010.  &

They  are  all  traveling without support  teams.  I  had felt the need  for  the  support team while  traveling across India  and  yes,  part of the reason  is  that  I am handicapped.  They  have  suffered  all sort of hurdles including dog bites.  

I  tried  to build a similar  solar powered   vehicle   after returning from that  1600 km trip    but unfortunately getting  the    specific    unique   components from abroad  is a very   difficult job.  Had  lot of discussion with  Mohith and Ashok.  The  response   from  solar   panel manufacturers  in India  was  ZERO.  

The   panels  made in India  are   low in efficiency,    high  in  weight, sturdy  built to withstand  cyclones  &  of unsuitable  voltage -  12 V.  I  needed  high  efficiency  36 V output.   It is not difficult to  rewire before lamination  stage but Indian  manufacturers  simply  do not listen to village  bumpkins. They  can certainly    help as in above video.  

There  was  safety factor too.  I  had a  doubt  if  the  other road users, especially on motor cycle  will  show  decency.  Making it  more visible will be a compromise on  aerodynamics  and  will need more energy  to  push forward.  

Then  there was no way to  charge  Li Ion batteries  with    DC energy  was  major  hurdle. Even  using  solar panels  means   need  to  take   DC to AC to DC  route   means  considerable  energy lost during conversion.    Now  there is  a   charger  available in  America.   This  custom convertor  means it can  directly  connect  panels to batteries.    

My health and finances  are  also  not  strong  enough   to  make it happen.   Whirlpool  of  family problems  sucked me and  so  I  had to  keep the project  pending.   Research  in  electric cycle  mobility  is  totally  funded  by  common mans savings.  Naturally  it  suffers.  Anyway  this  race offers lot of hopes  and performance  of different  teams will   show future solar mobility options.  Some participants  have covered  200 plus km means  this  is practical too.  Btw, that is  something  I have been saying  loudly   past three years  but few people  listen.

PS:  My  bicycle  that  carried me in many parts of the world   had a  sticker in dynamo that said " Nuclear Energy - No Thanks "  that  I picked up in Germany  after  a  anti nuclear plant protest that  I had participated.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Accident

Yes. I have been hit  by a motorcycle coming from opposite  direction   last week  and  have fractured my left leg  ankle.  My long experience on the road says it is  a  very freak accident  and something like one  that  can happen  in billion crossings.  One reason  the people  go for car  because they  consider it safer  being inside a  box. I still  feel   the  cycling  should be  encouraged  and  more  awareness  about  its advantages   so that it becomes more safer.     

I was taken to my  family Doc, Dr KGBhat  who summoned a  108 ambulance  and  sent to Yenapoya Hospital  Deralakatte. Dr Aravind  who  examined  me  decided  to put the  left   leg in cast for  45 days.  So I will   confined  to my room for next  one and  half months  with minimal walking around the room with help  of   a walker. 

Till  the  very  last moment the motorcyclist was  in his  side & suddenly  took a turn  for simply  unexplainable reason.  He had crossed almost entire width of road before hitting me and  in my absence, would have ended up in the ditch.  There was no traffic on wide  tarroad  about  2.5 km from my home.   

My left  leg   locked  in   and  pedals  took  major  impact.    The  pedals  have been split open and  trike  cross beam is broken.  One chainring also seem to have been bent.  I have  not examined  properly  and trike frame  will need  both  straitening and  welding. Hope I can get it repaired.

I have spent  considerable  part of my savings in getting  this trike  and  this is a  major loss to me.  Past four  months I was going everywhere  in trike or bus and have stopped driving totally.  It  was not insured  as insurance people  normally  play by books.  I hoped I can get  part of repairing expenses  from that guy  but  most  of  the  gathered  people  were  not  supporting me. I was  not in mood for long fight  and  decided  not to file  FIR  also.   

I was  confined  to bed for  four  months   after  crashing  hangglider  and just twenty days to go  for  20th  (re)birthday. Then I used walker to learn walking again and now is using walker for  minimum walks within my  room.  

I am  sad  that it   happens  when    I  relieved of  farm and family  commitments  and   had decided to put more effort  for  cycling cause.  It is good  for health, saves  us  from  pollution  and spending  foreign exchange on  buying oil.   When it comes  to manufacturing it is still as if   India manufactures   only Ambassador and Fiat.    This  year  finance  minister imposes heavy taxation on cycles and if I get  my trike today  it will cost Rupees   80,000 extra as USD has become expensive and  taxes doubled.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Photo features in two Regional papers

My trike and myself was featured in two regional languages, Kannada and Malayalam daily newspapers past two weeks and common factor was both reporters were inconsiderate.

Few days back Anilkumar sent message from Puttur that my photo along with trike was in Suddibidugade, local tabloid. I was surprised as I had not met their reporter and there was nothing special. Later things fell into line and here is the report.

I had gone to Puttur two days earlier as I often do. A fellow in mobike riding parallel to me asked my name and whereabouts. Normally I don’t reply to people while riding in middle of city. My thinking is only traffic policeman on duty has right to communicate to a driver or rider moving vehicle. Anyway I gave him cryptic reply about my name and nearby location. I live in a remote village and many people may not be aware of that name. He zoomed past and took a photo from roadside. So single sentence report filed from these information contains only three mistakes - my name mispronounced, my village wrongly stated and that I am new to that town.

Last month I had gone to Kasargod, 54 km away to attend a meeting on endosulphon. Dr Shreepathy introduced me to a reporter - Mr Vinod of Mathrubhumi – leading Malayalam daily. I shared the facts and asked him to give me a hint if that is published.

On 17th May, exactly a month after that visit to Kasargod, I started receiving Emails from Kerala that - they have seen me in their paper and need more facts. After receiving many similar cryptic mails, I started looking around for reason. I asked with Mr Shree Padre, endosulphon activist and journalist - if he has any clues. He gave me probable hints and sent them Emails. So five days after publication, Rajesh of Mathrubhumi was kind enough to forward a small clip.

The clip is too small that you cannot read the printed matter. It is okay for me as I cannot read Malayalam language. The newspapers becomes trash by evening and same attitude is shown by the reporters towards subjects after the interview. I am not very keen to meet reporters as almost news reports so far ignored the crucial fact – this is unique vehicle in the world that makes use of human energy and electric power supplementing one with other.

It is unfortunate that most of our journalists do not exhibit professional conduct. Makes me remember a fake funeral video shot in New York two years back. One local TV channel over there without realizing it was a april fool prank picked up the video from youtube and claimed ownership.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rode 54 km to hear Vandana Shiva in Kasargod

Saturday afternoon I got hint from consumer activist friend Sundar Rao that a meeting organized in kasargod next day on Endosulphon and noted activist Vandana Shiva is coming. She is real inspiring personality who has contributed a lot for sustainable society. It got me excited as there is little chance of seeing her speaking otherwise and I decided to go. Normally I don’t attend these meetings as hearing impairment means I understand little about the proceedings.

I left home just around daybreak time @ 6 AM. Had first glimpse of rising Suryadeva while riding in a place called padubagilu – meaning western gate in kannada. Previous day itself I had called Narayana Murthy enquiring about the state of roads across the border from his place, in Kerala state. It was in poor condition when I was in that area earlier and in such conditions efficient pedaling is simply impossible. Tires gripping the road and my legs holding pedals – both should be very firm. Otherwise lot of energy is lost and takes fun out of cycling.

Had delicious breakfast plus some charge for my batteries at Murthy’s place while passing by. Murthy had reported the roads are tolerably good and have been recently repaired. Still I was uncertain till I reached there. Luckily the roads was in good condition and after pedaling 54 kms I reached Kasargod in 2.5 hours riding time. There was numerous hills to climb but my eZee assist considerably flattened all those hills. Hills were expected as I was travelling  from  North to South and the rivers  flowing from East to West.  

Dr Vandana Shiva spoke well in simple English. Line by line it was translated to Malayalam and that created some problem for me. My grasping procedure is bit complicated – it hears, then process it and only then it understands. During this delay, hearing Malayalam words confuses the whole process. Anyway I was happy hearing this great lady speaks. Rest of morning it was brave words spoken by politicians in Malayalam which I could not understand much.

Afternoon session started with slide presentation by Dr Ravindranath Shanubhogue. He lucidly explained the havoc created and probable paths in front of us. One point he said put me in shock. The yearly production now is 14000 tons but there is a accumulated stock of 75000 tons in India. What we are going to do with that ? We cannot simply wish it away. Chilling visuals the compares with effect of nuclear radiation spill comes to my mind.

There is a narrow bridge in Panemangalore pictured above and was built in 1914 which was used till recent past. Two heavy vehicles cannot cross each other on the bridge and one that have not crossed the midpoint had to go back. Looking at the big vehicles that have already entered the bridge, what most heavy vehicle drivers coming from other end used to do was accelerate so that they can reach midpoint early. So there will be roadblock for about half an hour and the culprit was never apologetic. Like these wayward drivers, our companies are stockpiling endosulphon being certain that government will come to their rescue.

While riding to kasargod, these similarities came to my mind. We do not need pesticides for organic farming nor petrol for our daily personal transportation. Both happens because of mental blocks or intellectual slavery that we are suffering now. I wanted to visit this meeting and decided to pedal. I feel this is more positive approach than buying petrol or gas and driving all the way.

I wanted to hear three people scheduled to speak that afternoon – one journalist and two doctors who played pivotal role in bringing this tragedy caused by Endosulphon to light. Mr Shree Padre, Dr Mohankumar and  Dr Shreepathy was expected to speak later but it was getting late for me to leave as I wanted to reach home by nightfall. Raining later in evening is not unusual and so I left at 3.30 PM. Had a leisurely 2.5 hours ride back to home.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Riding Trike 230 km in 11 hour 15 min

Having considerable love towards cycling as Sustainable mobility , I wanted to test my pedaling potential. Having cycled 200 km plus per day many times in normal upright cycle long back, I was confident of crossing 200 km per day in my trike with eZee pedal assist but wanted to prove it. Upper limit of cycling speed of 20 to 22 kmph and limited daylight hours are big hurdles for setting higher goals.

Shankaranna and Mohan who joined me as support crew in earlier attempt were enthusiastic this time too. Boys having summer holidays also joined us. We decided on one of route shortlisted earlier, climbing charmadi ghat road. Instead of coming back on the same road, we planned to come back Via Shiradi provided there was enough daylight remaining. Limiting factor was the fact that they are 40 km apart.

Previous noon I rang up Ravi D Souza who was my classmate and close friend during college days. Information passed on by Ravi was disappointing. One was it is raining here now & may rain tomorrow noon too. Another was road from there to Bangalore Mangalore highway is in poor condition. Things like impending rain do not dissuade me from reaching the goal and I decided that remedy for rain is raincoat and not canceling the trip. I did not want to postpone as there are more chances of rain on days ahead and my team members need to be available.

As planned earlier, I left home at sharp 5 AM. The dogs who usually chase me in my village roads had not woken up yet and I had silent & pleasant ride in comfortable weather. The night busses coming from Bangalore were zooming with bright lights and I was bit dazzled sometimes. Since I was very much familiar with that road, it did not trouble me much. At 6 AM, I was in Uppinangadi bridge and checked the progress of my support team over mobile phone.

We had two options there. One was usual Guruvayanakere road that was still under repair and other was Belalu road involved steep climbs. We had decided to take the Belalu road after asking around. Many people advised this road are one who use petrol vehicles and do not understand the hardship of pedaling steep climbs that puts considerable pressure on our muscles. Shankar supported this road and I was ready for both options.

To increase the mileage per battery, I had reduced the peak assistance from 22 Amps to 18 Amps on the previous day. The climbs right from rivers were real steep and put considerable strain on my knees. I had reached midway of this road when the team members reached me and promptly we put more depleted battery for charging in Nano car. Starting from home with 20 Ah, I had consumed about 18 Ah battery power when reached Ujre. Alternate route might have stretched the batteries little more.

Anticipating the requirement of charging in Ujre I had arranged for access for a plug at Dinakar’s relatives. Shankar was against visiting any houses feeling that answering all their questions will delay our departure. My knees badly needed some rest and I convinced him that it is better to have some charging from the plug. So we spent one hour and fifteen minutes for breakfast and charging.

We left Ujre at 9.45 AM. Kottigehara was 3000 feet higher and 38 km ahead of us. I hoped to cover this distance in two and half hours and managed to do exactly that. We replaced the battery with fully charged one at the foot of ghat [mountain] road at charmadi and younger son Sunil was assigned the task of replacing depleted battery with charged one whenever needed.

The road surface and inclination was good. The eZee pedal assist unit gave me solid support and complemented my efforts. Satisfactory speed while gaining height vastly boosted my spirits and it was very enjoyable ride. The other road users were supportive exhibiting thumbs up sign every now and then. A accident in Japan had claimed tip of my right thumb and so I could only smile back.

Somewhere along the mountain road, I happened to catch signal in my mobile at 11.00 and sent message to my friend Ravi that Kottigehara is 18 km ahead and will reach there by 12.15. There was still lot of climbing but I was able to reach there at the promised time.

The first questions to Ravi was about road ahead and food. Ravi said you have to pass by Mudigere and you get much better vegetarian food there. So we went towards Mudigere and at the junction where our road takes a turn, we parked the trike in a garage and I hopped into his car. Ravi told me yesterday it had rained around this time and it may rain today too. Luckily rain did not trouble us until much later. I was back in trike and started pedaling in about an hour.

Time was 2 PM and road was expected to be bad. I wanted to start descending the mountain road by 4 PM so that we can reach bottom before it is very dark. The road was very bad for about 25 km and non existing in some parts. It slowed me considerably. At Hanbal, I told my team members that all joints in trike as well as in my body have been well tested. About 12 km after Hanbal was tolerably good. Finally I was able to hit Bangalore Mangalore National highway by 4.15 PM.

Coming down the mountain road was really thrilling but I had to take sufficient care. I had brakes only on both front wheels and none in the back. I had to apply both brakes simultaneously and carefully as there was lot of chances of losing control on slippery road surface. I have to admit hub brakes installed in trike nicely took that torture. Most of turns had new surface that looked smooth with pebbles fixed while pouring. Anyway I had safe passage downhill.

I reached Shiradi at the bottom of mountain road in fading daylight. My legs had little to do for many kms in chilly weather and had become numb. After a few km of vigorous pedaling it got better. Cycle analyst computer also malfunctioned there because of chilly weather and I disconnected it for some distance. So I do not have total energy used up data. I could have noted time accurately but somewhere along the way the refill had fallen out of my pen and only shell remained. Sometimes I fail to note down the data because of my clumsy and tiring movements and here was another excuse.

It was getting dark nearing Nelyadi and rain which appeared imminent for a while started to drizzle. Anil advised me to leave the trike overnight somewhere with known people but I was not ready for abandoning the trip midway. Shankar also started feeling concerned as I was almost invisible both due to darkness and rain. The drivers have never seen something like this contraption cannot properly visualize the trike dimensions. Getting mesmerized, they may come and hit me was his concern. If under influence of alcohol mean they not even realize that they have hit me. We came across a muddy layer on the road that happened because of rain moved the soil heaped on roadside. Two vehicles had collided just before we reached there and then Shankar became more tense. Operating a Maruti authorized service centre, he gets news of accidents too often and naturally becomes tense before all of us. Not being exposed to so many accidents, I was more cool.

Beyond Golithottu, I put in all efforts pedaling furiously. I had earlier traveled in that road more than ten times and must have created new record on this day. Mohan driving Nano tried to illuminate my path to maximum extent.

Reaching Uppinanagdy Shankar told me that he can talk to hotelier and we can leave trike here. I convinced him that just 15 km more for your workshop and Puttur road in front of us is less crowded. I had told Shankar during planning stage itself that he has to watch over me. Having sensory and perception problems, I don’t always realize being close to collapsing point due to fatigue. Actually I meant more about heat factor during daytime as sensing ability of my body is poor and urinary inconsistency may push me towards dehydration. Maybe it also made him more jumpy.

The road towards Puttur was more undulating with plenty of turns. So I had to depend on my feeble LED trike light for some distance. When we reached Bolwar circle, Mahalingeshwara was on his yearly rounds. Luckily only front end of procession had reached there and we were not delayed. Finally at 8.30, I got out of the trike and stretched my limbs.

Total distance on trike was 230.3 km and I had been riding for 11 hours and 15 minutes. So moving average was 20.4 kmph. Energy used was about 65 Ah plus maybe another 5 Ah when I had disconnected the meter. Power usage was much more than my estimation because of bad design of locally procured rear tire and bad road near Mudigere.

Next day I had to take Sunil to his school for readmission and so took Omni. When I went near the trike, I was shocked to find deflated rear tire. It is not very easy to attend to rear tire as chain, gear system plus my bag limit our access. So carried the trike home in Omni. I dismantled the tire at home, only to find very small pin hole puncture. I could have pumped air and bought it riding if necessary.

I had noticed more power usage since sometime but never thought increased drag was due to the tire. Now have replaced the local Ralson tire with original Schwalbe and performance improvement is noticeable. I am sure this tire would have saved minimum 10 Ah power during this trip and naturally moved faster too.

Having support crew and vehicle with charging facility saved me about five hours charging time along the way. Maximum time spent in riding was around seven hours earlier and it was four more hours this time. That means with battery exchange facilities available or with more batteries very long trips can easily made with pedal assist bikes or trikes. Darkness, Rain and Crowded Highway together make deadly combination and will be avoided in future.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cycles are more expensive than cars

Vehicle manufacturers employ all tricks to make us feel inadequate without cars and motorcycles. Naturally cars and motor cycles are in the top of shopping list. It is seen as a symbol of success. They’re cut­ting down trees, bring­ing down build­ings in an effort to build wider roads. They are throwing our farmers out of farmland for the sake of building car factories. Most of the incentives provided to Mr Tata of Nano car and Mr Kheny of NICE road will be well hidden. Their persuasion like in above advertisement makes us feel it is right thing to drop friends of Bunty to school along with him and for that we have to replace motorcycle by car. Our plan­ners will never real­ize that all these measures will never solve mobility cri­sis.

Berkley is a famous university town in USA. Recently it was in news for outrageous fines targeting cyclists - USD 220 [ INR 10000 in Indian money] to the students locking their bicycles to a railing instead of a bicycle rack. Adding insult to injury, motorists who park illegally on campus are given a $46 ticket - yet bicyclists who lock their bikes up “illegally” are fined $220. Bike racks are reportedly often full, so locking up to a railing seems perfectly reasonable. But locking cycles to railings are five times more expensive than illegal car parking.

Same attitude exhibited in India too. Customs and Excise duties are like twin brothers. The things imported and levied custom duties and one produced locally are taxed under excise before leaving factory premises.

Traveling by the lonely road is always hazardous and stupid people like me never learn. Our government in Delhi that impose about Rs 10000 as Excise duty on a Nano car, made me pay paltry [?] Rs 68000 [yes, that is about USD 1500] as Customs duties. I had approached the grievance redressal mechanism of Central government Finance Department. Finally Delhi government decided that the duty imposed is fair though it is more than what is imposed on six Tata nano cars.

We have to obey law of land and pay customs duty. But the unexpected thrashing I suffered was CVDs. Countervailing duties (CVDs) are duties imposed under WTO Rules to neutralize the negative effects of export subsidies. The CVD also known as anti dumping duty is levied to protect local manufacture and it is payable equal to excise duty payable on like articles if produced in India. The customs officers routinely exceed their brief arbitrarily imposing CVD on all imports. Recumbent trike, Motorized hubs and Lithium Ion batteries are all not manufactured in India. I paid INR 24000 as CVD on goods that is not manufactured in India which I hope to get back some day.

Cycle and tricycle being symbol of independence should have got more importance, both from society and government. Unfortunately the taxes and penalties on these environmental friendly mobility are extremely high. We are made to pay very heavy price for our principles.