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Gingersnap
11-29-2010, 11:20 AM
Electric bicycle gives commuter a boost on 22-mile way to work

Hybrid vehicle takes Daniel Rowell from North Laurel to Sykesville

If you are traveling the roads of western Howard County some pleasant fall morning, there's a chance you'll spot a bicyclist who seems to be going rather fast for the amount of exertion he's putting into his pedaling.

Meet Daniel Rowell, an intrepid commuter who regularly makes the roughly 22-mile journey from his North Laurel home to his Sykesville workplace aboard his $8,000 Optibike a hybrid electric bicycle that supplements pedal power with a battery-driven engine.

Rowell is one of a small band of long-distance commuters who regularly leave cars at home and hop aboard electric bikes. It's a choice that draws scorn from some bicyclists though it is almost as effective in reducing carbon emissions.

"The purists don't like it," he said. "They think you're cheating. I tell them I'm not in a race."

Electric bikes are still a novelty in the United States, with a few hundred thousand on the streets and their numbers "poking along," said Frank Jamerson, a spokesman for the Light Electric Vehicle Association. In Asia, he said, there are more than 120 million electric bikes on the road, and they are selling in Europe at a rate of 1 million a year.

"The only thing that will change America is when gasoline goes to $10 a gallon," he said.

Under Maryland law, electric bikes face a combination of regulations. They're classified as mopeds and must follow the same rules of the road as bicycles, said Motor Vehicle Administration spokeswoman Karen Coyle. But unlike conventional bicyclists, their adult operator's are required to carry a driver's license, while those under 16 need a moped permit, Coyle said.

Rowell, a 46-year-old father of five, says riding the hybrid bike lets him combine commuting with exercise but not so much that he shows up at the office sweaty and exhausted. Meanwhile, he figures he's saving about $2,000 a year on gasoline and auto maintenance.

"I do it more for the idea behind it. It's a new technology. It's a fun technology," he said.

He estimates that it takes about an hour to bike each way to his job as an electrical engineer with Northrop Grumman a commute that takes about a half-hour by car. Top speed on a flat stretch of road with full battery power is about 34 mph, though the average cruising speed is 25 mph to 30 mph and can drop to 10 mph to 12 mph going up a steep hill.

Much more at the link. This is not a moped - you really have to pedal almost the whole time to conserve the battery. You just go faster than normal and it can help on the hills. I'm all for it!

Baltimore Sun (http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-md-electric-bike-commuter-2-20101128,0,7173305.story)

Rockntractor
11-29-2010, 11:24 AM
More bicycles going down the middle of the road at 20 mph in rush hour traffic, fantastic!

Gingersnap
11-29-2010, 11:59 AM
More bicycles going down the middle of the road at 20 mph in rush hour traffic, fantastic!

They don't let bicycles go down the middle of the road out here.

PoliCon
11-29-2010, 12:26 PM
More bicycles going down the middle of the road at 20 mph in rush hour traffic, fantastic! Civilized areas of the country have bike trails :p

Rockntractor
11-29-2010, 12:27 PM
Civilized areas of the country have bike trails :p

They have empty bike trails here, they would rather go down the middle of the road.

PoliCon
11-29-2010, 12:33 PM
They have empty bike trails here, they would rather go down the middle of the road.

It's a redneck thing.

Gingersnap
11-29-2010, 12:34 PM
Well, this is still a great idea for Colorado. One of the things that keeps people off their bikes is the crazy uphill action out here. It's one thing to get a high-power granny gear and do that kind of thing for fun or exercise, it's something else to face that to or from work.

PoliCon
11-29-2010, 12:38 PM
Well, this is still a great idea for Colorado. One of the things that keeps people off their bikes is the crazy uphill action out here. It's one thing to get a high-power granny gear and do that kind of thing for fun or exercise, it's something else to face that to or from work.

riding a bike to work in colorado is an exercise in stupidity. :rolleyes: If the altitude doesn't get you - the plow truck will.

Rockntractor
11-29-2010, 12:41 PM
It's a redneck thing.

Rednecks grow up and drive cars(except for Bubba).

Gingersnap
11-29-2010, 12:43 PM
riding a bike to work in colorado is an exercise in stupidity. :rolleyes: If the altitude doesn't get you - the plow truck will.

Not true - I've done it myself. The altitude doesn't bother us, flatlander. If the roads are clear enough to ride, the plows are long gone. ;)

PoliCon
11-29-2010, 12:49 PM
Not true - I've done it myself. The altitude doesn't bother us, flatlander.
flatlander? Pittsburgh is not flat. While we don't have crags and snow caps or tripple J's - we're not flat either. B cup at least . . . . ;)



If the roads are clear enough to ride, the plows are long gone. ;) Ok . . . so you get 3 days each summer to ride. WONDERFUL. :p

Rockntractor
11-29-2010, 12:51 PM
Not true - I've done it myself. The altitude doesn't bother us, flatlander. If the roads are clear enough to ride, the plows are long gone. ;)

Girls have to release some of the air in their heads at higher altitudes to keep them from exploding!