Friday, September 29, 2006

Twike Tours

This is a video of Twike tours through europe in 2004. Twikes are a an electric hybrid of two bicycles and 3 wheeled electric car, sometimes referred to as a bio-electric hybrid car or vehicle. The word "TWike" comes from combining the first two letters of "Two", for the two bicycles and the last three letters of "bike". Each passenger of the Twike can act as driver and contribut to pedaling for assisted propultion to the built in electric motor. They are made in Switzerland.

Related Posts:
- TWike, electric Bicycle Hybrid +Video!
- Propulstion before Petroleum
- Hybrid Bike news story +Video!
- Valley Ebiker news story
- AltCar Expo (Santa Monica, CA)
- America's Green Corps
...Search for more posts on the CSM! blog...

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum
- Air Powered Vehicles community forum

AltCarExpo Santa Monica

[NOTE: AltCar Expo Rally/Caravan Video is up. See HERE ]

Santa Monica recently announced to the public that it will be holding an "Alternative Car And Transportation Expo" in Santa Monica on December 9th and 10th at the Santa Monica Airport Barker Hanger. (see PDF Press Release dated 9/21/2006)

This expo is touted to shadow the annual Los Angeles Auto Show scheduled December 1-10th.

The Santa Monica Auto Show or "Alt Car Expo" will focus exclusively on high miles per gallon vehicles and other high efficiency and environmentally friendly vehicles. There will be alternative fueled vehicles as well, including all electric, such as the newly debuted Tesla Motors Roadster, which recently had their international show at Barker Hanger about a month ago. Many dignitaries showed up for that event including the Governor of California (see videos from the event)

At the AltCar Exp website there is information on how to exhibit at the show, info on seminars, pre-show events, lodging accomodations info, and directions and contact info for the show organisers and contacts.

And you can be sure that you will read more about this event on this blog.

Cycle Santa Monica!, bringing you information that empowers cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians in Santa Monica and the Westside, about using environmentally friendly vehicles and earth friendly renewable fuels.

Stay tuned. And if you have info on great stories, let me know.

Related Posts:
- Tesla Motors Debut (Santa Monica, CA) +Video!
- Aussie Stories(So Cal and beyond) +Video!
- TWike, electric Bicycle Hybrid +Video!
- TWike Tours (nice Video from europe)
- Who Killed The Electric Car +Video!
- Who Killed...
- Addendum to Who Killed the Electric Car +Video!
- Propulstion before Petroleum
- Hybrid Bike news story +Video!
- Valley Ebiker news story
- G-Wiz car news story +Video!
- Think Different +Video!
- CarLess Santa Monica +Video!
- Hannah on Bikes (exploring L.A. bicycle culture) +Video!
- America's Green Corps
...Search for more posts on the CSM! blog...

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum
- Air Powered Vehicles community forum

Wind on Back

Inventor Don Burgess was spotted at the Santa Monica pier while taking a break from his bicycle ride and was depicted on the front page of the Santa Monica Daily Press(09/28/2006)(PDF file)

(click on images to enlarge. Also, see video below)

After seeing Don riding his bicycle with his Pacificwind Thruspac on, it put new meaning to the expression "Keep the wind on your back".

At the Pacificwind Thrustpac website , he describes the thinking behind this personal propultion device as being "Drive Outside The Box". A few other expressions found on the website are "We Take your Transportation Personal", and "Empower Yourself".

Below you will find a video demonstrating these Jet packs in action.

Fabian, a local photojournalist for the Santa Monica Daily Press, and the photographer who took the picture of Don Burgess on the Santa Monica pier writes:

"Cartoon artist Ernie Guanlao, 62, renders a sketch of inventor Don Burgess, 56, on his Pacificwind Thrustpac, a personal propulsion system at the Santa Monica Pier on Tuesday, September 26, 2006. The Thrustpac gets up to 150 miles per gallon on regular gas and can reach speeds of 25 to 35 miles per hour. It weighs 20 pounds and has a 35 cc engine. Burgess fills up the Thrustpac for only 38 cents. "Here's 50 Cents, keep the change, I am a big spender," he brags to the gas station attendant."

You can see more of the pictures taken of Don at "Santa Monica Close-Up"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The End

The Doors sing "The End" live or listen to the audio only (audio link)

Expo Line Opening

(click on images to enlarge)

Tomorrow there will be an official ceremony marking the ground breaking (MAP)for the construction of the the next port of the the MTA lightrail that will eventually end in downtown Santa Monica(see Friends4Expo or the details for the event below - the public is welcomed and invited).

Perhaps this is what Jim Morrison, of The Doors, was singing about this new expo light rail in his song "The End"(read the lyrics (Link) or listen to Jim sing the song in this music video(Link).

In it he sings,

Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake...hes old, and his skin is cold
Because trully, the light rail and the train of light rail cars will be like riding a snake down a winding path from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. And it is about seven miles from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica. And perhaps the snake is also representative of the path... the old rail way path called "exposition" is what he was referring to of it being an old.

Or perhaps he was singing about the new light rail line and the end of the Big Blue Bus line #10 which has, which has served the public for a few decades. Carrying passengers back and forth from Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles every day of the week, which may end its service to the people as the new expo light rail carries on in its place when he sings:
This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Or perhaps he is documenting a time in his life while living in Santa Monica/Venice, and riding the Big Blue Bus #10, when he sings:
"The blue bus is callin us
Driver, where you taken us"

"Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free"
Or perhaps a little abstract reminisce of the past and future, with hope, when he sings:
Cmon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin a blue rock
On a blue bus
Doin a blue rock
Cmon, yeah
Some biographers do in fact say that he was talking about the Big Blue Bus, and his rides from Downtown L.A.'s Union Station (the depot for the Amtrak and Greyhound station) when he would be be coming home from a "walk about" the world.

During it's time, it was the fastest, cheapest, and most comfortable public transit from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica/Venice.

I add to Mr. Morrison's words, is this the end, my beautiful friend? Or is this the beginning of newer and better things in your wake of exemplary service to the people?

Here are the details for the ground breaking ceremony:

9/29/06, Friday at 8:30 a.m.Come celebrate the Expo Line's official groundbreaking ceremony! Press ReleaseThis is a great day: after years of advocacy and planning, construction is about to start on the first half of the Expo Line, finally an alternative to horrible Westside traffic!
Meet in the median of Exposition Blvd.
the Expo Line's right-of-way about 3/8 mile west of Crenshaw Blvd., between West Blvd. and Hillcrest Drive. RSVP (preferred but not required) to Genetha Eddins at 213-245-5506 or

Dutch Message

A message from Cyclists and friends in Holland. (video below)

Video Description:
"Documentary about the use of bicycles in cities such as Copenhagen (Denmark), Amsterdam and Houten (Netherlands), and Bogotá (Colombia) Key word tags: cycling commute bike bicycle democratization transport car health pollution copenhagen amsterdam bogotá mobility

Related Posts:
- Santa Monica Bicycle Workshop (Feb 2005) (audio file)
- Ebikes (electric bicycles) in Holland (videos)
- Dutch Cycling (video)

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Diebold and Cyclists?

This video demonstrates how the Diebold AcuVote-TS can easily be hacked without leaving a trace. It was produced by the people that conducted a study on security issues of this machine, at Princeton University.

You may be wondering what this has to do with bicycling. And it is not directly relative to cycling. However, having this information is empowering to cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians in recognizing this issue and its relativeness to getting accurate representation when voting on people or issues effecting cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians.

Please feel free to comment on this or any other topic on the blog. It is how we all learn, by sharing information with eachother, and empowering us all.

Thank you. (smile)

An alternative to paying several hundred million dollars to a company, Diebold, may be to consider using the Aussie model of an open source e-voting method, which can provide open scrutiny of its stregths and weaknesses for far less money, and perhaps providing a better method of oversight of the security of the system, by the people. see Wired Magazine article "Aussies Do It Right: E-Voting", in which they discuss how they did it and how much it cost ($75,000).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Air Power Experiment

This video demonstrates using an Air Hog toy compressed air motor, a hard drive motor, and an air compresser to create an electricity generator.

Related Posts:
- Snyder Generator
- Compressed Air Motor
- Air Powered Jet Pack
- Air Powered Bicycle

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Air Powered Vehicles community forum

Power Boots Run

This video is demonstrating a trial run wearing the russian Power Boots on a running track. As you can see the runner passing a jogger. The jogger is probably going about 6-7 miles per hour. It appears the person wearing the power boots is able to run at more than double or triple that speed. Within a couple seconds the russian power boots were able to travel 4 or more times the distance of the other runner.

Related Posts:
- Russian Power Boots
- Optimized Walking
- Russian Rocket Boots

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Air Powered Vehicles community forum

Monday, September 25, 2006

Alley Kat Races

Fifteen minutes of bicycle helmet cam video from the recent Alley Kat Races in San Francisco.

Alley Kat races are races conducted and participated by bicycle messengers. They happen in most major cities that have significant numbers of bicycle messengers. There have been some in Los Angeles, particularily in downtown Los Angeles.

Word is that the cameraman was riding an electric power assist bicycle, which allowed him to catch the action better than if riding a conventional bicycle which would have required more distraction of their attention to take care of other process required from riding a bicycle.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Snyder Generator

This video is demonstrating an electricity generator that is powered by a compressed air. The rotor of this generator is floating by means of magnets. And it is suspended via magnets. It was created by Snyder. For more info (LINK)

Messages from NRDC

Some Commercials from the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), based here in Santa Monica, California.

Hydrogen from Water

How to make your regular gasoline engine run on clean burning hydrogen you make from regular tap water.

Stoern Motor

This is a promotional video about the Stoern electric motor technology that essentially creates free energy.

Skateboard Power Assist

Skateboard Turbo Trucks Powered by Magnets

James Morris is introducing his axle power assist magnet technology via the skateboard industry. Makes skateboard go further, faster and longer, unless going backwards, in which case it creates a braking effect.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

Skateboard truck assembly concept drawing.

click to enlarge

Skateboard truck production prototype components. Sept. 2006.

INDIANA, USA -- Skateboarders may soon be able to ride around 30% farther, faster, and longer for each push of their board, thanks to a magnet power design James Morris is taking to market.

After two years of development work, Morris completed a production prototype of just such a skateboard, last Saturday.

Morris thinks the novelty of the power assist effect will drive sales. "And you only need one per skateboard, though having two would give that much more of the effect," he said. "You get on this thing, and it goes like twice as far for the same push."

Morris expects that by November 1, the first units will be available commercially, in the form of trucks -- the two-wheel assembly that fits on a skateboard. Morris projects that each truck will cost around $60.00, which is nearly twice the industry standard price for high-end trucks. Morris thinks the novelty of the power assist effect will drive sales. "And you only need one per skateboard, though having two would give that much more of the effect," he said. The truck axle will be made of stainless steel and aircraft aluminum, and has 14 holes drilled in it for magnet placement.

The underlying technology does not serve as a prime mover, neither is it merely a matter of providing near frictionless carriage. It doesn't provide the input energy, which is what Steorn of Ireland is claiming with their recent announcement of a free-energy-producing magnet motor. Rather, the Morris axle augments a given input. The engineers refer to it as "power assist" or "augmenting friction".

The provisional patent titled "Permanent Magnetic Motor Axle" has been filed in the United States. International patent protections have also been initiated.

With the proof of principle rumbling about in the streets in defiance of known laws of physics, other applications will follow in quick succession. When the kids are fired up about this new contraption, adding it to their "must have" list, and showing it to everyone they know including their scientifically-indoctrinated parents, it will be harder for naysayers to keep claiming, "That's impossible."


Morris says the technology can be used to assist any kind of axle or drive shaft such as are found in connection with the motors and engines on all vehicles, planes, trains, and ships. Existing energy-generating devices with rotational mechanisms, from coal-fired plants to wind turbines could have their output enhanced. Retrofit kits could be installed on existing drive shafts which function primarily in one direction.

Those applications will require a great deal of prototype testing time. Morris wanted to get the technology to market fast, and decided on the skateboard application to introduce it to the world. The novelty industry is much more forgiving than the higher-priced and more serious fields of transportation and electrical energy. Starting with the skateboard industry will help to break the academic ice as to whether such things are possible. Market acceptance there may help to break the logjam of financing additional research and development to characterize the effect, optimize the design, and scale it to the myriad of other applications that are expected to be possible.

The production prototype has not yet been tested as to its efficiency ratios. The input versus output proportions have not yet been quantified experimentally. That is coming soon, according to Morris.


The magnet assist is a unidirectional effect. Push the skateboard forward, and it goes much further in that direction than otherwise. Push it backward, and the magnets have a braking effect. This might even put a brake on sales, insofar as some sport riders may be using the board's ability to go in either direction when doing leaps and loops, going up and down ramps while grabbing edges and grabbing air in "vert" competitions.

The braking effect in the other direction could be used beneficially as well.

With magnets fitted into metal holes, another issue will be fracturing of brittle magnets from the repeated concussions of skateboard action. The N35 neodymium magnets Morris plans to use are prone to fracturing, and skateboarders, especially those who perform jumps from ramps or railings, are not exactly known for being gentle riders. Future versions will probably need to have more pliable housing to cushion the otherwise hard jolts, or some new form of magnet may be needed.

New Energy Congress member Paul Noel recommends adding Nylon or Teflon impact bushings on the magnet shafts. These are commonly used on magnetic bearings to prevent the impact disintegration. Morris appreciates suggestions such as this and said he would definitely include something like this in the next version.

Those who purchase the first units will no doubt need to be patient with this non-field-tested technology. They themselves will serve as the beta testing crew. In the immediate future, they will need to be prepared to occasionally replace broken magnets in their trucks. The vigorous sport of skateboarding will be a rigorous testing and proving ground for the technology, helping to knock it into shape in preparation for more industrial applications.

Where Next?

After the skateboard, Morris' next design, already in the works, will be for the axle of a large tricycle that could be used for recreational transport. This might move forward – pun intended – the whole field of human-powered vehicles for commuters. Backyard inventors have been hard at work for some years pushing the evolution of cycles with and without electrical assist; paired wheels on a front or rear axle for stability; aerodynamic housings, doors, cargo space, and windshields; directional signal lights front and back; and other features that serious riders may want.

There is a type of skateboard that is always unidirectional, and that's the "scooter". This more sedate recreational device has a front-end handle, and is pushed with one foot while the other remains on the board.

The low-impact scooter might be a better place to start with this technology. It might even use the same size of mechanism so no redesign would be needed, just a shift of aim at a different demographic. Scooter users -- which might include a higher percentage of girls -- would probably appreciate more effective pushing.

Hatching the Idea

Morris works as a web press operator -- not "web" as in Internet, but "web press" in its older meaning of hard-copy printing press. One might think that his watching those rollers spin minute by minute, hour after hour, day after day, for years might have influenced him to invent this permanent magnet motor axle.

However, Morris says that in actuality, the idea was hatched a couple of years ago when a friend wanted to invent a Jewish-oriented toy school bus to sell to the Jewish community. Morris wanted the toy to roll "as if by magic". Once the axle concept was developed, he decided to go with the skateboard application, and to appeal to a wider market.

Skateboards first came out when Morris was a kid. He remembers the first ones. "They were straight, small, had metal wheels borrowed from girls' roller skates," he said. Perhaps in as many years from now, Morris' axle assist via magnet power technology will be as well-developed and widespread as the skateboard is now, if not more so. The number of applications certainly go far beyond just skateboarding. "It was called street surfing", he recalls. Morris uses the 60's surfer reference "Mad Dog" in his business email address.

About Morris Magnetic Enterprises

James Morris has been developing this magnet-assist axle concept as an individual and has brought in the necessary expertise as needed: attorneys to assist with the patents, and engineers to assist with the design and fabrication. Morris hired Reynolds Design in Georgia to help with the engineering to build a production prototype. Reynolds is now building molds for manufacturing the trucks.

Now that he is ready to go to market, he is assembling a team to operate the company that will likely be called "Morris Magnetic Enterprises".

Friday, September 22, 2006

SUV Tax Haven

The article below illustrates how the US tax code can shape consumer behavior. In this case, that are giving small business approval to write off the purchase of vehicles that weigh 6000 pounds of more. And so these smal businesses make financial decisions to purchase these larger vehicles even when a much lighter, smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle would serve them and their business just as well or maybe even better. But a $100,000 yearly write off is worth any loss of efficiency or convenience is worth more to these small businesses.

picture of Cadilac Escalade SUVAnd yesturday the IRS announced that it will no longer be allowing the one time $4,000 tax credits on the purchase of the Toyota hybrid Prius. That was the only credit that these cars were allowed, to my knowledge. If any of you have more info on this issue, please let me know. Thanks.

This artilcle was published around 2002-3.

SUVs As Tax
"Luxury SUVs like this 2002 Cadillac Escalade are big, heavy and some of the least efficient vehicles on the road. So why do we give them such huge tax breaks?" By Jane Ellis, Credit: EV World

A CPA's view of America's crazy mixed up tax code
April 27,2002

I was having dinner with a friend of mine who thought he was pretty smart and he was talking about his frustration with the Detroit claim that consumers just "want" larger vehicles.

"I know one of the reasons that consumers buy those vehicles," I said. "There is a seldom-discussed tax break which induces many of my wealthier clients to buy heavier vehicles than they might otherwise normally buy, for the tax benefit."

"What the heck do you know about the world of Electric Vehicles?" his look said. For some reason, though he called a week later. "Maybe you have something there. Why don't you flesh it out a bit? They got Capone on tax issues. Maybe we ought not skate over tax issues when it comes to Detroit, either."

After that we discussed the tax breaks in greater detail. These tax breaks, like depreciation of vehicles in general, only apply if they are used in a business. Generally, they involve substantially greater depreciation allowances for vehicles that weigh over a certain gross vehicle weight. The specific rules have to do with how a business vehicle is defined.

Your traditional automobile is considered a passenger vehicle, which has specific limitations on the depreciation and expense deductions that are allowed to be taken for them. A passenger vehicle is defined by Internal Revenue Code Section 280F(d)(5)(A) as any 4-wheeled vehicle (i) which is manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways, and (ii) which is rated at 6,000 pounds unloaded gross vehicle weight or less. Internal Revenue Code Section 280F(d)(5)(B) states that in the case of a truck or van, clause (ii) shall be applied by substituting "gross vehicle weight" for "unloaded gross vehicle weight." Exception for certain vehicles. The term "passenger automobile" shall not include (i) any ambulance, hearse, or combination ambulance-hearse used by the taxpayer directly in a trade or business, (ii) any vehicle used by the taxpayer directly in the trade or business of transporting persons or property for compensation or hire, and (iii) under regulations, any truck or van.

This simple exclusion of trucks and vans having a gross vehicle weight of over 6,000 pounds allows these vehicles to be depreciated over a five-year life. However, your regular everyday business passenger vehicle, while technically depreciated over a five-year life, is subject to certain limitations.

The depreciation limitations for a passenger vehicle purchased in 2001 was $3,060, until the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 was signed into law on March 9, 2002. The depreciation limit has now been raised to $7,660 for new vehicles acquired after September 10, 2001 and before September 11, 2004.

To illustrate this discrepancy, let's say you are an insurance sales man, and you use your car to drive out to meet with clients regularly. In scenario number one, you bought a Volvo in 2001, which is used exclusively for business purposes. The cost of the Volvo would be reflected on your balance sheet at a cost of say $40,000.

In order to recoup the cost of the vehicle, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) allows you to depreciate it over time. A car has a five-year life under IRS prescribed MACRS depreciation tables. So, your Volvo would be fully depreciated in 5 to 6 years. And you would get to deduct $17,600 ($12,000 at the 30% additional depreciation rate and $5,600 of regular depreciation) of depreciation on your tax return for 2001. But wait, your Volvo is considered a passenger vehicle by the IRC, and therefore is limited to a deduction of $7,660 for depreciation for 2001.

Let's take a moment here, and jump into scenario number two. Assume all of the same facts as scenario number one, except that instead of owning a Volvo, you own a GMC Yukon. Well, a GMC Yukon is a truck that has a gross vehicle weight of over 6,000. Thus, it is not considered a passenger vehicle by the IRC. You would be able to deduct the entire $17,600 of depreciation in 2001.

At this point, I can see my friend pausing to think about what I have said. But, before he can put together a response to what I have said, I add ­ but this is just part of the tax benefit that a larger vehicle receives. For most business use assets placed in service in a year, assuming the business meets the other qualifications, an IRC Section 179 election can be made to expense the cost of property purchased in a year, based upon certain limitations. The maximum amount allowed to be deducted under a Section 179 election in 2001 is $24,000. So, if we apply this to our scenarios, for the Volvo from scenario number one you are allowed a depreciation deduction of $7,660 for 2001. Yes, that's right, it's still $7,660. You see, under IRC Section 280F(d)(1), the amount of IRC Section 179 election allowed is still limited to $3,060, or as adjusted by the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 to $7,660. However, for scenario number two, the GMC Yukon can now take a depreciation deduction of $29,360, which includes the $24,000 Section 179 election amount.

So, you're thinking, ok, well as an advisor to clients on making large business purchases, such as vehicles, you are going to definitely recommend that a Joe Insurance Salesman purchase a GMC Yukon over a Volvo.

For the first year alone, he's going to receive a deduction of $21,700 more for the same purchase price. Continuing on into future years, it is still in his best interest, because there are similar limitations for depreciation of the Volvo (or passenger vehicle) for the remainder of its life. To be more precise, the Volvo would receive a depreciation deduction of $4,900 for 2002, $2,950 for 2003, and $1,775 for 2004 and until it is fully depreciated. I'll let you figure out how long it would take to complete that cycle. The GMC Yukon, on the other hand will be fully depreciated in 6 years.

As a tax advisor, I have an obligation to present the most tax advantageous and legal options to my client. If I have a choice between recommending a purchase for the same amount of money, whereby, on the one hand the client will recover his costs in 6 years, or in excess of 15 years, I am going to be hard pressed not to recommend the purchase of the GMC Yukon. For that matter, various tax resources offer sample client letters to help explain to a client why they should consider purchasing heavy sport utility vehicles to by-pass annual depreciation and expensing caps instead of your standard passenger vehicle.

As I pause here, I can see that my friend, who knows a great deal about the "world of Electric Vehicles," as he puts it, is a bit disappointed. I mean, how can I, in good conscience, recommend a vehicle that gets a range of 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway over a vehicle that gets a range of 20 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, according to, depending upon which model of GMC Yukon or Volvo you are talking about? And to be to the point, the EPA lists a variety of GMC Yukons as being the most polluting vehicles of their class.

At this moment, it does occur to me that there is something dreadfully wrong with a system that rewards the purchase of a substantially more polluting vehicle over a fuel efficient one. I may not be an Electric Vehicle expert, but I have been to Los Angeles. I have seen the layers of smog that accumulate there. It doesn't take an expert to explain to me that this is not a good, or natural occurrence.

I took a little time at this point to let him know that all was not lost, there are also tax breaks for electric vehicles. For a business use electric vehicle, let's assume this is scenario number three, which mirrors scenario number one. Only this time our insurance sales man client bought a RAV4 Electric.

First of all, he is eligible to receive a tax credit of 10% of the cost of the vehicle, up to $4,000. (A tax credit directly reduces the tax you owe, dollar for dollar. A tax deduction reduces your taxable income.). There are limitations on the eligibility to take this credit, but let's assume he qualifies to take the entire credit. However, before we take the credit, we have to decide if we want to take Section 179 election depreciation (this will reduce the basis on which the credit is calculated). Electric vehicles have IRC Section 280F limitations as well. But the amounts are approximately three times the limitations for non-electric passenger vehicles. This allows Joe Insurance Salesman to take a Section 179 depreciation deduction of approximately $22,980.

However, since the value of our RAV4 Electric is only $40,000, with a depreciable basis of $17,020 ($40,000-$22,980), Joe can only take an electric vehicle credit of $1,702 ($17,020 x 10%). Now, in years 2002 through the RAV4 Electric's complete depreciation point, the limitations are approximately three times those of the passenger vehicle. Joe's depreciable basis in his RAV4 Electric is now $15,318 ($17,020 - $1,702). At that basis, Joe's vehicle will probably be fully depreciated in the standard 6-year recovery period.

So, in the end Joe Insurance Salesman would benefit about equally from buying either an electric vehicle or a heavy sports utility vehicle. In addition, electric vehicles have an added bonus for non-business use owners. If you meet the requirements, you would be eligible for the electric vehicle credit that Joe was only partially able to take advantage of. And, while none of my clients exactly fit Joe Insurance Salesman's model, these amounts can be recomputed for each of their situations to determine which option would be most to their advantage.

However, before my friend could comment, it occurred to me to ask him, "Why would our system grant the damaging value of a heavy sports utility vehicle and the positive long term growth value of an electric vehicle the same tax advantages? Tax advantages are supposed to promote and encourage taxpayers to behave in certain ways."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ebike Book

Has anyone seen this book, "Electric Bicycles: A Guide to Design And Use"?

Here is what the publisher, Wiley, has to say about it:

For much of the world, bicycles are a transportation mainstay. Electric bicycles--powered by a rechargeable battery pack--are proven to deliver the highest possible energy efficiency, even compared to pedal bikes. A transportation alternative to fossil fuels, electric bicycles are fast catching on, in part because they don't require factory assembly. End-users can easily construct them with available components.

The text reveals important techniques, data, and examples that allow readers to judge various propulsion setups--used in both home- and factory-made bikes--and estimate speed and travel distance for each. Numerous charts clearly present the costs, benefits, and trade-offs between both commercial and user-converted models.

Electric Bicycles: A Guide to Design and Use
William C. Morchin, Henry Oman
ISBN: 0-471-67419-2
190 pages
November 2005, Wiley-IEEE Press

Key features include:
* Estimating motor-performance for wind, hill, and cruising power requirements
* Estimating battery capacity and a thorough description of battery charging
* Motor and motor-control options
* Evaluating motor-to-wheel coupling options
* Placement of propulsion components
* Configurations and performance
* How systems-engineering techniques can produce electric-bicycle designs that have long travel range and low life-cycle cost
* Testing
* Developments to watch

A comprehensive resource for harnessing innovation, Electric Bicycles is the definitive practical guide to taking full advantage of this exciting alternative energy technology.

Travel A Foot

Perhaps the future of transportation will include electric vehicles that travel a foot. Or in this cas a four metalish feet.

Bicycle Race

Don't try this at home kids. It's very dangerous and can cause severe injury (wink)(smile)

Bicycle Inspired Art

The Bicycle

"The Bicycle" part 1

"The Bicycle" part 2

Bicycle Messengers Trailer

Bicycle Race Anime

This a Bicycle Race music video done in Anime (animation) style.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tuscon Ebikes

Tucson Sets Limits On Motorized Bikes
Sep 20, 2006 10:02 AM

Tucson's City Council is setting limits on motorized bikes to fall into line with a new state law which takes effect Thursday.

The new law says a bike that goes faster than 20 miles an hour is a moped—meaning it must be licensed, insured, and registered. The owner also must have a valid driver's license. But if it stays under 20 miles an hour, it's a bicycle.

Tuesday night, city leaders agreed with the state law. Motorized bikes in Tucson will be subject to the 20 mph speed limit, keeping them bicycles in the eyes of the law.

The motorized bikes are popular with people trying to save money on gas. Some models can get up to 150 miles on a gallon of gas, and several people told city leaders to stay off their rides.

"It's a method of of getting from point A to point B," says Alex Nolke, a motorized bike rider. "If we live in a society where they think they need to put laws on transportation, that's missing the whole point."

The city plans to review the bike regulations in a year to see if changes are needed.

City to Regulate Motorized Bicycles
By Bud Foster KOLD News Anchor/Reporter
Sep 20, 2006 06:41 AM

They scoot down the street at 150 miles to the gallon. That's part of the allure of a motorized bicycle.

With the price of gas sky high, small engines propel the bikes up hills, through traffic and around town with a minimum of energy, both fuel and people power.

But is it a motorbike or just a bicycle? Is it a bicycle with a small motor or a motorcycle in disguise? Maybe it's a moped.

The new state law says if it stays under 20 miles an hour, it's a bicycle. But if it goes over 20, it's definitely a moped and falls under different regulations.

But the motorized bikes don't have speedometers, so it's hard to tell how fast it's going.

That still raises a lot of unanswered questions.

The way the law is written you can't make restrictions to say this is the kind of thing we do allow and this is the kind of things that we don't," says Diana Tolton, chair of the Tucson Pima County bicycle advisory committee.

She thinks the motorbikes are a safety hazard because they can be modified to go a lot faster than 20 miles per hour. She's clocked them at over 30 miles an hour. She asked one driver how fast he was going, and was shocked when he thought it was less than 20.

She doesn't want them banned, she wants them governed.

"There are electric motors that are on bicycles in other countries that will shut down at 18 miles an hour before they reach 20. That kind of thing they would be no problem," she told us in a one on one interview.

The city must come up with some new regulations for motorized bicycles by Thursday. A new state law takes effect this week defining what a motorized bike is or isn't, but doesn't set up rules. The law leaves that up to the cities.

And speed is not the only issue.

Tolton asks, "Do we want people who have lost their licenses because of a DUI, now driving a motorized bike? Do we want someone who is legally disabled and unable to get a drivers license to be on a motorized bike?"

The city will tackle the issue in a public hearing Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at city hall. The hearing begins at 5:30pm.

by Ryan O'Donnell - Fox 11 News - Wednesday, September 20, 2006

They’re becoming more and more popular, bikes with motors, and with that popularity comes scrutiny. On Tuesday night, folks at city hall set some new rules.

It looks and peddles, just like any another bike, but it’s not just like other bikes. It has an engine, mounted to its frame.

"I can pop the clutch and hit the gas at the same time," said Jacqueline Larriva on her way home from school.

That’s how you start it, kind of like push starting a car, only Larriva uses her peddles to get it going fast enough. She uses it to get to and from the University of Arizona; it saves her three-hundred dollars in parking and even more on gas.

"Mine is a half gallon tank and so I get about 75 miles on this one tank of gas," said Larriva.

New laws go into affect, on Thursday, regulating who can use them, where they can be ridden and why you need to watch your speed. Propped up right now, these are motorized bicycles, but you get them to 20 miles per hour or faster, they fall into a whole new category, with a whole new set of guidelines.

"Once it hits 20 miles per hour, then it’s a moped," said Lt. Mike Pryor of the Tucson Police Department.

Meaning it has to be registered, you need a license and you need to follow all the moped safety requirements. On Tuesday night, the city council added more to the state’s new laws, by adopting an ordinance even further regulating operation. A unanimous decision most motorized bicycle riders agreed with.

"I think they strike a fair balance among all of the interest that are involved," said one supporter in the new adopted ordinance.

"I think that they’re going to find out as we have with vehicles that it’s going to be a little more complex than this ordinance," said another audience member who disagrees with the new ordinance.

For Jacqueline Larriva, she’s in, if it means for safer riding.

"I’m happy to do it, if it means I’m safe and other people are safe on the road, than I’m more than willing to do that," said Larriva.

One question out of all this is when you’re on a bike, how do you know when you’re going over 20 miles per hour? Well, the mayor suggested that the shops that sell these bikes offer to put a speedometer on them. The council also voted to revisit all this in a year to see how it’s working.

Council passes minimal gas-powered bike regulations

TUCSON, Ariz. Good news for Tucson residents who use gas-powered and electric bicycles for transportation.
The city council last night voted unanimously to institute basic regulations on the bikes, but also voted to allow them on city streets, bike lanes and in other areas where regular bikes can go.

The bikes will not be allowed on multi-use paths or sidewalks.

The bikes are powered by two-stroke motors similar to the engines that power chain saws, leaf blowers and some Jet Skis.

More than 15 motorized-bike users spoke at the city council meeting to say how much they depend on the bikes to get around.

Riders of traditional bikes showed up in smaller numbers and asked that the bikes only be allowed on private property.

City Council adopts rules on motorized bicycles
Speed can't exceed 20 mph; riders must be 16; opponent cites hazards

Tucson Citizen

Motorized-bicycle riders will face new restrictions under an ordinance approved by the City Council Tuesday night.
Supporters of the ordinance say the bikes provide an alternate means of transportation for those who cannot afford a car and live too far from public transportation, while opponents say the bikes are hazardous.
The council approved an ordinance that sets the minimum age for riders at 16, requires a helmet for those under 18, limits the number of riders to no more than what the bicycle or tricycle was designed for and calls for a headlight and rear reflector during nighttime riding.
The ordinance also bars riders operating the bikes on sidewalks and mixed-use paths such as the trails that run along several riverbeds in the area.
Stores selling motorized bikes are required to tell customers about the city ordinance and post a sign stating that state law sets the speed limit for the bikes at 20 mph. The ordinance takes effect immediately and violators are subject to a $100 fine.
Roland Bosma, owner of Spooky Tooth Cycles, said the ordinance makes sense.
"The ordinance is an extremely good blessing," he said. "Safety has always been on my mind and it should be on everyone's mind. By default, we are not allowed in the main thoroughfare of traffic. Our folks are on a lower socio-economic level of society. Fifty percent of our riders rely on this as their only form of transportation. This is a class issue."
Spooky Tooth has built more than 300 of the motorized bikes, which are essentially beach cruisers fitted with a two-stroke engine similar to those found on a weed trimmer.
Capt. George Stoner of the Tucson Police Department said that while the ordinance sets some safety standards and provides guidelines for the public, there are potential safety issues in having powered bikes share bike lanes with traditional cyclists.
The council will revisit the issue in a year to examine the safety implications of the ordinance.
There have been two documented cases of traffic collisions in which a motorized bike rider has been killed, but it is not clear if the motors were on at the time of incidents, Stoner said. There also has been at least one extreme DUI case and Stoner said officers with radar guns have clocked motorized bikes traveling at speeds greater than 30 mph.
A state law that takes effect Thursday would place motorized bikes in a category of their own based on the size of the engine and sets a maximum speed of 20 mph. Police had been classifying the bikes as mopeds and citing riders for being unlicensed drivers without insurance or registration, Bosma said.
Diana Tolton, chairwoman of the Tucson Pima Bicycle Advisory Committee, said she saw a cyclist on a motorized bike traveling at speeds well above 20 mph on her way to Tuesday night's meeting.
Her committee recommended against the ordinance and called for one banning the bikes similar to an ordinance passed by the council a few years ago on motorized scooters and skateboards.
She said that while motorized bikes may be an attractive option for affordable transportation, the bike lane is not a safe place for the vehicles and she believes riders may be inclined to ignore the ordinance.
"We see it as a way to circumvent the current moped laws," Tolton told the council. "They're going to be caught when they are going over 30 mph. I would love to see every kind of wheel that's out there on the street, but the infrastructure is not there."
Stacy DeLancey said she uses her motorized bike to travel to and from work.
"This is how I get around. I cannot walk. If I walk, I'm out of work for two days," she said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Aussie Stories

"Dateline"(Australia) did a a show this week(2006-09-13) which includes video news stories on how "gasoline junkies" are finding recovery from their addiction and how elected officials and policy makers are helping to make that happen. Watch online while you can (LINK)

The first story in is based Los Angeles(SoCAl). The title of that story is "EV1 - The Electric Dream". The next story is titled "Lyon - Velov City?". The first story gives a behind the scenes look at the a growing community of folks who are saying no to to gasoline, and Yes to electricity and solar power. The second story is about a program in the City of Lyon France called "Velov" in which the city hopes to entice more people to ride bicycles by providing free or nearly free bicycles throughout the region, just as a form of "Flexcar" does by carsharing, they do by bike sharing in the form of a "Flexbike", first coined here. They do the "community bike" program, similar to others around the world, by also applying new technology to be sure the bicycles are kept in good shape and its riders accountable for thier treatment of the bikes. The program is funding through advertising sales in the most part, making the bicycles available for almost free to the cyclists. Watch online while you can(LINK). Also see: GrandLyon(french) and (english translation)

The last story that I would like to bring to your attention is one that Dateline (Australia) did last week(2006-09-06) which includes a story titled "Curitiba - the future of Cities". A story about a city in south of Brazil of 3 million people, that prioritized policy making to to put people of the city before cars. Watch online while you can. Watch online while you can (LINK)

EV1-The Electric Dream

The program tonight has a recognisably green tinge to it and it is pure coincidence that Al Gore has been hanging about here this week promoting his film about the effects of global warming. Yesterday in the US, the General Motors Corporation unveiled a prototype without a motor that they claim will run 300km on a single tank of hydrogen converted to electricity. The critics are already off and running, warning this new technology is far too expensive and that a hydrogen car won't be mass-produced during our lifetime. The prototype, that GM claims is the most significant development since cars were invented, comes a decade after GM was also involved in another radical, vehicular experiment that saw the makers produce solar-powered electric cars. As you're about to see, these snazzy, clean, green machines were loudly touted as the solution to the globe's ever-increasing pollution problems, not to mention America's unrelenting dependence on Middle East oil. But that grand experiment came to a sudden, shuddering halt. Dateline's David Brill travelled to California to see if he could get to the bottom of this motoring murder mystery

Velov City

Next up Dateline is in France to take a look at an intriguing collaboration between private enterprise and the city of Lyon, where the aim is to reduce car use and promote the humble bicycle as the vehicle of choice. Ginny Stein reports that the innovative scheme is working like a charm
Watch these three stories online. Watch online while you can. (VIDEO LINK). When the video screen pops up, scroll down the stories on the right to find these stories.

Related Posts:
-Who Killed The Electric Car? (video link)
-Addendum to "Who Killed The Electric Car?" (video link)
-Who Killed (video link)
-CarLess Santa Monica (video news report)
-2006 Michelin Challenge (video link)
-G-Wiz Car (video news report)
-Hybrid Bike (video new report)

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hydrocarbon Man

This is a documentary about an art exhibit happenning right now in Boston Mass. It is called "End of Hydrocarbon Man".

The show is running from:
August 29 - october 10, 2006
And is on display at:
Cambridge Community Television
675 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA
For more info see

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Co-opportunity Elections

Well guys, Co-opportunity, a consumer co-op located in Santa Monica, California - one of only 3 in all of southern California - is having their Board of Directors elections this month. There are 3 seats available on the board.

I got a chance to interview Kelly Jon Landis, one of the candidates, whom refers to himself as the "Reformer" on his campaign literature.

In the brief interview, I asked him some questions that may be of importance to those of us that like to use there bicycle to get to and from the co-op to do our shopping, and thought you guys might like to see his responses.

Here is the interview, an email response back to some question I sent to Kelly Jon Landis:
(CSM!=Cycle Santa Monica, KJL=Kelly Jon Landis)


Thanks for forwarding the press release about you running for the board of directors at Co-opportunity.

As you may know, Cycle Santa Monica! mission/vision shares some of the same ideals and interests as Co-opportunity.

Perhaps you can clarify for the Cycle Santa Monica! community forum readers what kinds of things you would like to accomplish on the board
that directly benefit the bicycling Co-opportunity shoppers/customers?

There has been some discussion on the CSM! forum about placing bicycle parking, and more of it, closer to the entrance to the co-op, as a way to encourage, and make it more convenient, and secure, to come to the co-op by bicycle, when shopping at the co-op.

And there has been some talk on the CSM! forum about the co-op creating or supporting a carshare co-op or program for co-op member/owners.

One suggestion was to arrange to have a carshare car/truck or two with permanent designated parking at the co-op, in which co-op member/owners could access at a discounted price.

There was discussion about making arrangements with Flexcar, to manifest that. And now with Zipcar, a successful nonprofit carshare organization with carshare vehicles at many big cities, considering opening business in Los Angeles, we may be able to get a couple zipcar vehicles for co-op members/owners.

Also, there has been some discussion about providing electricity for Co-op shoppers that come by electric bicycles and electric scooters, so they may charge their vehicles while shopping.

Would these be things you may have an interest in manifesting at the co-op?

What other ideas do you have?

I welcome your comments and comments from anyone else.
I believe I am the only board member who currently uses public transportation on a regular basis and does not own a car, so I support the items you mention. I have worked on repairing a couple of bikes I bought online through the police auction http://www.stealitb at the LA Eco Village. I am interested in this car sharing and called ZipCar to find out more. I think that is a viable option and worth exploring. Perhaps the Co-Op could even reduce costs more by starting our own car share or assist interested members in cooperatively purchase their own cars. I agree with establishing more secure and convenient bike stations near the entrance of the Co-Op. I will have to investigate establishing a charging station. Perhaps, as a part of this parking lot rethinking, we could expand part of the outdoor eating space as well as some have mentioned.

But first we need to address a few critical issues as I summarized in my flyer whose text I posted in my press release. Reducing overhead costs and increasing labor efficiency with an increased member-owner 'sweat equity' program where individuals volunteer a few hours a week or month. They could work the membership desk and do things like serve on committees and help write/edit the newsletter, and could thereby receive additional benefits as well. I am talking with other coops board members around the country on how such a plan might be implemented, considering potential liabilities, etc. The current board does not seem too keen on this idea, or others I have proposed [see below], so we will likely have to run a slate of three candidates next year, assuming I am elected this year. And I'm not assuming I will be, because I have been campaigning more than any
other candidate. I have placed fliers around Santa Monica and Venice.
For those who have a color printer, and could download my flyer and print out some half-sheet copies to pass out at the farmer's markets or elsewhere, that would help.

Next, we must make sure the Co-Op fulfills it's primary mission by establishing a Buyer's Committee to review vendor relationships of the Co-Op and to buy more locally grown, smaller farmer produced. We may even be able to contract with some farmer's coming to Santa Monica for the farmer's markets. We need to expand our bulk food section and review packaged goods sold and review divergent organic standards, especially from foreign markets. This more thorough, conscientious approach will have to be integrated incrementally to
make sure it is not blamed for fiscal irresponsibility.

Addressing these issues, along with others such as greater board accountability, access to minutes, will help us to make the Co-Op more like a coop should be and to restore and possibly increase member benefits; the most important being value [price and quality].

Hope this helps in responding to your comments. Also, my number and e-mail are available to the member-owners making me very accessible.
For more infromation on Kelly Jon Landis, see his press release.

Related Posts:
- Community Gardens (Santa Monica)

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Friends of Co-opportunity community forum

Kelly Jon Landis

Check this out:



SOURCE: Kelly Jon Landis [Community Activist, Co-Opportunity Board Candidate] kjlandis@alumni. 310-663-3895

Angelique Dolan, Marketing Director angelique@coopportu 310-451-1025
Emil Kalil, Co-Opportunity Board Member, Chair, Nominating Cmte 310-454-7659/ 2294

The food cooperative known throughout the Westside as "Co-Opportunity" [1525 Broadway(at Colorado), Santa Monica] begun in the 30s and transformed into a natural, organic food cooperative during the 70s is holding it's annual elections for board of directors during the entire month of September. Although, this time the election is contested. As a 10,000 plus member-owned cooperative, excluding many non-members who shop there, it's members include a who's who of progressives from Tom Hayden to Julie Newmar, is ostensibly managed by it's member-owners, though it no longer requires or even requests 'sweat equity' as it were-- volunteering a few hours a week or month-- and instead employs a professional staff.

This is good and bad some say. In one respect, it is thought to provide greater stability to manage operations, although some of the staff, especially those who work the registers or bag groceries and stock the shelves, may not share the natural living cooperative health-style, replacing a more corporate feel while losing the 'feeling of [Co-Op] family.' However, in recent years, some have been disheartened by the loss of member benefits and discounts which were reduced to cover employee health benefits and to cover worker's compensation costs. It is said no one wants to volunteer anymore in the affluent Westside of Los Angeles and yet seniors, students, low-income persons have expressed interest, it said liability issues make this difficult.

Although a forerunner of chains like Whole Foods and Wild Oats, increasingly the Cooperative [including Co-Opportunity] movement has found itself in competiton with these corporate chains from an unfair advantage due to their collective buying power. This is one of the reasons given for some of the higher prices at the Coop. Even while Co-Opportunity and other coops around the country purchase from some of the same wholesalers, some say it is that the corporate mindset-- fiscal bottom-line and giving over more management control to an even larger staff than is required at the other natural foods chain stores per capita-- has corrupted to some extent current Co-Op Board policies. And while Co-Opportunity and the coop movement do give back an unknown percentage of proceeds to the community in the way of grants, Wild Oats, for one recently announced their 100 stores donated $2,000,000 to the community last year.�

In the midst of this implacable situation a young man, Kelly Jon Landis, decided to try to change all that and run for the Co-Opportunity Board of Directors himself, becoming the first Board candidate who was not nominated by the current Board, by collecting signatures in July. Now, he's officially on the ballot, along with five other candidates nominated by the current Board vying for the three positions open.

As well, Landis platform on his smartly green and blue printed flyers, advocates for greater Board accountability and member-owner input in negotiating vendor relationships with more locally grown produce and reviewing big corporate and foreign 'organic' standards.

The Co-Opportunity mailed paper ballots [sent through regular mail] and the September newsletter, also listing the candidates, their pictures and 250 word bios, will be sent out in the next week via bulk mail. Many members have requested to be sent a ballot via e-mail and return their ballot in the same manner which are then counted electronically by an outside firm. Several thousand of the approximately 10,000 members generally vote in Board elections which occur all through the month of September.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bicycle Street Sweeper

Here is a story about a street sweeper, also known as the "Bikeway Cleaner", that is pedal powered, four wheeled bicycle with two seats and a mechanism to sweep debris from the road. [via Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation (MIST)]

The pedaled sweeper is a 4-wheel bike with 2 seats. There is an attached sweeper and the bike pulls a 2-wheeled trailer. The bike was built for a community garden program to be a pedaled tiller. It was not heavy enough for that so they gave it to Free Cycles (a program of MIST). We simplified it and attached the sweeper, which we found at a junk yard.

Continued below... (click on image to enlarge.)

The rolling wheels of the sweeper that touch the ground also turn the 3' wide brush forward really fast, so that the debris is kicked back into the catcher. We put a garbage bag inside the catcher, which is then put into the trailer when full. Sand and dirt can fill the bag at the rate of about 4 gallons per half mile when the bike lane is dirty. It's really fun going over broken bottles and carnage from car wrecks because the bike lane is left clean enough to eat off of (: To 'close the loop' we should be composting the pickings, yet it might actually be considered toxic waste):

Missoula is mostly flat in the valley but the bridges and outgoing roads make it a good work out (a bonus for volunteers needing exercise), but we have lots of gears. We installed a handle that lifts the sweeper up and down, so you can engage the sweeper when you want.

It would be great to rig this up to any old bicycle; we know it is possible and probably simple and we are working on this right now. A plow can work for snow, but maybe a roller would be fine, to take away the ice ridges that cause one's front wheel to move around. We have also thought of water spray systems for really nice cleaning in the spring, but it would be easier to just go pedaling after a rain, and drag old carpet or some other 'wiper'. This seems clunky though.

This whole sweeper unit barely fits into a 5' bike lane. We have a colorful sign we sometimes attach that says 'Bikeway Cleaner'. This thing even picks up squished beer cans. Yes, jurisdictions should take care of the lanes, but we think it's OK for citizens to chip in. Feel free to use this photo and information for whatever purpose you have. Also, please send us comments on ways to improve these

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Helmets and Danger

The idea that wearing a helmet makes a cyclists safer is disputed worldwide. This research further helps to prove that a bicycle helmet does not guarantee safety and in way it can actually create a less safe situation for cyclists.

Many cyclists contend that wearing a helmet for adult cyclists should remain a matter of choice whether to or not wear a helmet when cycling.

Wearing a helmet puts cyclists at risk, suggests research
Press Release - 11 September 2006

Bicyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be struck by passing vehicles, new research suggests.

Drivers pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than when overtaking bare-headed cyclists, increasing the risk of a collision, the research has found.

Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University of Bath, used a bicycle fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to record data from over 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol.

Dr Walker, who was struck by a bus and a truck in the course of the experiment, spent half the time wearing a cycle helmet and half the time bare-headed. He was wearing the helmet both times he was struck.

He found that drivers were as much as twice as likely to get particularly close to the bicycle when he was wearing the helmet.

Across the board, drivers passed an average of 8.5 cm (3 1/3 inches) closer with the helmet than without

The research has been accepted for publication in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

“This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist’s appearance,” said Dr Walker, from the University’s Department of Psychology.

“By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements.

“We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial.

“Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place.”

Dr Walker suggests the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is down to how cyclists are perceived as a group.

“We know from research that many drivers see cyclists as a separate subculture, to which they don’t belong,” said Dr Walker.

“As a result they hold stereotyped ideas about cyclists, often judging all riders by the yardstick of the lycra-clad street-warrior.

“This may lead drivers to believe cyclists with helmets are more serious, experienced and predictable than those without.

“The idea that helmeted cyclists are more experienced and less likely to do something unexpected would explain why drivers leave less space when passing.

“In reality, there is no real reason to believe someone with a helmet is any more experienced than someone without.

“The best answer is for different types of road user to understand each other better.

“Most adult cyclists know what it is like to drive a car, but relatively few motorists ride bicycles in traffic, and so don’t know the issues cyclists face.

“There should definitely be more information on the needs of other road users when people learn to drive, and practical experience would be even better.

“When people try cycling, they nearly always say it changes the way they treat other road users when they get back in their cars.”

The study also found that large vehicles, such as buses and trucks, passed considerably closer when overtaking cyclists than cars.

The average car passed 1.33 metres (4.4 feet) away from the bicycle, whereas the average truck got 19 centimetres (7.5 inches) closer and the average bus 23 centimetres (9 inches) closer.

However, there was no evidence of 4x4s (SUVs) getting any closer than ordinary cars.

Previously reported research from the project showed that drivers of white vans overtake cyclists an average 10 centimetres (4 inches) closer than car drivers.

To test another theory, Dr Walker donned a long wig to see whether there was any difference in passing distance when drivers thought they were overtaking what appeared to be a female cyclist.

Whilst wearing the wig, drivers gave him an average of 14 centimetres (5.5 inches) more space when passing.

In future research, Dr Walker hopes to discover whether this was because female riders are seen as less predictable than male riders, or because women are not seen riding bicycles as often as men on the UK’s roads.

Top Notes
11,257 adult cyclists were injured and 109 killed on the UK’s roads in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available. However, for each bicycle accident officially recorded there are as many as 14 more which do not go on police records, and so the number injured is certainly an under-estimate. Being struck by an overtaking car is arguably the most dangerous form of collision for a cyclist, with a particularly high mortality rate.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. In 16 subject areas the University of Bath is rated in the top ten in the country. View a full list of the University's press releases:

Related Posts:

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum

Monday, September 11, 2006

SlipStream DIY Ebike

Electric Bicycle Law Wiki

Hi guys.

It's time for those among us whom have knowledge about electric bicycle law to
contribute to our community.

We now have a tool in which file our contributions of collective knowledge of
electric bicycle law.

You may add your contributions there, or post them to in the comments so someone else
can contribute them for you, or send them to me.

Anyone can add to the wiki, so give it a go, if you can. Add something for you
state. (or country).

You will get a sense of participation in the community by doing so. You can
also take pride in you involvement and helpfulness in helping others in the
electric bicycle community to better understand electric bicycle law.

Thank You,

Related Posts:

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum

Contribute To Community

Hi guys.

It's time for those among us whom have knowledge about electric bicycle law to
contribute to our community.

We now have a tool in which file our contributions of collective knowledge of
electric bicycle law.

You may add your contributions there, or post them to in the comments so someone else
can contribute them for you, or send them to me.

Anyone can add to the wiki, so give it a go, if you can. Add something for you
state. (or country).

You will get a sense of participation in the community by doing so. You can
also take pride in you involvement and helpfulness in helping others in the
electric bicycle community to better understand electric bicycle law.

Thank You,

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bicycle Race Anime

This is a film trailer for the Japanese anime titled "Andulusia no Natsu" AKA "Andulusian Summer" on bike racing. For more info see Bicycle Racing anime
It was animated by Madhouse. The manga, published by Kodansha, deals with bicycle racing. The anime was directed by Takasaka Kitarou from Studio Ghibli.

Related Posts:

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum

Yokohama Bicycle Museum

Check out the Yokohama Bicycle Museum (Japan). The webpage is in Japanese. The link translates the sit into english using Google's language translation tool.

The museum has some interesting bikes.

Propulsion After Petroleum

Propulsion After Petroleum

1866 Dudgeon
The steam-powered 1866 Dudgeon is one of the earliest self-propelled vehicles built in America. While a great deal smaller than pioneering European steam cars of the day, delayed public acceptance of its unfamiliar engineering prevented rapid development. (Photograph by Leslie Kendall)

A little more than one hundred years ago, any conveyance not propelled by a horse or mule was considered an alternative power vehicle. The thought of being taken from place to place in any kind of mechanically powered contraption was considered ridiculous by most. By the turn of the twentieth century, however, vehicles powered by steam, electricity, and petroleum had captured the imagination of the buying public and were being sold in ever-increasing numbers. As oil became more available, gasoline-fueled vehicles came to dominate the market and all but a tiny number of their steam- and electric-powered counterparts were consigned to history, and the definition of an automobile propulsion system became extremely narrow. By 1910, the typical vehicle was any car, truck, or motorcycle powered by a gasoline-powered, piston-driven, internal combustion engine. As the piston engine gained a reputation for power and reliability, more and more capital resources were channeled toward perfecting it and a complicated fuel refining and distributing infrastructure was developed to support it.

The reasons that gasoline-powered vehicles became so popular are easy to appreciate. Gasoline is energy dense, can be transferred quickly for refueling, and was readily available in America thanks in part to the discovery of oil at Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas in 1901. In the opinions of many, these qualities outweighed drawbacks such as the excessive noise generated by internal combustion engines and their difficult starting, unpleasant odors, and dirty operation. As a result, gasoline-powered vehicles flourished for almost a century. Yet a small, but persistent contingent of free thinking engineers and enthusiasts never stopped considering alternative means to power automobiles. Recent concerns about the environment, social responsibility, the uncertain availability of imported oil, and the recent spike in gasoline prices have brought about renewed interest in their visions of alternative forms of vehicle power.

1917 Woods Dual Power
The 1917 Woods Dual Power featured a four-cylinder gas engine coupled to an electric motor-generator. Built only in 1917 and 1918, the early gas-electric hybrid was too expensive, slow, and difficult to service to be a commercial success.
(Photograph courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum Archives)

The wide variety of alternative power systems can be classified into two groups: those that use fuels other than gasoline and those that use mechanical systems that do not involve reciprocating mechanical components (such as pistons) driven by internal combustion. Electric and steam-powered cars are obvious examples of alternative power, but it would be equally as appropriate to consider an internal combustion engine an alternative power unit if it uses natural gas. Similarly, it would also be appropriate to consider a gasoline-fueled engine an alternative power unit if it is configured as a turbine.

The oldest method of vehicle propulsion, and one of the first to be discarded by modern engineers, was steam power. Built by French Army engineer Nicolas Cugnot in 1769, the world’s first automobile was propelled by steam. Though impractically large and ponderous, it demonstrated that it was possible to convert reciprocating motion (such as that produced by a steam piston) into rotational motion (to turn the drive wheels). The Stanley brothers and numerous other manufacturers engineered practical and affordable light steam-powered vehicles prior to the turn of the twentieth century, but the fundamental problems with cold-starting, special maintenance requirements, and high fuel consumption could not be overcome. While the last production steam car made in America was the California-built 1931 Doble, steam power trucks were made in England into the early 1950s. Although a tiny number of engineers still tinker with steam power, it is not regarded as viable.

Electricity was first used to power an automobile in about 1832 by Robert Anderson of Scotland. Women of the late 1800s and early 1900s favored electric vehicles because they were quiet, clean running, and easy to operate. They did not require a complicated starting procedure that involved raising the hood to prime cylinders with gasoline, bending over to turn a hand crank, or soiling one’s gloves to make mechanical adjustments. Yet while their reasonably efficient motors delivered a constant supply of torque, battery technology was so limited that they could only travel about 40 or 50 miles on one charge, which often required that a vehicle be plugged-in for six to eight hours. These limitations could not be overcome and the last quantity-produced American electric car was the 1939 Detroit Electric. The severe lack of fuel available for civilian consumption in Europe during World War II fostered a brief revival of electric vehicles abroad, but these were rapidly phased out after the armistice.

1938 Citroen 11
This 1938 Citroen 11 was fitted with a coal gas generator, so that it could be driven despite the severe gas shortages that plagued European motorists during World War II. The fender-mounted components produce a combustible gas by partially burning
wood or coal.
(Photograph courtesy of Lane Motor Museum)

Prior to the introduction of the General Motors EV1 in 1996, the makers of electric vehicles after World War II were small companies, usually run by enthusiastic optimists with little background in finance or manufacturing. But since battery technology was still not sufficiently advanced, these vehicles were no more practical than their pre-war counterparts. One solution to the short range of battery-only electrics is the application of solar cells, which convert sunlight into electrical energy for storage in batteries. Yet while solar enginery is considered one of the most promising sources of environmentally friendly power generation, the majority of solar cells are less than ten percent efficient and vehicles powered by sunlight must be super-light and ultra-streamlined, which makes them extremely impractical.

Another propulsion system that does not use reciprocating mechanical components driven by internal combustion is the gas turbine. Gas turbines are powered by exploding gasses passing over fan blades in a continuous combustion process. Turbines operate smoothly and have greater peak efficiency than piston engines, but are better suited for steady-state uses like those of power plants and other industrial applications. Built by the British firm Rover in 1950, the first automotive gas turbine drew a great deal of attention because of its exotic engineering, unconventional appearance, and strange sound. Anxious to explore the potential of turbine power, other major manufacturers such as Fiat in Italy, Socema Gregoire in France, and Ford in America built experimental turbines. The company most closely associated with this advanced technology was Chrysler, whose turbine program lasted from 1954 through 1979. Today, Chrysler is best remembered for the 50 (some sources say 55) turbine vehicles built in 1963, most of which were loaned free of charge to preferred customers for evaluation in everyday driving situations. High fuel consumption, high production costs, and difficulties experienced by drivers who were not used to the behavior of a turbine engine doomed the effort. With the exception of an estimated six that were donated to museums and two retained by Chrysler engineering, all were dismantled so Chrysler could avoid paying import duties on the Italian Ghia-built bodies.

1986 Sunray
Built in Hawaii, the 1986 Sunray was representative of the electric cars that proliferated after the 1973 fuel crisis. While such cars were eye-catching and innovative, inadequate battery technology hampered their performance and the vehicles were not regarded as practical alternatives to traditionally engineered cars.
(Photograph courtesy of Personal Electric Transports, Inc.)

Like the turbine, a Wankel (rotary) engine delivers power by spinning (rather than reciprocating) motion, although not by continuous combustion. Instead of pistons that travel up and down in a cylinder, a triangular rotor revolves in an oval housing. For every rotation of the rotor, the engine produces three power strokes, providing far more power than a piston engine of equivalent displacement. (A quasi-turbine operates under the same principle, but produces four power strokes per revolution with far less vibration because of its four-sided rotor.) In production from 1964 through 1967, the German NSU Wankel Spyder was the world’s first production car with a rotary engine. In 1967 Mazda of Japan became the first manufacturer to produce a two rotor Wankel engine, which it installed in the sporty Cosmo until 1972. Since that time, Mazda has continued to develop and refine the rotary engine and their current Wankel-powered vehicle is the unusually fast RX-8.

Among the least practical alternative power sources are jet, rocket, and nuclear power. Jet engines channel rapidly expanding, combustible gasses through a nozzle at the back, using thrust to force a vehicle forward. Because the nozzle can be designed to change its shape and size, jet engines can run at a fixed rate while producing variable power from the changing nozzle. Like jets, rocket engines produce thrust through chemical reactions, but are self-contained and do not require outside air to supply the oxygen needed to support combustion. Built in Germany, an experimental 1928 Opel was among the first rocket-powered automobiles and reached a modest 47 miles per hour during testing. Although another Opel (powered by 24 solid rockets) achieved an astounding 143 miles per hour, high cost and serious safety concerns ensured that, while rocket- and jet-powered vehicles would continue to be built, they would be used almost exclusively for highly specialized purposes under controlled conditions, such as for land speed record breaking. In a class by itself, nuclear power has yet to be adapted for automotive use. The great expense of developing a safe and compact nuclear engine, coupled with the dire consequences that would result from its catastrophic failure have prevented this form of power from reaching even the experimental stage.

Because of the familiar engineering of the piston engine, alternative fuel technology is one of the simplest to implement since power can be derived from many different fuels. Although benzene had fueled most pioneering internal combustion engines, it was soon discovered that gasoline gave even greater performance. While gasoline was more difficult to refine from petroleum, public demand made it worth the investment. Over time, it was discovered that a wide range of fuels other than gasoline could be used to power piston engines. And while at least one early vehicle, the 1904 Tuck, built in Brooklyn, New York, used kerosene, the most viable alternative proved to be diesel.

Developed by German engineer Rudolf Diesel, the diesel engine used fuel that required less refining than gasoline and was less expensive to buy. Diesel engines proved to be well suited for commercial uses because of their extremely high torque ratings. Recognizing diesel fuel’s potential for non-commercial applications, Mercedes-Benz became the world’s first manufacturer to offer a diesel engine in a production car: the 1936 260D. American manufacturers also experimented with diesel technology, and diesel-powered cars even raced at Indy prior to World War II. One of the first domestic production diesel vehicles was the 1968 Checker, built in Kalamazoo, Michigan. General Motors introduced a diesel V-8 in 1978, but it suffered from serious reliability problems. Only a tiny fraction of those built are still on the road. Modern diesel engines, many of which are turbocharged, are specially engineered from scratch to improve reliability, and have won back public confidence in their design.

1954 GM XP-21 Firebird
The 1954 General Motors XP-21 Firebird turbine car was styled like a jet fighter plane to give it a futuristic look that complemented its advanced power unit. Though it sat only one, the XP-21 Firebird can be regarded as the first gas-turbine passenger car built in America.
(Photograph courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum Archives)

A modern offshoot of diesel technology, biodiesel is a mixture of diesel fuel and biological products, such as cooking oil, which were once regarded as a waste product to be discarded. Cooking oil behaves as a natural solvent that removes impurities from fuel lines, improves fuel efficiency, and reduces friction. Because of these qualities, engines adapted for biodiesel fuel use require the application of special components that would not degrade over time. A number of facilities exist throughout the United States that can convert a diesel engine into a biodiesel unit. Biodiesel-powered vehicles are currently receiving a great deal of attention thanks to high-profile enthusiasts like country music star Willie Nelson.

The same circumstances that made electric cars viable in Europe during World War II, also made vehicles that burned coal gas practical. Also called “wood gas,” the fuel was created by partially burning wood or coal to produce a gaseous substance that could be used for combustible fuel. Although the fuel gave poor performance and the gasification process created excessive air pollution, it was deemed acceptable during wartime because it allowed a large number of vehicles to remain operational with the addition of a special gasification apparatus and a few straightforward engine modifications. Bulky and unattractive, virtually all gasification systems were removed from vehicles immediately after the war and cars so equipped are now extremely rare.

Other alternative fuels that can be adapted to modern internal combustion engines without significant re-engineering are compressed natural gas (CNG), propane/liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and ethanol. Although their energy densities differ from gasoline, these fuels are becoming increasingly available, and a number of new automobiles carry a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) designation because of their adaptability.

Hybrid automobiles combine two forms of power, most commonly a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Gas-electric hybrids were developed to overcome the limited range and lengthy recharging time associated with battery-only electrics. Though gas-electric hybrids are receiving a great deal of manufacturer and press attention, the concept is not new. In 1902 Ferdinand Porsche constructed one of the earliest gas-electric hybrids, which employed hub motors built into the front wheels that even today are considered advanced. One of the most intriguing American gas-electric hybrids was the Woods Dual Power. Built in Chicago, Illinois in 1917 and 1918, the Woods drive system consisted of a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which could be operated separately or together. But instead of embodying all of the advantages of gasoline cars with those of electric cars, the Woods embodied all of their respective disadvantages. It was heavy, expensive to buy, complicated to operate, difficult to service, and had a top speed of just 35 miles per hour. Although modern computerized engine management systems have made gas-electric systems practical for real-world driving, hybrid vehicles are regarded as temporary stopgaps that many expect will be phased out when other power systems are perfected and the infrastructure to support them is in place.

2006 Honda FCX
A 2006 Honda FCX is the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to be delivered to a customer. Although the technology holds promise, challenges relating to the high cost of fuel-cell vehicles and the lack of a supporting infrastructure have yet to be overcome.
(Photograph courtesy of American Honda)

Among the most eagerly awaited alternatives, and one that has existed for several decades, is hydrogen power. The most commonly occurring element in nature, hydrogen costs very little for the amount of power it produces. For use in an internal combustion engine, hydrogen is injected into the cylinders in much the same way as propane. To power electric motors, hydrogen creates electricity by splitting water molecules in fuel cells. The 1966 General Motors Electrovan was among the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In 2005, Honda became the first major manufacturer to deliver a production fuel cell passenger vehicle to a customer who, appropriately, resided in Southern California. Regardless of the application, hydrogen requires a great deal of energy to isolate as fuel, but produces no harmful emissions; only water vapor.

Although circumstances prevailing during the oil shocks of the 1970s generated a level of interest in alternative power similar to that of today, the technologies of the time were insufficiently developed to offer consumers a realistic choice. And while the firms that have made a significant investment in petroleum-powered vehicles are reluctant to change their product mix, many national, state, and local governments are encouraging—even mandating—the development of vehicles that use non-petroleum based fuels. This prompting has resulted in experimentation with a large number of both rediscovered and newly developed technologies, which today offer an interesting contrast to those that existed during the last century.

Leslie Kendall, Curator
Alternative Power: Propulsion After Petroleum will be on view from April 22 through September 10, 2006.