Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Disappearing Racks

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Bicycle parking racks have been disappearing recently on the 3rd street promenade. And kind of like a frog that gets boiled alive, bicycle parking could be slowly getting killed off on the 3rd street promenade. Or is it?

The picture to the right is the place where one of missing bicycle parking racks was (adjacent to the Apple store on the 3rd street promenade).

  • Note that in the wide angle picture of where the rack was that there are bicycles forced to either park their bicycle unsecured in front of the Apple store or to lock the fencing around the middle island. And this picture was taken during a low traffic time (mid afternoon, mid week day, late Autumn. During high traffic times the demand for places to park bicycles is far higher. And bicycles would fill up what little space is divvied out with the racks that existed)
  • Note in other close up pictures you can the two sets of 2-4 holes which once secured the bicycle parking rack to the cement. The bolts appear to have been ground down to cement level. In some cases you can see the bare metal is fresh and un-rusted, showing this was a recent cut. In others, rust has began to form on the cut bolt.
Question: Where did the rack go? And who took it? And why? And will they bring it back? If any of you know more info about this and other bicycle racks that have been disappearing on the 3rd street promenade, post what you know or email me directly.

These additional pictures show another example of a place where a bicycle parking rack was located on the 3rd street promenade, but not is missing. And the other is an example of what the bicycle racks on the 3rd street promenade look like. It illustrates the pattern the bolts make when securing a bicycle rack to the cement.

Another, more optimistic, possibility is that the racks have been removed, so they can be repaired and repainted, and then put back. Let's hope that is the case. And perhaps we might want to verify that is true. Contact the Santa Monica City Council to find out. Also, it may be possible to get additional information from officials in the planning department and within the Planning commission.

Any other suggestions on what to do or who to contact?


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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Malcolm Bricklin

Malcolm Bricklin, probably most well known as the creator of one of the most safest cars ever built, called the "Bricklin SV1", is probably one of the most bicyclist friendly car builder's around. Here's why.

First, the "Bricklin SV1" had a plastic and rubber body and bumpers. The "gull wing" doors, instead of going out into traffic, they went, up, instead. Thus, a cyclist sould not run the risk of being "doored". And later, Bricklin was involved with the creation of the EV Warrior, arguably the very FIRST plug in hybrid vehicle ever officially sold at car dealerships. However, that plug in hybrid was actually an electric hybrid bicycle that suplemented the electric motor drive with a little human muscle.

It would be interesting if Mr. Bricklin created a new ebike using the latest technology, such as the efficient brushless electric hub motors and modern batteries.

Below is an interview with Malcolm Bricklin about the SV1 and his current ventures into plug in hybrid vehicle production, "at the right price".

This is a video on the technical features of the Bricklin SV1 (SV stands for "Safe Vehicle)

Note the pneumatic powered gull wing doors and that this vehicle does not have ash tray or cigarette lighter.

This is a trailer for a new documentary on Malcolm Bricklin by his son, titled "The Entrepreneur"

In this clip people are interviewed that saw the documentary "The Entrepreneur"

EV Warrior

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Here a classic ebike (electric assist) from the 1990's, the EV Warrior. It was designed and manufactured by a group of JPL engineers, collectively part of the "Electric Bicycle Company", in Burbank, California.

What is puzzling to me is why they were trying to market these electric bicycles through car dealerships. It seems that they would have been more successful by marketing them through motorcycle dealerships. It had all the typical street legal motorcycle features, such as full head and tail lights, brake lights, turn signals(LEDs embedded in each side view mirror, see picture on right, below), a full loud horn. It even had a place in the rear to mount a motorcycle licence plate with a licence plate light. It had left and right rear view mirrors, and a front disk brake.

If you have an owner's manual, wiring diagram, videos, or other info on this bike, let me know. I would like to put together a wiki page documenting this piece of classic ebike history from the 1990's. Thanks

Here is a quote:

EV Warrior Called the «EV Warrior», the electric bicycle uses a 12V electric motor powered by a lead acid battery. Speed control is via a thumb throttle switch on the handlebars. According to the Electric Bicycle Co, the new machine will go 30 miles between battery charges. The bikes will marketed in Portland and San Diego, the two test markets, soon, with price tags of $900 to $1,500. The electric bicycles will be sold through car dealerships.

Future models from the Electric Bicycle Company will have higher-powered batteries and composite frame construction, according to the company. Interest in electric vehicles is fuelled by California legislation that mandates 2% of vehicles sold in 1998 must be electric. The automotive industry is fighting the requirement, on the grounds that electric vehicles are incapable of replacing internal combustion engined cars. The automakers claim that battery storage is inadequate for the demands of commuters, charging technology is insufficiently advanced to maintain reliability, and the cost of producing electric cars will be uneconomic. The EV warrior is not expected to replace cars as a form of transportation in Los Angeles, but Currie and Bricklin are optimistic that the bicycle will be a way to introduce Americans to the concept of electric propulsion.

Here is some info on modification people have done using the EV Warrior bicycle as a base or by taking the power drive off the EV Warrior and applying it to other bikes. See the "Lil Warrior", the "EV Warrior III", Jim's custom ebike , "HeEV!" to the right.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Artificial Muscle

Artificial muscles, as shown in the video below to power an artificial leg, could be used as a power drive assist for pedal powered vehicles. This power plant could also be used on robots to walk up stairs, go shopping, etc. And they likely will be able to run at very high speeds, as long as their reservior of compressed air. And the compressed air reservoir can be replenished via electric motors powered by renewable sources, such as solar energy, or via combustion motors powered by biodiesel or straight vegetable oil. Soooo, technically, we could have a vegetarian android in the future eating along side humans and restaurants, using the energy of the food (plant based oil) to give them energy for their day. Just some thoughts to ponder.

Related Posts:
- Pneumatic Bicycle

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moped Shops

(click on image to enlarge)

I got a report that there is a shop in Los Angeles that is doing alot of work on mopeds. And apparently they are selling some used mopeds too. They are located about 5 blocks from the Los Angeles Community College and the Redline Station on Santa Monica and Vermont. The shop is called "Choke Motorcycle Shop". There address is: 4157 Normal Ave, Los Angeles, CA (Google MAP). Their phone number is: 323-662-4653.

It appears that they might service bicycles, electric bikes, small scooters and motorcycles there too.

If you have tried them out, let me know what you think of their shop and service. This kind of shop is a good resource for those of us that like to use pedal assist and mopeds for transporation, and as an alternative to Myron's Mopeds out in Fullerton (Orange County, Calif).

Keep poste, I have a backlog of reports on some very interesting moped stories... for example, some EXTREME moped stunts at high speed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bike Recycling Art

It would be alot of fun if the California Science Center or other museums or science centers incorporated a similar art program as the one depicted in this video from a Canada science museum. At this museum they are teaching people how to make interesting and useful stuff using bicycle inner tubes, such as various kinds of jewelry.

We may be able to get the local REI in Santa Monica, Santa Monica Public Library, or Sustainable Works to help put something together and host/sponsor it. Also, might be able to coordinate getting used inner tubes from the many bike shops in Santa Monica or through the Freecycle Santa Monica or the Friends of Co-opportunity groups.

I would like your comments and thoughts on this topic. Any other thought on how to make this happen

Video description:

"On Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8 I lead a workshop at the Ontario Science Centre - teaching kids how they could recycle + upcycle garbage/junk like bicycle inner tubes, computer boards & parts, tape, etc., into beautiful wearable art! It was a blast. Here are some clips I put together from the 2 days.
It was an incredibly rewarding experience!

Thanks to Andy for all of his help!
Ahhh, Igor you were mahhhhvellooos! "

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Skateboard Critical Mass

Move aside bicyclists, the skateboard riders (skaters) community are starting to organize their own critical mass ride/rolls this summer... In this video clip there are a couple thousand, or so, skaters "taking over the streets" of New York (NYC) on June 21, 2007. Well, maybe there is room for us all. (smile)

Film maker video description:

"On June 21st, thousands of skateboarders took to the streets of NYC. I was in the middle of covering Make Music New York but managed to follow them for a few minutes. Here's the best of what I got."

Recommended Links:
- Santa-Monica/West-L.A./Venice critical mass community forum
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- LA Friday Night Skate (Santa Monica, CA)
- LA Friday Night Skate community forum