Geeking out on energy and elevation
- Yesterday I started geeking out, seeing how much I could reduce my energy usage on the
electric bike, by only using it to "take the edge off" the hills, and nothing else. Turns out I
was able to get energy usage down very low (6.3 wh/mile). However, my average speed
was only around 13 mph.
I started feeling like maybe I'm really slow or something. But it doesn't seem like I'm slow
when I'm on my road bike. I used bikely (bikely.com) to map out my commute, and it
provided an elevation profile. Wow, for anyone who hasn't done that, it is worthwhile.
Much to my surprise, I am climbing slightly over 1,000 feet every day (17 mile round trip),
due to all the little hills combined. With a loaded cargo bike that is well over 300 lbs with
me on it.. that's a good climb. I guess they don't call it "Chapel Hill" for nothing. Anyway,
now I know why I don't feel like doing that ride every day without my electric assist. I
wouldn't have any energy left for other things.
For those who want to really geek out, I've done some energy computations in my latest
blog posting: http://www.cycle9.com/blog/c9blog.php Among other things, I figured out
how much the electric assist "pays for itself" in terms of being able to carry its own weight
- Wow - sounds like what I was doing before e-assist!The walk-in-the-door fights due to heat/exhaustion.Living on a hill - zooming down - dread climbing back up - Yes I have been there.E-assist is a big help - yet we can still stay Green.When car driver say I am cheating - I just laugh... ( too long to explain here)Keep it up and enjoy the ride,CarlOn Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 6:53 AM, shokulan <caralinb@...> wrote:
For reasons that will soon be remedied, I've had to do without my
electric assist (Stokemonkey) for all my commuting and elevation gains
(not at all needed for elevation losses) over the past month. The
result is exactly what Morgan predicted--I'm tired and don't have much
physical or mental energy for much else.
During the first 4 days of this week, my commute has totaled 83 km (52
miles) in a total time of 6 hours 38 minutes (this excluded 10-minute
breaks during my climb home) with an average speed of 12.5 kph (7.7
mph), a max speed of 52.5 kph (32.6 mph), and a minimum speed of about
5 kph (3.1 mph or about walking speed). All this probably sounds
really little and really slow, but the last 30-40 minutes of each
day's pedaling is climbing the hill (elevation change: 280 m or 918
feet) to my house. The climbing road distance is about 2 km, but it
is coming on the end of a long day.
Yesterday, I hauled up this hill 3 bags of leaves for my compost pile.
The day before, I brought home a vacuum cleaner. Today, I had to
reject a fiberglass bathtub because I was not carrying the
wide-loaders (and, as my husband would quickly point out, because with
10 bathtubs in the yard already, I've not got a place to put it). So,
even without a motor, I'm still hauling--just very slowly.
Frankly, I like living at the top of the hill, because zooming down to
work (and passing buses and motorbikes) is fun and fast. I almost
always have more time to take the time I need to get home.
The difference to my life the e-assist makes is this: it 1) increases
my willingness to go out (always thinking about that climb home, see),
2) decreases the time it takes to get home (saves 30-40 minutes each
time by increasing my average speed from 12 kph to about 16 kph and my
climbing speed from 5 kph to 12-16 kph), 3) almost eliminates achy
knees, 4) greatly reduces my risk of heat exhaustion, and 5) almost
completely eliminates my 'walk in the door' fights with my husband!
This last, the foul fighting-mad heat exhaustion induced mood that I
get into when climbing through heat and humidity to get home, is the
main driver for my husband to agree that e-assist is a good thing
(Gasp! It's Saved Our Marriage!!).
"Our planes and automobiles have made it possible for us to go anywhere and see nothing, but our simpler, slower means of conveyance, our feet and our bicycles and wind-powered boats, still connect us to this earth that is not ours to master, but to treasure."