"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." ~H.G. Wells
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." - Ernest Hemingway
"I'll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood." - Susan B. Anthony
"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym." - Bill Nye, the Science Guy
International eBike Touring Association
International eBike Touring Association aims to promote the
development and use of practical electric-assist bicycles by
helping to organize group tours. Whether a 20 mile day trip or a
4200 mile transamerica tour, ebike touring will, aside from being
a lot of fun for the participants, help put ebike designs to the
test and increase public awareness of ebikes as a viable
Day trips and local tours
Local tours are best organized by those who would participate in them. If you would like to get together with one or more ebike owners in your area, join the Yahoo! group eBike Members Association. On joining, post a message telling a bit about yourself, your ebike if you have one, and the area you live (e.g. I live near Benson, in Cochise County, Arizona, which is southeast of Tucson and north of Bisbee). Work in all the relevant place names for the area within which you would be willing to travel. To find others in your country, state, province, county, city, etc., do a search of the group messages, then email those who live nearest you. In this way local ebike groups can begin to form. As these groups become organized, we will compile a directory of local groups.
If you are planning an ebike tour lasting more than a day, and would like to invite others to join you, we can list your proposed route and time.
Ebike touring group
A Yahoo! group, the International eBike Touring Association (IeTA), has been created as a forum for sharing your touring experiences. How-to hints and tips, trips-I-have-made, tour planning, and other encouraging offering may be posted here. What will not be discussed are the technical details of motors, electronics, and batteries as a separate group exists for those who love tech-talk.
Ebike touring technology
If you're interested in the nuts and bolts of designing and making practical, high-efficiency ebikes that are optimized for commuting or touring, then you should join the Yahoo! group Practical eBike Builders Association (PeBA). Several groups exist for DIY builders who are interested in maximizing the speed of their ebikes. PeBA, however, focuses on maximizing range, safety, and utility, while still allowing for reasonable speeds that fall within legal limits.
Cross-country ebike promotion group
A major goal of the eBike Touring Association is to test ebikes and promote ebiking by organizing, before the decade is out, a series of transamerica ebike tours. The time to begin advance planing for a possible transamerica tour as early as 2008 begins now. If you are interested in participating in some way or another, join the Yahoo! group Cross-country eBike Promotion Group. Since you probably don't have a suitable ebike you'll want to also join PeBA for help buying or building a touring ebike.
The tours will follow one of the routes established by Adventure Cycling, possibly the Pacific Coast route (1900 miles) the first year, the Atlantic Coast route (2700 miles) the next year, then, in 2010, the original Bikecentinial route (4200 miles). The basic plan is to travel 3 to 5 hours in the morning, rendezvous and recharge for 3 to 4 hours in the afternoon, then put in another 3 to 5 hours (total of about 8 hours in the saddle) before stopping for the night. Members can disperse somewhat at night as some may prefer a motel, others a developed campground, while a few may prefer to improvise and prevail upon the kindness of strangers. The time and location of the afternoon recharge will be publicized so interested members of the public and press can come and see the ebikes.
One or more support vehicles will follow the group. Touring ebikes may travel self-contained, while ebikes designed more for commuting will need to travel lighter by having a support vehicle carry most of their gear. Members of the support crew will have internet connectivity via cell phone and WiFi to allow publicizing the progress of the tour and to allow participants to maintain trip blogs, upload pictures, and generally stay in touch. Participants will monitor their ebike performance and post the results daily allowing real world comparisons between the various designs. Included among the goals of the tour are to have at least one senior citizen participant, and to have half of the participants be women.
The number of participants may have to be limited for logistical reasons. If so, preference will be given to those having commercially viable ebikes, as part of being practical is being available or makable. The most practical ebike for the buying public would be a turn-key commuter or touring ebike. Next would be the ebike kits, and finally those with viable designs, but having no production capacity, could make their creation available as plans (on CD?) for the DIY types. One hope is that by the time of the tour a commercially available turn-key ebike will be available from a maker willing to ramp-up production to meet whatever demand for ebikes the tours may generate.
The goal of a transamerica tour, or other trans-country tours, is ambitious and will push current technology to its limit, but then that's pretty much the point of doing it. This isn't rocket science, we're not talking of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade, but surely what is imaginable now is doable in the near future. As Leonardo da Vinci put it, “All things are obtainable for the price of an effort.”
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