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Kevin Freitas gave me a bike idea
on 8/25/2012 @ 11:56pm
|I remember his picture of a bike pulling a trailer with a heavy ICE lawnmower on it.On the Komo news forums construction guys say that you can't haul construction materials or tools on a bike as it's impractical (They of course put up situations in which they attempt to make cycling seem impractical for most-bike haters etc).As we know necessity is the mother of invention.In other words never say that something can't be done because most of the time it can be done.
The Komo forum people said that I could only ride a bicycle 4 or 5 months out of the year because of our local climate.Ha Ha once I got my Veltop bike accessory from France riding in the rain is the most fun for me so the only times that I can't ride is in a severe wind or in snow storms,ice etc.I've even seen attachments for riding bikes in the snow though.
So how about making a big bike trailer one that could carry 4 by 8 sheets of plywood,sheet rock or a couple dozen 2 by 4's in the middle of the trailer.It can be done although it would be a long trailer.Such a big bike trailer could also double as a bike RV or camper too or could even carry a passenger with a seat in it.It could also have a rain cover as well.In the eventuality that gas prices get impossibly high in the future such a trailer might come in very handy even if odd looking.
The only problem is getting up hills with several hundred pounds of tools or sheets of plywood.This of course is easily solved with electric motorized assist hub motor wheels.Yeah like the Ridekick trailer but's it's too small in size.
Someone seeing a cyclist carrying 600 or 700 pounds of total weight up a fairly steep hill one would suspect that the rider could beat Lance Armstrong or was a superman.Myself I'd make a outside wheel cover so that the center motorized hub couldn't be seen from the outside for perplexed looks and laughs on others.
Having such a long big bike trailer could replace the need of a pickup truck too.Sustainable yes with a much lighter weight than a heavy mass extremely energy inefficient fossil fuel polluting pickup truck. The inside of it could be perhaps 8 and a half feet long by say 4 feet tall and 2 and a half feet wide.I'd use the bigger standard 26 inch bike wheels though (motorized).It should weigh no more than say 130 pounds with say something like a 250 pound load capacity
On another note I'll tell you my experience in the last 9 months with my meager 250 watt Clean Republic electric bike assist kit.Well in the last month the SLA battery won't hold a charge and I only got around perhaps 90 round trip rides (about 9 miles round trip) with it.Then again I am a heavy rider with a heavy accessoried bicycle.Total weight about 300 to 320 pounds ouch.I just obtained a 240 Watt Hour (24 volts,10 Ampere hour) Lithium Iron Phosphate battery.It was a slightly expensive battery at around $280 though it came with a really nice charger.Not too bad though at around $1 per Watt Hour and most others I've seen at around $2 per Watt Hour.
I've tried it out on the first day.This battery is incredible I wouldn't doubt if I could ride perhaps more than 20 miles with it using the power only for assist up hills though.From my charging time it could be that I could even make 32 miles for hill assist only(with pedaling),pedaling (using no power) on the level roads and coasting (using no power or pedaling) down hills..My SLA battery could only do about 5.5 miles max (pathetic)
I laughed as I was going up a steep hill and a cyclist was attempting to catch me going up a hill.By the time I reached the top of the hill I looked back and saw the cyclist completely stopped half way with his mouth opened (agape) in a stunned look at me easily 1,000 feet ahead of him.It's that good.
I definitely recommend if you ever get an electric motorized assist motor for a bicycle to upgrade to a Lithium Ion battery ASAP.Those SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) batteries are just crap,don't last very long and are extremely energy limited due to Pleukert's law. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peukert%27s_law
If you pull a trailer with a heavy load up hills on a bicycle definitely consider getting a electric motorized assist kit.Even a meager 250 watt one does wonders.Sadly though in the state of Washington Gasoline powered motorized bicycles are not legal.Though they use fossil fuels and emit CO2 some of those kits are rated as getting 150 to 225 mpg.
At the Clean republic forums they recommend that if you weigh over 200 pounds to opt instead for a 500 watt motor.I weigh about 228 pounds (can weigh more with helmet,jacket etc) and have absolutely no issue even with a 78 pound bicycle beating the pants off athletic cyclists like superman with ease up a hill with a 250 watt motor.I tell you though that without that 250 watt motor (or having a dead battery) I just about had heart attacks going slow up hills though.
If I wanted a 1,000 watt electric motor for no pedaling I'd get a gas powered scooter instead.I know I raved about the cyclone chain driven kit and it's amazing but even a dinky 250 watt planetary geared hub motor can turn the difficult heart attack hills into easy going with pedaling.Besides I like to pedal,get exercise,get to my destination and emit as little CO2 or use the least energy possible to mitigate global warming.
Anyway back to the big electric motorized trailer idea.It might only need 2 250 watt motors.Maybe 3-250 watt wheeled hub motors plus the one on my bike giving a total wattage of say 1,000 watts maximum which is legal in Washington state.
It would be nice to tell those construction workers that yes I too can carry heavy construction materials and tools on a bicycle and with ease and practicality too
What do you think?
by L.S.Erhardt on 8/26/2012 @ 10:26am
|Gasoline-powered bikes may not be legal, but that doesn't mean that I don't see few every so often.|
I think that if you're going to build a utility trailer that you ought to make some sort of provision for cheap solar panels to be permanently mounted on it. That way, then you're using just pedal power, your batts can recharge.
by JesseHillFan on 8/26/2012 @ 2:47pm
|Yes a Solar Panel would be a possibility on top of the trailer especially because of the bigger area.One does not want to have one that weighs too much yet it has to have enough power for sufficient charging.A 240 watt panel would be too big and especially way too heavy (they weigh anywhere from 45 to 55 pounds or so.This 120 watt panel looks good and the dimensions about 5 feet long by a little over 2 feet (actually 2 feet and 2 inches) wide should suffice.A possibility for later on.|
Definitely if I do build such a big trailer I'll opt to get LiPo batteries for the motorized wheels.
by Marty on 8/26/2012 @ 11:29pm
|Lot's of discussion on getting good motors, but no mention of braking. 600-700 pounds up hill with little effort, good. Down hill, not so much. Bicycle tires have limited gripping surface to stop with.When towing, turning needs to taken into account. To have both trailer tires independently powered could create some radius turning issues.( This could be worked out with some electronics.)If the weight or cost are not too much then a re-gen system that engages when you are coasting or braking may extend the range of the bike and trailer.|
by JesseHillFan on 8/27/2012 @ 3:02am
|There shouldn't be a major issue with the hub motors as they freewheel too and are planetary geared.The Clean Republic motor controllers have no throttles.It's just a push the button and go solution.|
However you do bring an excellent point about downhill braking and with a near 400 pound loaded monster of a lumber hauler trailer the wheels should definitely have brakes on them even with crude V-Brakes though Disc Brakes would be preferred.I suppose both brake cables to both wheels could be connected together with a central cable perhaps could even using pulleys too.You're right and another brake handle would have to be mounted on the bike.That presents connection,disconnection complications too as the brake cabling would have to be disconnected or reconnected somehow.when the trailer was not in use or was in use.
One thing is that I thought about making the trailer originally with 4 wheels (2 in front and 2 in back) like a cart like thiswww.amazon.com/Tricam-FR110-2-400-Pound-...
Obviously when going down a hill with such a heavy trailer one should ride very slowly applying the brakes.This is definitely a big issue that you presented.I have no qualms about going down a hill with 300 pounds of mass on a bike but again with a heavy trailer that is a great point that you brought up.
however I think legally this may classify as a motor vehicle because it has 4 wheels.I'll have to check further on that under the state laws.I am not sure if it is legal to have 4 wheels on a bike trailer or not.