The Slaughter Environmental and Entertainment Preserve:
rants and ravings about society and the environment
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Electric Xtracycle: The S.E.E.P.'s Latest in Eco-Friendly Transportation!
I've had my xtracycle for a few years now and it's served me well commuting around town and to French Hospital for work. Now that we have Orion, we decided to go for xtracycle's PeaPod promotion and got Laura their Radish model with the PeaPod child seat attachment. Although the bike was quite a looker and very functional, the components left a little to be desired, so I upgraded the front crank from a single to triple chain ring, upgraded brakes levers and shifters, and rear derailleur to Shimano XT, swapped out a more practical handlebar, and put on the sweet seat from Laura's old commuter. While this worked well around town, the xtracycle setup and PeaPod made for a heavy bike and because of this, and time constraints, we weren't using it as much as we wanted. So, I overcame my biker's guilt and we decided to electrify it through Jake at San Luis Rides. We went with a high-end kit, including a 600W BMC V2 motor in the rear wheel, a 48V, a LiFePO4 48v 15AH Battery w/ charger, and the Cycle Analyst computer to monitor discharge status and mileage. Along with Jake's EV install, I also installed a 12V lighting system and some barrio fabuloso green ground effects, which required some research, making a bracket for the headlight and turn signals, and some wiring, then I wrapped all the wires up neatly with some spiral cable wrap and tucked the controller and 48v-12v inverter into a bag behind the seat. After all was said and done, we now have a beautiful and efficient assisted mode of transportation for one of us with Orion and he loves it! We get a top speed of around 27 mph (although we're legally topped out at 20mph) and a range of 15-20 miles depending on how fast we're cooking and how much we're pedaling. We're definitely using the bike more for our around town errands and shopping with the motor than before. Even though the xtracycle was great before, electrifying it has overcome the "energy of activation" that we needed to really ditch the car for most of our quick trips!
Here is the video we made for xtracycle as part of the "PeaPod Pilots" promotion they did:
I am an ER doc in central California that enjoys the outdoors, has a small gadget problem and has a huge interest in sustainability and environmental policy. We are on a rapid road to the destruction of our planet's ecosystem as we know it. Our current political system has allowed lobbyists, corporate and personal interests to dictate our environmental policy and ignored scientific data regarding global warming. We the people need to stand up and show by the choices we make and our actions that this is not acceptable. Drive less. Bike more. Get a fuel efficient, hybrid, or alternative fuel car. Use public transportation. Get solar. Turn off lights. Use less power. Get energy efficient appliances. Buy organic and locally grown foods. Buy products that are sustainably produced. Consume like you give a damn.