If you’ve ever lived in or visited Ithaca, NY your probably familiar with the phrase “Ithaca is gorges”. It’s a funny little saying that gives a good indication of the region’s topography — hills, hills, and steeper hills. In fact, the inclines we have around here would make even Lance Armstrong break a sweat. So, it was with great expectation that I took advantage of an opportunity to review the IZIP Trekking Enlightened hybrid-electric bicycle from Currie Technologies. Could it be possible to bike to work and not immediately have to take another shower?
I’m still figuring that out — and will have a full review shortly — but so far, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the technology being utilized in this bike. First off, this isn’t one of those bikes that you hit a switch and kick back while the electric motors putts you along. The IZIP instead is an electric-assist — giving you some extra torque to help you up some tough inclines. To that end, you still have to pedal. The beauty of this system is that you can choose to have it on or off — or at different levels of assist. About to hit a hill and want some support? Simply press the “+” button on the left handlebar and watch the LCD indicator light a few bars higher. Want to back off? Hit the “-” button. It’s as simple as that — and believe me, you still get a workout.
Both presidential candidates have stumped for a new “green” economy. To me this smells of the supposed transformation to the “information economy” touted only a decade ago. Fortune had this to say on June 30th:
What senators McCain and Obama believe about U.S. energy policy matters – hugely. To fight global warming, the next President will oversee the transition to a new, green economy , which will result in one of the biggest business transformations of the 21st century and potentially one of the largest transfers of wealth since the creation of the income tax.
We’ve heard of dogs dragging humans through the wintry depth of the Alaskan wilderness, but this is the first engineered dog-powered trike I’ve ever laid eyes on. Inventor Mark Schuette expanded upon the idea of the dog-powered scooter (yes, it too exists) and used the “dog behind a steering wheel” configuration with ‘the added stability offered by a sit-down trike design and twice the steering power and braking power of the scooter.’ From the article,
The original scooter enables the human to ride standing up whilst the dog is harnessed into a frame and subject to steering and braking. As the scooter requires the rider to stand upright and balance it was not particularly appealing to some users (such as the elderly or physically handicapped). The new trike adopts a tadpole design (two wheels in front) and has a harness space for a dog on each side of the rear wheels. Schuette’s inventions are the first dog pulled devices to place the dog behind a steering wheel. This is designed to give the rider precision steering control of the dog making it easier and safer to ride in an urban environment.
It should be noted that while there are two spaces for more than one dog, it’s not absolutely necessary to employ 8 paws of power. Additionally, the human-powered pedal option means Fido and Spike won’t have to drag your ass around all by themselves. There’s also a fender kit included to protect the pooches from coming into contact with the rear spokes; or I imagine small rocks and such.
A couple months ago, I casually wrote a post wondering aloud if quiet hybrids and electric cars would be a hazard to pedestrians who are visually disabled. After all, it’s quite easy to hear a combustion engine from a distance. Many commenters bashed the post saying that it was stupid to suggest adding some type of small noise to the vehicles. Apparently, these people were not blind.
Today, the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind will present written testimony asking for a minimum sound standard for hybrids to be included in the state’s emissions regulations. As the President of the group, Marc Maurer, mentioned, he’s not interested in returning to gas-guzzling vehicles, they just want fuel-efficient hybrids to have some type of warning noise. From the article,
“‘I don’t want to pick that way of going, but I don’t want to get run over by a quiet car, either,’ Maurer said.
Think picking the color of your new car is tough? Try picking a car that will still be road-worthy 20 years from now and use the latest and greatest in alternative fuel technology. Well, Volvo–the leader in ‘inherited’ vehicles–is solving that problem with a concept car that runs on FIVE different fuels. “The Volvo Multi-Fuel is a five-cylinder, 2.0-litre prototype car (200 bhp) that runs on five different fuels; hythane (10% hydrogen and 90% methane), biomethane, natural gas (CNG), bioethanol E85 (85% bioethanol and 15% petrol) and petrol.” This feature effectively allows you to run your car on any fuel source, anywhere in the world. “The idea is to make use of the fuels that are produced locally, says Mats Mor’n. This means that less fuel needs to be transported between continents, and you can fill up the car on the fuel that is available wherever you are.” Excellent idea and wonderful ‘transition’ vehicle towards whatever fuel becomes the standard down the road. Let’s hope this vehicle becomes a reality one day. Your unborn children one day heading to college will thank you for this fully functional “hand-me-down”!