[LINK] plug-in-hybrid-vehicles and grids

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Sun Sep 13 07:32:09 AEST 2009

Glen Turner wrote:
> On 07/09/09 22:53, Karl Auer wrote:
>> In spite of these apparent drawbacks, recumbents have been banned from
>> all world cycling events for a very good reason. The last time they were
>> allowed (many decades ago) they held pretty much every title. A
>> recumbent holds the world cycling speed record, set at Battle Mountain a
>> few years ago.
> UCI road cycle racing is getting a bit like Formula One, with all
> sorts of arbitrary design rules. This year there was a major
> hassle about the amount of implied fairing aspects of the frame
> were achieving. In the years before that frames were becoming
> so high tech that a minimum weight was applied. Nowdays any
> bicycle built from top end parts will come in under that weight.
> So sadly you can't look to events like the Tour de France to
> see the current state of technology in bicycling.  If you
> have a look at triathlon (which isn't under the UCI) you'll
> see more innovation, but even triathlon now limits cycling
> technology.
> The other annoying thing is that most high end cycles (as
> opposed to most cycles) are purchased by 'weekend warriors'.
> Commuters are very much second class citizens in serious
> cycle stores. This leads to frames that lack pannier mounts,
> the disappearance of the once-universal lighting mount,
> fast-looking painting that is impossible to see at night,
> and so on.  All minor annoyances to be sure, but they all
> add up to make a modern road bike a poor commuter cycle.
> And yet, if you ask for a commuter bike it will weigh a ton,
> have substandard parts for the price and still won't come
> with essentials like a pannier rack and lighting. There are
> new 'hybrid bikes' some of which are road-specification
> parts with a more upright (ie. less harsh) position, so
> we'll see how they end up serving commuters (most hybrids
> are currently aimed at a 'fitness' market).
> We might see more interest from manufacturers in the commuter
> space shortly. The decreasing cost of carbon frames has
> all but removed alloy frames from racing, but the 'commuter'
> and 'fitness' markets are not going to buy carbon, with
> it's fragility when dented. So the need to appeal to the
> 'weekend warrior' when selling alloy framed bikes will disappear
> in the next few years.
> The one fine innovation which has happened in cycle racing
> in recent years is the electronic derailleur (gear changer).
> Once the price of that drops out of the stratosphere it will
> make cycling a lot better, whatever sort of cycling you do.
> At the moment there are all sorts of rules related to the
> mechanical limitations of the derailleur (don't change whilst
> stationary, don't cross the chain from the leftmost on the
> front to the rightmost on the rear and vice-versa) and
> electronic control makes a lot of those rules disappear
> (change gear when stationary and the mechanicals won't
> move until you set off).  There's even launch control
> (for setting off from the traffic lights) and fully-
> automated gears don't seem too far away.
> I've tried a recumbent, and I can see how they are part of
> the future of transport. But my view is that they are
> complementary to the current bicycle rather than the
> successor of it.
> Electric bicycles and small motor bicycles are not complementary
> but rather hostile to human power. Their average speed is
> above that of a road bike, but their maximum speed is lower.
> So they pass you going up the hill and then they don't hear you
> approaching to overtake them going down the hill.  There's
> more and more of these on the bikeways, and they are turning
> into a bit of a menace.
> Cheers, Glen
> [who commutes to work on a road bike]

I suspect that serious cyclists don't understand just how forbidding the 
price of recumbents is. I can't justify a spend of 2-3k on one, but that 
seems to be the common price.


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