31 March 2008

Canine Power Assistance for Weak Legs

Canine Pedalling Assistance
This dropped into our inbox like a bone into a newly dug hole. Thanks to Mark for the link.

A unique alternative to e-bikes. The Dog Powered Trike. As it says on the website:

-it gives the rider precision steering control, with great braking
-total stability,
-the ability to help by pedalling,
-can handle up to 4 dogs,
-and the thrill of dog mushing/pulling!

WWW.DOGPOWEREDSCOOTER.COM

Since e-bikes never sell in Denmark and Scandinavia unless you're disabled or elderly, [the rest of us have normal leg muscles :-)] this is at least a cool twist on walking the dog.

Fascinating and not a little weird.

9 comments:

DMill said...

I live in the same town as this guy. He's been riding around town on this thing for at least the last 3 or 4 years. It's a head turner, but it's cool.

Kevin Love said...

I strongly suspect that the lower popularity of ebikes in Denmark is due to other factors such as:

1) Power restriction of 250 Watts.
2) Speed restriction of 25 km/hr.
3) Flat Danish terrain.

I'm neither disabled nor elderly, but at 45 years old it is getting a little bit harder to bike up some of the steeper hills here in Toronto. So I let my ebike's 500 Watt motor carry me up the hill at 32 km/hr.

Zakkaliciousness said...

What town is that, dmill?

kevin: i have a couple of friends at different bikemakers who are working on e-bikes. They have both said that the e-bikes are hard to sell in Denmark, but also in Scandinavia, including the hilly bike cities of Gothenburg and Stockholm.

The reason they cite is simply that the bicycle is so ingrained in the culture here that other forms like the ebikes and the folding bike just don't have a market.

There was a piece on the national news about them the other day. It is telling that they showed older people testing them and enjoying them, but nobody under 50.

The bikemakers in Europe that are investing in ebike design and production all have their eyes on North America. It's easier to sell ebikes in a market where few people have bikes and the bike culture is still budding than in European countries where the bike is a standard feature in the urban landscape.

Copenhagen is flat, but the rest of the national landscape features rolling hills.

Zakkaliciousness said...

can't find any reference to 25 km/h in the traffic law. 45 is the limit.

For bikes as well, as far as I can see.

Kevin Love said...

My source is Wikipedia, which says that European Union laws limit ebikes in the EU to a power of 250 Watts and 25 km/hr.

This may be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws

It doesn't take too much effort on a conventional bicycle to go 25 km/hr on a flat surface. Any reasonably fit 45-year-old person like myself can do it. And 250 Watts is not all that much help going up hills. So I can see why ebikes are not all that popular in Denmark except among the over-50 crowd. Why spend all that money on something that doesn't do all that much?

In Toronto's bicycle culture, some of the younger crowd see it as kind of "cheating." But for most people its just another kind of bike, just like a cargo bike is another kind of bike. And I know many people my age or older for whom an ebike has kept them on the road when they otherwise just would not have been able to get to work and around the City.

My own personal take on things is that an electric bicycle is just like any other bicycle but it has a wonderous capability of getting up hills and getting me distances where my legs would just be getting a little too tired. In only five years I'll be in the over-50 group myself!

Zakkaliciousness said...

After your second response, I had another look. There isn't any law pertaining to ebikes in Denmark, so i assume that the rules for scooters apply.

Here there are two categories. The ones with a limit of 40 km/h don't need number plates and can ride on the bike lanes. Larger engines need number plates and have to ride on the roads.

Ebikes would probably fall into the former category.

I'm just teasing about the ebikes but I would get teased something rotten if i showed up on one.

The piece on the news featured some bikes where you couldn't even see the battery and the motor was inside the frame. It provides a bit of assistance with pedalling.

It's a great idea. Elderly people ride a lot here. Many have trikes
which is great.

i agree... whatever keeps people biking.

i have ten years until i am welcomed into the over 50 crowd... :-) put the coffee on for me.

Bicycle Tutor said...

This is one of the most clever concepts I've seen in a while... thanks for the post!

Kevin Love said...

I'm certainly no expert on EU or Danish laws, but all the usual suspects on the internet seem to be saying that the EU regulation is binding upon all EU members. Which is a power limit of 250 W and speed limit of 25 km/hr.

Examples include here:

http://visforvoltage.org/book-page/ev-collaborative-hand-books/1080-electric-bicycle-laws

and here:

http://www.extraenergy.org/main.php?language=en&category=information&subcateg=39&id=384


and here:

http://connectedcities.eu/guide/pedelec.html

Zakkaliciousness said...

glad you like it, biketutor!

kevin... interesting discussion.
regarding EU Directives - they all too often get called 'laws' - it is up to each member state to ratify them.

The most loyal EU states are Finland and Denmark, actually, who ratify upwards of 95% of the directives. The less 'loyal' states are, among others, France.

There are always exceptions. For example, you can't buy chewing tobacco in the EU, except in Sweden, because it's part of their culture. Strange example, i know... :-)

My point is that these directives are binding when passed in the individual parliaments, because then they become national law.

I can't find anything about e-bikes on Danish sites. i would doubt that these restrictions would apply here, since mopeds (max 40 km/h) ride on the bike lanes. So a speed limit of 25 km/h would be silly.

Especially when on main bike lanes into Copenhagen we have the Green Wave - ride your bike at 20 km/h - considered an average speed - and you'll hit green lights all the way. Read about it here

i would wager that e-bikes will either be considered bikes or mopeds - and the restrictions you mention don't apply to either.