The bicycle friendliness of European railway operators

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has released a new report, “Cyclists love trains: An analysis of the bicycle friendliness of European railway operators,” which aims to guide industry and policymakers in identifying ways to improve the combination of two of the most sustainable modes of transport: bikes and trains.

This timely new report analyses and ranks 69 European train companies and services according to six key indicators for combined bike-and-train travel, such as bicycle spaces in trains and the quality of bike ticket or reservation channels. The report’s rankings show that there is much room for improvement in Europe.

Only one train service, NS-DB (Intercity Berlin), which runs between Amsterdam and Berlin, scored in the “excellent” category. Operators that scored in the “good” category in facilitating bike-and-train travel include SNCB/NMBS, SBB, Deutsche Bahn and MÁV-START.

One fourth of the 69 operators and services scored in the “moderate” category, including České dráhy, SNCF and Trenitalia, while the rest perform either “poorly” or “very poorly” on most indicators, including Flixtrain, Greater Anglia, Renfe and Eurostar.

Bike Powered Catamaran Control

In the 2017 America’s Cup, the Emirates Team New Zealand introduced stationary bikes instead of hand cranks to power the hydraulic system that steers the boat. Because our legs are stronger than our arms, pedal powered ‘grinding’ allows for quicker tacking and gybing in a race. The innovation could also be useful to reduce the required manpower for a new age of sail.

Electrically Powered Bicycle Trailer & Hand Cart (DIY)

electric powered bike trailer

The German-made Carla Cargo is a three-wheeled cycle trailer with an electric assist motor. It can be pulled by any type of bicycle (including a cargo cycle or an electric bike), and it allows you to carry heavy (up to 150 kg) and bulky cargo (a loading platform of 60 x 160 cm). Uncoupled from the bicycle, the Carla Cargo works as a hand cart for large or heavy loads. The vehicle weighs 40 kg including the battery, and has a range of 40 to 60 km.

carla cargo bike trailerThe electric motor is built into the front wheel and can produce 250 watts as a trailer (up to 23 km/h), and 500 watts as a handtruck (up to 6 km/h). The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 11 or 15 Ah. The vehicle has two disk brakes and a parking brake, which are controlled via the handle or the bicycle handlebar.

The Carlo Cargo sells for about 4,000 euro. The construction manual is freely accessible online, but only in German for now. The trailer/handcart is present at the International Cargo Bike Festival, April 16-17, in Nijmegem, the Netherlands.

Previously: 8-wheeler cargo cycle.

Transcontinental Old School Cycle Race

transcontinental cycle race

“In the early days of bicycle racing there was a time when plucky riders took on long hard races alone with no team cars and soigneurs to look after them.  They were hardy and desperate men who ate what they could find, slept when they could and rode all day.  They weren’t professional athletes or men of means, they were “mavericks, vagabonds and adventurers” who picked up a bicycle and went to seek their fortune.

The founders of the Tour de France wanted to create a race of thousands of miles of cycling, whatever the weather and road conditions where “even the best will take a beating”  Often they would race long into the night to distances of over 400 km each day in stages that would take more than 18 hours.  Henri Desgrange, the father of the tour once noted that “the ideal Tour would be a Tour in which only one rider survives the ordeal.”

Somewhere along the way from a variety of influences, the grand tours changed to become what they are today; a race of the elite, held apart from the common cyclist by budgets, sanctions and industry.  Don’t get us wrong, the Grand Tours as they are now are great and exciting things.  We however also like the old way where a rider can simply pick up a bike, shake hands on the start line and race thousands of miles for the pure satisfaction of sport and no other motive but for the learnings of one’s self.”

The Transcontinental is a low impact, self supported cycle race. Now in it’s 4th year, it will travel between Geraardsbergen in Flanders and Canakkale in Turkey passing through control points in the Auvergne region of France, Switzerland, the Dolomites in Italy and Durmitor national park in Montenegro. Entries for 2016 are closed, but the organisers are looking for volunteers, who will be eligible for a priority application in next year’s race.

A Scooter for Everyone

electric scooter johanson3

The Johanson3 is a stable three-wheeler, with the driver leaning back rather than sitting (though sitting is an option). Feet rest on a plate, and pressing down on that plate creates a lean on the front wheel, turning the vehicle while the rear wheels remain solidly on the ground.

That makes for easy on-and off, especially for those who – owing to age, injury, or fashion choice (“skirts, saris, djellabas, and kimonos” are accommodated, according to Johanson3) – cannot throw a leg over a bicycle seat. Various models accommodate single riders or as many as three adults plus two kids, and can haul up to 660lbs of flesh and cargo. Read more: The J3, a trike that hauls freight, spares frocks.

The Johanson3 is available for pre-order and costs $3,150 – $3,900.

The Big Velomobiles Graphic

velomobiles graphicMads Phikamphon from Denmark published an infographic depicting 27 velomobiles with their specifications and performance. It’s a handy overview for those who are considering to try one of these vehicles that blur the lines between cars and bicycles. The infographic was originally published at Cykelvalg. We leave the word to Mads:

“Most people consider velomobiles as a rather new invention, but the first velomobiles were actually invented much earlier than most people think. In the 1930s you could buy a set of instructions to build your own “Fantom” – a velomobile for 2 persons made out of wood. Thousands of copies of the instructions were sold, but few bikes were built and soon the velomobiles were all but forgotten as cars got more and more popular. It wasn’t until the oil crisis in the 1970s that velomobiles again started to get some attention. A well recognized velomobile from that time is the “Leitra” that remains a popular model amongst many velomobile enthusiasts.”

“As you can see in the graphic below, there are now lots of models to choose between if you want a velomobile, although almost all of them share quite a few characteristics: 3 wheels, an aerodynamic body and room for just one person. Thanks to the aerodynamic body a velomobile is also the fastest HPV or Human Powered Vehicle around. In 2013 a “Velo X3” velomobile reached an amazing 134 km/h (83 mph) and many people expect the “Arion” velomobile to go even faster when it’s ready for testing in 2015. The only big problem that remains is that all the models are rather expensive. No velomobiles are being mass manufactured, so the price of a new velomobile remains at least $3000.” [Read more…]