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.

Chinese Wheelbarrow, Meet the Honey Badger Wheel

modern variant of the chinese wheelbarrow

Mike Merrell writes us:

“I’ve really enjoyed reading articles on your site since I found the article on the Chinese Wheelbarrow. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for information on the wheelbarrow, and I was immediately hooked. It turned out to be some of my inspiration for our new product we’re calling the Honey Badger Wheel. Our Kickstarter project began March 10th and will run until April 30th.”

“Because you provide awesome content for all of us interested in simple technologies with big benefits, would you be interested in running an article on your site about the modern interpretation of the Chinese Wheelbarrow? My hope is that it would add value to your audience, especially since it’s in line with with new and exciting info for us techies. On a more personal note, I appreciate the boosts of small inspiration from your site that lead to big ideas.”

[Read more…]

Sail the World’s Largest Viking Ship from Europe to America

viking ship“Draken Harald Hårfagre (that’s “Dragon Harald Fairhair” in English) is a modern interpretation (rather than an accurate replica) of an old Viking longship that was built in Haugesund, Norway, and launched in 2012.

In May next year she will set out on a voyage from Norway to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, and the project organizers have just announced they are accepting applications for volunteer crew.

You need at least two months of free time to do it and presumably should have some sort of useful skill to boost your chances of being selected.

Conditions aboard look to be very Spartan by modern standards, with no shelter except for a tent on deck, but by traditional Viking standards it should be a veritable luxury cruise.”

Read more: Calling all Vikings. More sailboat news.

Why Trains Are the Best Aid to Thought

edward hopper train dreaming

“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts that we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape…

Of all modes of transport, the train is perhaps the best aid to thought: the views have none of the potential monotony of those on a ship or plane, they move fast enough for us not to get exasperated but slowly enough to allow us to identify objects…

Every time the mind goes blank, having hit on a difficult idea, the flow of consciousness is assisted by the possibility of looking out of the window, locking onto an object and following it for a few seconds, until a new coil of thought is ready to form and can unravel without pressure.

At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have returned to ourselves — that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are.”

Quoted from: The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton, 2003. Picture: Compartment C, Car 293, Edward Hopper.

Cycling: Why Tunnels are Better than Bridges

  • Tunnels offer faster journeys than bridges due to less climbing. Steeper gradients can be used than with a bridge because cyclists going into a tunnel first ride downhill and pick up speed which can be used to climb back out of the tunnel.
  • Tunnels have a smaller height difference than bridges. Only need clearance for the height of a cyclist, not for trucks or trains plus electric lines.
  • Tunnels take up less space than a bridge because inclines are shorter.
  • Tunnels are easier to fit into an existing landscape.
  • Tunnels offer protection from wind and rain.
  • A possible disadvantage is low social safety. It is important that cyclists can see out of a tunnel before they enter it. There should be no turns within the tunnel, no-where for a potential mugger to hide. Obviously tunnels should also be well lit.

why tunnels are better than bridges

Picture: All crossings in Assen [The Netherlands] can be used without slowing down. This is one of the many cycle and pedestrian crossings of a major road. Four metre wide cycle-path, separate pedestrian path, gentle inclines, well lit and we can see right through for good social safety. Built in the 1970s, well maintained: last resurfaced 2012.

Quoted from a blogpost at “A view from the cyclepath”, which discusses Dutch standards for cycling tunnels and bridges.

Trolleytrucks in Los Angeles

siemens trolleytruck“A project testing a new way to power trucks with electricity is moving forward along selected highway lanes near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.”

“The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, has selected a company to install a catenary system.”

“This is essentially overhead electrical lines that supply trucks with electric power, similar to how modern day trolleys or streetcars are powered on many city streets.”

Read more: Truck Electrification System to be Tested at Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach. Thanks to Paul Best.

Previously: