Airport Pathway destroyed by crane which was driven on it

Destruction of a section of the pathway along Airport Trail creates hazards for walkers/cyclists. There is currently no warning of the hazard after construction crews working on a new hotel drove heavy equipment onto the pathway after heavy rain.

The pathway is apparently on private property and has not been turned over to the city. Does anyone has a sheet of plywood to put over the caved in section?



Harvest Hills Golf Course meeting

A Big Thank you to Those Who Attended the Harvest Hills Golf Course Information Session Last Night!

If you were unable to attend, here is what we learned from the people who stopped by the NHCA table for C4RD:

  • Our survey of almost 100 people showed that EVERYONE said NO to this development.
  • Nobody in our community likes how the city is handling this application.
  • It appeared that the City was promoting the Developer’s plans and not portraying the true picture.
  • Our community is impassioned to talk about the community aspect. How the golf leagues enriched the spirit of the community. How hockey, softball and soccer in Harvest Hills is not accessed through Vivo but through Huntington or Beddington.
  • How the clubhouse was our NAC (neighbourhood activity centre) and now we have nothing.
  • How the wildlife enhances their quality of living, especially for the senior population.
  • How it matters to every human being we talked to about the preservation of the trees and the urban canopy, which conceivably will be destroyed by this development.
  • How this development will ruin quality of life.
  • How it reinforces decisions to leave Harvest Hills rather than see the total destruction of a community.
  • How there are NO amenities in this development…just many houses, people and more traffic.
  • We estimate that the proposed zoning will see 2,600 more people in this small subdivision.
  • Our Councilor made it clear that it is up to the residents of our community to come prepared to fight this battle at city hall on Monday, October 3, 2016.
  • Residents are absolutely livid that nothing seems to be like-on-like. The R-2 condo complex – these are 2 storey units, with two bungalow villa complexes on either side of it. There is nothing like-on-like about it. The single family homes are not at all the same as what currently exists.
  • Residents are extremely upset with the city planning department in how an application is processed.
  • Our community is still very passionate and angry about this re-development, just as much as they as they were on October 2014.
  • Feelings of shock and fear putting high density condos/housing next to the railway tracks. Many commented that it is an accident waiting to happen, another Lac Megantic.
  • Residents were energized and raring to fight this to the bitter end. Our community has not lost their enthusiasm.

Again, thank you for attending and get involved. Stay tuned for further updates.

Ebike thoughts… conserving battery power

The Power In Motion 500 watt ebike hub motor installed last week, disengages the motor when it is not driving the bike. Letting go of the throttle provides some audible indication the hub has disengaged. This conserves battery power since you can continue pedalling just like a normal bike, hitting the throttle to climb over hills or just to get up to speed then not using the motor again until you need to.

Therefore, calculating the range of an ebike is essentially determined by how much pedalling you do and how often you need to use the motor. Its a good idea to take a ride and use the motor almost exclusively to determine the minimum distance between charges.

Some hub motors do not disengage the motor. When the motor is not producing power you then have to pedal against the resistance of the motor with some makes of hub motors. So getting one that disengages the motor is really important if you want to use the bicycle mostly under pedal power.

Battery capacity was always a concern for me. As batteries are recharged, they gradually lose the ability to hold a charge much like a cell phone or any other rechargeable battery device. Batteries have a limited life. It is important to keep this in mind when buying a battery. The higher the battery capacity, the more gas is in the tank before you have to refuel (recharge). So when the battery begins to age and can’t hold as much charge, you’ll be happier to have extra battery capacity since you’ll be able to use it longer before it can no longer hold enough charge for your regular trips. It is important to note that batteries for ebike kits can easily cost more than the motor and installation. A $500 motor could easily require a $800-1500 battery depending on the range you need.

Although the ebike motor was purchased primarily to pull larger bicycle snowplows and to plow faster with the same pedalling effort, it also begs the question as to whether an ebike makes a good touring bicycle.

On a recent test ride I noticed that I was able to climb short steep hills with motor assist and without losing much speed. One steep hill in particular would require downshifting and standing on the pedals to climb the hill at under 15 kph. With the motor assisting, I could climb that hill in top gear at around 25kph. Quite a difference!

Generally when bicycle touring, people prefer to choose routes that aren’t very hilly because of the heavy gear that needs to be carried for bicycle camping. Often they’ll have a few hills where motor assist would really help. Then they can go back to pedalling along more level ground and this increases the range before the battery needs a recharge.

Using the motor sparingly and only when needed, ebikes can travel a surprisingly large number of miles in a day, especially if you can stop and recharge the battery for 5 hours or so in the middle of the day. On long summer days, it is very possible to double the number of miles provided by the battery. So a 50 km battery range could make it easy to cover 100 kms without pedalling. Pedalling could easily boost that range to 100 miles. Having a good charge left at the end of a long ride can make the hardest part of the trip more enjoyable!

A 90 km ride from Calgary to Chestermere would be a good way to test the range. A 40lb bike with a 20lb ebike kit is essentially a 60 lb bike. The rear rack weight limit is probably around 20lbs minus 9lbs for the battery. This leaves about 10 lbs for gear which is quite acceptable for day long rides.

Bicycle Snow Plowing is a new winter sport!

Calgary Bike Awards

Second annual #yycbikeawards (on twitter).
It was an honour to receive runner up this year for Commuter of the Year Award. Last year I received the Commuter award. It has been quite the ride since starting the #bicyclesnowplow experiment 2 years ago, almost going on 3 years.

It has been a very busy time what with writing an ebook about the winter experiment and now an updated print version is in the works. I’d like to pass on what I’ve learned to other winter cyclists and Snow Angels.

Bicycle Snow Plowing is a new winter sport!

Power in Motion 500 watt ebike kit test ride

Top: 3 power settings, battery level indicator Bottom: green button to set power level, red on/off button
Top: 3 power settings, battery level indicator Bottom: green button to set power level, red on/off button
Testing the 500 watt front hub ebike kit. Loud bicycle horn on handlebars, bell, left thumb throttle, right side 3 speed shifter, battery on rear rack.
Testing the 500 watt front hub ebike kit. Loud bicycle horn on handlebars, bell, left thumb throttle, right side 3 speed shifter, battery on rear rack.

Canada Day is a great day to test out an ebike kit. Went out for a short ride to familiarize myself with the bike.

On the low power setting, the bike gets up to around 18 kph which is a good speed for bicycle snowplowing. Middle setting allows speeds up to around 22-23 kph and the high setting allows speeds up to about 32kph. The left thumb control works like a throttle, allowing gradual increases in power all the way up to whatever power setting is selected (low, medium, high). The 500 watt motor does supply quite a bit of power up hills. My test ride included a 8% grade and at low power it was very easy to climb the hill while pedaling.

The kit is about 20 lbs so it does make the bike heavier to lift but when riding with the power assist on you won’t notice the weight much. With the thumb throttle all the way down, the motor does make some noise but letting off slightly makes it run nearly silent.

The hub motor has a planetary gear system which means more torque at low speeds. You could use the throttle to start the bike but its not recommended. Because the motor is internal in the hub, they can heat up when worked hard. A hub motor is essentially like a one gear car. Starting any electric motor from a stop while under load is very hard on them. When climbing hills pedalling should be done to avoid overworking the motor.

I found myself using the throttle to get up to speed and then pedalling with the throttle off just like a regular bicycle. This economizes on battery power. After about an hour of this, the battery indicator still hadn’t come off full.

On full power I was up to around 35 kph while pedalling before letting off on the throttle and just maintaining the speed by pedalling. From the first test ride it seems like the motor has ample power for pulling a bicycle snowplow. Of course, I’ll be pedalling while doing the plowing and using the motor as a pedal assist instead of using it like a motorcycle and expecting the motor to do all the work. This should make it much easier to pull the larger plow faster so it doesn’t take as long to plow the pathway.

More later….