Roland Dürre
Sunday April 1st, 2018

April, April, April.

This is another way to perceive April, 1st.

Even as a child, I rather liked April-Fool’s. It was such pleasure to play it upon my small sister on April, 1st.

Later, as I grew older, I found April Fool’s more and more interesting. When reading the “Augsburger Allgemeine” on April, 1st, the first thing I did in the morning was look for them. And more often than not, I found something that did not really qualify.

Naturally, later in life, the April-Fool’s were also prominent in my IF Blog. I even remember one year when there were three of them.

In 2018, I started thinking about a good April-Fool’s early in the year. Perhaps because, these days, there are so many daily news that I would prefer to have been (poor) April-Fool’s.

This morning, my old eagerness to read them was re-kindled. And I found one that I really liked.


Bike Town Münster
Press Release (Pressemitteilung:):
After what happened recently in our city, we, the interest group Bike Town Münster, concluded that the effort it would take for us to really become a bike town, is extremely huge. Consequently, we will decide by an internal majority vote to no longer work towards this goal.

Instead, we will focus on making the already quite noteworthy car-friendliness in Münster even more of a success. The promising developments of the past show us that it is far easier to have far more success in this area with far less effort.

We hereby offer our full support to the ADAC and the ACV Automobil-Club Verkehr for all their projects that promote car-friendly cities. The highly promising NO on driving bans we hear from such model cities as Stuttgart motivates us to now fight for our highest goal “all citizens are free to drive“.

This is what our name stands for!

Best wishes

Die IG Autostadt.ms
(Of course, our Social Media Domains will shortly be changed, but Facebook and Twitter need a little time for name alterations. We hope to finish the process as soon as possible.)
Westfälische Nachrichten
Münstersche Zeitung
WDR Lokalzeit Münsterland
ANTENNE MÜNSTER
Radio Q
Münstersche Volkszeitung
Die Wiedertäufe


I really, really like it. Perhaps because, deep down, I am a little worried that it might not be an April-Fool’s but a true statement. But also because what is an April-Fool’s in Münster is actually the generally accepted strategy in Munich.

And this is not only true for Munich, but also for my hometown Neubiberg. They still spend a considerable amount of money on public car parks in the town centre. Through the entire region, they build parking spaces on, under and above ground. Sports centres eventually cannot be built because there are not enough car parks, and all over Bavarian, they cover natural ground the size of soccer fields for parking lots near schools, cemeteries, railway stations,… in no time with concrete.

And wherever there is a place of resistance against the car-mania, as there seemed to be in Oberhaching, the reader will notice on perusing his newspaper that this bastion, too, has now been cut down.

But this year, we all get our Easter Eggs for free on April 1st! And today, Haching will win against Rostock.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday January 1st, 2018

2018: Bikes First

Here is my New Year’s Resolution: think and act positive. Give people courage and joy in the IF Blog. Because we do not want to be pushed into a downward spiral and made smaller – after all, we want to become stronger. Consequently, I will begin and set a good example!

Here is a New-Year Email that motivated me.

It shows that there are actually some municipalities where they understood what it is all about. I will publish it exactly as it reached me.


Hello everybody,

In the New Year, too, if we want to encourage more people to switch from driving cars to riding bikes, or if we want to keep them from driving cars to begin with, everything around the concept of riding a bike must be promoted by our municipalities. The program for the promotion of bike traffic, as agreed upon by the committee for environment and traffic of the Oberhaching municipality of November, 28, 2017, gives numerous examples. Let me list them underneath:

1. Infra structure

  • Finish and supply with traffic signs the gap in the hiking and biking path before Oberbiberg (construction was started in 2017)
  • Plan and build the quick cyclist route Munich-South from Sauerlach via Deisenhofen/Oberhaching and Taufkirchen and Unterhaching to Munich (main responsibility and coordination: Landratsamt München (LRA München), hopefully finished by 2018/19)
  • Plan a hiking and biking path along the M11 from Oberhaching going east to Lanzenhaar (mandate to start planning has been given to the Staatliche Bauamt accompanied mainly by LRA München)
  • Colour red the passage Loh/Further Weg behind the Sportschule Oberhaching
Introduce a speed limit of 70 on the Alten Oberbiberger Straße in the direction of Ödenpullach (done) and add white marks for the shoulder of the road 
Introduce the MVG bike at the following places in Oberhaching:
Station Deisenhofen, Station Furth, Industrial Zone (Raiffeisenalle/Schmidweg), Hubertusplatz/Weißbräu, Kirchplatz Oberhaching, Rathaus, Freibad, Kugleralm
See if bike carriers can be added to MVV busses (pilot project for specially selected bus routes in the Munich region, main responsibility LRA)
  • Build more bike sheds (railway station Deisenhofen, Schützenhaus, Friedhof, beach volleyball court, Grammar School, bus stops)
  • Change the bike shed statute with respect to assigning places to carrier bikes whenever new sheds are built or existing sheds are modified.

2. Information

  • Regular articles on bike traffic in the monthly newspaper (Kybergnachrichten) that is distributed to all households without charge
  • Update of the Municipality Oberhaching Homepage on bike traffic (add favourite bike tours and give information on thematic cyclists’ paths)
  • Place special noticeboards to the signs that point out cyclists’ routes and add new sign for the RadlRing München at the Leitenweg/Schlagerberg

3. Public Relations

  • Saddle party as part of the railway station party (Sunday, 08/07/2018) with ADFC
  • Warming-up event for the City Biking at the Kugler Alm with county representative Göbel (reminder: begin of construction for quick bike connection Munich-South, see above: topic 1)
  • Red Card Activity for removing bikes that have been sitting there for a long time (more than four weeks) at the S-Bahn station and elsewhere in the municipality
  • Support of the activity: car-free on the way to (primary) school
  • Evaluation of propositions by entrepreneurs’ regular meeting on bike traffic (job bikes, electric recharging stations)
  • Two-day seminar of the “Fahrradakademie” for the promotion of bike traffic in small and medium-sized towns in June at Oberhaching
  • General survey of the Oberhaching municipality by the “AG fahrradfreundlicher Kommunen in Bayern (AGFK)” for finding out how bike-friendly we are.

4. Service

  • Bike (light) check in the autumn in front of the library by Green-City
  • Evaluation and recommendations by the trade and crafts association Oberhaching (Online shop with cargo bike delivery, rent-an-e-bike, cargo bike test, service stations for bikes near banks and shops)
  • More official business bikes for the municipal offices, schools and kindergardens
  • Possible bike leasing for municipality employees?

For all these measures and activities, the municipality of Oberhaching provides funds to the tune of 120,000 € for 2018. What has been paid in 2017 for initial evaluations of the fast bike connection in the area of the municipality will be repeated in 2023 in order to find out how bike traffic developed through the realized measures. We aim at increasing the bike traffic until then by 10 %.

As I see it, it is absolutely necessary that these kinds of activities are also agreed upon, financed and carried out in other municipalities in order to give bike traffic in the region of Munich and beyond another boost. I gave you the list in order to propose measures and activities for other municipalities as well, or to use it as a basis for further measures.

This is how I wish you all much success with promoting bike traffic in the New Year!

Best wishes and Good Luck for 2018


Well, at least this sounds like a good start and it points in the right direction. Even if, for me, it would be good to see more.

I would be especially delighted to hear something like this or about similar programs in the municipalities of Neubiberg (where I live) and Ottobrunn (where I am mostly travelling by bike).

So: Let us do something for Munich’s South-Eastern Regions!

Gestiftet von VisualBrainddump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold)Zum Vergrößern aufs Bild klicken.

RMD

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday December 27th, 2017

The “Mercedes Benz“ among my E-Bikes!

Today I will tell you about my third electric bike – my Utopia London. On top of normal bikes (meaning bikes with no electric drive, which I still like using occasionally), I already told you about the electric bikes I use: the familiy eCargo (our “VW Bus“) and my electric Mountain-Bike (my “Jeep“). Now, I added an electronic long-distance and travelling bike to my collection: the Utopia. I will tell you about it today!

This is how the electronic London looks on the Utopia website.

On the left, you see the London with its special frame. The one I have at home is almost identical. I only got it this autumn – and still it already shows considerably more than 2,000 kilometres.

Among other things, that is because, thanks to the electric drive, I now also go long distances by bike. I mean distances for which I used to take public transportation (of course, if a distance is less than 10 kilometres in Munich, I do not use my electronic bike, but the normal one…).

I enjoy taking the “electronic” bike instead of using public transportation if either my destination is a rather long distance away or/and if the return trip is late at night. A short time ago (mid-December), for instance, I went to Garching to attend an evening event at TUM. Without my e-bike, I would have used the S- and U-Bahn trains from Neubiberg to Garching, because by bike it is more than 30 kilometres one way and that distance used to be a little too far for me.

After my return, my tachometer actually read “relaxed” 65 kilometres. Especially during the late return trip from Garching that started around 8.30 p.m., it was definitely very convenient to roll the approximately 70 metres of altitude and more than 30 kilometres back home to Neubiberg with electronic support.

But back to my Utopia London. The specialty about this bike is that it has a front drive. As far as I know, Utopia is the only German producer that makes electronic bikes with lots of comfort and high loading capacity that have a high-quality front drive.

Front drives suffer a little from a bad reputation, because this technology is often used for the cheap(est) bikes. The disadvantages people usually associate with such bikes are not at all present at my London. On the contrary.

To the left of the picture, you can see the front drive VR1F of my London. After having covered almost 3,000 kilometres, I am now an absolute front drive fanatic. Especially on the wet and slippery autumnal roads, it is simply fantastic how the front drive holds track even on difficult roads.

Whenever my bike travel companions got stuck on difficult roads or even gave up, my front motor bike continued to carry me where I wanted to go. It also does so in the “push mode”, which, basically, if you have front drive, should be named “pull mode”.

The VR1F is a drive with permanently activated synchronization (DirectDrive without gearing mechanism) that is integrated into the front tyre. 90% of the electricity that goes from the battery to the motor is thus brought onto the street via the front tyre for movement. As always, the back tyre is pushed by the physical power of the human. With my bike, this happens through the use of the well-established Rohloff-14-Gear-Hub-Drive. You cannot get much more comfortable than that.

This is how the bike becomes the “vehicle with two-wheel drive” – on top of having an optimal weight balance (the motor is in front, the Rohloff is at the rear). Naturally, this is not possible with the motor in the rear tyre as our eCargo has it. As opposed to the mid-bike motor, you also suffer no loss through the hub or because of having to transfer the power to the rear wheel via the chain.

The bike is absolutely silent. You cannot hear anything of the electronic workings. Currently, there are seven different programs for motor control that perfectly support the person who rides the bike. The Rohloff feels soft as butter when you change gears – and I do it really often in order to maintain the optimal pedalling frequency. This is far easier with an e-bike than with a bike that has no additional push.

I rely on very competent service people at Dully’s BIKESTATION – unfortunately, they do not sell the Utopia brand – and when they tried my bike, they were really impressed by this drive. Consequently, I can really recommend both the drive and the motor (as well as the entire bike) with a very good conscience.

On our driveway shortly before starting.

If you see it from the side, the wonderfully classical cross frame of the London is obvious. It is made in Aalten (Netherlands) by a small manufacturing firm. You can also see the left hand battery. The second, right hand, battery is symmetrical to it. I find two batteries ideal, because they mean I will never have stress. If a trip is longer than I had anticipated or if I have used up more electricity than I was going to and one battery is empty, then I just push one lever at the control panel and can continue with another full battery.

The (electronic) control:
The control panel is connected to an app. The app recognizes the bike and contains all the relevant data. Through the app, you can quickly load or activate a new program at any time. Thus, you can use the cell-phone you applied to your handlebar as a convenient display – which means you will no longer need your tachometer or GPS system.

The range:
What I said earlier in my mountain bike article is also true with this bike: the range depends on many factors. What altitude profile does your route cover? Which program have you activated? What is your pedalling frequency? Do you have headwind or tailwind? How difficult is the terrain? Do you save energy? What is your weight and that of your luggage? And similar factors.

Based on my experience so far, I assume that I will always manage more than 100 kilometres, even if conditions are difficult, with my two batteries. Normally, I am sure day trips of around 150 kilometres will not be a problem.
I also noticed that I now ride far higher average speeds than with my good old Roadster (also from Utopia) without electricity. In the city, my average electronically supported speed was almost 50% faster (regardless of traffic lights). In other words, now I can also cover long distances in 75% of the time they used to take.

This experience really makes me look forward to many nice trips through Germany, Austria, Italy, perhaps even France and other countries, in 2018!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

🙂 Well, I remember my promise to write more about sex and electric bikes. Consequently, I will now relate my experiences with my eWMe 627 from CONWAY.

I already told you about our eCargo. Not only is the car no longer at all an option when we go shopping; for the grandchildren and for leisure activities, too, the cargo has turned into the absolute favourite means of transportation for the entire family. And for me personally, the eCargo triggered the “electric bike preference”.

My E-Enduro with a 160-mm drive, the Conway eWME 627 as the second E-Bike in our family.

Formerly, I often went into the mountains with the Mountain Bike. Uphill, I was never very fast. And, naturally, I did not become faster in the last few years.

Which made it more of a challenge for me to go on bike tours in the mountains as a couple or in small groups. My younger and more athletic travelling companions always had to wait for quite some time sitting on top of the mountain until they finally saw me push my bike up. I was not the only one who found this unnerving.

Then came the summer – and consequently the yearly Peloponnesus mountain bike tour (near Gythio and Mani). So I decided to test an electric mountain bike at our familiar bike salesman (Dully’s BIKESTATION).

To say it in a nutshell: I was absolutely fascinated. Consequently, I bought one and now mountain biking is again something I truly enjoy. In 2017 in Greece, I covered about twice the distance (and altitude) from the years before.

About the bike and its technology:

As you know, my eCargo has a rear motor (GoSwissDrive), a simple ladder network and a hub dynamo at the front tyre. I find that rear motors are only ideal for a Cargo bike, the chain is not too strained and, thanks to the hub dynamo, it can also be used at night, even if the battery is empty or you do not carry it with you.

My mountain bike has a different system. It has a Shimano mid-bike motor at the crank. SHIMANO Steps-System is a system of e-bike components (motor, battery, control, range calculator, …) that was designed exclusively for mountain bikes. The same bikes are also available with Bosch technology. When I tested them, I liked the Shimano system better because of the interval-free support and the better coordination.

As with Bosch, the heart of the Steps-System is the mid-bike motor. It weighs 2.8 kg and is perhaps one of the lightest motors on the market. The mid-bike motor sits in the crank; as opposed to front or rear drivers, it is not a direct drive. Instead, it has a gearing mechanism. You can also easily ride without electricity, the motor will not slow you down. You only have some additional weight because of the motor and the electric gadgets.

That is probably the reason why mid-bike motors will always make a slightly grating noise. The only relatively soundless motors are those from Impulse and Brose, all other motors (by now, many companies along with Bosch, especially from Asia, offer them) are far noisier than direct drives – which you really cannot hear at all. You also always get a slight push when the motor turns itself on for support, which is not what you get with the direct drives that sit in the front or rear tyre.

Regardless, I believe that the mid-bike motor is the best for mountain bikes. The weight of the motor and battery are close to the crank. Whenever you go up or down steep hills, this is definitely an advantage.

Most of the electric mountain bikes have a simple ladder network (one gear-wheel at the front and quite a few at the rear), it is the mechanic Shimano XT for the Conway. It might be a disadvantage that, if you have a mid-bike motor, the entire power (both from the human and from the motor) is transferred to the chain and the gear. But, as I see it, that can be ignored for the mountain bike, because everyone knows you have to change the chain and the pinion at regular intervals.

Range

I am always asked: “How far can you go with one full battery?”. This question is not easy to answer. Naturally, the range depends on such parameters as the incline of the course a biker selected. For long inclines in one row, you need more electricity than if you go up and down the hills alternatively all the time. The frequency of pedalling is also important (If I am correct, the ideal frequency is considerably higher than 60 per minute). And, of course, it also depends on the mode you chose.

STEPS has three modes: ECO, TRAIL and BOOST. If you save electricity by using ECO and if you cut down the motor when you go downhill (due to the mid-bike motor principle, STEP cannot recuperate, so it makes sense to switch the entire drive off whenever you do not pedal – and if you do not pedal, there is, naturally, also ZERO motor-caused resistance), then the range is generally more than 100 kilometres, i.e. in the three-digit area.

If you use the mode TRAIL, I would assume that you can always easily go around 70 kilometres with 700 metres of altitude. However, if I use BOOST and really force the bike up the mountain, then I can easily imagine that the power is low after 20 kilometres. That never happened to me. I assume it would be more like a fun-ride.

For travel bikes, I would not recommend the mid-bike motor. But I will tell you more about this when I describe my Utopia London.

For me, my e-mountain-bike is a constant source of delight. If I go downhill, I no longer have to accept the high speed of former times (I always wanted to make up a little time when I went downhill, because I had always lost so much time going uphill). And above all, the electric day trips now take less time – which means I no longer need to get up so early and I also return home earlier than I used to. If, formerly, the entire Sunday was “wasted”, I now have time left for other interests.

On my trips with Barbara, I now had to wait for her at the top of the mountain. That was also true in Greece. I went with electricity, Barbara without. Circumstances were now reversed.

Barbara’s electric mountain donkey, the Conway 327.

Later, she also bought a Conway 327 – and now we have great fun together. Our day trips to the Bavarian Alps no longer take too much time and we no longer have the burdensome long inclines we used to have. And I truly look forward to the spring and am absolutely sure that, in 2018, we will often spend time in the Alps. And I also truly look forward to the two weeks of biking and swimming in August/September on the Peloponnesus!

My next article will be about my Utopia London with front drive. For me, it is the perfect travel and everyday bike. If I see similarities between the eCargo with and a VW transporter, then the eBike is more like a jeep and my London would be something like the Mercedes S-Class Limousine.

So “my Mercedes” (of Utopia) will feature prominently in my next e-bike article.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took both pictures from the Conway Website – you will find several links to this site.

The following “Christmas Greetings” were sent to me by a person I know quite well. He is a truly competent expert in the field of mobility. I would like to thank him very much, indeed!


Hello everybody,

here are a few current statistics about the number and system of drive for cars and trucks registered in Munich:

 

2017
cars – existence Nov
gasoline 427.894
diesel 287.869
electric powered 2.177
trucks and others Nov
gasoline 4.831
diesel 49.770
electric powered 155


In particular, you can see that there are too many cars and they are equipped with the wrong drive – so are the trucks.
Basically, we are still (rather) far away from a change in mobility …
What a mess!


That made me thoughtful!

It is easy to calculate the sum of all cars by addition. You get a total of 717,940 – without trucks! And it seems that numbers are still rising.

Now let us assume that a car, if parked “bumper to bumper” needs a minimum of five metres parking space. If you multiply 717,940 (number of cars) with 5 metres (length of car with a little space in between), then you get 3,589,700 metres. In other words: if you park all cars of Munich in one long row (with little space in between), you need a street with the length of 3,590 kilometres!

According to Wikipedia Munich covers an area of

310,7 km2

And this area will not increase. It is certainly not a solution to try and build basements underneath everything. Nor would it, in this case, make sense to “suburbanize” more areas.

Let me continue with my calculations. If Munich were a square, then the length of either side would be 17.6 km!!!

Now let me divide the length of the street we would need (3,590 km) by the 17.6 km side length. The result is: in our square Munich, we would need 204 parallel streets on 17.6 kilometres of length just to park our cars! In other words: there has to be a parking lane for cars every 86 metres. The number is a gross number, because each parking lane has to have a certain width.

Isn’t that a terrible concept? To be sure, Munich is not a square but a rather unorthodox shape. But that does not change anything about the principle. Consequently, I believe that this small computation should, indeed, worry us a little bit. What a stupid waste of valuable land and what a destruction of living space!
I find another concept no less worrying:

If you remember that there are hardly any cars left that weigh less than one ton and one can assume 1.25 tons as average car weight, then we have 897,425 tons of toxic waste in our beautiful Munich just sitting there. That is nine times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as said toxic waste starts moving, it smells and generates dirt and makes many people sick. Moreover, it injures and kills people and, last not least, deprives them of exercise that would be so important for them – one of the consequences of which is poor health.

And I know from personal experience that, if you look closely and are even slightly willing, you only need cars on very rare occasions. There is hardly anything you cannot organize just as well without a car.

All you need is the willingness to forego a little bit of your comfort and to question what seems to go without saying. And you have to refuse to accept all the detrimental consequences, both for all of us and the users themselves (1.4 million traffic fatalities each year, destruction of our world, health damage by dirt and noise, destroying your own health by no longer exercising and becoming stress victims).

So it is all only about giving up a few sub-optimal and detrimental habits. Habits the positive effects of which are only allegedly positive effects, anyway. Those who are not prepared to do this are those for whom all help is in vain.
Consequently, the question is:

Are car drivers scum and riff-raff? Or are they just stupid? Or both?

Well, the aggressiveness of this statement is not something I like. In fact, I hate the sentence, because such generalization is not at all typical for me. But perhaps the gist is not all that wrong and perhaps, in the face of our car mania, there is no other way than to get the bat out of the sack like knave Ruprecht?

For me, this evil question is a good reason (because I want to be neither scum or riff-raff, nor stupid) to only get into a car if there are really very good and important reasons to do so. Basically, if I am actually almost forced to do it.

In my life, that happens maybe ten times a year – with a decreasing tendency. Mind you, at the same time I am more “mobile” than ever before, which I can prove by my Google-Tracking-Profile.

And my new active mobility feels absolutely great to me. I am also more efficient than I was before. I truly no longer have time to drive a car.

So, I, too, can only say:

🙂 What a mess!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I just received a supplementary email from the same source (i.e. the aforementioned expert). Here it is:


“looking at the low number of car-sharing vehicles (considerably less than 2,000, I am currently trying to find out the exact number) and at the fact that there will hardly be any additional railroad infrastructure for the Munich public transport although the number of inhabitants is expected to continue to grow in the next 5 to 10 years, it is quite easy to imagine how the public transport vehicles we now have and the cyclists’ paths will be even more crowded and narrow than they already are!
The negligibly small number of e-vehicles we expect in the next few years will not (be able to) contribute towards a reduction in air and noise pollution in the Munich city street network!

Consequently, the only things you can promote are active mobility (hiking and biking), public transport (short term: faster busses and special rights for busses) and the attempt at improving the vehicles’ drives (cars, trucks, busses, motorbikes, mopeds, construction machines, etc.)“.

All that remains to be done by me is thank the sender of the email and agree with everything he says. Except: when it comes to bikes, I have a slightly different opinion. We, the bikers, must fight the car drivers and thus gain the streets back from them! If there is no other way, then we must do it without legal support and by putting a little pressure on the powers that be.


Above all, we will continue with AktMobCmp. More motivated than ever!

Donated by VisualBrainddump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold) Click image to enlarge.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday November 15th, 2017

The Future of the Planet

Today, I will not write about electric bikes or sex, but about politics.

The Jamaican coat of arms

Jamaica

Currently, many people develop a sudden interest in the land of Bob Marley. It is about Jamaica, which, naturally, is only a silly word-play. It is all about the “Coalition Discussions“ (Koalitionsverhandlungen) in Berlin. We call them Jamaica because the coat of arms of this country is identical with the colours of the parties concerned (black, yellow and green).

I must admit that I had been hopeful for the Green Party to be the positive factor in these discussions.

But what is the Green Party doing?

They went to Berlin with demands that were probably justified but it is clear that these demands cannot be successfully pushed through during negotiations (which has already been proved). The first of these demands was that the combustion motor be abolished in the year 2030 (1) and the second was that all coal-based power plants be closed by the same year (2). Especially (1) sounds more than utopian. Besides, we do not need general goals but actual measures.

Electricity must replace coal, not use it up!

I will not comment on (2). After all, it is evident that the only way we can and must end the “dark” era when fossil energy was burned using electricity. Yet replacing coal by electricity cannot mean that half of the electricity world-wide is produced with coal. This must (and will soon) become a thing of the past. However, I find (1) a lot more exciting.

Driving an automobile is out!

Everybody must realize that an “individual mobility” based on electricity cannot and will not be the same as many of us now use the car. Just like “autonomous cars”, too, will not be driven in the same way as MEN and WOMEN drive them now.

2030 will soon be here!

In only 12 years, it will have arrived – that is as many years as the life-span of a car used to be. In that respect, what the Green Party demanded would have been rather easy to realize.

Prepare for the exit!

One of the factors is to quickly establish a speed limit – if necessary, why not step-by-step so that people can get used to it – but with a clear end even before 2020 at a maximum of 30 km/h in closed built-up areas, 70 km/h on secondary streets and 100 km/h on motorways. And, also step-by-step, a truly relevant and drastic increase in taxes on fossil fuel (including kerosene for planes). And if then the gigantic subsidies on “business cars” (at least the huge practice of abuse) were finally restricted, then the entire scenario would make sense!

Slim end efficient!

That would be a slim and efficient solution and it would raise hopes for a “soft landing”. It would also make quite a few stupid ideas, such as road charges, obsolete. And the Green Party, perhaps for good reasons, does not wish to be unpopular. Mind you, I personally believe that being unpopular brings you more votes than it costs you.

Investing in the future

And the money you get from all these projects must not be spent for building even more new motorway crossings on two levels with up to ten lanes, which today apparently, as a consequence of the motorway expansion having to happen on ever more lanes, has become a necessity. Instead, we should invest these moneys in a public transport system and, of course, in the “energy change” – which basically only means the abolition of nuclear and coal-based electricity production. As I see it, we are actually already quite well under way in this respect.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday November 11th, 2017

Electricity on the Bike.

Time flies. Only one year ago, I was sceptical about electro-mobility for the bike. At least in Munich. Because here, everything (with the exception of the Isar banks) is rather flat land.

My e-Bike London from Utopia during its first train trip in the 
IC 2304 from Munich to Naumburg with the final destination Magdeburg.

Now, our household has 4 (four) electro bikes. And the electric support given to my bike absolutely fascinates me.

Basically, the bike itself was already a stroke of genius by combining humans and mechanics. But the e-bike combines this exciting combination with a motor. In doing so, it realizes a unique symbiosis between humans and machines. It is such a great thing that it was the last and determining factor that blew away any lingering fascination of mine for driving a car.

What a pitiful way of moving from one place to another is the car if compared with the bike!

For me, the physical activity has always been an important reason why I rode a bike. So there was the fear that said physical activity might suffer a little under the e-bike influence. But that is not so. After a long e-bike tour, I am just as exhausted – if in a different way – as I used to be with the conventional bike. After fifty kilometres on the e-bike, I would actually like to continue. And only after a few minutes of rest, I notice how exhausting it actually was.

Well, it is easy to find out the secret. On the e-bike, my pedalling frequency is much higher. It is easy going and does not harm the joints. On average, I ride about one third more than “without electricity”. In other words: I have the battery support, but I am going much faster. And I often get the impression that, physically, I actually achieve as much as before, if not more. And that the power from the battery mainly gives the higher speed – and yet I do not work less than without the electrical power.

If I go distances of 10 kilometres and less, I only take my conventional bikes. I keep the considerably higher pedal frequency I got used to on the e-bike. And, surprise, surprise, I am now faster than I used to be with my good old bikes. Which I find quite fascinating.

All my electric bikes are true e-bikes, i.e., the electricity only supports me when I pedal myself. It turns off at 25 km/h. Which is totally ok by me. Using my e-bikes in the economy mode, I do an average of 18 kilometres. Which means I need half an hour for 9 kilometres. And in Munich, this means quite a distance. For instance from my home in Neubiberg to the Isartor. Or from the Marienplatz to Riem. Munich becomes a small town. And all the advantages of the bike, for instance parking without a problem, remain the same for the e-bike.

If I am in a hurry, I can also do an average of more than 20 kilometres. It only requires a higher program. That means I ride ten kilometres in half an hour. And with the e-bike, just like with the bike, distances are mostly considerably shorter than with the car.

Consequently, the so-called S-pedelecs are not an issue in my book. I rather like speeds of around 25 km/h and they are absolutely sufficient for my purposes. I feel absolutely well and safe – and I definitely need no more speed.

Among my initial concerns were the range and the handling. Both are not at all something I need to worry about. It is quite remarkable how many kilometres and how much altitude modern batteries can go. And the handling is also quite easy. But I will tell you more and in more detail about this when I introduce the three bike types of our household.

It all started with an e-cargo bike. Then I purchased two “electronic mountain bikes”. And eventually a wonderful touring bike. I will introduce all three of them next week in the IF blog. They all have their individual technology and specialties. And I love them all.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday June 25th, 2017

#AktMobCmp – July, 13, 2017

I propose a #AktMobCmp meeting for the evening of July, 13th, 2017.

Here are some ideas in preparation!

POSSIBLE TOPICS

For me, the following topics/theses are of interest.


Why do people still drive cars? Does it offer any advantages? Or is it just a huge case of self-delusion? Because we are being manipulated and fall victim to lobbyism?

A few days ago, I rode my bike around the lake Starnberger See. It took me a few hours. First, I went from Neubiberg to Starnberg by S-Bahn train. Then we rode our bikes around the lake and took the S-Bahn train back from Starnberg. It was a wonderful summer day, everything just beautiful. But near the lake, all the cars were hell. All the parking spaces were taken, nothing could be done about it. And there was no end of stress – among the car drivers.

I am fairly mobile. Especially in Munich. But also in Germany, Europe and occasionally even in this world. And I can always manage without using a car. Doing without a car as a mobility tool has only advantages. When all is said and done, you feel a lot better without a car!

Here is one question that might be worth answering:
What requirements must be met for a car journey to make sense, i.e. for it to offer considerable advantages over alternative mobility?


Why do people still dare to go places by car? In the process, they accept horrendous collateral damage, either without thinking or because they are arrogantly egomaniacal, not only in the social sector, both inflicted on third parties and on themselves?

Or:
Would the following metaphor fit? Driving a car is on the same level as smoking in public buildings, and not only if it happens in the city? Whenever I ride my bike, all those cars pollute my lungs, just like the smokers used to when they sat at the dinner table across from me.

When sitting behind the wheel of a car, we consciously take the risk that we might probably injure or kill other people. It still happens far too often.
When we drive a car, we produce pollutants that harm other people. People who do not want any involvement with cars at all.
Cars are noisy, which significantly reduces the quality of life where we live, both in cities and villages.

Cars give those sitting in it and especially the driver a whole lot of distress.
Going by car robs the people the opportunity to exercise and thus makes them obese.
Here is a tweet I read that is probably not all that hilarious: perhaps you should, before getting rid of them outside, first transmit the exhaust fumes of a car into the car.

At this point, I do not have a “moralizing” discussion in mind. Instead, I want a very basic and constructive judgement of values.


Pedelecs (e-bikes) are a stroke of genius!

The combination of body and machine
For rational and efficient mobility and logistics, e-machines are perfect.
Especially with lower speeds and for slim mobility, electric vehicles offer an excellent alternative.

Maybe we could make 90% of our intra-city individual and logistically necessary mobility a lot better, cheaper, healthier, nicer and more efficient by using e-bikes and other suitable electric vehicles (scooters, trucks, large taxis as part of public transportation,… )?

(I am well aware of the fact that electric mobility – e.g. the e-car – is not a solution individually. The very damage done to the environment and CO2 output that the production of a single huge battery – such as for a Tesla or even for an e-UP – creates shows that this will not be a solution for fast and long-range communication).

Is it possible that our massive switch from riding a bicycle to driving a car in post-war Germany was caused by all those many and strenuous inclines? And that, since the invention of the e-bike, the bad weather is the last remaining argument against riding bikes? And that it is actually quite easy to solve this problem (since it is part of being human)?

And is “high-power mobility” – being able to quickly cover medium and long distances – basically not about “shared economy” but about “shared mobility”? And has shared mobility not been invented a long time ago, although there is definitely room for improvement?


Here are the format and the method I suggest for our next meeting:
How about a practical exercise in building vexillae? All these topics can be discussed and processed using the technology of building vexillae. The ars construendi vexilla is a dialectic method for coming to reasonable agreements (rational consensus) in groups. And that is something you can – or better: must – realize in an agile way and at eye-level!

How do you feel about it? What would you prefer? Which topic, which method. Do you have better ideas and/or additional recommendations? Should I organize the planned meeting and invite people?

If so, I would organize a room for July, 13th in the Munich area, write a program and publish the time and program in Meet-Up and on the AktMobCmp-homepage .

Or should we just leave it be, because it does not make sense, anyway? And because there is not the slightest chance for a better life without air pollution and noise? Because the car lobby governs the world?

Then I would cancel the meeting and perhaps also terminate AktMobCmp.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Donated by Visual BrainDump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold). Click on the picture to enlarge.

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 15th, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Bicyclist – SHOPPING

New series, because active mobility is important to me.

Once in a while, I go shopping. For instance when I need milk for my coffee. After all, you only get top-quality coffee froth with excellent fresh milk. My favourite is the 3.8% fat milk you get at demeter. It is available in brown one-litre glass bottles. For me, it is important that the container is glass, because products like milk in the tetra pack or yoghurt in plastic containers are a no-go in my book as a matter of principle these days. Just like I also never buy beer in tin cans.

Close to my house, the milk I want is only available at a bio-market called denns. It opened some time ago on the Putzbrunner Strasse in Ottobrunn, not far from where I live. The shop is part of a bio-chain with the same name. They are probably quite the experts when it comes to really earn money with the label “bio” (unless they become their own enemies by offering poor service in their chain stores).

Careful! You do not necessarily get what you read on the label.

The entrance seems to welcome you, but that is a misconception. As soon as you enter, you see the PAYBACK machine to the right. – PAYBACK  are those who currently do the “ONLINE SHOPPING HAPPINESS WEEKS“. In my book, PAYBACK is a modern way of bullshitting customers. And as I see it, bullshitting customers is not really something that should go with “bio”, is it?

My other experiences in the same place, too, are in accordance with “pretty is what pretty does”. When at the check-out, I also always have (too) long to wait and the service persons are not particularly friendly, either (at least as far as I was concerned until April 2017). There is exotic fruit and non-exotic fruit at the wrong time of year. Everything looks too much “bio, bio, bio” to me. On the whole, it seems more appearances and show than anything else.

Usually, most of the customers come shopping in their big limousines, although they live just around the corner. That, too, is something I would not associate with the attribute “bio”. Here is a metaphor: the typical customers are not do-gooders wearing Birkenstock. Instead, we are talking the chic super-mom who, driving her SUV, looks more like a super-bum. However, some customers come by bike – and so do I.

In my opinion, a rather exciting criterion for determining “customer friendliness” is how bike-riding customers are treated. There is at least some symbolic meaning to be deduced from the fact that only the most simple of – alibi – bike racks can be found at a rather remote place. And if said bike rack does not even have a roof, although the entire building has a long overhang, then this is also a message.

The small bike rack is rather remotely positioned and has no roof (and currently it is not overcrowded).

But what is the “evil cyclist” supposed to do when there are many customers and the “cyclists’ parking” is chaotically overcrowded?

;-)Then we evil cyclists will park our bikes on a common parking space – if there is a vacancy. And why not?

Two bikes belonging to two persons (the same is actually true for three or four of them) only need as much parking space as one car (with one person).

The highly motorized Denns customers will probably not like this “evil” behaviour.

Generally, many car drivers get annoyed with all those bikes on parking places. Some of them get so upset that they start yelling at people – and, depending on the personality and stress level of the car driver, said yelling might be intense, aggressive or even offensive.

There is enough space with overhangs for dry bike parking, but they are reserved for more important things.

Whenever someone starts this kind of trouble, I remain polite. I do not reply to the accusing words of the car driver with my favourite expletive “What do you want, you car driver!”, neither do I stoop so deep as remaining unperturbed and saying something like “Again, you can see that car drivers are definitely the lowest of the low”.

In former times, that is what I would have done. But I have become older and more sedate. Consequently, I give them a very friendly smile and tell them ever so politely that “parking places, after all, are for parking vehicles, aren’t they? And aren’t bicycles also vehicles?”. Naturally, if there is a parking place that costs fees, I am more than willing to pay.

Trouble is pre-programmed. More and more bicycles will appear, among them also some for transport of heavy material. There is no other alternative if we want shopping to be possible in the cities. Even now, the problem – no bicycle parking – arises more and more often, not just in front of shops with many customers, for instance discounters, but generally in the public domain.

Even today, there are many shops where cyclists are appreciated and taken seriously. Here is a beautiful example, also quite close to my home, in Neubiberg.

At REWE near the Neubiberg S-bahn train station, the cyclists’ parking is directly next to the entrance and has a roof.

At REWE near the Neubiberg S-bahn train station, the cyclists’ parking is directly next to the entrance and has a roof.

At the Neubiberg REWE, there used to be just a very small parking place for bicycles. Now the management reacted and installed a big, roofed area for bicycles right next to the entrance!

There is just one downside: whenever many customers are shopping here, the new and really not very small bike rack is also too small. However, you could easily remedy this by parking in the second row as well (with a passage between the two rows). For the users, it would be easier if there were a marking on the tarmac to indicate where the second row is supposed to begin. How about this idea of mine to improve matters? Basically, a cyclist does not need a bike rack when shopping. The marked free area that cyclists should then use with discipline is a lot more important.

In this place, the friendliness towards cyclists is symptomatic for the entire service. Whenever I shop at the Neubiberg REWE, I notice with approval how nice the shop looks inside and how friendly and eager to help all the service persons are. Maybe there is a correlation between “cyclist-friendliness” and “good service for the customers”? And probably being cyclist-friendly is more and more profitable for the shops! Because there are more and more cyclists who have more money than many car drivers – and who very much appreciate quality.

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

Mobility of the Future – #agile #digital #lean #open #social

Future mobility will have to be totally different from today. Because it is quite obvious that we cannot continue in this way. Everybody more or less knows it.

Other countries, such as the Netherlands, seem to be on a promising path. We, however, do not seem to be able to incorporate the necessary change. After all, in the future, mobility should again be there for the people, instead of vice versa. We want to make a mental and active contribution.

Our Goal

We want to give new impetus to the #AktMobCmp (Barcamp for active mobility in everyday life) tradition with a series of evening events. We will start on Tuesday, April, 11th, 2017 at 7 p.m. A young and very exciting enterprise, the
accu:rate GmbH | Institute for Crowd Simulation | Rosental 5 | D-80331 München
invited us. For registration, click here: MeetUp or send an email to me.

On this day, we plan to have a moderated “lean coffee“ with a time-box following the 3×3 principle: (1) be precise, (2) negotiate in cooperation and (3) reap what you have sown. As an inspiration, there will be a few impulses given by Dr. Jessica Le Bris (GreenCity), Florian Sesser (Gründer accu:rate GmbH) and yours truly (Initiator #AktMobCmp) before the Lean Coffee.

Here are a few theories and questions to inspire you.

Theories

  • Agility and mobility are human needs.
  • The industrial revolution replaced agility with planning and Taylorism.
  • The belief in the omnipotence of humans due to technological progress starts to dwindle.
  • The era of hierarchies and Taylorism is at its end.
  • The individual and motorized mobility as we have it today is only allegedly agile.
  • The mobility of the future will be more rational, instead of emotional.
  • The motility of the future, too, must become “agile”.
  • It cannot be done without a considerable percentage of “active mobility” (moving under your own steam on foot, on your bike or with other supportive devices).
  • Active mobility is good for your body
    (we only have this one body and consequently should treat it in the best possible way)
    and
  • it makes it possible to make better use of our precious commodity: time.
    (our time is limited, it will not return after it is over).
  • ….

Questions:

  • Why do people prefer to stand in the congestion, rather than move in fresh air?
  • Why are parking spaces in public places so strongly state-subsidized?
  • Should two-stroke Otto engines be abolished altogether?
  • Do we all really need a car?
  • What should the smart city look like?
  • Is it really necessary that, every year, more than one million people have to die in traffic accidents, with even more being severely wounded and ending up crippled?
  • Did you know that half of all the head traumas happen to people sitting in cars
    and
  • yet those who drive a car need not wear helmets?
    What can we all do to make mobility softer?

We appreciate all input. We also want results. Here is how it could happen.

  • Share our knowledge;
  • Experience and realize things;
  • Gain new insights;
  • Formulate our ideas clearly;
  • Develop ideas
    and
  • start to shape a fresh world of ours.

Target Group

AktMobCmp wants to reach mostly those who feel dissatisfied with the current mobility situation and its consequences.

 

Xlick on the picture to enlarge. Donated by Visual-Brainddump. We would like to thank Christian Botta and Daniel Reinold.

RMD
(Translated by EG)