Roland Dürre
Wednesday March 20th, 2019

The Digital Car of the Future (extrapolated)

This is how we will live in 1975 – Hobby title page of November 1955/strong>

Extrapolation is if you extend a message beyond its actual range. Mostly, you can only extrapolate after having interpolated.

Even in mathematics, this is not easy. Now I will try and give a soft future prognosis about our life with mobility. I will not use mathematics but only logical and cynical ideas.

I imagine what digital land-based vehicles, also known as cars, will look like?

As always, I start with (German) Wikipedia. Currently, you will find the following description:

 


The term autonomous vehicle defines a car or other vehicle that can drive, steer and park without being influenced by a human driver (highly automated driving – Hochautomatisiertes Fahren) or  autonomous driving – Autonomes Fahren).


 

Well, I wish it were that easy. Initially, when I was thinking of an autonomous car, I believed that such a vehicle comes and picks me up and looks a little like a scooter. Like the ones we drove as children on the fairtground. And I hop in and the car brings me to where I wanted to go and that was it.

Then I read the newspapers (especially the section Mobilität of the SZ weekend edition). And I found out that such a car must be able to do a lot more.

  • It is fully digitalized. That means I can do all the things I can do at home with WLAN. 
That is especially nice if we – the car and I – are standing in the queue. Then I can do all my work sitting in the car – just like in the home office – and that means I will not need to go to work by car.
  • The car is probably also supposed to be able to fly. 
That will be quite necessary if you wish to avoid all the queues. And because I want to take the direct route. Without having to zigzag around on the streets.
  • During longer drives, you will also want to sleep in the car. For instance if you drive from Munich to Hamburg at night. Basically, I want to go from Munich to Westerland. Except that I will hardly get to Sylt sleeping Because they have the Hindenburg-Damm with the old railway. So here is another barrier for the car of the future. Naturally, this is not a problem for the flying car, which would simply fly over it. 
The problem will start when I need (for me and my companion) a seat that is about as comfortable as that in the business class or first class of a plane. In other words: it cannot be a city scooter. Instead, it would have to be closer to a sort of camper. On the other hand, if I have this kind of car, then I will not need a hotel. The parking place I need does not have to be close to the destination, either. The car can easily take me there on the next morning. And then it flies away and returns when I want to go back to Munich. All these things are supposed to happen through digitalization.

 

A car comes flying … Hobby title page of August 1956

So I need some kind of drone around a VW bus. After all, this new wonder vehicle does not need to be owned by me.

We have ”shared economy“, don’t we? So I can order the vehicle by a simple click – regardless if it is a city scooter or a camper. Then it will come, neatly cleaned and prepared for the trip. It will not matter if I want to go to the coffee shop around the corner or travel far. And I will enter and we can start.

What a nice new world!

But it will probably only be for the very rich. For those who, in former times, were nobility and bishops. Who used to have the coaches and horses. Along with the coachmen. As part of a feudal life.

The “normal people” will be taken to central points from central points by “people movers” (what they used to call public transportation). And then they have to walk the rest of the way or else take electric rollers, skateboards and other mobility toys that will then have been invented. Provided the Federal Minister of Transport will find a solution. Currently, that is not what seems to happen.

And then I meet a young software engineer. He went to get a job at BMW, because programming an autonomous land-based vehicle is allegedly one of the few remaining challenges for computer scientists today. And, like many analysts and decision makers, he still believes in the autonomous car.

I have my doubts about the nice new future world. My reasons are quite banal. For instance, I believe that, in times of climate change, impoverishment, destruction of infra structure and social problems, we will have other things to worry about. Also, I am not sure that the people who live in precarious situations find it so great if they see how the rich are flown through the air in luxury limousines.

They say that a university (Universität) situated somewhere in the ex-GDR already designed the first autonomous bicycles. Based on tricycles (because it seems that autonomous bicycles are probably too hard to make).

Well, I can only say how much I like the good old individualized mobility on two wheels. I would gladly tolerate e-bikes (which brings us back to motorized individualized mobility MIV). But it should be reasonably motorized with true joy in driving.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday January 24th, 2019

Barcamp for Active Mobility in Everyday Life (2019) !?

Early in 2016, we had a wonderful Barcamp on Active Mobility (AktMobCmp). The event was held in the Unterhaching Kubiz. Here is a Video recording. A second AktMobCmp was in Augsburg.

It is now almost exactly three years since “Unterhaching“. Since then, many things have happened and the awareness of the necessary change in mobility has grown considerably.

So what do you do if you want change, both for your own ways and those of the world? Well, you visit a Barcamp and meet like-minded people. And you let yourself be carried away with the flow that usually develops in such a Barcamp.

And in no time, you will have managed to change in the desired direction and also have made a contribution towards change in society. This is true for many topics in our private and social lives and also for active mobility.

Consequently, we think it is time for the third AktMobCmp. So we would like to organize one. We (activists and those who feel positive towards Active Mobiilty in Everyday Life) would like to meet in advance and discuss all the relevant questions on Thursday, den March, 21st, 2019 near the Viktualienmarkt at our hosts’ location, the company accu:rate (accu:rate GmbH, Rosental 5 in D-80331 München). Many thanks to the managing directors and founders of accu:rate,  Dr. Angelika Kneidl and Florian Sesser.

In this meeting, we want to decide whether or not there will be an AktMobCmp in 2019 and, if yes, how to organize it. There are a few questions that need to be answered:


Questions to be asked during the Kick-Off-Meeting

  • When and where will the next AktMobCmp take place? 
Of course, the time and location are central parameters.
  • Who might be persuaded to sponsor us by providing a room. 
Only if we can use facilities free of cost can we make the Barcamp as inexpensive as possible for the participants. Usually, only communities, enterprises or universities have suitable facilities.
  • One day or two days? 
Experience has shown that two days of a Barcamp give the participants a very good sense of shared enthusiasm (they generate a flow). A nice evening event after the first day is helpful. 
Mostly, one day of a Barcamp is not so beneficial. On the other hand, the organizers have less work and the threshold for the participants is lower because they need to invest less time. 
We could also make it a two-day Barcamp but let participants choose to only take part on one day.
  • How much can it cost? 
Are there several price categories (normal and extended)?
  • Can we find other sponsors besides those who provide the facilities?
  • What exactly is the job of the organizational team?
  • Who is in the organizational team?
  • Who is responsible for which tasks?
  • How to structure the Barcamp?
  • Pure anti-conference?
  • Additional impulse presentations and/or team and creativity-supporting activities?
  • Moderation and accompaniment?
  • Other ideas?

We advertise this kick-off meeting in Meet-Up, on the AktMobCmp-Website and in Face-Book. I would like to ask all activists and followers to advertise our activity. And those who want to come to our kick-off meeting are kindly asked to both register at Meet-Up and send me an E-Mail, because I would really like to know you in advance and exchange a few ideas. Especially if some new faces decide to join us.

Roland

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

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 3rd, 2018

DIESEL

Selfie: “I cannot understand it.“

For many days, the main topic in the media and news has been nothing but “The Diesel”. I find this rather frustrating, because there are so many much more important social issues that need to be tackled. It is all Greek to me  (Ich verstehe nur noch Bahnhof).

Basically, it is very simple:

If I buy a low quality product, then I have a claim. If the transaction was a fraud, then I can try to bring the claim forward against the fraudulent salesperson.
That is something the rule of justice in a country should guarantee. If this no longer works because the concerns have become too powerful, then that is just too bad.
This is probably true for all goods, no matter if we are talking food or other products and also for services – and it should also apply to cars.

There are many things I no longer understand!

Why has nobody come up with the idea, especially when we are talking the current Diesel discussion, to simply abolish the subsidies on the Diesel tax? I mean, if the Diesel is such a bad product? After all, it is 22 Euro-Cent per litre in subsidies (in Germany, you have to pay 22 Euro-Cent less for Diesel than for petrol) that lets our “greed is great“ society crave for Diesel vehicles. Regardless of the fact that, in general, the “Diesel car” is more expensive than the competition, but in a state of greed, you do not tend to be very good with calculations.
Isn’t it normal, rather than a national emergency, if the greedy people will, once in a while, be the losers? Mind you, this is not meant to be gloating.

Neither do I understand that there seems to be nobody left who introduces a speed limit. Both on motorways and highways, this would considerably economize on fuel (and on human lives). And it has been obvious for a long time that, in cities, the rule of “driving 30” should be a matter of course. And that the “50” and “60” should be the exception to the rule.

I also do not understand why the Diesel is now such a huge topic. After all, we have a situation where, de facto, all combustion motors in individualized traffic (and, so I hope, not only where cars and motorbikes are concerned, but also where lawnmowers and leaf-blowers are concerned) will (hopefully soon) face their exodus.

Don’t we agree that, today, the discussion is not about whether my SUV has a Diesel or a petrol motor. Instead, it is all about whether you still drive a car at all. Because a) perhaps the climate catastrophe is real after all and b) I do not wish to have all those exhaust fumes in my lungs. It is not even necessary for me to ride my bike on the Rosenheimer Strasse in Munich during rush hour if I want to suffer. Even riding to the bakery on a Sunday morning on the Putzbrunner Strasse in Ottobrunn will do the job!

Neither do I understand that kerosene for airplanes and heavy oil for ships is taxed in the same way as petrol, although we know full well that we need to fly less. And why do they want to build still more runways? And why do we still burn brown coal (Hambacher Forst), thereby making life unnecessarily hard for alternative energies.

And I also do not understand why we celebrate the German Unity Day today. Wouldn’t it be better to use the day for working towards a decent Europe of Regions where people can live in confidence and courage?

These days, there is a lot I do not understand. Not only with respect to mobility, we are surrounded by mania. Is it already too late for our planet (Permafrost). I almost tend towards resignation?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 28th, 2018

Pollution Through Noise – Growing!

Is there anyone who still believes in growth? Well, I do not. When it comes to noise, for instance, then I feel that growth is just a nuisance.

From a time when I was still driving a car – with my red BMW and my pretty Barbara. Note the miserable Golf next to our car! Bäh!


Let me first tell me what, when I was a child, I remember having been taught from those who educated me.


As I remember it, (nearly) all I ever did when I was a child was wrong if you listen to my parents’ feedback. I was often noisy, even if only as part of a game, but it was not understood as such. It was totally unacceptable if you were loud (and having fun). I was forced to always be considerate. Because you cannot disturb other people, especially not grown-ups. And you also must never be a burden to them. Especially not by displaying childish, i.e. wrong, behaviour. The mantra was always: BEHAVE!


Actually, being too noisy is really a bad thing. At night, it was out of the question. But the same was true for the daytime. Because our neighbours had to work night-shifts regularly. After all, we were living in a suburb mostly inhabited by railway employees. And an exhausted railway employee has to get his sleep in order to be fit for the next night-shift.

I was also supposed to speak upper German – and very distinctly. I always had to look clean and nice, had to wear shoes even when the weather was extremely nice in summer and, of course, my hair was always cut extremely short (after all, dirty children without shoes and with long hair were gypsy children)!

As a German child, I was supposed to always tell the truth and have a straight and upright posture. If I met an adult person, I had to greet them first and then I was only allowed to speak when spoken to. When talking, eye-contact with the person I was talking to was mandatory. Naturally, I also had to behave well in all other areas. Later, I had to wear the Nyltest-shirt and US Blue Jeans were a NOGO!

Since I mostly was not (nor did I want to be) the model child out of the picture book, there was plenty of grumbling and defiance. That did not have nice consequences for me – I often was the evil non-obedient child. I was often at the receiving end of physical violence, confinement to my room, punishment and forced tasks. Not being allowed to go out, just like the abolishment of what was held to be special privileges, such as playing soccer, getting out of the house, listening to he radio,… (we were very late buying a TV set) happened on a daily basis. At the time, my friends were more or less in the same situation. Many of us felt that they were treated very unfairly – so that the trust between us and our parents was always in steep decline. This was often standard procedure in the 1950ies.


It worked – my education. To this day! Even today, my super-ego sometimes causes me to flinch. For example, as soon as I make too much noise or do not behave well, my super-ego will lift its strict index finger and reprimand me!

In retrospective, this also has advantages. For quite some time, my conscience has now been bothering me whenever I sit behind the wheel of a car. I no longer like driving through the land and producing noise. Consequently, I now only use cars in very exceptional cases – as driver or passenger. In my late defiance phase, between 40 and 50, I drove a C1 (motor roller with BMW roof). Both my super-ego and Barbara always scolded me because it was so noisy. Consequently, I sold it. I am still very happy with this decision.


Last Monday, I celebrated the Day of the Beer in the “Forschung”. We talked about the destruction of the world and the glorification of growth. It was typical regulars’ talk, as men will have them when the company is right and one (or more) “Sankt Jacobus” beers have been consumed.


One of my friends in that company told us that, now, he has no noise-free minute left in his garden. Even though his house is certainly situated in one of the upper-class suburbs in the South-East of Munich, the noise never stops, day and night. You constantly hear the noise from the motorway (although the motorway is basically not close), the SUVs drive through the “speed-limit-of-30-km/h“ zones with their fat all-weather tyres, and the motorbikes roar their fuel song. In the sky, planes keep droning and the helicopter makes a lot of noise as it takes its input from the motorway to the Harlaching hospital.

I know what he is talking about. In spring, small special vehicles try to remove the gritting material that was delivered by noisy vehicles in winter. The Diesel trucks of the many parcel services – they all take their own vehicles – are constantly driving through a neighbouring alley in order to deliver the many internet-ordered gadgets with big wrapping as big parcels. Even at night, motor sports lovers celebrate the sound of their many PS bolides with sports exhaust.

Early in the morning, just when the night is preparing to settle down, the street service machines and garbage collectors come. They are replaced by lawn-mowers and construction machines. You always start early if you work on construction sites – and there is always a construction site in the neighbourhood. You get the entire arsenal of noisy machines, from the compressor to the tile saw to the simple hammer. And no matter how small the country residence is, you can never build it without using a crane. In between, you get the noise from the leaf-removal blowers, the active time of which is no longer restricted to autumn.

So basically, I am in the same boat as my friend. I suffer under the noise. I like sleeping with open windows, but that is no longer possible in our house (regardless of the fact that it is “situated rather quietly”). I wake up too often because of some noise or other that disturbs me. In fact, I would probably like to move, but I cannot find an alternative.

A short time ago, I slept with open windows near the Baltic Sea. It was just wonderful. But it was Saturday night. With Sunday night and Monday approaching, the entire noise started again fairly early. And that was it as far as undisturbed peace and quiet at night was concerned.

Mind you, we all could live totally differently. All it takes is a small portion of wanting the right things. It would also be less expensive and healthier. Without cars and all the luxurious waste. But already I hear you lament: “Nobody can live without cars”. Naturally, that is not correct. You live a better life without, but we are just used to it.

Noise gets worse and worse and the lack of consideration increases all the time. We live in Neubiberg in the Kufsteiner Strasse. Until two years ago, a noble old house with an extremely big garden was facing our property. An old couple was living in the house. The nice gentleman cared for his handicapped wife in an adorable way. Then he died and his weak wife was transferred to a nursing home. The beautiful house was soon sold and torn down in no time. In record time, two “villas” were built on the property. Just as you see it quite frequently in the suburbs that surround Munich as a concentration measure.


A few days ago, I returned from shopping with my bike. There was an unusual grumbling. I was surprised and looked for the source. After about fifty metres, I found it. Just behind the fence of one of the two villas, cemented into the earth, there was a device that looked rather futuristic. It made a considerable grumbling noise.


I do not know if the device is for heating or for cooling or for both. Perhaps it is only for saving energy. On our property, I achieve that with no noise through solar electricity and sun-warmed water. The new villa does not have either. To make up for it, it has an outdoor swimming pool – which makes the not too big garden look really negligible. Perhaps the new device is for the swimming pool? What do I know? Well, I cannot really say that I care – after all, I am a Nimby.

Luckily, the noise does not carry as far as our house. We have a fantastic property with a drive of about fifty metres. Thirty metres before our house, I no longer hear anything. I relax. Lucky me. And I feel that this is well. Because, for me, too, the St.-Florian Principle applies:
“Not in my backyard“
The acronym for which is Nimby
? As you can see, the “by“ in Nimby has nothing to do with Bavaria (Bayern).

Later in the afternoon of the “day of the beer”, I rode my bike to a workshop in the East of Munich. My audience lamented about the heat. This is April. And some of them think they will soon have to get air conditioning. Because of the climate catastrophe. This is how they are replacing one evil with another.

The memories of my visits to southern areas give me pause. I always had hotel rooms in the most beautiful places of the world – they were well situated in quiet areas. Only the air conditioning on the right and left, as well as above and below us, was always singing its songs. For me, this is a harmless form of hell. True hell will come one or two generations from now – and it will have been caused by us. The deities GROWTH, AVARICE, EGOTISM and COMFORT will have demanded their victims: gigantic masses of carbon dioxide have been emitted, the oceans have been destroyed, the world is awash with waste, the environment is polluted. With all this, we destroyed our source of life. We followed our Christian call “assume lordship over the earth“ – and now we get the very un-Christian results.

Seen under this light, a little noise is really not worth mentioning. However, my super-ego also tells me not to buy and use products with unnecessary wrappings, i.e. no tins and no drinks in plastic bottles or 2Go cups. Tetra-packs are totally out for my super-ego, just like cosmetics articles (because what is wrong with good old soap?). I am supposed to not eat too much meat and try to produce #nowaste!

Thank you, my dear super-ego. This is how I made friends with you and even became your ally. Mind you, it is all nowhere near as easy as it sounds and as it could be. We can only succeed together.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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)