Dublin City to Howth Electric Bike Challenge 2012

Now in its 2nd year the Dublin City Centre to Howth Electric Bike Challenge started the week long Bike Week, Today is National Bike Day, Wednesday 20th of June, 2012. Sponsored by Glenisk Dairies and hosted by Greenaer the cycle took around 40 people from Dublin's City Centre across the river Liffey via the Samuel Beckett Bridge, through East Wall, along the coast at Clontarf and Bayside and up the steep Howth Summit climb and down into Howth Harbour.

All of the bikes were electrical and help the cyclist to maintain an easy journey. The bikes batteries are charged in a conventional plug outlet, and some electric bikes have a regeneration feature as the cyclist breaks. However to keep the bikes as light as possible manufactures have so far not applied a regeneration system as the cyclist cycle.

The model tested was a Kenbay bike, which does not have the regeneration feature, but other bikes along the trail did have this feature. The journey was about 22km, ending with a steep climb to the Howth Head Summit. The cyclist uses little energy for the journey with the journey lasting about 40 to 60 minutes (depending on the cyclist).

When using the battery the cyclist notices a slight push when taking off, this is given through the motion of the pedals and speeds up the bike. The bikes are not self-propelled and the cyclist needs to pedal, as they are pedal assist bikes. There are 3 settings on the Kenbay bikes, other models have 2 or 4 settings. Low, Medium and High can be used, High providing the most power to the bike. On the steep climb cyclist found a higher gear more preferable for the battery to allow them go up the climb in a more manageable fashion, however when taking off on a hill a lower gear was necessary.

The electric bike is not cheap but it does have many advantages of other modes of transport. It does not require petrol, it does not require tax, it does not require a licence and unlike a conventional push bike it does not require as much energy. 

The life span of a battery is around 1100 charges or 70,000 km lifespan potential. The battery is capable of a distance of 140km after one charge.

It is possibly not for people wanting to get fit but the energy needed will help maintain some fitness levels and it remains a much healthier and greener mode of transport.

Events for Bike week are continuing around the country for more detail see www.bikeweek.ie