Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

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Z-Man
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Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Z-Man »

Right. We're a family of three. We do not currently have a car and don't really need one; what we generally do is in a 10km radius of our home, so well in bicycle range. There are just two problems:
- a most typical trip would involve physical activity for Z-Girl at the destination. If we take the bike, she's exhausted when we get there, and maybe too tired to make it home afterwards.
- the weather is not always nice here. Personally, I'm an all weather bicycle user; it's just a question of dressing right. The other two family members... not so much.

For a long time, we've been eying the Renault Twizy as a vehicle for rainy days. It's a small electric sort-of-car. That one also comes with two problems:
- it needs frequent charging and takes long to do so. Ideally, one can do that on a normal outlet in the garage at home... but we don't have that, just a spot in the subterranean parking of our complex. Public charging infrastructure is kind of bad, too.
- it only has room for the driver and one passenger. No luggage.
(Also, there's the financial nuisance that you can only rent the battery at rates depending on your expected usage; I'd prefer to just buy it.)

So... somehow the idea to get a Rikshaw formed in my head. A modern one, with a mostly full cabin so nobody gets wet, and electric support. They typically can take two and a half passengers (two adults + small child, one adult + two larger children), the battery typically is removable and can be charged at home. They're allowed to go wherever bicycles are allowed. For smaller trips, Z-Wife could drive Z-Girl around, for longer ones, I'd be the one doing the work. For really long ones, we'd take turns :) The lower speed compared to cars is not much of a problem in the city; everyone waits on a red light at the same speed.

Specifically, I'm eying this model:
https://bayk.ag/en/cruiser/
Used ones are rarely seen, but are much more affordable.

So, you think this is a brilliant idea, or the stupidest thing you ever read? I haven't seen anybody else use one privately, they're mostly used for novelty tours in the inner city, with hired drivers. We used a convoy of them (some of them even the model linked to above!) for our wedding :)

The follow-up question of course needs to be: Paint it blue or gold?

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Z-Man »

Oh well, never mind. Turns out there are two problems there as well:
- that particular model cuts the motor out at 11km/h already. Probably hackable with the old "mask ever other impulse from the speed sensor" trick, but still. There's also a Chinese knockoff without that drawback.
- Z-Girl is not on board. Apparently, it's embarrassing or something. Pff, kids.

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by sinewav »

I totally want one of those but it would get stolen immediately.

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by kyle »

It really depends on your situation, but if you are looking for a more tradition EV, Tesla is way ahead of everyone else. I like my Model 3. but that's what 10-20 times the price?
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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Z-Man »

sinewav wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:53 am
I totally want one of those but it would get stolen immediately.
That's less of a worry, they're kind of rare and thus easy to track down if stolen. Easier than all the normal bicycles that somehow end up in Eastern Europe here, anyway :) Vandalizing, that's what I'd worry about. The open design is inviting, and no matter where you park the thing, someone is annoyed. Park it on the sidewalk, it's in the way of pedestrians. Park it on the street, and your puny bicycle is stealing space from the cars.

kyle: It's on my radar. It's not that much more expensive than a new bayk (and only now, I get the name), a factor of about 3, fair considering what it brings to the table. Much more expensive than the Chinese knockoff, sure. But... we're not really car people. What we'll end up doing, probably, is just get Z-Girl two bikes, a regular one for the daily trips, and one with electric assistance for the larger trips where fatigue is an issue. Or just the electric one, leaving the battery at home most of the time, if the rest is not too heavy. She's growing out of her current bike anyway, and almost old enough to legally use an electrically assisted one.

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Word »

Hey Z-Man, aren't you the kind of guy who could easily build a family lightcycle of the future completely on his own, in his free time, and share the blueprint publicly, for the betterment of all humankind? :-P

As for the lack of parking space and vehicle theft in Cologne...I heard enough stories from friends, and I think I've become a witness here and there. :? Then again, just a few days ago I walked past this big tram crash that was later in the headlines everywhere, so I guess public transport is not necessarily a superior option in its current state, although i keep using it.

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Z-Man »

Hah! I wish I could build anything in the real world. My skills end at shelves. I can saw boards to the right length. And sometimes, I can repair stuff. I replaced a broken spoke on my bike the other day!

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Word »

Z-Man wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 6:28 pm
Hah! I wish I could build anything in the real world. My skills end at shelves. I can saw boards to the right length. And sometimes, I can repair stuff. I replaced a broken spoke on my bike the other day!
Haha, my best friend and I once did that together and it took us like an hour or so. :D

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by delinquent »

Electric bikes don't have to me madly powerful. In fact, there's more than a few examples of builds that use the motors from old swegway/hoverboard things. A proper speed controller and a battery that doesn't want to burn your house down, and you have the ruminations of a reasonable electric pedal-assist bicycle. Plus, the low wattage of the motors ensures that young miss doesn't floor it and make immediately for the autobahn - which would, I'm sure, invite some concerned questions from the local polizei.

In actual fact, a build like that has the potential to be extraordinarily efficient - a decent sports-bottle battery would keep it going pretty much all day, assuming that your daughter is actually pedalling rather than solely allowing the motor to do all the work. Plus, now you no longer need to be concerned about speed limits and such, because the bike won't have a hope in hell of exceeding them. You could get all of that done for under €500-€600 , probably less.

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Z-Man »

Me: "Hey, Z-Girl, the folks on the Tron forum suggested *I* should just build you an electric bicycle."
Z-Girl: "NO!!!!!"
She knows my weaknesses :)

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Re: Best or worst idea? Getting a Velotaxi/Rikshaw for private use

Post by Word »

Hahaha. :-)

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