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There are those travellers who want to take a bicycle along for themselves or their children when holidaying in their caravan, camper trailer or RV. Bicycles are a great way to keep the kids occupied, keep fit or to run those quick errands to the shops.
Make sure you understand the road rules and be very careful in traffic. Compulsory third party insurance is not required as a bicycle rider but if you have a crash involving another person or their property you may be financially liable for any damage or injury you cause.
Types Of Bikes
There are the conventional touring or road bikes, mountain bikes, triathlon bikes, BMX bikes, folding bikes as well as electrical or power assisted bikes.
Mountain bikes are normally strong and robust to withstand use off the bitumen or bike tracks. They are sometimes called dirt bikes and usually of robust construction and come with a thicker more nobly bicycle tyre.
As the name suggests these bikes are able to be folded to enable them to be more compact for travel. A number of these types of bicycles will fold up small enough to fit in the boot of the car. The folding procedure varies between makes and models. To some extent the size of the folding bikes will also vary between big wheeled and small wheeled bikes. So, take some time to research and determine which folding bike is best for you.
The bicycle seat and handle bar heights are normally adjustable and in some makes and models the length of the folding bike is also adjustable within a range. Be sure to check the model you choose will withstand the rider’s weight.
A few brands and their features are:-
‘On-Yer-Bike’ – have a range of folding mountain bikes. The manufacturer claims the bikes have an aircraft grade aluminium frame, shimano gears and rear coil suspension.
Giatex – these are one of the folding bikes designed to change the frame length rather than fold. The length may be reduced or increased by a telescopic tube secured by two quick release clips and it does not require any tools to get it into motion. The wheels come in 16 inch or 20 inch, it has a Shimano RevoShift grip shift changer, front and rear brakes, rust resistant frame as well as a small rear carry rack, kickstand, bell and reflectors. The seat and handlebar heights are adjustable. A carry bag is also available.
The 16 inch weighs 12.5 kg (27.55 lbs) and the 20 inch weighs 13.86 kg (39.55 lbs). Their website indicates a new range will be available soon.
If you were to put the rear passenger seats down on a Toyota Landcruiser GXL two bikes would fit neatly inside the vehicle.
Dahon – this company has a good range of folding bikes using patented Dalloy Aluminium. The features vary between the various models available. The manufacturer claims they use high quality materials and components such as stainless steel spokes and frame latches. The Dahon ‘Mariner D7″ model is a step through folding bike weighing 12.4 kg (27.3 lbs) with 20″ aluminium wheels and 7 speed Shimano RD-TX35 rear derailleur.
Folding bicycles are available from Camec, caravan stores, on-line bicycle stores and ebay.
Electrical Power Assisted Bikes – Pedelec
What Is A Power Assisted Or Electric Bicycle?
An electric bicycle is a bike with an integrated electric motor used to assist its propulsion. They may be referred to as e-bikes or booster bike. Pedelec is now a term being used in Australia as we have adopted the EU standards.
For a ‘Pedelec’ or electric bike to be legal in Australian the power assisted bicycle must comply with the European Committee for Standardization EN 15194. The electric bike should be certified by the manufacturer as complying with this standard (label affixed to frame), the motor must be electric, the maximum continuous power output cannot exceed 250 watts, the rider must peddle to access the power (may operate up to 6 km/ph without peddling) and the power must cut out when the pedalec reaches 25 km/ph or sooner (if rider stops pedalling).
Electrical or battery driven bicycles often come with a battery charger you can plug into your household standard power point. The weight of the bike is likely to vary depending on the size of the battery. Battery types available may be Sealed Lead Acid (SLA), Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (Li-FePO4). The main differences are weight and price. Some electric bikes now have lithium-ion battery packs with 8Ah-14Ah capacity and voltage from 24V-37V and range from 200W-250W. You can expect the batteries to last for about 500 charges and replacement batteries cost somewhere between $395 – $550.
Conversion kits are available for existing bikes and add anything up to about 27 kg in weight. Have a look at dillenger.com.au for information on their products.
The performance of an electric bicycle can also depend on a number of factors such as the type of terrain, battery size, weight of the rider and any bags, wind conditions and correct tyre inflation.
Zuma Power Products in Wollongong NSW supply a folding electric bike with a top speed of 25 kph and a range of 30 – 50 km. The folding electric bike features, disc brakes front and rear, 12 inch coloured alloy wheels, adjustable handle bars and seat height and will withstand a maximum load of 110 kg. The gross weight of this folding electric bike is 22kg without the battery and the net weight is 36 kg with the battery. It folds to 78cm x 36cm x 60cm.
Are Electrical Bicycles Legal In Australia And Do They Require Registration?
Generally, in Australia, there are two categories of power assisted bicycles legal on our roads –
- power assisted bicycles (power controlled by a throttle or accelerator) with up to 200 watts of power; or
- power assisted bicycles (power controlled by the rider using pedals) with no more than 250 watts of continuous power that meets the definition of a pedelec
It is legal, under current Australian road regulations, to ride either a purpose-built powered bicycle or a modified electric pushbike where you would normally ride a bicycle provided the engine output is 250 watts or less however, powered speed is restricted to 25 km/h for safety reasons. You must also be 16 years of age or over.
You are required to wear a bicycle helmet and the helmet must comply with Australian Standards. The power assisted bicycle is exempt from registration and CPT (compulsory third party) insurance but the bicycle must have a working at least one working brake, bell or horn and a red reflector on the rear. If you are riding at night there must be front and rear lights fitted.
In some states, it is illegal to ride a bicycle that has an internal combustion engine (eg: diesel or petrol motor attached) on roads or road related areas (such as paths). Since 1 October 2014, in New South Wales all petrol-powered bicycles have been banned on roads, footpaths, shared paths and cycle ways. Further information is available from your state or territory Road Traffic Authority or Transport Authority.
Where Can I Get An Electric Bike?
The Electric Bicycle Co P/L of Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia is an importer/distributor of a large range of electric bicycles and supply the “Hurricane Conversion Kit’ for existing bicycles. Melbourne Electric Bicycles, St Kilda, Victoria also supply electric bicycles.
Electric bicycles, including folding models, are also available from Rotary Bicycles Australia who have distributors in a number of states.
Some electric bicycle brand names or suppliers are Zuma iBike, Pedego, Ezee, Hirun, Avanti, Dahon, Powabyke, Optibike and Urban Mover. Electric bicycles may also be purchased from online bicycle stores as well as ebay.