Pragmatic 85: Uncommon Transportation

2 April, 2018


When you’re trying to optimise a daily commute, there are lots of options to choose from. Balancing physical effort, cost, speed, safety, storage and more we deep dive into how the concept of multi-modal transportation can make your commute more efficient.

Transcript available
Welcome to Pragmatic. Pragmatic is a discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. By exploring the real-world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. This episode is sponsored by Makers for Good and their impressive Helio solar-powered light, flashlight, and power bank that's perfect for camping, hiking, emergencies, as a nightlight, or for wherever your adventures might take you. We'll talk about them more during the show. Pragmatic is part of the Engineered Network, and to support our shows, including this one, head over to our Patreon page, and for other great shows, visit today. I'm your host, John Chidjie, and today I'm joined once again by Vic Hudson. How's it going, Vic? It is going. It is going, but where? It is going. Where is it going? Forwards? Sure. Okay, and it's good it's going forwards because the topic today I'd like to talk about is getting around and going. That's good. I thought we were coming off the wheels already. No, it's too early for that, or late, depending upon where you are. Anyway, I actually wanted to talk about some of the less common forms of transportation, maybe it's better to talk about, think of it like multi-modal transportation. So, the idea that you don't just get in a car and leave the house, drive to wherever you're going, and then park, and then walk straight into wherever you're going. That there are in fact better ways of doing this. And I don't necessarily mean public transport, but maybe I do, maybe I don't. But the whole idea... I'm not sure if you should use the phrase "better ways", maybe "alternative ways". Because some people may not think these ways are better. Well that's true and I suppose I want to explore some of that because there's there's safety implications there's cost is them is also a major implication. There's also efficiency because if you're driving a car and you have to commute during rush hour then that actually takes you in some cases two to three times as long than if you were doing something else on that main leg. So it's an interesting thing that I I want it to sort of, I find it interesting anyway. So this should be an interesting little exercise, I think. So starting at the beginning with transportation, gotta start at the beginning, 'cause you know, this is pragmatic, always start at the beginning. We all got two legs. Well, I mean, most of us do. I suppose some people sometimes they lose a leg, but anyway, so it all started with that, but yeah, no. I just don't think about that too much and move on. But anyway, so it all started with walking, right? The average walking speed of a human is about 3.1 miles per hour or five kilometers an hour, roughly. Jogging is kind of like running, just not so vigorously. And it's usually thought to be around six miles an hour, 10 k's an hour. And then running, well, that's somewhere between 19 to 22 kilometers an hour, that's 12 to 14 miles per hour. That's over about a 10 kilometer distance, right? You can go faster in short bursts, obviously, that's kind of more marathon kind of running. But the problem, I think, is that everyone wants space to live and space to work. And obviously, there's shops, sporting fields, nightclubs, maybe, you know, maybe you want to go to a nightclub, someone does, hospitals, you know, got to go there sometimes when you break things, anyhow. So, the more people, the more space you need. So you spread out and then parts of the city where you can walk from A to B in 10 minutes become very desirable. So then people are competing for that space and I'll pay lots of money. So that then prices other people that can't afford it out of the equation. And I mean, yes, of course you could jog or run to go to A to from A to B in 10 minutes, let's say, but that has other consequences if you're going to do that because not everyone can run or jog, either they're too old or they're like me, they're too unfit. Maybe they don't like sweating, you know, whatever it is. Some of us just don't like jogging and running. Damn straight. Exactly right. Anyhow. It hurts. It, it, yes. Well, it hurts. Certainly it hurts me because I'm really unfit and just not cut out for it. But anyway, never mind. Point is more the fact that, yes, there are other ways you can go faster and that extends the range. so you can live further away and still cover the same distance in 10 minutes, but you're gonna have to jog or run in order to do that. And if you can't do that, oh dear. And the whole 10 minutes thing is obviously just a random number. It's not a consistent thing. Some people will be happy to commute for 30 minutes to work. Other people don't mind one and a half hours commuting to work. It depends on what you're used to and how much you're prepared to deal with. So this problem then drives us to build transportation And that makes our travel times over great distances more desirable. And then you can live further away. So, our legs give way to other forms of transport that can go faster. So, all I want to do in this discussion is to confine ourselves to the most popular kinds of transportation. But we'll break those into several categories. OK. So, self-propelled. Yeah, self-propelled. Pretty much an individual only self-propelled, because you know, it's there's aren't there are very many forms of self-propelled transportation where you have more than one person on it. I guess you've got, you know, like tandem bicycles is a rare example, but they're not particularly popular. And besides, it always ends up with Smithers is always pushing and, you know, Burns never pushes. So, it's like, you know, who wants to sign up for that? Anyway, the other problem is most self-propelled transportation is exposed to the elements because if it's self-propelled, you got to carry a cocoon with you or a shell of some kind, it gets heavy, people get tired and it's like, "Oh man." Anything that's self-propelled, it's going to be for an individual and it's going to be exposed to the elements. That's it. Now, when it's motorized, things that changes. Motorized transportation you can have for individuals or for multiple people. An individual, obviously, the primary intention is to carry just one person. In some cases, can only carry just the one. is designed to carry more than one person most of the time. Other subcategory within motorized will be exposed or protected. So exposed means that there's no protection at all for the person or persons in the vehicle from impacts or from the elements and protected means that there's some kind of barrier between the person or the persons in the vehicle from impacts or it's either a permanent or temporary cover from the elements. Okay so those are the categories that we're going to look at. Now, in addition, the rules we want to consider are, it must be able to be ridden or driven on public roads, bikeways, footpaths, sidewalks. I don't want to go on a whole off-road discussion, not talking about boats, we're not talking about planes. Then again, I'm not sure how many people have their own personal plane to get to and from work or helicopter, probably not many. And if they do, there aren't and it's not worth talking about. I also want to make a point of distinction too, and I know that we have some listeners that live in climates where you do get regular snow. So, I'm sorry to all of those listeners. I love you all, but you know what? I'm one of those listeners. A mode of transportation that does not rely on snow or ice to work, and hence in most common weather conditions most of the year, apologies to listeners that are that far close to the Arctic Circle, let's say. We're not going to consider those either, so no skidoos, no skis, and no snowboards, sorry, or ice skates for that matter. Although ice skating to work would be cool, I've got to say. Anyway, so the point of this is to cover a typical urban commute. When I say commute, that could be to work, it could be to university, college, school, doesn't really matter, where you live to where you're going. It's a regular thing. Most days of the week you're going to do this. So for a regular trip, the point is to take yourself. You may have some belongings with you, but that's about it. You don't need to tow a caravan to work. You're not going shopping every day of the week to take 50 bags of groceries home to feed the family or whatever. No, no, that's not what we're talking about. We're just talking about a commute. Just you and your man bag. You in the man bag, yep, that's it, now you're talking. It's a messenger bag. Anyhow, so- Okay. I'm not calling it a man bag. You're a merch. You're just stirring me now. Oh dear. All right, cool. So, all right, now- Are you a messenger? My lunch can be a message of a sort, hence it is a messenger bag. Are you delivering it to someone else? it to myself which still counts. I don't know, okay carry on. You're killing me Vic. Oh man, all right so we're going to assume, okay so the whole point about this is that we want to optimize our journey, that's the goal of this whole discussion, how do we optimize and I know I said better, perhaps that was a poor choice of words early on, what I mean to say is that it needs to be optimized for all of the dimensions and it could be efficiency, cost, convenience, you know, all of those. All right. Now, obviously it's gonna be use case dependent. Okay, so some places are going to have, in the case of public transport, they're gonna have excellent public transport. In other areas, they're gonna have none. So obviously there are gonna be use case dependencies, but I think it's still interesting to explore the options. And at the end of this, if it gives you pause to think and reconsider, then that's the whole point of it, I think. So I am going to assume that public transport might be available on some of the legs, but it can't be the sole method of travel for this to have any value as a discussion. And as a reasonable distance, and I'm also assuming there's a reasonable distance needs to be covered. That is to say you also would have some distance to travel to get to and from the train station or bus stop at one or both ends. So obviously, if you're able to live, and the reason I'm putting a limit around that is because if you live really close to a bus stop or a train station, and your destination is also close to a bus stop or a train station, there's nothing to talk about because the public transport system will inevitably be cheaper once you factor in the running costs of vehicles and all the other things that we're gonna look at. There's no argument, there's no debate. But the truth is, statistically, that that is not the case for the vast majority of people because trains are big and heavy and you can't put them everywhere and living right next to one is simply not statistically the average person does not live next to one. That's just all there is to it. And frankly, they're quite noisy and a lot of people don't want to live next to them because they're noisy. So anyway, a few more caveats before we get stuck in. I understand also that Europe is in a far better space in public transport, generally speaking, but you know, even it can't suit every single source or destination. And also let's be upfront about fitness and personal preference. Some people will just like certain modes of transportation. So let's say we're gonna talk about longboarding 'cause you gotta do it. And some people are gonna say, I like riding a longboard to work. I just, I love it, you know, or to school or whatever. Anyway, anyway. - Is this the big skateboard? - It is a long skateboard. Hence longboard. Anyhow, we'll get to it. But the point is that some people are gonna have personal preferences and they're gonna say, you know what? I don't care what you say. I don't care how efficient it is. It doesn't matter. I'm riding my longboard. I'm like, all right then. Will you ride your longboard? Be happy. That's great. Other people wanna push hard on a $2,000 racing bike, you know, and scream to and from work wearing Lycra. You know what I mean? Less air resistance. You know, I think they refer to as mammals, middle-aged men in Lycra. So, if you're going to be one of those people, then that's fine. Don't be one of those people. No, I've worked with these people. They're people too. Anyway, but you know what? It's fine. I am not putting on Lycra. I'm not doing it. I don't care what you pay me. I will not do it. Actually, hang on. Let me think about that. I'll get back to you on the dollar value. Maybe I will consider that. So, there is a figure. Maybe there is, but you know what, I'm not going to do that to you, this is an audio show. What's the Patreon URL again? A new Patreon tier where John wears lycra for a day. I could be convinced, anyway, never mind, $2,000. Alright, so my point is, if you want to be a mammal and you want to, you know, ride your $2,000 racing bike, bike, hell for leather and cover 30 kilometers in five minutes. That's great. Actually, I have no idea how fast that is off the top of my head, but that sounds pretty fast. That sounds insanely fast, Jon. You know, my point is, you know, you can do that too. And that's totally fine. Right. And, and that works for you, but that is simply not the fast majority of people. It isn't. And it's never going to be. Ludicrous speed. Yeah. They've gone full plaid on their racing bike. All right. So all of those exemptions are excluded from this. - Yeah, it's a gone full plan Lycra, nice. Okay, so multimodal transportation, just to make sure it's clear what I mean is single mode transportation is the idea that you hop in a car at home, drive to work, get out, that's it. The truth is though, that that's actually quite expensive. And in many cases, it's wasteful and it's inefficient. Multimodal is the idea that there's a core distance that you're trying to cover in the shortest period of time, usually by public transport. And the first, sometimes called primary leg, to that link, or the third or final leg from that link to the destination are different modes of transportation. They could be anything. It could be walking, you know, that's simple enough. Or it could be riding a bicycle, or it could be something else. So it's probably overthinking it, but technically you could walk-- - I'm glad you explained that. - Okay, cool. Because some of us would have heard multimodal and we would assume something was going to pop up along the way and ask how we were enjoying the ride. [laughter] Modal dialogues, yes. No. Such a programmer, Vic. I don't know. But, yes. So, um, alright, so it's probably what you're saying. What would you like to review? This ride to work? How, yes, exactly. Okay, or I'm kind of okay and you can't have cancel on a button, apparently. Anyway, maybe later. So, right. So, it's probably overthinking it, I guess, technically. You could walk from home to a train station, catch a train and walk from the train to uni or work. And in that case, technically, it is two modes. You've got walking, where that's primary and the final leg, and public transport is the main leg. But other examples, and one example which I'll talk about in future is the one that I'm doing, which is the primary and the main leg is driving from home, but then I street park and then ride my bike or an EUC on the final leg to work. Now that one is a long story and I'll get to that at some point. Another example is riding a bicycle to the train station. You lock your bike up at the train station, then you catch the train in and then you walk from the train to uni or to work or college or school or whatever. So there's lots of examples, but that hopefully gives you a general idea of what I'm talking about. The APTA, which is the America's Public Transport Association, did an interesting study a few years ago looking at how millennials view the future of transportation moving away from the motor vehicle because it's expensive. And whilst they're pushing their own agenda on that one, the report makes for an interesting read nevertheless. So, I'd encourage you to read that. There's a link in the show notes just to basically point out that, yes, this is something that is going to become a bigger thing. All right, so that's multimodal transportation. So now, let's talk about, I mentioned before the category, self-propelled motorized and so on. So, let's put a box around what we're going to talk about specifically. Okay. Okay. So, self-propelled, it's not actually a long list because there's only so many ways you can self-propel yourself. Yeah, anyway. I'm going to start with putting wheels on your feet, roller skates and roller blades, skateboards and long boards, they're closely related. I have to put it in there, pogo sticks, technically pogo sticks. Anyway. Yeah. Unicycles. There were some annoying shoes called Heelys that the youngsters were wearing around here a few years back. They were pretty trendy. You heard of these? Oh, my kids lusting after these Heelys. They wanted a pair and we've resisted and they have not got any yet and probably never will. But they do look cool. You're a great father, John Chigi. Yeah. Anyway, so, yes, those are, so just in case people aren't aware what they are, they're a sneaker with a little wheel in the heel. Hence, I think the name Heely's right. Yeah, they're the thing the kid in the supermarket tried to take you down with. Exactly. Yes, anyway, they're actually quite difficult to walk on because if you walk to heel first you'll just fall over. Also have to include unicycles in the list as in like pedaled unicycles like jugglers and people in the circus ride. Yeah, technically self-propelled. - Bears. - Bears ride them? Oh yeah, true. Yeah, apparently so. Anyway, you've also got the two wheel kind where you've got bicycles, which is of course, you know, a pretty big one and push scooters as in like, you know, a scooter, two wheels, handlebars, push, push, there you go. I wanted to exclude devices from this discussion that require you to attach them to your body as well. And when I say attach them to your body, I'm thinking more about transition time and how much of a pain in the neck it is. So I've been a roller skater since I was a kid and the amount of time it takes to lace up your skates, and I even found when I had with my roller blades, when I'm clipping them up, I spent a lot of time ratcheting them and tightening them so they're just right. So it takes me a good five minutes, maybe, maybe six minutes to strap them up and unstrap them or lace them up and unlace them. It actually takes quite a bit of effort and it's a pain in the neck. Whereas if you've got a skateboard, you step off the skateboard, pick up the skateboard and walk off. You know what I mean? It's like the transition time is nothing, practically nothing. So I just want to exclude roller skates, roller blades from the discussion. I think I'll exclude pogo sticks as well, 'cause I mean, well, hey, pogo sticks. And unicycles, because unicycles aren't really good commuting devices. And frankly, roller skates really aren't good commuting devices either, but there's a whole bunch of other little reasons. So what I'd like to do is like bundle skateboards and push scooters together. So the idea is you stand on them with one foot and you push with the other foot. So let's just call them pushboards and be done with it and you'll know what I'm talking about. but I'm mainly talking about long boards, I guess, but you know, pushboards, let's just call it that and run with it. And bicycles, because bicycles are the single most popular self-propelled means of transportation in the whole world. So definitely gonna be talking about them. - Okay, I'm just gonna point out that if you're running with any of those, you're doing it wrong. (laughing) - Nice. Yes, you're absolutely right. Poor choice of words on my part, but yes, true. Alrighty, motorized ones. So let's talk about individual and protected. And that's actually pretty unusual because that's a car with one seat. And sometimes there are cars like that and they call them like micro cars or bubble cars, which is both, but they're both horrible names, but anyway. The smallest production four-wheeled vehicle on the road today that's mass produced is the Smart 4/2. It's technically a subcompact vehicle though, 'cause it has two seats. Have you ever seen one of these things? - I have. - Yeah, very short, very tiny. I always marvel at where the heck the engine is, but yes, they're a very stubby looking car. But anyhow. - Yep. We have them here called smart cars. - Yes, that's right. I think they're a sub-brand of Mercedes or something, or BMW, I lose track of who owns who. - I don't know about that. - I don't know. - I just know occasionally I pass one on the interstate my commute to work and I think you know if somebody hit that thing it's just gonna become a pinball and shoot up and down the highway. You may well be right. So but technically that's not an individual vehicle because it's got two seats. So anyway now obviously there's Formula One cars and Indy cars they've got one seat but you know they're not really good for commuting for a whole bunch of other reasons although they probably a lot easier to park than some cars. Anyway, there's also these things that are sort of, well, they're becoming sort of popular, they call them Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles or NEVs. They're speed limited though and they can't really go on all roads, so you can't really drive them on freeways or even major arterial roads. You also can't drive them because they're too big on a footpath or a sidewalk or a bikeway. So, they are very limited. This is meant for, as the name suggests, neighborhood travel and that's it. So, people saying they're the future, they're awesome and so on and I think that they're kind of like a glorified go-kart of a sort that's enclosed but I don't know. They haven't really taken off that well. They are becoming more popular but in any case. I really don't think any of those are worth talking about in any great degree of detail because I don't think anyone uses those any of those vehicle classes for commuting in any numbers whatsoever and there just aren't enough options out there anyway if there were more options maybe people would use them but you know I don't know maybe their time will come and it just hasn't come yet maybe I don't know so we'll leave them out of this discussion I think. Okay, so motorized, individual and exposed. So, these are basically things like motorized scooters all the way up to four-blown motorbikes. So, yes, a larger motorbike can carry two people, but generally they're designed just to carry the one. I don't want to go into too much depth about scooters though because they can't go on all roads, they're not fast enough, like, you know, And so when I say scooters, you know what I mean? Like a little single speed, 50 CC, putt-putt. Gosh, there's other names for them. They escape me at the moment, but yeah, scooters. And when I say scooters, I don't mean like a push scooter, like a motorized scooter. All right, cool. So I don't wanna really talk about scooters too much because they're not good enough for a decent commute because of the distances you have to travel. You can't take them on all roads. so that's not useful. And of course you can't ride them on a bikeway and you can't ride them on a sidewalk or a footpath. So we'll consider all motorbike classes together as one. So everything from choppers to sports bikes, all engine sizes, like everything from 250ccs up to however big. And we're just gonna call them motorcycles and that's it. And a more recent set of motorized devices are electric bicycles. and obviously segways and electric unicycles and hoverboards and they all derive from a segway. And there's a lot more to talk about with those as well. So definitely gonna include those. In most countries, they can travel pretty much anywhere. People can walk, but yes, they struggle with stairs. So not meaning stairs, but then most cars struggle with stairs. Anyway, and motorbikes. In some countries you can ride segways on the road as well, but others you can't ride a solely electric driven device on public roads because it's considered to be a motor vehicle and it has to comply with motor vehicle regulations and it's not a motor vehicle so it doesn't so it can't. It's a little bit convoluted but that's just the way it shakes out in the end unfortunately. But anyway, so we'll consider segways and electric bicycles in two categories as well. So we've got motorbikes, segways, bicycles. So the last one to consider, last classification is multiple and protected. Some would say that a convertible is exposed but it's got a top then you can put the top up and pull it down again and they may or may not leak, personal experience, they all leak anyway. Modern convertibles come with roll bars. The memories, the memories, I haven't had a convertible in years and I still remember young and not so bright John driving it through a car wash and learning the hard way. Anyway bad bad stupid idea. Anyway never mind that. Modern convertibles have got roll bars behind the seats these days, seat belts, pre-tensioners. They're a lot safer than they used to be but you know if you roll a convertible it's probably gonna hurt a lot more than if you rolled a sedan. I would think so. Yeah, so anyway, so pretty much every other car out there we're going to compact into one category. So sedan, station wagons, roadsters, SUVs, four-wheel drives, utes or pickup trucks, whatever you want to call them. Every single size you can imagine, all types or classes of these together, we're just going to call them cars. There you go, it's a simplification but it works for the point of this exercise. And so we have our shortlist, we have pushboards and that is with or without handles. Bicycles, electric bicycles, segways, motorcycles and cars. What do you think? I think that's a list. Alrighty. So I want to look at each of those items in that shortlist from a few different angles and these are different aspects or attributes if you'd like I guess of each of those modes. So the first one is human energy. How much effort does it take to use them. The next one is storage. So how portable is it when you're not using it? So at home, at your destination, when you're switching modes of transportation let's say. The next one is transition time. So how long does it take to prepare that mode of transport for use and to stow it or stop using it when you're done? The speed, obviously, how fast can you go? The usability of it, so where can you ride or drive it and where can't you? The safety is a big one. How likely are you to get injured on this thing? And finally, the cost. That is the cost not just to purchase it but also to operate and maintain it. So obviously something's got higher running costs than others. What do you think so far? So far so good? Excellent, very good. Okay, so let's talk about human energy and I had to be very careful to say human energy because I thought about it originally the title was energy and I'm like yeah but energy could come from lots of places so this is yeah us doing the hard work so we're um we pedal power we pedal power push power whatever you want to call it we eat food muscles do stuff we expend energy and we break a sweat, it's all good. All right. So start off with pushboards. So there are a few, there are very few actual useful references for how much energy it takes. But intuitively, what I did find is pretty much what I'd expect. So a scooter and a skateboard require more energy for propulsion over the same distance as something like a longboard. And, you know, let's be honest, a scooter is just a skateboard with a handlebar for easiest and brightest stability, right? But long boards are different. They've been refined for longer, higher sustained speeds. They've got better bearings, they're more precise machining. So they're better, they've got better balance. There's, there's no requirement for them to be light. Um, cause you're not trying to do tricks on long boards. So you're not trying to do Ollie's rail slides or anything like that. They're meant to be efficient for cruising. So in case you've never seen a long board, just imagine a skateboard that's stretched out a bit longer, the trucks are slightly wider, so the wheels slightly wider. And it's, I don't know what else to describe it. Some of them are shaped like an elongated diamond. Some of them are sort of like rectangular, but they sort of duck in around the trucks and some of them are sunken down slightly. They're all different designs, but the whole concept is you get on this thing and you put one push gets you further than you would on a skateboard. So, the wheels are generally larger as well. It's designed to be more rugged, but the price is that it's, you can't do tricks on it very easily. And obviously it's bigger and heavier, but you know, that's not what it's designed for. So sometimes labeled as land yachts. Yeah, that's true. They are actually. And I see some people even put sails on them, um, and bigger wheels and they, uh, they, they ride them off road. But again, see previous discussion, uh, about that. I'm not, not doing off road stuff, but anyway. So if you were actually looking to have a pushboard of some kind for commuting, you would choose a longboard. And I'm talking about ones that aren't powered. Of course, there are powered ones, but I'm not including those ones. So the optimum commuting board is a longboard and they can coast downhills under gravity, which is really nice. Bearing efficiency isn't as good as that of bicycles. So in 2014, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the NCBI, which is really not a very useful acronym. Sometimes when you have acronyms that is don't, they're no easier. They don't roll off the tongue at all. I mean, what is it? Nuk-Nuk-Bee. Hmm. -Nuk-Bee? -Nuk-Nuk-Bee. Yeah, no, this doesn't work. Anyway. So anyway, in the States, yes, did a study of long borders as it related to energy efficiency. It makes for an interesting read. There's a link in the show notes, but they found for a typical speed of 4.5 metres per second. And yeah, we all talk in metres per second, right? Anyway, so that's actually 16 kilometres an hour or 10 miles per hour. The gross metabolic cost was 2.2 joules per kilogram per metre. Now, if that doesn't help, then compare that to an average walking pace for an average person, which is between 4 to 4.5 joules per kilogram per metre. So from a human energy perspective, longboarding requires approximately 50% less energy per mass per distance traveled compared to walking. So a longboard is actually more efficient than walking the same distance. And it's also quicker. So that's a bit about pushboards and energy consumption. Now let's talk about bicycles. And I love bicycles. I've been riding bikes for as long as I can remember. And honestly, bicycles are amazing because traveling at an average speed on relatively level ground, it takes somewhere between one third to one fifth of the amount of energy to ride a bicycle compared to walking the same distance. It's unbelievable. And mechanically, it's actually the most efficient form of transportation in the world. Mechanically, 99% of the energy that you put into the pedals results in energy transferred into motion. the losses are so miniscule. And that's a direct drive. If you're gonna go through derailleurs and gearing and everything, you're gonna have different losses depending upon gear ratios and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And not the world is not flat and level. So, you know, it's kind of obviously it varies, but generally it's, yeah, it's pretty impressive. And if any bicycle that has a ratchet mechanism, which is most of them, it can go down slopes without pedaling and you take full advantage of gravity and coasting, which is a big deal as well, huge energy saver. So bicycles for the win, yes, awesome. Anything motorized. Now I have to say this for the sake of completeness, all right, this is headed human energy. I think it's safe to exclude energy that it takes to sit in a car or sit on a motorbike or stand on a Segway or an electric bicycle. - I agree. - Yeah, it's like, obviously you're consuming energy when you're just sitting around. Yeah, fine. But I mean, come on, you're not. And just a note about electric assisted bicycles, let's be clear. Yes, you can pedal assist, but once you've used that motor, you just end up using the motor and it's not really a bicycle after that. It's basically, it's a stripped down scooter with decorative pedals on it. You know, right? If you're gonna have a bike. Well, electric bicycles. - Yeah, if you're gonna have a bike, have a bike. - Exactly, yeah, exactly. So anyway, and on a segue, yes, you could count core muscle energy expenditure for the single wheel version. I think we've just talked about offline, but honestly, let's not count that. That's just a bit of a stretch. So we're not gonna count that. Is that cool? We're not counting that? - Yes. - That's cool, good. There's more to talk about on that later, don't worry. Okay. Okay. So hold that in. All right. Summary notes on energy consumption. Every form of travel that uses human energy is going to result in some kind of sweat, but how badly you sweat depends on how vigorously you ride, walk, or run, how hot it is, how humid it is, and so on. So that said most people that do anything above a brisk walk in terms of physical exertion have another thing to consider and that's changing clothes and they get to work. So, this is sort of given rise to end of trip or EOT facilities. Is that what they call them in the States? I'm not really sure. I don't have a lot of exposure to that. So. Well, I heard the terminology used only a few years ago here, and I'm not sure if it's a global thing or not in terms of the terminology. But the idea is that you'll have a set of lockers, generally in the basement or subbasement of the building you work in. And it's a place to store dry clothes or a place to hang your wet, damp, moist, whatever clothes to air out and dry. And typically they'll have, yeah, fancy, huh? And typically they'll, and they'll typically have a shower. Sometimes you can bring your own towel, other times they'll do all of that for you, depending on how flash it is. So, yeah, encouraging people to ride bikes to work, for example, is the main driver of the end of trip facilities that I've seen. And the last few years they've been getting better and better quality and more snazzy. There was a recent retrofit of a nearby building that some people were using 'cause we are moving buildings. But anyway, and they were thrilled because it actually had a shirt press, you know, like an iron press, like the long flat beds, like it's the whole thing's like an ironing plate. You just put the whole shirt in and press it and then just does the whole thing iron in one go kind of thing. - That's pretty cool. Yeah, you know what I mean, it's like a, yeah, anyway. But yes, I personally, I mean, the thing is that the joke going around the office was that the amount of time it would take you when you walked in to turn that on before it would heat up, I mean, you'd be there for 20 minutes waiting for it to warm up to do one shirt. No one's gonna do that. - Yeah. - So anyway, nevermind. Okay, so that's human energy. Starting with human energy there. So before we go any further, I just wanna talk about our sponsor for this episode, and that's Makers for Good. formerly Exosensory Devices, and they're an innovative company based in Palo Alto, California and they've recently released the Helio, a solar powered lantern light, flashlight and power bank. The Helio has an intensely bright flashlight at 150 lumens, but if that's too bright or you want longevity, it has medium and low light settings as well. The same too for its lantern light, but as a bonus, the lantern light also provides a red light as well as a white light. There's also an emergency flashing mode in case you need a signal for help. The Helio will take about 17 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge from flat and yes it would take a couple of days to charge it if you would just use solar power but after that you'll get 15 hours of lantern or flashlight. Now at 5200 milliamp hours a fully charged Helio can recharge an iPhone X one and a half times from flat. Now if that isn't impressive enough I mentioned low light before, if you're using the medium light output you'll get 5 continuous days worth of light, and in low light output you'll get a whopping 1 month of light output without needing to recharge. If solar isn't available it can be charged from a standard micro USB port from flat in only 6 hours. The Helio comes in a variety of colours, Redwoods, Moonrock Grey and Adventure Green and all models come with a convenient flip out stand hook that It can be used to either suspend the Helio from a hook or to stand it upright on any flat surface. It also comes with a convenient lanyard for carrying and three low-powered LEDs indicate its overall charge level. All the ports are protected by a tight water-resistant cover and the stand is all metal with a solid metal ratchet mechanism that holds it in place when it's standing. The first thing that strikes you when you hold the Helio is how solid and strong it feels. It's made from a high strength polycarbonate case that's impact resistant and the unit weighs only 370g. All of that and it's not much bigger than an average sized maglite measuring about 8" long by 2.5" wide and just over 1" thick. A solid product like this is not built down to a price, rather it's built for its performance and it speaks for itself. The Helio is only $89.95 US, but there's something different that we really need to mention here. Makers for Good have a non-profit arm and as part of that all profits from sales of the Helio are used to support non-profit organisations through their Share Light program. Their ultimate goal is to help to bring renewable and safer light and energy to parts of the world that are still reliant on kerosene and candles in a package that's just as at home anywhere in the world. So if you'd like to check one out, just head over to MAKERS4, as in the number four, good or one word, .com/engineered to learn more and enter the coupon code engineered for 20% off your Helio in your color of choice. And shipping is free anywhere in the continental United States. Thank you to MAKERS4GOOD for sponsoring the Engineered Network. Storage time. Let's start with those push boards, yo. Now long boards, they're pretty big, but you can get storage bags for them and backpack bags that lets you strap them to your back and get around, but that kind of works. They can lean against a nearby wall, but you can put them in most lockers, under a desk, out of the way, same kind of thing at home. They're pretty unobtrusive really. So essentially they're one of your most portable options and they weigh around about eight pounds or about three and a half kilos. that's for a complete 42 inch long board. Now, obviously, your mileage will vary. There are larger ones, heavier ones and lighter ones, but just go with that for an average. All right, bicycles. So there's two broad types of bikes from a storage perspective, just a normal bike and a folding bike. And I actually have both. My folding bike has 20 inch wheels, And when it folds, it can easily fit in the boot or the trunk, whatever you wanna call it, or the hatchback if you prefer in my Honda Jazz. So the vast majority of bikes though, aren't folding bikes. Folding unfortunately adds more weight because the hinge mechanisms need to be made from some stronger material. And it's just, it's heavy unfortunately. The main support bar on the frame also needs to be thicker as well because you generally can't do a fold with a triangle frame structure that most bicycles have got. So that's a bit of a pain. But honestly, you could fold bicycles under your desk at work, I guess, but honestly, you just, they're too big to be leaning on a wall, folded or unfolded. Taking them on a train or a bus can be annoying, even if you can fold them. I've seen people do it. I haven't done it myself, but it sort of gets them a little bit out of the way, but they're still, you know, they're not the most inconspicuous of things. Yeah. You don't want to be that guy. No, I've seen people do it. Right. And in rush hour, they get a lot of dirty looks and yeah, it's not, yeah, it's generally considered to be not good. Um, it's not against the rules though, on the trains here in Brisbane, but I know in some, some places it is, uh, you're not supposed to bring bikes on a train in the rush hour direction during rush hour. Um, but they never enforce it. So anyway, um, right. So anyway, the only good news is that most buildings have some bike racks and if they don't have bike racks, you'll find a pole somewhere. If you look hard enough that you can strap the bike to for security. So it doesn't get stolen. Uh, all the honest thieves don't take it. The dishonest thieves carry bolt cutters anyway, or a small vat of acid, I guess, and put little eyedroppers of acid on them. Your tone of voice there indicated you may have had some experience with this. Of having a bike stolen? Hell yeah. Not me stealing a bike, no. Okay, just clarifying. Oh dear, no I don't keep a vat of acid just for that special occasion, no I don't. Anyway, never mind that. So the other thing of course is end of trip facilities will often have lock up bike storage since that's the main use case for using an end of trip facility. And that's great. Some, like my old and new building I work in have both got these, which is awesome. And they've got different ones. Like you can hang the bike up on the wall. Other ones, the bike racks are like two tiered. So you literally, like you pull a slider down from the wall, put the bike on it, and then the spring loader, the spring loading pulleys, then basically yank it back up the wall out the way. So you can double stack the bicycles, which is really cool. Anyway. - That is cool. - It is very cool. And obviously when you've got a lot of people riding and you've got a small space to store it, then however you can make it more efficient, then that's the better for everybody. At home of course, the good thing with bicycles is you can keep them anywhere you like. You know, most people keep them in the garage, but you know, when I had an apartment, lived in an apartment, I would keep mine in the apartment rather than the garage. Don't know why, I just did. Anyway, that was a while back. Okay, so about electric bicycles. Essentially, all my comments about bicycles are pretty much the same for electric bicycles, that there's one big difference. What's the big difference with an electric bike you reckon, Vic, in terms of storage and getting it around? - Well, I would think you probably need a place where you can plug it in to recharge it. - That is a good point. Actually, that was my second point, but the first point actually, what I was trying to drive at was they're actually really heavy. - Ah, yeah, I can see that. - Yeah, it's something that didn't occur to me until I tried to lift one up once. These things are two to three times heavier than a regular bike. And it's because the motor and the battery, even if the battery's lithium, it's still heavy. And the motor in these things is the heaviest thing. And sometimes, and in a lot of designs that aren't hub motors, you've got a bunch of extra gearing on there and equipment for transmitting the motor power to the drive wheel. So it's also a bit problematic if you've got a folding e-bike, because if you're trying to lift that in and out of the boot of a car, yeah, you gotta be real careful you don't do your back in. It's, they're that heavy, seriously. But so apart from that, and the charging point, obviously, although some bikes have got removable batteries and you can take the battery with you and charge that at your desk or somewhere more convenient. But the Enotrip facilities in my current building actually do have charge points for electric bikes. So you're right, that's definitely a consideration. But apart from that, it's much the same. So you still need bike racks, they're still awkward to lean against a wall and at school or work, you need bike racks basically. Okay, segways. Full-size segways, talk about them for a minute. They're actually very cumbersome. They don't fit in a bike rack and like an e-bike, they're pretty heavy. And as an example, the i2 commuter Segway model weighs 48 kilograms. That's 105 pounds. So that is, you can't really carry that. - That's not light. - No, no it isn't. But you can lock them to a post, I guess. But that's pretty much it. You can stand or lean them against the wall, but kind of like a bike, they take up a fair bit of space. It's not really ideal. So segways are kind of awkward to park, right? If you're using a hoverboard, which are those one flat boards with the wheel on each end and hinge in the middle, now they can be carried in a special carry bag or a backpack but they're also not that light and they'll weigh between 10 to 15 kilos, which is about 22 to 33 pounds. So they're a bit heavy. It's doable. It's certainly more doable than a bloody full-size segway. But yeah, still, you know, they're heavy. Now, if you're able to manage a single wheel electric unicycle or an EUC, then you can get a 14 inch wheel model that will fit in a large backpack, weighing only 7.5 kilograms, which is about 16 pounds. That's a lot better. And it's quite doable to carry around. But for hoverboards and EUCs, they'll also tuck away out of desks, they'll fit in lockers. So it's kind of similar to a pushboard, you know, longboard, whatever, for storage. but full-size Segways like bicycles, they're kind of hard to lock them down. Non-handlebar Segways, they're kind of like pushboards, just they're a bit heavier, like a fair bit heavier. At home, keep them anywhere you like, in the garage or in the house for charging, I suppose, 'cause you've got to charge them as well 'cause they've got a battery. Okay, motorcycles, now we're getting serious. Parking a motorbike at home. It doesn't actually take up too much space, but because it's got gasoline in it, you probably wanna keep that in the garage and not in the house. At work, you're gonna need to pay for a space most likely, although some cities have got free parking for motorcycles, but because that's popular, you'll find that most motorcyclists will start early so they can get a free spot that's close to where they work. - Yeah. - At least that's what I've observed anyway. I don't know what it's like where you live. - You don't wanna get there when all the spots are full. - So, do you have people that go in get the other motorcycle spots free in the CBD near where you are, the middle town? I think for the most part, most people around here, where I live anyway, which is kind of in the sticks, most people just use a regular parking space for their motorcycle. Yeah. Do we hate those people? Because it's not really space efficient. It's not really space efficient, but if they don't really have anywhere else to park it, alternative to the have. Yeah, I suppose that's a good point. Yeah, what we have in Brisbane... I don't live in a... it's not a... it's a very rural area where I live. Yeah, I know, I know, I know. Okay, well fair enough. In Brisbane there are definitely designated spots for motorcycles that are about the size of a motorcycle and they'll have painted lines and boxes and you'll fit three motorcycles in the same space as for a car, but in any case it's generally frowned upon here parking a motorcycle in a car space. People do do it when there are no other options, you're quite right, and I guess that's fair enough, but if there is a motorcycle spot and there's nothing in it, and then a few spaces down is a car spot with one motorbike in it, people get a bit shirty about that, but anyway. So the bottom line though, yeah, but the bottom line though is if you're not going to go stupid early and there aren't free car spots or free motorcycle spots, sorry, then parking at the destination is going to require a space and it's going to cost you money. So, but you know, if you're in a big city, it generally costs to park any kind of a large vehicle whether it's a motorbike or our next category which is a car. And obviously parking a car at home is going to, you need a garage or a driveway I guess. You could street park in some places, not all, and there are many situations where it's not possible to have a car at all because it's a one or two bedroom apartment and there's no car space, there's no street parking, there's nothing. But obviously we're assuming that that is some possibility since it's part of the equation we're talking about. So parking at your destination though is going to require a car space of some kind, whether that's at a supermarket, whether it's at school, uni, or at your office building. Now in big cities, that can get very, very expensive. Like $400 a month is what it costs on average for a car space in the Brisbane CBD. It's quite expensive, I think. Obviously some people might say, "Oh, that's really cheap compared to insert city's name here, maybe London." But you know what? And that's another good point. Driving cars and such in some cities have introduced congestion taxes. So you drive through the city like they do that in London, and there's an additional charge for driving into the city in your car. Anyway, so in big cities, driving into the city can cost you, parking in the city will cost you a lot more. And those sorts of free spots like on the street, they're very hard to come by. Some people, yeah, you can find them in some parts of some cities, but they generally go just like the motorcycle free spots very early in the morning. So, unless you're going to get up real early, you're not going to get them. Anyway, alright, so that's storage. So let's talk about transition time. And this is an interesting one because if you're doing multimodal transportation, you've got to consider how long it takes to switch between modes. Walking is like obviously instantaneous. So that's not really worth talking about. But pushboards, switching from carrying a board to riding a board is less than what, two seconds maybe? It's not long. It's really not long. - If you're using a-- - Slap it down and hop on. - Pretty much. And if you're using a scooter, sometimes people might fold the handle down. Like if you're carrying it in a backpack or something like that, in which case it might take you five seconds. Unfold the handle, hop on and push. You know, not much else to do. But you know, it could take maybe 15 seconds. I don't know if you're putting it in and out of a special bag maybe, but it's not long, it's pretty fast. So because you can technically ride them on sidewalks you can typically ride them right up to the door and you're carrying them, so you don't need to park, you don't need to lock or stow them necessarily either. So that actually reduced your transition time a lot compared to some of the other options. So let's think about bicycles for a second. If you're folding and unfolding a bike, I've timed it, it takes about 45 seconds from fully stowed to rideable and vice versa. It's much the same for me, whichever way I'm going. Now, if you're not- - That's quicker than I would have expected. I've had a lot of practice, I've gotten quite good at it. When I started doing it was like two minutes, but you get good at it. And I've marked spots so I know the right height to put the seat at and it's all been preset for me. So I unfold it, lock it in position, hop on and go. So it's not too bad. All right, now, if you're not folding or parking or you don't have a folding bike, then your transition time is just locking and unlocking it. and that includes your helmet, presumably, locking that with the bike. It's probably about 30 seconds. You get off the bike, push in the bike rack, get out the bike lock, weave it through the spokes and the frame, 'cause you never just lock just the wheel, 'cause then they'll just take the wheel off and steal the bike anyway, depending on where you live, right? - Yeah. - Anyway. Yeah, and where you're parking it. Anyway, so then you park it, and generally speaking, you don't wheel the bike into the building, generally speaking. And if you're going to an end of trip facility, you still got to park your bike and then you got to get changed and go to wherever. So the problem with bicycles is you don't actually walk right up to the door with them. You're gonna have to transfer some time and walk a final, final, final leg as it were. And that's just the way it is. Electric bicycles, it's slightly longer 'cause they're heavier, but other than that, the same stories for bicycles. And of course a little bit of extra time for plugging it in to charge. But if you get a big enough battery on them you just do it once a day. You do it when you get home. Or if you're really cheap, do it at work and company electricity free. But yeah, we'll get to the running cost in a minute. If you're gonna be that guy you might as well be at that guy. Damn straight man. Hey it's free electricity. They can't trace it to my bike anyway, they're mine that. Alright so segways. Now full-size segways, they might be hard to find a safe spot to park them but locking them and unlocking them is about the same as a bicycle caught 30 seconds. Now if you again same problem as bicycles you've got to park it where you can and walk the last leg. Now for hoverboards though and EUCs if you get off them you can bag them and keep walking or carry them and it's probably worst case about 60 seconds thereabouts. And you can ride them right up to the door because you're allowed to ride them on a footpath or a sidewalk just like a pushboard. So that's actually not too bad. Motorcycles, once you're dressed in your safety gear, and that's of course assuming you're good and wearing safety gear hop on, turn the key, away you go. Not much to it, assuming it starts of course. Parking it, sometimes you kind of walk it backwards into its spot and turn it off, but that doesn't take long either. Call it 20 seconds. It's not a heck of a lot of time. But then of course you've got to do the last thing like bicycles, you've got to walk to the door and so on. Alright, cars. I can't believe I'm going to describe it, but here we go. Unlock the car, open the door, sit down, put on your seatbelt, because you're good, insert and twist the key or push the start button and away you go. There you go. Parking is all that in reverse, yee-haw. About 20 seconds each time, kind of like a motorcycle and again assuming that it starts and you don't have a flat battery and all that kind of thing. I'm not talking about electric cars necessarily because they're not populous enough yet but they will be someday and that'll be awesome. Anyway, never mind that. But you don't need any special clothing. That's actually a huge time saver because you can actually get in the car in your final workout. If you're riding a motorcycle and you're gonna wear the proper protective gear which we'll cover shortly when we get down to safety, that can take a serious amount of time. So not as smart as some think. Alrighty, speed is our next category. I feel the need. So push boards. Top speed. When you're pushing yourself on level ground, there's about 18 kilometers an It's about 11 miles an hour now downhill you could probably make up to 50 kilometers an hour 31 miles an hour But that's kind of crazy and dangerous. I guess but people do it hell I have and it was scary Yeah Yeah so bicycles Dear so the top speed cruising down a gentle slope or pushing hard on my folding bike I've actually managed 45 k's an hour which is about 28 miles per hour which is going on it that's a reasonable kind of a clip especially for a 20 inch wheel folding bike you know on a racer I've gone much faster so on my 10 speed racer when I was a kid I say kid I was a teenager like I said a kid going down a very steep hill in open air I managed 90 kilometers an hour, that's 56 miles an hour. Jesus. And I did 110 kilometers an hour, which is 68 miles an hour slip streaming. So there were two of us and we took turns taking the lead and the goal one of us had, uh, we actually broke several speedometers trying this. I don't know if I've ever told the story before on a podcast, but, um, we were trying to set a speed record because, you know, Hey, teenage boys, why not? Anyway. Yeah. Yeah. And anyway, we had an analog speedometer that had a cog that would attach inside the frame of the front wheels. And as the wheel would turn, it would do a rotation. And then that would drive a... Do you remember these old ones? Did it have a couple of little arms that stuck into the wheel spokes? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. You know exactly what I'm talking about. I've seen it. And yeah. And that would drive an old-style analog gauge that showed you your speed. Basically the way they all used to work, right? Yeah, I never saw one that had a gauge that went up that high either. Nope, that was what we discovered because we were shocked how fast we were actually going because we had no idea at that point. So the thing had a top speed of 60 km/h and we basically broke it and melted it. It literally melted. The inside was connected by a stainless steel, well, actually I don't know if it was stainless steel. It was a steel square cable. So it was a square cable to transmit the rotations right from the bottom to the top. That was no longer square when we got to the bottom. It was a perfect round. It had twisted itself into a perfect circle. And it was so hot you couldn't touch it. And we had to wait 20 minutes for it to cool down so we could pull it apart to find out why it was stuck over about 70 miles, 70 Ks an hour. So then we bought a digital speedo and We put the digital speed on our bike and that's what we took our readings on. We calibrated it, we got it pretty accurate and yes, 110 Ks an hour slip streaming. That's pretty impressive. This insane, it's ridiculous. It's kind of scary. Well yeah, I mean how that story ends was that I was riding my bike down a hill one day doing stupid speeds and I came off, did a somersault. The bike did three somersaults, cracked the frame and I gouged my arm down to the bone and ended up in hospital. Never mind that, that's another story. - You didn't break anything? - No, I didn't break a damn thing. Isn't that funny? And I say that's not funny. - Well, you were a teenager. We're made of rubber in those years. (laughing) - We're not made of rubber anymore, Vic. - Not so much these days, no. - We're gonna talk about that in just a second. Don't you worry. Hold that thought. Okay, so finally. - The top speed I've gotten most recently is a few months back, I was on a pretty good downhill and I kinda leaned into it and made myself as aerodynamic as possible. when I hit about 32. - Nice. That's pretty good. - 32 miles per hour. Yeah, it was pretty scary though. - Yeah. - I was sitting there thinking the whole time, you know, if something happened here, I'm not gonna live through it. - Yeah, that's it. So the whole safety thing is really, really interesting. So yeah, we'll get to that, believe me. So just talking about averages then, if you're in good shape and a typical, a pretty typical average speed for a bicycle is about 20-25 km/h, which is about 12-15 mph. So I think that's pretty safe. Yeah, do you agree with that? Yeah, that sounds about average for... Yeah, if you're in reasonable shape. Maybe slower if you're not, but that's okay. So electric bicycles... The gear ratio of your bike also comes into play too. Oh, absolutely it does, absolutely. So for electric bicycles, it's pretty much the same as bicycles, but since they're heavier, it's actually harder to go faster faster on level ground without using the electric assist. So the electric assist varies depending upon the model. In Australia, they're supposed to be speed limited to 20 kilometers an hour, but plenty of people hack them and they just ignore that. And of course, you can just import your own motors and upgrade them and do sorts of all sorts of hacking and stuff. Nevermind. Down a hill, they're much the same as a normal bicycle. They'll cruise at whatever speed, you know, maybe even slightly faster because they're heavier, they've got more momentum. I was going to say they've got a weight advantage in that category. Yes, they do. But ultimately, average speeds are much the same as normal bicycles. The only difference is the amount of human energy expended. Okay, segways. So again, segways are speed limited to about 20 kilometers an hour. So again, about 12 miles an hour. Hoverboards, much the same. Electric unicycles are supposed to be speed limited as well, but there are some models where that's configurable and the fastest one that I know about is the Gotway M Super V3+ and that's got a top speed of 55km/h which is 34mph on a single wheel unicycle. That's crazy. Motorcycles - do I have to mention speed? Like fast, you know like really, really fast? And the same with cars, really fast like motorbikes. So there's no point, I mean obviously if you're going for speed you want a motorized, you want a motorbike or you want a car, that's just you know, they win. So let's talk about usability and then we'll talk about safety. So usability, and the whole point is what's the point of having a mode of transportation if you're not allowed to use it anywhere, if it's illegal. So let's just figure out where we can use it, where we can't. So push boards, now in some countries you can't ride them on the road legally, but generally they're pretty much okay to ride anywhere else, footpaths, cycleways, sidewalks. A lot of people ride them on the road, even though they're not supposed to, or it's a gray area. And, you know, I mean, I used to ride my skateboard on the road all the time as a kid and I never got into trouble. Well, I never got into trouble for riding it on the road anyway. Yeah, we never did either. Yeah. So, you know, nevermind. All right. Bicycles. Now, the great thing about bicycles is you can ride them on any road except a freeway, pretty much. Cycleways, footpaths, sidewalks, they're very... effectively they're the most flexible option that you can get. So apart from freeways, otherwise you're good. Electric bicycles, exactly the same as bicycles, but in some countries they're supposed to be speed limited, like I said before, on bike paths in particular. Now segways are a bit of an oddball because the regulations around the world still haven't figured out what the hell they are. So you can't generally ride them for long distances on a road. Generally only a few hundred feet and when it's not possible to ride them on a footpath or a bikeway, at least that's the rule where I live, but in the US the laws are variable depending on what state you're in and honestly it's really much the same here. In some states they're all different rules again. So watch this space on segways, but generally speaking don't expect to be able to ride them on the road without getting in trouble and it's the same kind of rules as a bicycle but but you generally don't ride them on the road. So, you know, footpaths, cycleways, sidewalks, that kind of thing. Okay, motorcycles. Now, motorcycles, much the same with cars, they're only allowed on roads. You can put them on a footpath when you're parking them only, but you can't travel along a footpath or, you know, footpath, sidewalk, whatever you wanna call it. The thing that's interesting about the usability is rush hour. So the interesting thing with a motorcycle is that you can practice something called lane splitting. I don't know if that's, is that what they call it in the States? I've heard the term, yeah. Yeah. So, the idea is that you've got two cars- You've got to cruise up right through the middle of everybody sitting there stuck. Exactly. And then they clip your wing mirror and it breaks, and then you just start screaming, but they can't hear you because they've got a motorcycle helmet on, they've probably got a loud motorbike, and they're already way off in the distance anyway. Yeah. No, that's never happened to me. No. Anyway, never mind that. Fine. Lane splitting is legal in some countries. It used to be illegal here, but they legalized it. So long as you're going less than 30 kilometers per hour when you're doing it. I've seen people lane split at 100 k's an hour on a motorbike. I was going to say even 30 still sounds kind of kind of fast to be zooming in between a few lanes of cars. Yeah. Now these people are insane, right? They're asking to become roadkill. But never mind. Never mind. So the difference is that motorcycles will typically take about a 50% hit on commuting times in heavy traffic because they have to slow down but they can lane split so they're not stopping it all the time. So with cars on the other hand, of course they're only allowed on roads, they're never allowed on footpaths or sidewalks to park. Roads generally get heavily congested during the peak periods when you want to use a car for commuting purposes which is what this is all about and then you've got nowhere to hide, nowhere to go. So, a typical commute, you can double or even triple the amount of time to travel the same distance during rush hour. It's terrible. So, cars are technically faster, but are they usable if they get stuck and slowed down by rush hour? That has to be considered. Okay. The one we've all been waiting for, safety. Maybe Maybe people don't care about safety, but I think that they probably should. So, there's two dimensions of safety that I want to consider. There's additional safety precautions that come with a time impact. So, you can choose to use them or you can choose not to use them. It takes time if you do choose to use them, to put them on, to take them off. And that has to be balanced with the risk of injury. So let's look at those dimensions for each of our options. So first of all, for pushboards. Now the most safety gear people generally put on a pushboard, skateboard, longboard, whatever you wanna call it, is a helmet. Some people will wear protective gloves on hoverboards and EUCs, for example, but when it comes to pushboards and stuff, it's a, yeah, I don't know. About 20 seconds is all it takes to put a helmet on and some protective gloves and take them off again. You know? - Yeah. - Add another 20-- - The college kids in this town don't even waste that 20 seconds. They wear nothing. - Well, they're welcome to wear nothing if they want to, but if you wanna put on knee pads and arm pads, then that's an extra 20 seconds, let's say. You know, if you're good at it, you whip them on, you whip them off pretty damn quick. Especially the ones that are just Velcro on, Velcro off. Not the ones you slide on. Obviously they take a bit longer if you take your shoes off. But anyway, for the knee pads anyway. Now, what's interesting is that there was a study done focusing on longboards versus skateboards. Now that study was done on injuries between 2006 and 2010, and it showed that longboarders suffered from more cranial injuries and neck injuries than skateboarders did. Now, That's interesting. Yeah. It also concluded that the injuries at skate parks were significantly less. Most likely they concluded due to lower impact speeds and an increased likelihood that they would be wearing safety equipment. Yeah. So that's the interesting... I can see that. Yeah. So that, if you think about it kind of makes sense, because if you're on a skateboard and you're in a skate park, you're thinking, Hey, I'm flying up in the air, doing crazy stuff and blah, blah, blah. Probably dressed appropriately. I probably dressed with safety gear on because I'm thinking it's dangerous, right? If I'm a long boarder, I'm just cruising down the street, man. That's like driving a car or riding a bike. I don't need protective. - I gotta get to work, man. I don't have time for that. - Exactly. And so they don't, a lot of them don't wear helmets. A lot of them don't wear protective gear. They don't even wear long pants. And that's just crazy, right? So we'll talk a little bit about that a little bit more too in a minute. Now here's the one that is particularly pertinent to you and particularly at the moment. And that's bicycle safety gear. So let's just talk quickly about that. and then you can tell the listeners what happened recently in your life. The first thing is the most people, most safety gear that people wear on a bike is a helmet. And a lot of people don't wear helmets because it's not mandated. In Australia, they, they made it mandatory to have bike helmets, um, about 25 years ago. And I remember distinctly, cause that was when I was a teenager. So I used to be able to ride without one and then I had to wear one. And ever since I've gotten old and crafty, I always wear one. And if they'd say, I don't have to wear one, I'm wearing one anyway. And it takes about 10 seconds to put a helmet on, take it off again. That's it. Even if you don't worry with gloves, right? Yeah. So the funny thing is the rate of cyclist injuries and deaths is actually increasing whilst driver injuries and vehicles is decreasing. And if you think about it, it's, it kind of makes sense because I think that it should be attributed to the fact that the car driver and passenger safety features are improving every year, between things like crumple zones and seatbelt pretensions, airbags and all that. Whereas it's impossible to protect cyclists any more than they already are. You can't add a crumple zone to a bicycle. And the only other way to do it is to mandate more protective equipment. So electric bicycles pretty much the same as a bicycle, Exactly, in terms of safety. So, what happened to you recently, Vic, with you and your bicycle? I had a crash. Okay, what kind of crash? Define crash. The bicycle went airborne kind of sideways, and I went kind of airborne, kind of sideways with it, and I landed really hard on my shoulder. Ow. So, how fast-- I was putting it mildly. I was doing about 14 miles an hour, So not too terribly fast. I was navigating home on my way. Often times I'll bike out to go get dinner, to kill two birds with one stone, grab some dinner and get a little bit of a workout in at the same time. I was on my way home with that. I was coming up on some stalled traffic that wasn't moving very fast. There was also cars parked on the side of the road. Rather than try to do a pretty narrow lane split between them, I decided I would just utilize the sidewalk, you know, just for a few moments to get past the traffic. So to do this I was navigating from the road to the sidewalk using a driveway, which had this little minuscule, less than a one inch curve, which you would not think could really do you in, but it in fact can do you in if as you're navigating from the road over this little minuscule one-inch curve if you're too parallel to it and there's some small gravel that can come into play and basically it just kind of bounced my wheel off the curb and sent the bicycle out sideways right out from underneath me. So you just hit you hit the ground pretty much with nothing under you? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I got a nice broken collarbone out of the deal. You broke that thing good, didn't you? I did. It's broken across the bone and it was split lengthwise along the bone. Ow. Yeah. Oh man. So, I know what you've been through, but just for the listeners benefit. So you had surgery to get that remedied, yes? I did yeah oftentimes if you break a clavicle as long as it's still pretty much lined up where it's supposed to be in the gap between the two pieces and it's too big there isn't a whole lot they do for those nowadays then sometimes they'll put you in a in a I think they call it a cross brace or something like that it goes behind your back and over both shoulders you can think of like if you've ever seen like TV cop shows and stuff where they have like this shoulder holster so that they can carry the gun like under their arm It's kind of like that and it just kind of keeps your clavicle lined up the way it should be so that it can heal. This is the way most people recuperate from a broken clavicle. Less than 5% these days actually end up needing to get surgery for it. I was in that lucky 5%. Yeah, because mine was, it was broken. We went to the emergency room. After I realized how badly I was hurt, I I actually walked for about another half a mile pushing my bike because at first I thought I was just sore and I would walk it off and then get back on the bike and ride home. It came pretty clear pretty quickly that wasn't the case and after about a half a mile or so I called my wife and she came and got me and we went to the hospital. And it was obviously broken, we could tell that because it wasn't poking through my skin but it was poking up under my skin. So you could definitely feel some things out of place there. And they did an x-ray and you could see that it was broken and there was actually an overlap. The two pieces of clavicle bone were kind of overlapping each other and pointed inward, like down toward my ribcage. Okay, that qualifies as a very, very major ouch. Yeah. So... So, they sent me to the orthopedic specialist and they looked at my x-rays and they were like, "Yeah, we're going to need to do some surgery on that so we can get you back in a place where you need to be so that'll heal. So they scheduled my surgery for a few days later and I went in and what was supposed to be a 45-minute surgery actually turned into like a two-hour surgery because the doctor said once he got in there he realized not only was it broken across the bone but it was also split lengthwise. Wow. So they they spent some time putting that back together and I got a nice little titanium plate in there on my clavicle from that. You are titanium. I've been upgraded. Oh, Mayhem. Has it made you any faster, stronger? Not yet. Not yet. No, definitely not yet. So it's going to be a long, it's going to be a long road to recovery on this. Isn't it? It would appear to be the case. Yeah. At first, I didn't really see much point in that long recovery because the doctor, he's basically taken me off work for at least four to six weeks. And I thought that sounded excessive at first, but I don't know. Most of the general pain is gone. Like I don't just constantly feel pain just from sitting around anymore. This has been about around three weeks since my surgery now. So I don't have a lot of just general pain at all. But if I move my arm at the shoulder, then I feel pain pretty much anytime I move it. Oh dear, that's not good. From the elbow down, not so much. Anytime I move it at the shoulder. And just to give you an idea, you know, take one hand and put it on your collarbone area and then just start moving your arm around. And you'll feel exactly how much everything moves in there when you do that. Yeah. He wants that to have plenty of time to heal. I'm spending a lot of time, like if I'm out and about or I'm moving around or at night I'm supposed to sleep, I have to keep it in a sling just to keep it immobile. If I'm sitting around or whatever, I can take it out of the sling so I can stretch out my arm and stuff like that. I'm supposed to keep it pretty much immobile for at least another couple of weeks and then there's going to be some therapy involved and stuff because I'm imagining by then my arms are going to look like a toothpick. Yeah. Have you noticed much of a difference in visibly loss of muscle mass or tone since that's been out of action for nearly what a month now nearly? Not too much. Okay. Mainly just like soreness and stiffness and achiness. Okay. So I've never actually had an injury quite that bad before. Yeah. My son had a broken arm that he did a pretty decent job on, but the problem I think with clavicles is where they are is just, it's a very awkward spot. And, uh, and that just means it's just quite a long recovery time. And, um, yeah, it's, um, yeah, well, look, obviously I've said it before, I'll say it again, I'm very sorry to hear about that, how that went down and how you went down. Um, I'm glad you're on the mend. I know you still got a long road ahead of you, but, um, uh, yeah, just to me, it sort of highlights the, um, the sorts of things that you have to face when you're riding a bicycle or you know any other unprotected mode of transportation and the funny thing is I've gone over in my mind since you've told me the story before about what you could have done differently if you're wearing certain protective equipment would you have prevented it and I'm sad I'm sorry to say that there really doesn't sound like there's much that you could have done to prevent it yeah I don't know that there's much in the way of protective equipment that would protect a collarbone. No, because the impact was the impact. Yeah. I suppose maybe if I guess maybe, you know, with some proper training or cat-like reflexes, you could teach yourself to roll in the midair so that you land differently. I don't know. Yeah. But there's a limit to how much you can do. This happens pretty rare. I don't think a lot of people spend a lot of time prepping for that so they know how to go down correct. Yeah. No, I mean, even stuntmen break bones. you know, even though they have training and they've had lots of practice in how to fall well and everything and there's a limit to what you can pull off and the contortions that you can pull off as well. Well, okay, obviously I hope that you have a quick recovery and that you're out of pain shortly and that you're able to get use of your arm back again and all of that because that doesn't sound pleasant at all. And then hopefully you can get back on the bike again if that's what you're going to do or if you're going to stick to the elliptical rower, sorry, the water rower I should say. Oh, I really miss my rower and I really do look forward to getting back on a bicycle too, because I love a bicycle. Yeah, so do I. I like a mode of transportation that's sort of, that is exposed, that gets you out there. So one doesn't go too fast. Yeah. But there's always a risk. There's a big feeling of freedom that comes from, you know, just open air biking. Yeah, - Yeah, absolutely. And the freedom is a beautiful thing. And that's a, is very natural and I like that. So, all right, well look, thank you for sharing that. We'll keep going through the, keep going through to the next item after bicycles. But I have more to say on safety in general. So we'll just get through the segways next, which is the most safety gear people generally put on on a segways is the helmet. Some people will wear protective gloves as well on hoverboards and EUCs, But it takes about the same, same as before, 20 seconds to put them on and to take them off. And if you're going to put knee and arm pads on same kind of thing as if it was a pushboard, exactly the same kind of times, you know, there's, there's really. The problem with stats is I looked for statistics about injuries on segways, hoverboards and electric unicycles. There's just not enough out there. There really just aren't enough out there to get any meaningful statistics at this point. Maybe there will be at some point, but you know, it's just, there's nothing. So I couldn't find anything. Um, all right. Motorcycles on the other hand, Oh, there's a lot of information on them. Riding without safety gear is just really, uh, really, really bad idea. Um, but the downside is if you put on all the safety gear, which we'll talk about in a minute, it could take an extra 20 minutes to get dressed and then to get changed again, when you reach your destination, that's a real time suck. So, the one statistic I'll quote in 2013, motorcycles had 26 times more fatalities per mile than for cars. 26 times more. Yeah. Let's just think about that for a second. That's scary. Yeah. You know, we've actually got a lot of places around here, like where I live here now, we don't have a helmet law on a motorcycle. That's also scary for a different reason. - Yeah, I think we actually did at one point, but I think they actually repealed it. And then it just, it's kind of scary 'cause you see guys riding down the road on a motorcycle. I've seen people in just jeans and a T-shirt, blue jeans and a T-shirt. I've seen people in shorts and a T-shirt. And there's a guy that comes to work that sometimes doesn't wear his helmet. And I asked him about it and he was like, "Eh, bottom line is if I wreck this, "most of the time I'm gonna die anyway, doesn't matter." Okay, yeah, I love, no, I couldn't do it. I can't, words aren't working in that comment. Alright, okay so the great thing about cars and safety, no additional safety gear is required unless you count a seatbelt but you know you don't have to bring anything with you, you don't have to change anything special. The total time it takes to be safe is 5 seconds to put on your seatbelt and take it off when you're done. These days most cars have got five and six star safety rates. I happen to re-baseline safety ratings nowadays because cars are becoming so safe. How to differentiate one that's already really safe to being one that's really, really, really, really, really safe is getting harder. Now, if you want to go on a high speed and be safe as possible, be in a car, not a motorbike. like, be pretty, you know. The problem, I guess, with what's safe and what's not when you're unprotected is down to opinion versus law. And a lot of what's been mandated by law only happens after lots and lots of people die first, which is, you know, honestly kind of the wrong way around, but anyway. So I've done a lot of thinking lately about what's safe and what isn't and why. And I think you can break down the transportation systems as we've categorized previously as protected or exposed. So wherever a driver or passenger is not protected by anything from impact, from weather conditions and so on, that's actually when it gets tricky. So usually there aren't any primary or supplementary restraint systems, so there's no seatbelts, there's no pretensions, no airbags, no crumple zones, no headrests, which stop whiplash. This is nothing. So we're just going to consider those when we're fully exposed, what kind of injuries can you get? So when you're considering safety for these, I guess there's a few classes of incident you could consider. Since your options at a very high level are just a collision or a fall. So you've got a sliding or sudden stop. So if you're coming off and it's a sudden stop, momentum is mass times velocity, obviously. So your speed makes a huge difference to that. Protective clothing is almost irrelevant because your body mass wants to just keep going. And all of that energy is just gonna rupture something internally or break a bone, even if you don't get a single cut on you. And this is where I feel like in your case, you had no chance. You know what I mean? It's like you fell, your entire body weight, gravity pulls you down, whack at a bad angle, Energy's got nowhere to go. It doesn't matter if you're wearing, unless you're wearing-- - It's all in and somewhere to go. (laughs) - Yeah, into a snap, split, ouch. You know what I mean? It's like, unless you're going around in bubble wrap, bubble wrap is your only saving grace. And no one, that's not gonna work 'cause that makes it then unusable. If you're going around in bubble wrap, you can't actually do anything. You can't even move your arms. So, it's not gonna work. be pretty hot and sweaty too. Yes I think ventilation would also be a concern but anyhow maybe you could go around one of those big Zorb balls you know the ones you have a ball inside a ball and just roll around that thing like a hamster anyway all right so but with sliding and sudden stops expect lots of bruising at low speeds and at high speeds expect to visit the hospital. Yeah. Yeah. Doesn't necessarily have to be a very high speed. I was gonna say in your case it would happen to low speed so maybe I should rethink that one but yeah definitely bruising something's gonna rupture something's gonna break sliding and sudden like sudden stops very bad the next kind of injury you'll get from a collision or a falls gonna be like an oh the kind of surface that you hit so let's talk about abrasive or smooth surfaces our humans human skin really isn't that tough it just isn't falling on a smooth surface means you're much less likely to tear it up, like your exposed skin's not going to get torn to pieces and you're more likely to slide or roll around an impact. But abrasive surfaces like a tarmac or otherwise known as bitumen, they're meant to have lots of grip for tires. So if you hit them, they're going to grip on your skin too and just rip it off. AKA gravel rash, road rash, whatever you want to call it. of large patches of bloody skin, difficult, painful recovery because you can't move. Sometimes even just the fabric of your clothes can cause it. I had a pretty good road rash on my shoulder and it didn't even tear my shirt or anything. It was just from the shirt between the pavement and my shoulder. Right. Oh dear. The next kind of surface is the obvious soft or hard. Falling on something soft is going to cushion the impact, that's going to reduce the effect of the impact, but it spreads out the force of the fall and that'll cause less damage. But generally speaking, when we're riding, we're riding on a hard surface, whatever it might be, and falling onto a hard surface, obviously it's your worst case, lots of bruising, potential internal injuries. The next consideration when you have a collision or a fall, in this case a fall, is going to be the height above the ground. So the lower you are to the ground, you don't have as far to fall, you don't have as much potential energy to dissipate. So the lower you are, the less injured you're going to be. The higher you are, the less stable you're going to be as well, generally. So it's going to be a bigger injury the higher you are above the ground. So the next thing, the last one I want to consider is the impact of the device you're riding or driving and it's crushing or impact with you as a secondary event. So for example, if you fall off a motorcycle and that motorcycle then falls on you, it can crush you, right? So if your vehicle falls on you or drives over you and it's bigger and like as you've fallen, the bigger it is, the sharper or heavier it is, the more secondary damage it's going to do to you. So you may survive the fall, but you won't survive getting crushed by your motorbike. So obviously that's a problem. Now protective gear, starting with the worst case, we'll start with the worst case scenario, work our way down. So for motorbike riders, people will generally have full face helmets. They're going to protect your brain and your face and your mouth and your teeth if you fall off and face plant the road. Motorcycle boots have got, generally, generally will have reinforced steel. In some cases, they're designed with extra thick materials, no laces, that prevents getting hung up and they're generally waterproof because you know you'll ride them in all weather conditions because you're on a motorbike. There's even a European standard EN 13634 and they recommend that your clothes comply with that standard. Protective pants is another example. They'll have a stronger fabric, thicker materials, they'll withstand tearing on asphalt, they'll be reinforced or have padded either plastic or steel kneecaps. They're generally designed to also be heat resistant in case you get involved in a fire because the gasoline leaks and you catch on fire. And also to protect you against being burned by the exhaust on the motorbike. Riding jackets. Again, stronger fabrics, thicker materials, they withstand tearing once again and body armor as in like plates woven into them particularly around your elbows, your back and your chest to protect you against impact point, point impacts and potential crushing. Finally, of course, gloves padded again, stronger materials webbing between the fingers to stop your fingers from being ripped off. That's kind of important and hardened knuckle protectors. Seriously, if someone punched you with one of those, it would hurt. Anyway, so in short, the amount of crap you've got to put on, you're effectively walking into almost a medieval style body armour. And it's there to protect you if you fall, which hopefully doesn't happen very often. But you really need to, since you're practically always going to be going at high speeds on a motorbike. I mean, if you're even going around town at 35 miles an hour. That's plenty fast. And it's, and, and that is still going to cause some serious injury if you fall and crushing damage is a risk, no matter how fast you're going on a motorbike. So the problem also is you're driving on a motorbike in amongst many, many tons of heavy moving machines, trucks, cars, four wheel drives, pickups, all that stuff. and your own vehicle is also very heavy and will crush you if you make a mistake. All right. So there's another thing to consider as well, and that's stability. Now this is something that I've been thinking about a lot more, especially with respect to unicycles. So bicycles, motorbikes have all got forward back stability since they have two wheels in line, one in front of the other. If you need to stop, the front wheel will brace you. and will assist you in reducing your speed before impact, which will generally reduce the severity of your injury. Now, in your case, the front wheel slipped out from underneath you. So you lost all that ability to brace on that and you just went straight down and hit the pavement. So obviously, depending upon the kind of emergency stop that's happening, depends on how useful that is. But generally speaking, that will be the case for the most people trying to stop in a hurry. Now with a Segway, that's entirely up to the controller to self balance it if you need to stop in a hurry. - Mm-hmm. - But if it fails, or if the battery runs flat or something, and it won't, then also the motor has a torque limit as well. So if you push up against that at some point, with a full Segway, you've got a handle bar to brace with, but hoverboards and electric unicycles don't. So if you fall, you're gonna fall forward and you're on your own. Now, if you're riding a bicycle and you're on a road, Why aren't you wearing all the same protective gear as a motorcyclist? I mean, think about it, right? You're in the same environment as a motorbike except the freeway, but seriously, big heavy things will still hit you. You're still going to fall on asphalt. The only differences are your top speed and your bicycle isn't as heavy as the motorbike, so the bike's not going to crush you most likely. You might get tangled in it, but it's not going to crush you. But still, if you're going at a reasonable rate of knots. And it is quite possible to ride, as you've said before, 30 miles an hour, no problem. But you know what? You fall off that and you're not wearing any protective gear, then it's going to hurt. Yeah. So, I mean, on a bike, maybe you can compromise and say, you know what? I'll do away with the boots and the jacket, but at least wear long pants. A long shirt's probably a good idea. A helmet and absolutely a helmet and gloves, right? That's what you'd think. Like intuitively, if you were to look around at all the evidence and all the facts that I've put down on the table, you would say I would wear all of that. And I wouldn't think twice. Cause you know, that makes perfect sense. But how many cyclists wear anything other than shorts and t-shirt? And if you're lucky, they'll wear a helmet. Yeah. You know? So if you're strict and you only ride on bike paths to get away from the heavy object problem, you never go faster than 25 kilometers an hour, 15 miles an hour. then maybe that's fine. You know, maybe that is fine, but always wear a helmet because it doesn't take much of a bump to your head to kill you. That's the truth. The other thing to consider is how high you are off the ground. So you're about the same height as a motorbike, but on a bicycle, you're actually higher than a Segway. So if you're on a Segway, hoverboard, electric unicycle, you're actually less likely to get injured from potential energy because you're close to the ground. which is something to consider. But if you're riding a Swegway, electronic electric unicycle, whatever you're riding, always wear a helmet even if it's not required to by law and it is here but even if it isn't wear one anyway. My advice would be wear long pants, they saved my legs plenty of times, always wear them. If you fall forwards and you're going faster than you can run comfortably, then wear gloves that cover the palms of your hands at least because believe me, that will help. Maybe with that wrist protector in it, you know, like the solid plastic embedded in the gloves, like wrist guards. If you're going to go faster than 35 kilometers an hour, 22 miles an hour, start thinking about knee pads and elbow pads and a long sleeve shirt. And finally, if you're going really, really fast, you want to go stupid, like 50 kilometers an hour, 31 miles an hour, that kind of thing. Firstly, like I say, you're crazy. But secondly, get a full face helmet because at those sorts of speeds, If you come off and you face plant, your arms won't have enough time to get up to cover your face and they'll be scraping it off the pavement when you face plant. And you're going to need some serious reconstructive surgery after that. So again, having said all of that, if you come off at those speeds on a bicycle, you're higher and it'll probably hurt more and you'll likely break something for pretty much all the same reasons. So what do you think? Anything else you want to say on safety? No, just definitely take the time to protect yourself and try not to shirk it because while the accidents are rare, when they do happen, they can really happen. Yeah, exactly. And the other thing to keep in mind also is if you're consciously going to choose not to wear protective gear, that's okay. Just don't go fast and stay off the roads. But people don't. Anyway. Okay. Almost at the end, costs. So pushboards, a basic longboard's gonna set you back about 300 bucks, thereabouts. Apart from the parts wearing out, doesn't cost anything to run. It's much the same for a skateboard or a scooter. Bicycles, a basic commuter bicycle's probably only about 200 bucks, it's cheaper. If you want a folding one, chuck an extra 50 bucks at it. Now, obviously you can get $2,000 bicycles, right? Normal people don't buy those. only people that want to go as fast as possible or impress their workmates or, as I said before, mammals. If they can afford that, they can afford Lycra and they'll wear it too. Anyhow, that's their problem. And mine, if I have to look at it. Anyway, I don't mind that. So bicycles, apart from basic maintenance, they cost nothing to run. That's why they're magic. Anyway, electric bicycles, basic e-bike is going to set you back for about 600 bucks. If you want a folding one, add an extra 100 at least. Now, apart from their maintenance costs being pretty much the same as a bicycle, the charging costs have to be considered as well, but it's really not a big number and it does depend on the range. So a full range, a full charge for an e-bike with about a 25 kilometer range is about 25 cents, absolute worst case. And usually it's less. Some end of trip facilities will give you lockup points for the bike and they'll offer free charging as well, as I mentioned before. In some cases it will cost you nothing, but not always, it depends. Okay, Segways. Now they're pretty cheap, aren't they? I mean, really. A Segway I2SE personal transporter, no drum roll, will cost you $6,000. - Is that all? - US. Yeah, so cheap, I'll have three. I mean, that's ouch. Like that's really, really ouch. I mean, you can buy a super ultra cheap car for that, but seriously, that's a lot of money. A RZR hoverboard, like a Hovertrax, will cost you about 400 bucks. A Ninebot One S1 electric unicycle, that'll cost you about 500 bucks. Now the cost to charge is gonna depend on the size of the battery pack, obviously. Most are quoted as costing somewhere between 25 cents to 50 cents in the absolute worst case. That's for a full recharge. Now, same comment as for electric bicycles. Often you can charge them at work if you really want and it'll end up costing you nothing anyway. Okay, motorcycles. Entry-level motorcycle, oh, let's say about 10 grand, I guess, you know, thereabouts. But the sky's the limit, right? I mean, you can spend-- - I would say a little higher. - Well, you can spend a lot of money. - If you're looking at new. - Yeah, yeah, true. Maybe 15 grand, but the sky's the limit. I mean, you can buy motorbikes for six figures if you're crazy. Fuel costs a lot of money. Not going there. I've been there and done that. If you wanna listen to older episodes, go for it. Because you have to register it though, and generally insure it as well. That's a few extra hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, depending upon your age, where you are, what country, your driving history. That's something else that none of the other forms of transport have, other than cars, of course. And an entry-level new car, again, 10, 15 grand and the sky's the limit. I mean, you can buy yourself a million dollar car if you really want to. Apart from that, same kind of deal as motorbikes in terms of running costs, insurance, registration, all that other stuff. Fair enough? Okay, so let's wrap this up then. So what do we conclude from all of this? The idea of multimode travel is that no one method on its own is best, but rather a combination of methods is best. And when I say best, I mean the most efficient overall. And the reason I wanted to go over all of this was to work through the different approaches you can take and in the end I'm hoping that anyone can refine their commute and have something else to consider after listening to this episode. So for long-range travel there's no doubt that if you're trying to minimize your commuting time a car or a motorbike are probably your best choices. If you're traveling during rush hour then obviously if you can do public transport over the main leg then it's less likely to suffer from any issues like congestion. A car will always win the flexibility game because it's the fastest on the road but as I said they'll lose in traffic jams. They're expensive to own, operate and maintain but then again they're also the safest option. Motorbikes are cheaper to run than a car but they're still expensive. They're slowed down by traffic, not as much as a car, but they just aren't very safe and the time it takes to put the safety equipment on and off increases the commuting time that you're saving. So I'm not entirely sure there's a win there. For shorter distances, your cheapest option is always going to be a bicycle. If you're looking for the best blend of sweat reduction and flexibility, then an electric bicycle is probably your best choice. Because you can ride them on roads if you want to, they don't need to be insured, you don't need a license, and they don't need to be registered. Now longboards are fine if you don't mind breaking a sweat but bicycles are far more efficient and it's really hard to compete with that. Now if you're down to the last leg or the first leg then longboards may make sense because they're easily to stow. Then again if you want something more compact that doesn't break a sweat you can carry with you then don't look past small segways like hoverboards or electric unicycles. because a small electric unicycle goes the same speed as an electric bike, it's lower to the ground, smaller models will fit in your bag and backpack without too much trouble. And then finally, a summary sort of word on safety I think, sort of put a tight bow on this. If you're exposed, stick to the footpaths, the bike paths, the cycleways and don't go stupidly fast unless you're wearing good safety equipment, even if it's a bicycle, because you're not invincible. I mean, in the end though, in the end at lower speeds, bicycles, hoverboards, segways, EUCs, long boards, if you ride them in the same environment, they're pretty much just as safe as each other. But once you start going faster, you're better off on a bicycle. If you don't mind wearing more safety gear, it's pretty much a wash as to which is safer. What do you think? I think that about covers it. Cool man. All right. If you want to talk more about this, you can reach me on mastodon@[email protected] or you can follow @engineered_net on Twitter to see show related announcements. If you're enjoying Pragmatic and want to support the show, you can, like some of our backers, Chris Stone and Carsten Hansen. They and many others are patrons of the show via Patreon, and you can find it at or one word. Patron rewards include a named thank you on the website, a named thank you at the end of episodes, access to pages of raw show notes, as well as ad-free, higher quality releases of every episode. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, there's lots of great rewards and beyond that, it's all very much appreciated. I'd also like to thank Makers for Good for sponsoring the Engineered Network. Visit makers4, as in the number 4, good, all one word, dot com slash engineered for more information about their impressive Helio solar-powered light, flashlight and power bank, and use the coupon code ENGINEERED for 20% off exclusively for Engineered Network listeners. Pragmatic is part of the Engineered Network and you can find it at along with other great shows like Causality, which is a solo podcast that I do that looks at cause and effect of major events and disasters in history, including Three Mile Island, the Challenger Space Shuttle, and lots more. Causality is on track to overtake this show and it keeps growing in popularity, so if you haven't yet, be sure to give it a try. If they'd like to get in touch with you, Vic, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you, mate? They can find me on Twitter @vichudson1. Fantastic. Alrighty, well, once again, a special thank you to our patrons, and a big thank you to everyone for listening. And, as always, thank you, Vic. No problem, John. Thank you. you [MUSIC PLAYING] (upbeat music) [Music] (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) [Music] I've got to lay out my windows, hang on a sec. Uh oh. Uh oh. Nah, it's all good. I'm just a little frantic. Window management. Yeah, no kidding.
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Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

Described as the David Attenborough of disasters, and a Dreamy Narrator with Great Pipes by the Podfather Adam Curry.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.