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  • Royal Mail to Trial Electric Tricycle

    Royal Mail with their fleet of Electric Tricycles

    Royal Mail are set to trial electronic tricycles for deliveries in and around urban areas with the hope of cutting it’s Carbon Dioxide emissions within these areas.

    Beginning in late March, the trial will see postal staff using electronic tricycles in Stratford in East London, Cambridge and Sutton Coldfield.

    The vehicles are powered partially by a combination of pedal, solar, battery and brake technology. They are 1.2m wide and around 2m high, able to accommodate letters and the majority of parcels.

    The trial will last 6 months and if successful, the electric tricycles will be rolled out across the country.

    Two electric trikes ready to trial

    As quoted in Engineering and Technology publication, David Gold, director of public affairs and policy at Royal Mail said: “As a company, we are committed to making changes to our operations which reduce our environmental impact, whilst ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations.

    “Alongside our ongoing transformation programme and the introduction of electric vans in locations across our business, this trial is part of a programme of initiatives across our business that will ensure we can continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”

    Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that Royal Mail is trialling e-trikes which will take polluting vehicles off our streets, helping to reduce congestion and clean up London’s toxic air.

    “I hope this trial will be extended and other delivery companies follow Royal Mail’s lead so that many more communities can benefit.”

    Electric tricycles are not only more environmentally friendly, but they also allow for more storage and have the ability to stop and start as the rider pleases.

    Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said the e-trikes would “take polluting vehicles off our streets – helping to reduce congestion and clean up London’s toxic air.”

    He called on other delivery companies to follow Royal Mail’s lead.

    The company also currently has a fleet of 100 electric vans, which it plans to expand in the future.

  • Road Closure Planned

    Access to Powabyke to be temporarily restricted from 14th-21st January 2019

    Just advanced warning, from 14th January 2019 until 21st January 2019, access to Powabyke will be restricted due to roadworks. You will only be able to gain access via Temple Cloud on the A37. Please turn by the Temple Inn and follow the road to the bottom, turn right and continue down the country lane until you reach Trident Works Industrial Estate. Powabyke are located behind Gillards Distribution.

    Access from Harts Lane in Hallatrow will be blocked. Please call us if you are having problems getting in and we will send a search and recovery team to pick you up!

  • Muddy Metis on review at Farmers Weekly Metis On Test At Farmers Weekly

    https://www.fwi.co.uk/machinery/atvs/on-test-e-bike-is-nippy-farm-runaround

    A mountain bike might be an odd sight in the pages of Farmers Weekly, but the machine we are about to feature already boasts a couple of agricultural customers.

    The appeal for the farmers in question is apparently the fact that the electric motor housed in the bike’s frame allows them to get around the stock quietly and cheaply, while throwing a bit of exercise in for good measure.

    See also: On test: Can Ubco’s electric bike compete with ATVs?

    That’s because – unlike an electric motorbike, which does all the work for you – an e-bike requires the rider to do at least some pedalling, even if it’s a token gesture when the motor is cranked up to its highest setting.

    Initially we were doubtful about an e-bike’s place on a farm. After all, you are not going to be hauling many bags of feed around with it and we certainly wouldn’t advise lashing a slug pelleter to the rear.

    But with farmers spending more and more sedentary hours perched on a seat, replacing a few of the quad bike or Mule trips with a slog on the e-bike can only be good news for the ticker.

    It also gives those physically unable to ride a conventional bike the ability to have a go.

    All this sounds appealing, but to find out what they are really like to live with we got hold of the latest Italian-built MBM Metis – imported by UK firm Powabyke – and put it to the test.

    This relatively simple e-bike has an 80Nm Olieds electric motor with five settings, ranging from 50% to 400% assistance.

    How does it work?

    Other than the fact it has an electric motor slotted between the cranks and a battery bolted on to the down tube, the Metis is nearly identical to a conventional mountain bike.

    That means it has 10 conventional derailleur-shifted gears, hydraulic disc brakes and front suspension to take out the worst of the bumps. As a result, when the motor is turned off it works like a normal bike, albeit a heavy one.

    Pressing a button on the handlebars sparks the thing into life and there’s an LCD screen showing all the important information, such as which assistance setting it’s on and how much battery life is left.

    Sitting next to the on/off switch, there are also up and down arrows for adjusting the assistance level. Selecting level one adds 50% to the rider’s input, with incremental increases up to a massive 400% on level five.

    To get it to work, the rider just starts pedalling and the motor kicks in immediately.

    What’s it like to ride?

    At the lower end of the power spectrum, the effort that the bike puts in is relatively hard to notice.

    However, once you get up to level three (200% boost) it’s clear that the bike is giving you some serious help. The rider still needs to put in the effort in order to make decent progress, though – and the more they put in, the faster it goes.

    Flick it all the way up to level five and it’s almost as though you’re a passenger on a mini electric moped. On moderate terrain, simply turning the pedals will get the rider up to decent speeds without any physical effort.

    Even steep climbs require little work as we found when we did a 1,227ft ascent over five miles and didn’t break a sweat.

    However, we did need to work the gears to get the most out of it. Go too high and the motor will bog down; too low and it won’t achieve its maximum speed.

    How fast can it go?

    EU law stipulates that all electrically assisted bicycles are limited to 25kph (15.5mph), so when we cranked the Metis up to full power, the motor duly kicked out at that speed.

    Explore more Know How

    Visit our Know How centre for practical farming advice

    It’s a little frustrating as this seems fairly sedate on the road, and even if the rider puts in considerable effort, it’s hard to push far beyond that.

    However, it is possible – if not legal – to unleash some more performance.  The best option for doing this is to purchase a chip online that removes the speed limiter and keeps the motor spinning as fast as the rider can pedal. They cost about £100 and don’t alter anything else on the bike.

    The other cheat to get the bike to go faster is to trick the speedometer. Normally this works using a sensor on the chain stay and a magnet on the wheel. But by transferring the magnet to the crank, the computer is fooled into thinking the bike is going much slower than it really is.

    With this modification, we managed to get the bike up to 30mph, which was more than fast enough. There are no rules preventing these chipped e-bikes being used off-road, but sadly it’s illegal to use them on the road or on designated cycle paths.

    If someone does want to use a chipped bike legally on the road, it effectively has to be registered as a motorcycle and is then subject to the same rules and regulations. The other option is to switch off or remove the chip for on-road use.

    Does it have a place on a farm?

    An e-bike obviously isn’t going to do any serious work on a farm, but it is a pleasant way of getting around the place and the exercise is a bonus.

    It could also be useful when ferrying machinery back and forth when there isn’t a spare person available to run you around.

    On rough ground, we found the lack of rear suspension made for an uncomfortable ride, so we would probably spend a little more and get a full-suspension version.

    Apparently, Powabyke is looking at bringing one in and most mountain bike brands offer something similar, so there are plenty to choose from.

    The other limitation is the maximum gradient it’s able to ascend. If a slope is too steep for a fit person to ride a normal bike up, then it’s fair to say the Metis will struggle, too. When we pointed it up a particularly steep grassy hillside, the motor just stopped turning and we had to abort.

    Soggy, cultivated ground also causes the tyres to clog up and stop turning.

    How long does the battery last?

    Battery life varies considerably depending on the terrain, assistance level selected, weight of the rider and the ambient air temperature. Motor manufacturer Olieds quotes a range of up to 50km, but that will be in ideal conditions and at the lowest power setting.

    For general riding around the farm we found it used very little power and would easily last a day. However, when we did our 1,227ft climb and pushed it as hard as we could, we managed to drain half the battery life.

    When the battery does go, you’re back to pedalling a conventional bike and a rather lead-like one at that. Therefore, it’s worth keeping an eye on the battery gauge. Recharging takes about five hours, so a moderate user could probably get away with charging it once a day.

    Do you need a licence?

    Anyone over the age of 14 can ride an e-bike on the road without a licence and they won’t need to pay any tax.

    However, those who want to ride a chipped e-bike (one that goes faster than 25kph or has a power output of more than 250W) on the road officially will need to get it approved by the DVLA and it will effectively be classed as a motorcycle.

    Standard motor vehicle rules will then apply, making it a fairly unattractive proposition.

    What about taking it to the pub?

    The general advice is to not mix drinking and e-biking, but as an e-bike comes under the same legal rules as a bike there is technically no legal limit for how much alcohol it’s permissible for a cyclist to drink.

    However, it is illegal to ride under the influence of alcohol or to ride dangerously, carelessly or inconsiderately. The maximum fine for riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is £1,000 and the maximum fine for riding dangerously is £2,500.

    Being caught doesn’t affect your driving licence, though, as these aren’t classed as motoring offences.

    MBM Metis

    • Frame size: medium or large
    • Motor: Olieds 80Nm
    • Battery: 36V, 14.5Ah
    • Forks: Suntour Xcm
    • Gears: Shimano 10-speed
    • Weight: 24kg
    • Top speed assisted: 25kph
    • Price: £2,699
  • Budget Day 2018

    So today the Rt Hon Philip Hammond is set to deliver the Autumn Budget for 2018. It is usually delivered on the last Wednesday of the month but the Chancellor feared the national press would use Halloween references to rip the Budget apart with headlines such as “Hammond Horror” or “A Nightmare on Downing Street”!

    This is the last Budget before Brexit and it is rumoured that there will be no major shocks. There will no doubt be the usual increase in alcohol duties and tobacco duties, but it will be the online retailers that the Chancellor is under increasing pressure to introduce a digital tax. Further investment is thought to be announced to plough money in to the high street. This would go a short way to help save the High Street and our beloved local independents, whilst also ensuring the jobs for tens of thousands of people working there.

    It is also understood that the Chancellor will announce a massive increase in spending on the UK roads over the next 5 years with spending thought to be close to £29.0bn, with £420m of that expected to be used directly towards tackling potholes. This is great news for the cyclist with extra cycle lanes being built and safer roads for cyclists to ride. Cycling is up over 80% in major towns and Cities and this investment will go some way to help improve the infrastructure.

    All eyes will be on Philip Hammond come 15.30 today! We will update key facts as they happen…

    UPDATES BELOW (source BBC):

    • The state of the economy

      • Era of austerity is “finally coming to an end”
      • 2018 growth forecast upgraded from 1.3% to 1.6%
      • Growth forecast of 1.4%, 1.4%, 1.5% and 1.6% in four subsequent years
      • 3.3 million more people in work since 2010
      • Wages growth at its highest in nearly a decade

      The state of the public finances

      • Public borrowing in 2018 to be £11.6bn lower than forecast in March, representing 1.2% of gross domestic product, (GDP) the total value of goods produced and services provided
      • Borrowing forecast to fall in subsequent years to £31.8bn, £26.7bn. £23.8bn, £20.8bn and £19.8bn
      • Debt as share of GDP to fall from 85.2% in 2016-17 to 83.7% this year and to 74.1% by 2023-24

      Brexit

      • Extra £500m for preparations for leaving the EU
      • Spring Statement next March could be upgraded to full Budget if needed
      • A commemorative 50p coin to mark the UK’s departure from the EU (announced on 29 October)

      Alcohol, tobacco and fuel

      • Beer, cider and spirits duties to be frozen
      • Wine duty to rise in line with inflation
      • Tobacco duty will continue to rise by inflation plus 2%
      • Fuel duty to be frozen for ninth year in a row (announced on 3 October)

      Personal taxation and wages

      Stamp duty and housing

      • All shared equity purchases of up to £500,000 to be exempt from stamp duty
      • £500m for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built
      • Lettings relief limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant

      Welfare and pensions

      Defence and security

      • An extra £160m for counter-terrorism police
      • An extra £1bn for armed forces, for cyber-capabilities and the UK’s new nuclear submarine programme
      • £10m for mental health care for veterans, to mark the centenary of World War One Armistice
      • £1.7m in education programmes to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in northern Germany

      Business and digital

      • New digital services tax on UK revenues of big technology companies, from April 2020
      • Profitable companies with global sales of more than £500m will be eligible
      • Private finance initiative (PFI) contracts to be abolished in future
      • New centre of excellence to manage existing deals “in the taxpayer’s interest”
      • Annual investment allowance to be increased from £200,000 to £1m for two years
      • Contribution of small companies to apprenticeship levy to be reduced from 10% to 5%
      • Business rates bill for companies with a rateable value of £51,000 or less to be cut by third over two years
      • Measure to benefit 90% of independent companies, cutting bill by £8,000
      • £900m in business rates relief for small businesses and £650m to rejuvenate High Streets
      • New mandatory business rates relief for all lavatories made available for public use, whether publicly or privately owned
      • Extending changes to the way self-employment status is taxed, from the public sector to medium and large private companies, from 2020

      Education and health (England only)

      • Confirmation of an extra £20.5bn for the NHS over the next five years
      • A minimum extra £2bn a year for mental health services
      • New mental health crisis centre, providing support in every accident and emergency unit in the country
      • An extra £700m for councils, for care for the elderly and those with disabilities
      • £10m for air ambulances
      • A one-off £400m “bonus” to help schools buy “the little extras they need”

      Transport, infrastructure and culture

      • A £30bn package for England’s roads, including repairs to motorways and potholes (announced on 27 October)
      • A 30% growth in infrastructure spending
      • Opening the use of e-passport gates at airports – currently available to people from Europe – to those from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan

      Environment and energy

      • A new tax on non-recycled plastic packaging
      • No tax on takeaway coffee cups but this will be reconsidered if the industry doesn’t make enough progress
      • £60m for planting trees in England
      • £10m to deal with abandoned waste sites
  • AM to PM with Frank Curran

    www.tbebathandsomerset.co.uk

    AM to PM with Frank Curran

    AM to PM is your exclusive insight into the busy schedules of some of Bath and Somerset’s top professionals.

    Frank Curran is Managing Director of Powabyke – a Somerset-based electric bikecompany established in 1997. Powabyke has sold over 45,000 bikes in the UK and also sells conversion kits, allowing regular push bikes to be converted to electric.

    With demand increasing year on year, electric bikes will make up nearly a third of the UK bike market by the end of 2019, meaning more busy times ahead for Frank and the Powabyke team.

    What time do you get up?

    It varies on what I am doing that day, if I’m office based (which is just over a mile away) then as late as 8am. A couple of times a week though I am out and about visiting bike dealerships and suppliers so it can be as early as 4.30am depending upon my destination.

    What helps you to get your day off on the right foot?

    A hot shower first thing in the morning without fail. I don’t have any other routines that need adhering to. I try and keep everything as simple as possible.

    What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

    The kettle is on before I’ve even turned on my computer, I’m a bit of a coffee-holic! Then it’s sit down time and reply to emails for the first hour whilst enjoying a strong coffee.

    What bit of kit/tech helps your day run smoothly?

    I’m not a tech head at all really, yes I have a tablet, but I’m not reliant upon it. I suppose the iPhone is the one thing I’m always checking and would struggle to be without during the day. It’s great to clear emails and non-urgent stuff, whilst also convenient for quick website browsing.

    Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch? 

    Being based in the middle of the countryside there’s not a lot of options. On the occasions I do venture out, then I cycle to Chew Valley Lake and take my lunch with me. It’s a great way to clear the mind and helps relax me. It’s also a good way to test bikes or incorporate an impromptu photo shoot as there are some lovely scenic views en route.

    What is the best part about your job?

    Being my own boss without a doubt! I enjoy the variety the job brings, one minute I may be converting a tricycle to electric, then the next I’m thinking about the pictures and wording of products for a new brochure. Of course it’s not all glamorous, quite often I’m covered in oil and muck having done a service on a Powabyke!

    What does a typical day involve?

    Each day comes naturally. With the variety of roles I have there’s always something different to work on. Once we’re up to date with the picking and packing of orders, we may then look at planning our stand for The Cycle Show, or research potential new bike models to enhance the Powabyke range.

    How do you unwind after work?

    I tend to head up to Farrington Park Golf course and hit a few balls on the driving range, or play 9 holes of golf depending on how much time I have. Anything in and around the golf course is a great way for me to unwind including a trip to the 19th hole for a cheeky beer afterwards.

    To find out more about Powabyke visit: www.powabyke.com

  • Powabyke Logo - The original electric bike New website is finally live!

    So today is the big day… NEW WEBSITE GOES LIVE! While we are ecstatic with everything so far, we know there may be a few glitches so bear with us! We hope to get these smoothed out as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please check back periodically as new stuff is uploaded. Until next time…