Traveling to western Europe may shock people from China, India, America or other parts of the world where food is cheaper. Serving sizes in France for example, according to my own experiences in 2000 were about 40% smaller per dollar eq at a restaurant. In Tokyo Japan I saw the same high food costs, smaller servings, smaller people who walk more and drive less, often riding trains standing up.
Meg & I are planning a trip to western Europe in 2017, to visit a dozen or so countries over a 60 day period to do some first person research about what part of Europe would be fun to live in during the 2018-2020 timeframe. We do not have children, have been married for a few years, are bored with our jobs her and ready to try something new and fresh :)
France 2000 & Japan 2010 Travels Considered
I was reflecting on my travels to Europe and Japan after watching an episode of Fully Charged on Youtube about E-Bikes in London. Making hill climbing a breeze, the E-bike gives you car line range at 2x the speed of unpowered biking with 1/2 the effort or so, depending on the model. The downside is that E-bikes tend to be 2x heavier than a normal bike, often weighing 40+ lbs or around 17kg.
I once owned a Prodeco Phantom X, someone stole it :( It was awesome, looked fresh, but weighed almost 60lbs with a beefy lithium iron phosphate battery and 500w rear hub motor via a thumb throttle into an 8speed rear cassette, I would pedal and full thumb throttle to 28mph, it could cruise with no pedaling at 18mph. I paid about $1400 when I preordered it in 2010, they delivered it in December of 2012, well UPS did :)
Will E-Bikes draw people to bicycles?
I wonder if E-bikes will draw more people to cycling, so they can get to and from work without breaking a sweat. Bicycle riding and motorcycle riding in traffic is 26x more dangerous than driving a car, but the car carries a sitting disease risk, where blood pools up i in the legs, the average US car driver spending 1.5 hours per day in their car, on an E-bike the same amount of travel would take a lot longer, America is very spread out, so much so that it limits the appeal of E-bikes and bicycles, motorcycles and other machines like the Segway Ninebot Mini Pro to people who live in an near big cities, dense counties, like King County near Seattle, where 10mi is consider a long commute. In many European countries a 10mi private vehicle commute is considered huge, bicycles, trains, busses, trams and other public transportation far more popular than car driving. Most of Europe was developed before cars became a popular widely used technology!
Range, Cost, Recharge Barriers to US Mass Market Adoption
The key to E-bike success in America is Range 50mi or greater per charge, lower cost under $1000, and fast recharging in less than 1 hr, so that you can charge on the go and pick up a useful amount of range while taking a food break, bathroom break, or stopping to enjoy the view, the journey instead of the destination. Like is a journey not a destination, and this inspires people to travel, especially now that airplanes can take you almost anywhere in the world in less than 1 day! Airplanes are amazing in this way, especially the super cool fuel efficient Boeing 787, once they get that battery fire stuff under control :P
I recent wrote about Obesity, Depression and Inactivity causing more than 30 of the most common disease in America. A computer sitting, car sitting, couch TV sitting culture causes many people to pick up fewer than 10,000 steps per day, perhaps the Fitbit's will help to curb the popularity of sedentary lifestyles. Extra movement boosts mood too, combatting the depression component that overlaps with inactivity. Do you how inactivity, depression and obesity are related. The real problem is serving sizes that provide too much food energy, more energy that a person needs for the day. Lets consider the ideal average food serving sizes for a person.
Fist Sized Servings Key
Fist, your fist, that is a serving size of most foods that comprises a meal worth of calories, or food energy that you can turn into 10mi of walking range for example.
Your human adult body has about 150-400w of power eq for about 16hr per day + or - 2hr depending on age, fitness, lifestyle, diet and genetics. Assuming ~250w for 16 hours from food, that is about 4000wh or 4kWh, about $0.50 worth of grid power at $0.125 per kWh. Food is way more expensive than electricity! Food cost is about equal in cost to $4.50 per gallon in a car that actually returns 40mpg. 4000wh is about 3400 calories, so that tells you that many people have much smaller battery life than 250w for 16 hours. Many people are burning less than 2000 calories, or running at about 130w for 16 hours.
Drink Enough Water
Stay hydrated, that wet flesh hanging on your bones that converts food to movement, thought, farts, poop, and pee, it needs water to flush away yucky metabolites that form when you move or think! Sleeping enough is essential to flushing junk out of your brain that causes demential if it is not cleared with enough good quality sleep. Staying hydrated helps with all of this!