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September 12, 2006

eGO cycle registration in California?

It is regularly reported, and even argued on barely related blog posts, that the eGO Cycle 2 is not required to be registered/insured/licensed for in California.

This is not true.

It's easy to see, based on a nice summary of the law on the CHP's website, that the eGO is a "moped" (speed greater than 20, power greater than 1000 watts, but all electric and top speed less than 30), not a 406b "motorized bicycle" (speed <20, power less than 1000watts). A "moped"/406a vehicle requires an M2 license, registration (one-time, ~$18, but, still, its required) and insurance. This is all spelled out very simply in the CA law.

I'd like to know where Mary Jensen, on the Treehugger post I mentioned above, found a dealer who says otherwise. Perhaps the dealer was just republishing the technote from eGO themselves, which is dated from 2002, even though it wasn't true then.

This just makes one more instance of how eGO vehicles participates in dishonest practices. Their product is great out-of-the-box, but a nightmare in the long run. Opening their customers up to tickets and fines for bad legal advice doesn't make it sound any better for them.

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August 23, 2006

So... close!

Well, my scooter is sitting just shy of 5000 miles. Tomorrow would have been(/might still be) Piaggio 5k day.

However, something's wrong. So, I got to walk this route home tonight (astute readers will notice that it ends not at my home - I managed to get the thing to start again within view of my block, but short of it). Only 1.4 miles... except, pushing a 200lb scooter. sigh

All the same, 5000 miles in 19 months is a lot of diverted car miles.

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March 24, 2006

Now, I need some of these....

TreeHugger links to a nicely done faux-ticket to put on SUVs. Anyone have a recent real ticket for the Bay Area, so I could Photoshop-together a restyled version that would look appropriate for the locals? I'd love to make up a stash of these, stick magnets on the back, and slap them on the SUVs stopped at stoplights when I'm out riding my cough 60mpg scooter. Too bad I so rarely lane split, imagine how many vehicles I could tag at a busy intersection!

It mentions that 1 in 15 vehicles (I presume, in the UK) are SUVs. Sure seems higher around here.

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August 16, 2005

Piaggio 2k Day

Well, it finally came. On my way home from work on Friday, I crossed 2000 miles on the Piaggio Typhoon. Here's another paltry attempt at a graph.... apologies for the left and right axis being reversed; Excel is really a mess to work with, if you ask me.

Anyway, with my MPG staying constant, and the cost of gas increasing (now over $3.00/gal for many stations, at least for high-test), I expect to see the $ saved continue to frustrate me for how to present it on the same axis as the other data in the chart. Alas.

This chart includes up to just before the final 8 miles, so it's actually fairly accurate.

Piaggio Typhoon Mileage Graph

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July 28, 2005

Piaggio > eGO day

I'm sure you're all getting tired of my Piaggio vs. eGO rants, but, hey, what can I say?

In 4 1/2 months, I've ridden the Piaggio the same number of miles the eGO ever made it to (~1800). Yes, it pollutes more. Yes, I have to get gas. On the other hand, it's never been broken down; service, what little there's been, is taken care of by a local, friendly (if not cheap...) dealer. The range is sufficient that I can use it for a much greater percentage of my regular travel: two-person trips, heavy cargo, and great distance are the only times when I need to switch back to the car... part of the reason the Typhoon has gotten so many miles on it in such a (relatively) short period of time.

And, though savings in gas doesn't pay off the bike per se, my tracking of mileage suggests that I've saved over $100 on gas in those 4 months vs. driving my car. Of course, as with the eGO, riding around on a scooter is a much more enjoyable activity most of the time, especially in the beautiful, dry summer months of northern California.

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July 14, 2005

Carbon neutral?

I ran across this Wired Article on a new business venture that lets common consumers buy their carbon back. What caught my eye was the interesting note: every gallon of gas burned results in 20lbs. of carbon dioxide added to the air.

At first, this struck me as impossible, since I went and looked up the weight of 1 gallon of gasoline: 8.66lbs. Then Joy reminded me of my chemistry, and that the rest of the weight comes from the Oxygen that binds in. So, you take a fairly simple hydrocarbon chain, and you replace the hydrogens (molecular weight ~1) with Oxygens (molecular weight ~16). Heptane (see the hydrocarbon link, with 16 Hydrogens to 7 carbons, burned ideally produces 7 CO2 molecules. So, it's not too hard to see how such a great weight of CO2 gets released. Fortunately, there's a lot of air out there, but not so much that we aren't still increasing carbon in the air.

The market model for dealing with this is an interesting one. I'm probably going to buy a TerraPass or two, to buy back my carbon, effectively making me “carbon neutral”, and, in effect, fund development of carbon-reducing technologies. Ironically, because of my scooter, I drive my car in the range that they sell a “Hybrid” pass for, even though my 2001 sedan only gets about 26 mpg. Frankly, between how little I drive my car, and the better mileage of my scooter, and living in an area that generally doesn't need much heating and cooling, my carbon footprint is probably pretty good compared to many in the US... but still pathetic. More on this as I can figure out real numbers for it.

I like the concept of pounds of carbon dioxide... mostly because, yes, it sounds a lot worse than it (directly, at least) is. You can play games all day, but it's still interesting to think how my commute puts an average of about 5 lbs. of CO2 in the atmosphere each day. If I did the same commute in an SUV, it'd be more like 20lbs.

More thinking on this needs to be done, though. On the TerraBlog, one of the posts observes how much power is generated by humans, say, on a bike race. Unfortunately, even that isn't a fair comparison - how much more CO2 are those bikers breathing out than they would be if they weren't producing the excess work? What's the ratio of human CO2/mile vs. the CO2/mile of my scooter (~0.37lb/mile) vs. that of a SUV (~1.5lb/mile)?

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