Ford Release E-Bike Concept

The Frankfurt motor show takes place each year and attending motor companies often use the exhibition to showcase new releases and even concept models to delight the crowds. The Ford motor group are often behind many of the new releases at the show and this year has been no exception. Alongside the many additions and new models at the car giants stall in Frankfurt, a very different sized prototype was on show, with Ford’s latest concept, an “E-bike”.

The project has been designed to show how Ford as a company can translate their design language to a bike rather than a larger 4 wheeled vehicle. Sadly, Ford have stated that they do not have any plans to produce the bike but will continue to study and work on the concept as it may well help with future mobility issues.

The design of the bike was undertaken by a team of people led by Martin Smith who is the executive design director of Ford and ran in partnership with the company “Cyber-Wear”. The bike is designed to appeal to both male and female riders by the team behind many of Ford’s top lifestyle collection ranges. The frame is a trapezium profile and is constructed from both aluminium and carbon materials giving it a lightweight mass but with also an impressive strength. The wheel design features six spokes that give the appearance of them floating around the frames body,

As mentioned the bike is powered by electricity and utilises cutting edge technology to deliver a very minimalistic profile. The drive system is hidden within the workings of the front wheel and is powered by a lithium power cell that is stored within the bikes frame. The e-bike has been tested and is noted for being able to travel 85 kilometres (50 miles approx.) before requiring to be recharged.

Not only have Ford developed their concept bike using engineers and designers from the motor sector, they have also incorporated hardware from already leading cycling companies such as Shimano.

Electric bikes have become extremely popular and are overtaking traditional bicycles in some markets. With over 120million e-bikes in china alone you can certainly see how fast and rapidly the market is developing. Depending upon which country you live in you will find that laws differ when it comes to e-bikes; in some countries they are classed as just normal bicycles meaning they do not have very much legislation attached to them regarding road use.

Van Fleet State Trail – Top Florida Eco-Bicycling

The General James A. Van Fleet State Trail is one of the jewels of bicycling in Florida. Built on an abandoned rail bed, the bike trail is entirely paved in asphalt approximately 12 feet wide. Except for a single curve, the trail runs straight for 29 miles, crossing a few unpaved forest roads and only two sparsely traveled paved roads. The Van Fleet Trail is one of the most rural bike trails in Florida – isolated and quiet.

Because of its length, remote location and straight path, the Van Fleet Trail is a destination for serious cyclists to train and ride uninterrupted by traffic. Those same attributes make it an attractive ride for the recreational biker or those with small children who don’t want to deal with car traffic. Hikers, joggers, in-line skaters, and horseback riders also enjoy the trail.

For those who are willing to slow down, the Van Fleet Trail goes through one of the most diverse and abundant wildlife habitats in Florida. On any given day, the rider might see gopher tortoises, alligators, snakes, bobcat, deer, otters, osprey, wild turkey, quail, eagles, butterflies, squirrels, and more.

The trail traverses several ecosystems along its 29 mile path, including swamp, cypress and hardwood forests, pine flatwood, prairies, and sandhills. On private land along the trail, cattle can be seen grazing. The trail runs through a portion of the Green Swamp, the headwaters for the Withlacoochee, Little Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Ocklawaha, and Peace Rivers. Second only to the Everglades in its environmental importance, the Green Swamp is critical to the maintenance of Florida’s aquifer and groundwater supply.

Facilities along the Van Fleet Trail are limited. There is one water fountain and one restroom between the two terminuses. During the mid-day, the trail is mostly unshaded. This is Florida and even in winter the ride can be hot, so riders should use sunscreen, bring lots of water, and pack food. Since the trail runs through the Green Swamp, insect repellent is also important. Covered benches are located along the length of the trail, offering both shade and scenic views.

From the southern-most trailhead at Polk City (junction of routes 33 and 655), the Van Fleet Trail runs north to the tiny hamlet of Mabel (route 50, west of Clermont). The Polk City trailhead offers plenty of parking, picnic tables, and restroom facilities. The first five miles north are the busiest sections of the trail, passing farms and pastures. Near the 5 mile marker is the lone curve in the trail.

At the Green Pond Road trailhead, near the 10 mile marker, are parking, restrooms, a covered picnic pavilion, and water fountain. While gopher tortoises can be seen along the length of the trail, they seem particularly abundant along the trail north of the Green Pond trailhead. The habitat here also changes, from pastureland to pinewood forest and cypress swamp.

Slightly less than two miles north of the Green Pond trailhead, the trail crosses the first of three short bridges spanning the headwaters of the Withlacoochee River. This is a great area for spotting wildlife; a big gator can usually be seen at the second bridge. Particularly scenic here are the cypress strands draped in Spanish moss lining both sides of the trail. Late afternoon is probably the prettiest, with the sun shimmering off the moss and reflecting in the water (during rainy season).

At the Bay Lake trailhead, near the 20 mile marker, full facilities are planned for the future. Presently however, this trailhead only offers parking. From here, a scenic ride brings the rider to the Mabel trailhead at 29 miles; here are parking, a picnic pavilion, restrooms and water.

Whether a casual bicycle rider or a serious cyclist, the Van Fleet State Trail is a Florida treasure that holds a myriad of wonders for to all.

Van Insurance, False Information and Validity of the Policy

One huge problem currently faced by motorists is the cost of motoring. With fuel prices hitting the roof, maintain a vehicle has become an uphill task. In particular, the credit crunch interjected to further hike the prices of all essentials, including car or van insurance.

Preference for four wheels

In a bid to find a way round the problem of soaring motoring expenses, some motorists have chosen to switch to cycling, especially in major cities like London. Bicycles have numerous advantages. Apart from saving one the trouble of fuel and its soaring cost, bikes are easier to maintain and attract cheaper insurance premiums and constitute no hazard to the environment. But bikes have their own shortcomings. At the moment they are easy targets to thieves who could tears down locks and make away with them at will. Tory leader David Cameroon recently had a bad experience with bike thieves. Yet bikes present a far cheaper option for motorists. Nonetheless, many would still prefer their car or van.

To keep a van or car on the road there is the corresponding need to ensure that every documentation is valid. Licence and insurance cover are a must, amongst other things. But the big issue is that a rising number of motorists are seeking the simpler way out by not purchasing the cover. Even van drivers, whose vehicles are used to keep business afloat as delivery or tradesmen, are sometimes found wanting.

Uninsured motorists and call for tougher action

The problem of uninsured drivers is estimated to cost the country a huge sum of money each year. Recent studies put the cost at £500 million annually, which insurance firms say adds up to £30 to the premiums of each law abiding motorist.

The fact that criminal records and penalty fines have not deterred motorists from dodging insurance is leading to increasing demand for stiffer penalties. This week saw the Association of British Insurance adding its voice to it, arguing that penalty fines do not cover the cost of cover lost to evasion.

“The penalties do not reflect the seriousness of the crime and do not act as sufficient deterrent and this has been the case for some time,” explained spokesman for the body, Malcolm Tarling, as he made a case for a stiffer penalty.

Inaccurate information and your policy

Van insurance has equally seen several other devices being employed by drivers to evade paying the required premiums for policies. There are those that, in a bid to bring down the price, fail to give insurers accurate information in respect of their circumstance. This could range from withholding information about who the actual insured driver is to the condition of their driving licence. In one instance a driver recently had his policy invalidated because he was alleged to have failed to disclose to the insurer that he had penalty points on his licence. Even as he tried desperately to explain that he did inform the insurer about it while taking out the cover, they could not recall this. Although this is a matter that could be resolved by checking records, the truth is that insurers are playing very safe because fraudulent characters had in the past made them pay hugely. Avoiding a repeat of such ugly experience is not entirely out of place.

Perhaps what van drivers could do to help make their premiums cost a bit less is not to fail to disclose vital information to insurers. They need to reveal their circumstance, including past convictions. More importantly, to enjoy cheaper, more suitable premiums they need to compare deals.