Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

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Sunder
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Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by Sunder » Dec 10, 2017 6:44 pm

Hey everyone. I have just accepted a secondment to London to build a new branch of my boss' business. It's happening Nov-Dec. 2018, with an ideal launch date of Jan 2019, so just under a year away.

My wife wants to try to live without a car there, despite having two young children. She believes owning a car in London is very expensive and driving very difficult, (Which admittedly, petrol and congestion charges seem very high compared to Australia, but cars - especially European cars - are very cheap)

We were thinking of setting up in Wimbledon, with most of our customers in London CBD, and our partners spread out across Middlesex, Reading and Surrey.

My question for anyone who lives in London:

1. Is this realistic by combination of electric bike and public transport? I wear a suit for work, but should be able to change at the office. We'd also need to do all grocery shopping and outings without a car.

My question for everyone else:

2. I would like to build a bike suitable for all weather. High reliability, low maintenance, moderate power is target, budget, under $5k ($4k USD). I am currently thinking BBS02, converted to Phaserunner, 12S, 16Ah Multistars with a 5W battery heater. Everything electrical I would carry spares for. Other possibility would be LTO, as they are not impacted by cold weather, so no wastage on heaters, and no loss of capacity by charging batteries cold.

Bike would be hard tail with at least 2" studded tyres, hydraulic disc brakes, Nuvinci IGH.

Any suggestions on how I can improve my riding experience?

Thanks in advance.
eBike: Q100H on 16S with Phaserunner FOC Controller
eMotorscooter: Vectrix VX-1 on 36S
eCar: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV... Waiting for warranty to expire
eHouse: Still on grid, but with LTO batteries and 3kw LF inverter...

After 5 builds, the best advice I can give, is start with high quality products. I prefer http://www.ebikes.ca

Hillhater
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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by Hillhater » Dec 10, 2017 7:29 pm

Are you saying the work base and home will be Wimbledon ? Because that is outside conjestion charge area and still very sub-urban.
That area has plenty of public transport, underground, etc, and facilities for "living" (shops, schools, etc) , but if you think you are going to travel a lot for work then you will be spending a lot of time on trains , taxi, etc to get to those urban areas like Reading etc.
Driving and parking in the Wimbledon area is no worse than around Sydney (CBD is a different game tho)
I have lived and worked around west London and Reading for many years (but last century !) and even then trafic was as bad as Sydney now, ..but i dont think i could live there without a car even now....though the Ebike would certainly be very handy for much of the local errands etc
I doubt you will want ( or allowed ?) to manouver a full size Ebike around Londons public transport....One of those neat Brompton Efolder maybe ?
....But any job role requireing much travel should supply transport options or at least hire car if required.... (And there are plenty of those GoGet type options around)
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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by Buk___ » Dec 10, 2017 7:31 pm

Sunder wrote:
Dec 10, 2017 6:44 pm
Hey everyone. I have just accepted a secondment to London to build a new branch of my boss' business. It's happening Nov-Dec. 2018, with an ideal launch date of Jan 2019, so just under a year away.

My wife wants to try to live without a car there, despite having two young children. She believes owning a car in London is very expensive and driving very difficult, (Which admittedly, petrol and congestion charges seem very high compared to Australia, but cars - especially European cars - are very cheap)

We were thinking of setting up in Wimbledon, with most of our customers in London CBD, and our partners spread out across Middlesex, Reading and Surrey.

My question for anyone who lives in London:

1. Is this realistic by combination of electric bike and public transport? I wear a suit for work, but should be able to change at the office. We'd also need to do all grocery shopping and outings without a car.

My question for everyone else:

2. I would like to build a bike suitable for all weather. High reliability, low maintenance, moderate power is target, budget, under $5k ($4k USD). I am currently thinking BBS02, converted to Phaserunner, 12S, 16Ah Multistars with a 5W battery heater. Everything electrical I would carry spares for. Other possibility would be LTO, as they are not impacted by cold weather, so no wastage on heaters, and no loss of capacity by charging batteries cold.

Bike would be hard tail with at least 2" studded tyres, hydraulic disc brakes, Nuvinci IGH.

Any suggestions on how I can improve my riding experience?

Thanks in advance.
I think you are overthinking this.

I lived in London for 8 years, living in the East End and working in the West End, and had no form of independent transport the entire time. The Tube (underground) is ubiquitous; taxi's are cheap(ish); buses frequent if slow. The only time transport became a problem was when travelling out of the City.

According to this (a reasonably authoritative source), of the ~9 million people living there(circa 2012), less than 30% own a car. I know many Londoners my age (60) that never bothered to take a driving test.

I know it is unintuitive, and even uncomfortable, to consider when you are used to having your own transport, but my suggestion to you would be to wait until you are here, and then ponder the options.

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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by markz » Dec 10, 2017 11:07 pm

Can you take bicycles on the underground tube train system?
If so, they are probably not allowed during peak rush hour.

Set her up with an ebike with lots of power and hide it very well. I doubt she'd be doing anything crazy, but still have the Uummphfff to speed past buses and taxis and other morons with no concern. A nice big basket on the front handle bars and big ass pannier bags on the rear. Nothing too fancy looking, make them look bland and unappealing.

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Sunder
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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by Sunder » Dec 11, 2017 5:06 pm

Hmm. So one saying without a car it would be difficult, one saying only 30% of people have cars...

I guess living there a few weeks can't hurt and saves an inappropriate bike just sitting there collecting dust in a very small house, if I was wrong.

There is always the option of cabs just for a few weeks.
eBike: Q100H on 16S with Phaserunner FOC Controller
eMotorscooter: Vectrix VX-1 on 36S
eCar: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV... Waiting for warranty to expire
eHouse: Still on grid, but with LTO batteries and 3kw LF inverter...

After 5 builds, the best advice I can give, is start with high quality products. I prefer http://www.ebikes.ca

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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by barbs00 » Dec 18, 2017 6:10 am

You might need one of these.

I wonder if they fog up from your breath?
Bike tent.jpg
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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by The fingers » Dec 18, 2017 1:43 pm

Would be nice if it was heated. 8)
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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by amberwolf » Dec 20, 2017 1:53 am

It is. The sun shines into it, and the heat's trapped inside, making it a nice toasty oven, unless there's vents to suck the airflow thru it.

Based on my limited testing with some plastic sheeting when I was still going to enclose Crazybike2, long time back, I found that a nice sunny day in the low 70s F would rapidly turn into a humid melty high 80s to low 90s F just standing in a "cone" of the sheeting with an open bottom. It might be a little cooler actually with airflow past the bottom, but there was a breeze and it didn't make much difference at the time. IIRC that was the moment I realized it'd be kinda dumb to enclose myself in that here in the desert sun, cuz I'd need an air conditioner the entire year except the dead of winter. :lol: There's probably a post about it on my old Electricle blog if it isn't here on ES somewhere.

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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by MarkLeeds » Dec 22, 2017 4:41 pm

Lived in London for more than ten years. It is extremely congested. If you are involved in an accident with a non legal high power ebike they will crucify you. I wouldn't even consider it. I'd go 100% legal for the commute and high power for the weekend.

Also the public transport is pretty good.

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Re: Car replacement in London/Other Cold Weather

Post by x.l.r.8 » Dec 23, 2017 3:55 am

Middlesex, from around Greenford to around Hillingdon is served by great bike paths used by no one. Hillingdon/ Uxbridge is the end of the line for the train and its a slow painful tube into and across London, not as painful as driving though. I used a bike daily fir 15 years from Hillingdon to White city and wish ebikes had been around as I had to shower each end. weather was never a problem as you expect it to be cold and raining most days and was quite pleasant. If you get a minimalist ebike you can use it on the public transport off peak hours and ride where you need to get to. Living without a car is really not bad as nothing is to far away. I had a car sitting in a garage for 2 years and never drove it except to MOT it.
Studied tires in London is a bit overkill, the whole city has underground sewers and tube system making it rare for snow to stick around. and cold is usually more damp cold than freezing cold.
Getting to reading and surrey is another story, thats car territory or at the least car share.
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