THE JOY OF MOVEMENT
There was a time when people used to move to get to where they wanted to go, rather than sitting in a car or bus/train. People used to walk, run, ride horses and cycle, purely as a means of transportation – not for exercise! We hope to help enable more people to do that with the DryCycle.
It’s a much more natural experience to have to do some exercise in order to get to where you want to go. Exercise is generally stress relieving and helps lift people’s moods, whilst keeping your body in good shape will lighten other everyday tasks.
GET TO WORK DRY
Sure, some cyclists will say that there is nothing wrong with the current bicycle, you simply have to dress appropriately, but not everyone thinks that way, in fact the weather is the second most stated reason* why people don’t cycle more often. So, there are plenty of people who think it would be better if you didn’t need to get changed every time you want to pop to the shops when it’s raining/been raining, and that’s who the DryCycle has been built for.
With it’s fully enclosed bodywork the DryCycle allows you to dress for success and not for a cycle ride. Protecting you from all the weather can throw at you, as well as road muck, you’ll arrive at your destination fresh as a newly pressed daisy.
(* Here is a good selection of surveys on why people don't cycle more, https://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/wiki/barriers-cycling, on average the weather is the second most stated reason, safety is the first.)
The electric motor in the DryCycle will add a healthy dose of power to your own pedaling so that you can keep pace with casual cyclists with hardly any effort on your part.
The Shimano E8000 motor is rated to a nominal 250 watts so that the DryCycle is legally classified as an EAPC (Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle).
This is a ‘nominal’ output of 250 watts, which means that in practise it can output as much as 500 watts for reasonably sustained periods to cope with increased loads when accelerating or slight hills.
It’s no V8 muscle car and you certainly won’t be out dragging cars from the lights or even holding 15mph going up hills, but you should be able to keep pace with unassisted casual cyclists with only a little effort in pushing the pedals in most situations. At 120kg in weight the DryCycle is built for luxurious cycling not ultimately for speed.
A normal cyclist can output 200 watts of energy for sustained periods which added to the motor’s 500 watts gives 700 watts as a reasonably expected power for times when it’s needed. If you want to know what shape you’d need to be in to output 700 watts of cycling power on your own then here’s a video of an Olympic cyclist toasting some bread.
Of course at 120kg for the DryCycle, and 120kg for rider and payload, a fully loaded DryCycle at 240kg is considerably heavier than your average bicycle (15kg) and rider (90kg), at 105kg in total, so this is why we say it will keep pace with casual cyclists with only minimum effort from you (you don't even have to put in 200 watts of course to get 500 watts from the motor when it's in boost mode).
Be aware that 700 watts is just under 1 horse power (750 watts), so it won’t blast away from the lights like a Ferrari, but let’s face it doing that on a cycle path would be pretty irresponsible, it is still a pedal cycle.
The best way to find out how it rides is to come and test ride one, and we welcome anyone over 16 years old to come and do this.
On level ground the effort you have to put in to move the DryCycle is usually a good deal less than a normal bicycle, but it’s also fair to say that on steeper hills the added weight of the DryCycle may slow you down more, than the added power of the motor speeds you up.
WORK OUT ON THE WAY HOME
At the end of the day rather than heading to the gym, and forking out money for the membership, you can work out in your DryCycle. Turn down the motor assist, or just up your speed to over 15.5mph, and pedal as hard as you want to and make sure you give your body the regular workouts it needs to keep your heart healthy and help you to stay in shape. A recent report in the British Medical Journal shows that cycling to and from work could halve your risk of cancer and heart disease*. It was a very comprehensive survey with over 250,000 participants, it included looking at any increased risk of cancer (eg. from exhaust fumes) and deaths by any other means (eg. from crashes) and came to the conclusion that cycling is definitely better for your health even when you consider these potential additional risks, of course they didn’t factor in the increased crash protection offered by the DryCycle! With the increase in electric vehicles over the coming years localised exhaust fumes should also vastly reduce, and with increases in safety equipment such as Automatic Emergency Breaking (AEB) systems on cars and other vehicles this trend for cycling to be the healthier option can only improve over time. Did you know that since 2014, Euro NCAP will only give a 5-star safety rating to a car if it has an AEB system equipped in the vehicle? So active safety systems like this and autonomous systems, which are set to be safer still, will continue to make our roads an even safer place for all road users, and as the survey shows, the health benefits already far outweigh the risks even before these improvements.
We consider staying healthy as the main reason for choosing a DryCycle on your commute.
(* You may find this summary by the BBC easier to read than the official summary page https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39641122)
ELECTRIC POWER - THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE
The Electric Pedal Assist motor makes you feel like you’re surfing down a wave pushing you along faster than you would otherwise do on your own. Accelerating away has never been more fun, and uphill gradients become easier. We only use the best motors from world renowned Bicycle Components Manufacturer Shimano. The Shimano STEPS E8000 system gives you up to 80Nm of torque and will help push you up to 15.5mph (the legal cut off for motor assist). The system is very responsive with an inbuilt torque sensor and built to last.
WOULD YOU LIKE PADDING WITH THAT?
Our seat is unlike any other that you’ll find in the cycling world! It’s comfy and padded, and not in danger of parting your butt cheeks and wedging itself permanently inside you, as some racing bicycle seats seem intent on! It’s a Car Seat with lots of lovely padding and a headrest to lean back against whenever you want to relax a bit. You can also put an optional car seat cover over it if you want to protect it from your sweat if you’re working hard to get home at the end of the day, but the main point is that it’s Comfy! Really Comfy :) And since it's a car seat it can be quickly moved backwards and forwards on manual sliding rails and the backrest can easily be adjusted to whatever angle you desire. It even has a quick release function so that you can quickly pull the back rest forward to access the shopping area behind.
FOUR WHEELS ARE BETTER THAN TWO
Controversial we know, but in terms of stability at low speeds 4 wheels will always beat two. So stability when starting off from a traffic light, or when negotiating a tight bend at low speed is better in our four-wheeled DryCycle.
In a DryCycle you are also less likely to be knocked off balance by a pothole, a slippery road or a car/van door mirror hitting you/startling you as it passes by too close.
There is a trade off to four wheels as well that we will note, such as high speed cornering, where a Bicycle can lean into a corner and so take it more quickly. But we’re selling the DryCycle as a commuting/transport vehicle not a racer, so going flat out round the corners probably isn’t as high up the list of your priorities as getting there dry and comfortably, and unless you bomb down hills at high speed it’s unlikely to be an issue.
The independent front suspension means that your DryCycle will lean outwards when going around corners, this is done purposefully, and you'll find that if you hold a constant radius turn and try to increase speed the rear inside wheel will lift off the ground and the open differential will spin away any more power that you try to add in order to prevent you from going faster. You could still overturn the DryCycle by steering too sharply though, so use the lifting rear wheel to more easily learn the limits of the vehicle and you can make sure you don’t push it to a point where it will overturn from cornering too quickly.
SIDESTICKS LIKE A FIGHTER JET
Sidesticks are cool everyone knows that, and they’re actually really fun to use as well, but actually the main reason we went for side sticks was safety. We could have easily given the DryCycle a steering column with either a wheel or handlebars at the top of it, but we didn’t want to put what is essentially a metal pole sticking straight towards your chest/head. Some modern cars can retract the steering columns away from drivers in the event of an accident and have airbags to cushion the blow. We couldn’t do that within the weight/cost limits of our vehicle so we avoided the issue by putting the steering to the sides. Plus, it’s Cool!
LIT UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE
On the subject of safety, everyone knows it’s good to be noticed when you’re on the road on a Bicycle, so our DryCycle has 20 lights! Along with reflectors on the front, rear and sides of the vehicle, not to mention the tyres, this will certainly get you noticed! In a good way, as it makes it less likely anyone will crash into you! With its striking design and unusual size, a DryCycle was never going to be for shy people, so we designed it to stand out and make sure it’s never easily confused for being a car ‘at a distance’.
Also, unlike any other enclosed pedal cycle that we know about (and we have searched extensively) our DryCycle has pedal reflectors which can be seen from the front and rear of the vehicle. This is a legal requirement from the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations and is peculiar to the UK, which is perhaps why no other manufacturer seems to bother, but it is the law to have these be visible to the front and rear of the vehicle, between the hours of sunset and sunrise (essentially night time) and it does mean that police won’t need to stop you to find out if your vehicle is pedal powered or motorised. Without these reflectors the police could fine you up to £1000, so we think it’s important to include these to make sure you can legally use your DryCycle after the sun sets.
EFFICIENCY AS STANDARD
Did you know that Bicycles are at least 5 times more efficient than walking, and cycling an average bicycle for 3 miles uses about the same amount of energy as driving a car for 85 metres! When you take into account the energy required to produce food for the human riders of bicycles you also find that electrically assisted bicycles are actually twice as efficient as purely human powered ones as well. So Electrically assisted bicycles are almost certainly the most efficient way for anybody to get around. Of course our 4 wheeled DryCycle is not as efficient as a lighter Bicycle, but, given the weight difference, it's still only about 60% worse than the most efficient way to get around which still makes it far more efficient than either walking or driving.
This efficiency not only saves the planet, it can also save you money in the running costs of a DryCycle compared to a car! It only costs about 15p in electricity to travel 50km by DryCycle.
Here's, a couple of links about the efficiency of bicycles versus cars if you'd like to find out more:
LOW RUNNING COSTS
At only 15p in electricity for a 30 mile range on the highest motor assistance setting there are very few vehicles that can compete with a DryCycle.
Electricity prices in the UK are typically 13-15p per kwh, and the battery size on the DryCycle is 1kwh, the range is approximately 30 miles on full boost setting (though it can be as high as 100 miles in Eco mode) so the maths is pretty simple to get the cost of 15p for a 30 mile range.
The costs of components that are subject to wear and tear is not high either as they are largely from the bicycle sector when compared to the costs of repairs on cars. A complete set of 4 brake pads for example is typically under £50, and a set of brake discs is also typically under £50.
IRON MAN SUIT COMPARISON
The DryCycle is the closest thing you can currently buy to a road legal Iron Man suit!
Bear with me on this one, as some of you may be thinking that’s a bit of a stretch but think about what the basics of the Iron Man suit are:
(1) It gives protection to its user from outside forces; OK a DryCycle won’t put up much of a fight against a tank like the Iron man suit does, but it will protect you from some of the most common accidents that cyclists suffer from.
(2) It’s a power enhancer; The DryCycle takes the users energy and adds its own to make the movement stronger, in this way it’s quite similar to an Iron Man suit, but obviously to a lesser degree.
(3) It’s a weapons platform!; Well, no, a DryCycle isn’t a weapons platform, though I suppose you could mount a machine gun to the roof, but then it wouldn’t be very road legal!
(4) It can fly!; Err, Yeah ok, the DryCycle is not exactly like an Iron Man suit, so don’t try driving it off a cliff!
THE POWER TO REVERSE
We’ve fitted the DryCycle with a Forward/Neutral/Reverse Gearbox so that you can easily and quickly select the direction of travel.
The DryCycle is fully enclosed, so you certainly couldn’t put your feet down and push the vehicle backwards when needed, and getting out and turning it around would be a bit of a faff really, so with our gearbox you don’t need to do this.
The other positive of the way in which we’ve fitted the gearbox is that you always pedal forwards, so, whilst this may seem counterintuitive to some people, the reason why we did it was because the motor will then always assist you, regardless as to which direction the vehicle is travelling in.
IT'S NOT THE FALL THAT HURTS YOU, IT'S THE FLOOR
If you receive even a slight knock whilst riding on two wheels, perhaps from another inattentive cyclist, or a car door opened slowly into your path but which nevertheless makes contact, or a bumpy road surface, then you may well fall off a two-wheeled bicycle. Likewise, if the ground is slippery either from rain on painted lines on the road (which can become very slippery when wet), wet manhole covers/drains, or from ice or oil, then you may also fall from your bicycle. Also inexperienced or weaker cyclists are also more unstable at low speeds as they start off or come to a stop.
Putting a foot down, or steering into, the direction of the fall, is the current way to prevent overturning if a bicycle rider is unstable at low speeds, but there are times when this is insufficient, not possible or dangerous, for example if there is a car passing by in the direction the rider would need to steer in order to avert falling, or if the riders speed is too high to put a foot down and regain their balance.
A large number of bicycle accidents recorded in official figures are “one vehicle” accidents. Accidents where the cyclist wasn’t knocked off by another vehicle, but rather fell off due to the instability, in some circumstances, of only having two wheels.
In the 1880’s the “Safety Bicycle” was invented and went on to replace its popular predecessor, the Penny Farthing. The “Safety Bicycle” had a very similar frame to any modern bicycle (a diamond shaped frame as it is commonly known) which shows that in terms of trying to increase stability through frame design we haven’t moved on much in the last 100 years. The Safety Bicycle was designed to prevent the injuries that Penny Farthing riders were suffering when they had to brake suddenly and went flying over the handlebars, sometimes incurring fatal head injuries in accidents known as ‘Headers’. The safety issue we are looking to solve with the DryCycle is sideways stability at low speeds, and some crash resilience. At low speed a DryCycle is inherently more stable than a bicycle on slippery surfaces or when subjected to light knocks due to its 4 wheels.
There is a drawback to this 4 wheeled design of course, that being the inability to lean into corners and take them at higher speeds. It is possible to tip over the DryCycle by steering too sharply, or carrying too high a speed when taking a corner, but the DryCycle will try to warn you that this is happening because if features independent suspension on its front wheels, so it will lean outwards when going around corners before it tips over. This allows the rider to get used to the speeds at which the vehicle can take corners and acts as a warning when taking corners a bit too quickly so that the rider can slow down mid corner or straighten the wheels a bit, unless they’ve really overcooked it, in which case it will tip. It is not as stable as a car, but it is more stable than a bicycle.
Another stability issue to be aware of on bicycles is emergency braking resulting in the rider going over the handlebars. My brother did this when he was younger and broke his collarbone when he landed on the road whilst riding his bicycle. It is possible to ‘endo’ the DryCycle as well in an emergency braking situation, and this also requires some rider skill, as it does with a normal bicycle to feather the brake lever so as to not lift the rear wheels up. Of course, if you do endo a DryCycle the result is likely to be less injurious than on a bicycle, as you the floorpan in front of the front wheel will contact the floor and prevent overturning in the vast majority of cases (I’m surmising this, it needs to be tested), and if you did manage to get it past this point and completely overturn the vehicle at least you have a roll bar to take the blow. Also, even in an endo the DryCycle has two wheels on the road and so is unlikely to fall over sideways as a bicycle might.
CUT CONGESTION AND EMISSIONS
It's statistics time, Yay!
The Department of Transport does yearly studies that it publishes in full in a series of spreadsheets that if you have a lot of patience you can read through, but we'll save you the time and give you some highlights, here's a link in case you want to check up on us :)
The latest results at time of writing were from 2017.
NTS0905 shows that 88% of all commuting journeys, that were made by car, were made with only one person in the car.
Clearly, a lot of short journeys are being made with just one person in the car, this is the market we're aiming for and think there is room for improvement.
So people are riding in cars alone a lot, so what?
Well, at less than a quarter of the footprint size of an average car a DryCycle will obviously cut congestion and emissions which are a cost to all of our society.
But a DryCycle, at only 920mm wide, not only cuts congestion but can also ride in between it, or along cycle paths and avoid it altogether.
If you commute in London it might be interesting to know that Inrix, a data analytical company for traffic and driver services, reported that London drivers lost an average of 227 hours in London each year due to congestion https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2019/02/13/congestion-costs-uk-almost-8bn-in-2018
Lowering pollution is another way that DryCycles can help more than just their riders. At just 30 wh/mile, a DryCycle compares very favourably to even the most efficient electric cars (at circa 200 wh/mile), and is of course vastly less polluting than any internal combustion engine car.