With a little help from the sun

As a former bicycle commuter and early ebike adopter , i had a bit of history falling for weird bike contraptions . But when i read about the SunTrips in Europe , I was instantly hooked .

“Sur la route du soleil levant” (On the Road to the Rising Sun) took off from the National Institute of Solar Energy (INES), Bourget-du-Lac, France in June 2010. Traveling more than 10,000 km, Bailly crossed a dozen countries and subsequently started the Suntrip races . In 2018 between Lyon, France and Guangzhou (Canton), China , 36 adventurers rode on the New Silk Roads across 10 countries,over 12,000 km with Solar and human energy only .

Suntrip 22 USA here i come ……

I built up an older recumbent with a high end hub motor ( with regenerative braking ) , a 1kwh battery and a solar roof with trailer for a total of 350 Watt production . But its a challenge , Aluminum is a bad choice so i am switching to carbon fiber (which I know nothing about ) . But the real fun is in learning new things , experimenting and test driving this beauty !

Here is my garage

And here is the latest test edition

The idea is to replace my car trips , so when ever i go shopping with this and fill my trailer with my groceries , i get high fives from old ladies , deep techno discussions from other bikers and a lot of comments like : “…that is such a great idea ”

Despite my prior welding classes , i was not able to get a solid aluminum canopy together . I switched to carbon fiber and coroplast , the stuff that greenhouse panels are made from . And wow … i was impressed by them .

On our first multiday trip ( my wife accompanied me on her Haibike with 2 battery packs ) the 40 mile windgusts slammed me into a fence . But while it sheered off the canopy the coroplast took all the beating and the solar panels survived .

The redesign included a smaller canopy , and more solar on the trailer . When parked i can adjust the panel angle with my modified walking sticks .

Testing of the new version included riding with our local bike club …. and i did not have problems keeping up with the Specialized class 3 road bikes .

Most of the time i arrived back home with an almost full battery ! Sustainable transportation here i come …..