We are all too aware of the population health challenges of the Hunter region, with spiralling obesity rates and transport modes that do little to encourage human movement and active transport. The need to rethink how we move has never been more urgent, in the face of spiralling rates of chronic disease, mortality and morbidity rates associated with lifestyle risk factors. In the face of this, cycling is well proven as a form of lifestyle medicine that can positively impact health at a whole of population scale when it's convenient, affordable and safe. A large scale epidemiology research case (http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/04april/pages/hard-times-in-cuba-linked-to-better-national-health.aspx) confirmed the impact cycling had in needy times on the Cuban population, with obesity, heart disease and diabetes rates plummeting as the country took up cycling in the 90's economic crisis.
The recognition of our innovation themed offering comes on the back of our Land Forces 2014 (APAC Region Defence Industry Conference) Agile Logistics entry, recognised as an SME Innovation Finalist, where we combine a high capability, Australian designed off-road electric bike with smart portable solar generators from our alliance with Laughing Mind as a Goal Zero dealer.
We've built on that work, with recent partnering alliances with other local innovators like New York TropFest Winner Jason Van Genderen's Pocket Film Academy, using a CargoCycles trike as a "Pocket Film Academy on Wheels", which we plan to have roaming through the upcoming LumenMotion festival in Tuggerah Lake and Newcastle.
To find out more about the detail of what we're looking to bring to the Hunter, you'll need to come along to their Smart Ideas breakfast briefing on 14July 2015 to hear our 90second pitch ;-)
New possibilities for Electric Action riding
With the 2014 Hunter Electric Vehicle Festival now done and dusted, capped off with a 1500 Class win and Energy innovation award, Quiet Rush have started to reach out to new regional destinations to see if we can bring a taste of electric riding action a little further south. The proposed new facility at CASAR Park represents a great option for motor sports enthusiasts of the Central Coast, with the potential to become something more than just a motor-sports venue and broader appeal for boosting already healthy regional tourism numbers.
What we've seen and proven in the Hunter EV Festival is that motor-sports are evolving and innovating in new directions, with exhibitors showcasing cutting edge vehicles in Electric Superbikes, Electric Motorcycles, Solar Racers, Electric Bikes (for On and Offroad action) and Electric Cars. The great example being set by Newcastle based ELMOFO as they redefine racing with their own vehicle, drivetrain and power source systems is a shining example of what's possible, leading to results that see them thumping its petrol powered competitors. Within our own modest racing class, we've experienced the thrill of seeing what its like to ride a bike that blends the best of human and electric performance to create a unique racing format, done at human-scale speed where you can still chat away with competitors whilst racing elbow to elbow in a clean, emissions free racing format.
Within adventure seeking always comes a compromise between adrenaline (proportional to perceived and actual risk) and survivability in the event of adverse outcomes - it's why GP riders often start out racing 125's, before progressing through 250s to higher power machines, honing their race craft, riding and racing skills. With a rehabilitation and human factors background highlighting for us the downside risk potential when things go wrong, we think there's ample space in the adventure sports space to innovate and create a new racing class for introducing new riders, using new zero-emissions machines such as our Stealth Fighter, racing at what we call human-scale speed. We use this to describe a speed that is fast enough to create the perception of risk, induces adrenaline and requires focus, but still occurs within an acceptable risk envelope where the risk to the rider is mitigated by modest power, with lower top speeds, lighter machines and nimble handling. You can read about what it's like to race a Stealth Fighter on a GoKart track to get a bit more background on why it's such enjoyable format, or take a look at others impressions.
With an initial orientation ride offered to Brad Wilson from CASAR Park to get a feel of what its like to ride one of our Australian made Electric Off-Road bikes from Stealth Electric Bikes, we're entering into more detailed discussions to see how we might be able to jointly create an entirely new riding experience, where novice riders can take part in a socially inclusive venue, getting a chance to try powered riding in a low risk riding and racing format. With plenty of sunshine, the CASAR facility is ideal for running an electric race format, powered by solar options, with people able to get a taste of how energised riding can boost their own riding skills and confidence. It can also be a place to participate in non-racing formats, where people of all ages might wish to experience an electric bike, ranging from mild to wild, build their skills and confidence with graded challenge areas (see this example of the The Playground Bike Park at Mt Stromlo to get an idea of what's possible). By combining the option of motorsports and family based activities achievable for all ages, with a road safety and competence building focus, places like CASAR park can help ensure cyclists and motorists leave after days fun at the facility with mutual respect and enhanced road safety behaviours.
In one word? AWESOME!
One of the great aspects of the 2014 Hunter Electric Vehicle Festival is the commitment to parameters for different racing classes so there are common benchmarks for power output to retain a level of competitiveness, an important aspect in Electric Bike racing. In the 1500 class, bikes are limited by battery capacity to 1500Watt Hours (1.5kWh) as the main constraint, with some other racing class regulations. The race takes a similar approach for defining power capacity limits for the High School classes, which keeps the racing competitive and focussed on efficient performance to squeeze the most out of a 384Wh battery.
The Stealth Fighter, with a 3500W motor and weighing in at 34kg, fitted with a set of street tyres like Schwalbe Crazy Bobs is an easy choice for this racing class. Whilst working below class capacity for the battery, Stealth have made sure the power is delivered efficiently for effective range as an off-road electric bike and ready-to ride product. With plenty of suspension travel, there's little risk involved if you find yourself drifting off-track. In fact, it almost eggs you on to give it a go, since this is what it's built for.
1. Human-scale speed: With a top speed of around 60-65km/h, we find that this is an effective human-scale speed for this racing class, which allows for lower risk in the event of a slide, reduced impact and damage to the rider and bike. With a long history in dirt bike riding and mountain bike racing, we know full well the downside risks when things go wrong. Having a set of compliance rules that encourage solid protection for the riders head plus all major joints+points (hands, elbows, knees, feet) helps add to the safety of the rider. The level of adrenaline and attention required still ensures a high level of cardiac output, which can be seen in the race plot below, so there is some interesting stuff happening physiologically as the riders concentrate on the race;
2. Silence: Aside from the Solar Challenge, we can't think of another powered racing class that is so quiet. As you move at top speed around the track, its possible to engage with other competitors in friendly banter, egging each other on, or passing on observations about smelling overheating motors being pushed to their limits, or simply calling a warning during overtaking. It makes for a very social, yet friendly competitive event. Engine sound effects are optional, left to the inspiration of the rider and their engine style preferences (2stroke or 4? Inline or V?) - other riders just hoot and laugh at the fun they've having;
3. Safety: As a business owner and father of 3 young kids, I can't afford to take the same risks I once did - the consequences are far more dire in terms of life impact than if I were young and single. As a Health Professional working in injury rehabilitation I've seen my fair share of people who think they can take the same risks they used to when younger. The body doesn't bounce back as fast as we might like to think it will, and injures more easily than we might expect (go look up Optimism Bias), which is a consequence worth thinking through before committing to a corner overcooked. With plenty of run-off spaces, a GoKart track makes a great medium for racing, with tight turns preventing high speed and rewarding a skilled rider who picks their lines as a counterpoint to a rider on a faster bike, using the full 1.5kWh capacity.
1500 class electric bike racing reminds us of the now defunct 50cc GrandPrix racing class, with teams extracting maximum power from little engines within a lightweight chassis. Its a similar racing format, but made safer and more acceptable with lower speeds and no noise. When combined with solar charging, it makes for great EcoFriendly racing. Loads of fun, easy on the ear and planet, yet exhilarating, adrenaline inducing and within an acceptable risk margin for human limits of the average rider. For anyone using a Stealth in the class, they can rest easy knowing they can then still turn it to off road action that is every bit as much fun when the racing is done. Now I wonder how it might look if we were allowed to actually pedal?
QuietRush wins 2014 HunterEVPrize 1500 eBike class and energy-autonomy award in National Science Week
Quiet Rush are delighted to have won the 2014 Hunter EV Prize 1500 eBike class amongst a diverse team of entries, including converted motorcycles and high powered eBike kit bikes, racing a standard Stealth Fighter as part of our range of Australian designed and made Offroad Electric Bike range from Stealth Electric Bikes. Whilst not designed specifically for tarmac racing, their versatility and leading-edge performance and reliability made the race thoroughly enjoyable, backed up by the knowledge that they can be ridden just as hard in off road settings. The bikes truly are a unique vehicle, developed from Australian ingenuity into an internationally recognised export, regarded by many as the worlds best electric bikes. We relied on quality products from Kali Protectives and Troy-Lee Designs to keep us safe whilst racing.
Quiet Rush was also recognised as an innovator for energy-autonomy, taking 3rd place in the National Science Week Cup-Sparking Innovation in EVolution Prize. Our in-vehicle solar charging system, built with Goal Zero products from Laughing Mind (http://www.laughingmind.com/energy-autonomy.html) attracted a lot of interest over the 2 days, showcasing the possibility of running grid-independent, portable eBike charging systems using solar power as our primary energy source. This makes powered adventure possible wherever you are, providing clean, renewably sourced power for charging a wide range of digital devices and recreational products. Whilst not at the grade of 1st place winner Elmofo with their world-leading electric race-car charging system, we are delighted to be recognised for effort in this category, using consumer products available from Laughing Mind as a Goal Zero dealer committed to innovating in new markets.
QuietRush wishes to acknowledge our sincere thanks to the Hunter EV Festival sponsors for making the event possible, with particular mention of the hard work of the event organising team at the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle.
Quiet Rush particularly want to thank the following parties:
With the Hunter EV Festival practice day coming up fast on 31 July 2014, we thought it would be worth taking a quick retrospective at where two wheeled transport options have evolved from. The electric bikes the school teams will be preparing, whilst unable to be powered by pedals during the event, will have the ability to trace some of their lineage back to older machinery that still gets around today.
On a recent weekend trip, we came across the Newcastle Vintage Motorcycle Club members out for a day trip to Morpeth Park, with a whole bunch of bikes spanning many years of technology and engine styles, including a blast from our past, a Suzuki GT750 water-cooled 2-stroke. But there was also older gear, including combined pedal+powered vintage bikes, allowing two different modes of propulsion, a feature shared by our bikes.
Naturally, seeing two wheel machines fitted with pedals is always going to attract our gaze. When we paused to check them out in closer detail, contrasting a 1912 BSA and Triumph motorcycle with our Stealth Fighter, more than one similarity emerged.
Can you guess which brand name component these machines share across that timespan?
Yep, it was the Brooks saddles. Supporting the backside of riders across the world, for over a century. Performance and drivetrains may have changed a lot, but not riders desire for a comfy seat. It's why we use a Brooks B17, a 100yr old design, but still working beautifully. And in case you're wondering what the pedals on these older machines were for, here's a quick snapshot.
The image below is a record of biostream data captured from Strava during the 2013 HunterEVPrize race, showing elevation, heartrate and speed. Make of it what you will, but one thing is clear - with an average heart-rate of 150bpm, the Adrenal circuit was clearly working well.
Maitland, NSW, Australia. Monday 19 August 2013
The ebike entry of Maitland Grossman High School all girls team (Team Titanium) found themselves worthy winners of the inaugural Quiet Rush "EcoGeek Factor X incentive award" on Sunday at the 2013 HunterEVPrize race held at Cameron Park Raceway. With over 20 schools participating as part of National Science Week, including a team from Perth, the girls entry caught the eye of Brian Hill, founder of Maitland based online eBike business QuietRush. Their team effort in resource recovery (breathing new life into old objects), demonstration of their commitment to crossing the gender gap in popularising practical science and demonstration of excellence in the Maitland region were the winning criteria to help them cross the line in taking home the award.
About the EcoGeek 'Factor X' Award
The 2013 HunterEVPrize held on Sunday 18August 2013 was an excellent opportunity to showcase the talents of up and coming future-makers for the Hunter Region, providing a competitive yet fun event for entrants. Held as part of National Science Week, school teams entered hand-built ebikes as practical fusions of maths, physics, chemistry, electronics, biomechanics, aerodynamics. Maitland based business Quiet Rush came on as an event sponsor with their inaugural EcoGeek FactorX prize, looking for entries that addressed criteria of versatility of use, ecologically sustainable design, ergonomics and ability to address climate change and population health challenges. In coming up with the award, the Founder of QuietRush, Brian Hill, noted:
"As a born and bred Novocastrian and entrepreneur, I'm intimately aware of the breadth and depth of skills and capacity for Innovation and Manufacturing in the Hunter region. It was this capacity that saw me relocate back to the Hunter after more than a decade away, working on large scale technology and systems integration challenges in national scale projects. I was keen to recognise the hard work and efforts of up and coming stars of tomorrow that will be the next generation of problems solvers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
Quiet Rush - your Hunter region and Eastern Australian based supplier of Stealth Electric Bikes, rider training and support
Quiet Rush are a trusted supplier of tough+powerful hybrid electric bikes for demanding applications, and clean transport solutions that assist rider effort. We are a Hunter region business, servicing Eastern Australian customers.
Whilst our Stealth ebikes are powerful, they make minimal trail impact, delivering electric acceleration whilst assisting rider efforts. Highly regarded for their price-performance-ruggedness profile, our bikes are highly suitable for a range of demanding applications, including agribusiness, defence, law enforcement, facility patrolling and emergency service applications. They're also perfect for:
We're proud of the work being done by schools as part of building their entries for the HunterEV Prize, so we thought it fitting to make a contribution by adding in an incentive prize to the overall potential prize pool for school entrants - we're calling it EcoGeekFactorX, recognising the importance of the Festival in National Science week as a breeding ground for the next generation of manufacturers, makers, designers, innovators and -maybe- physicians.
We wanted to have a way of rewarding and recognising integrated responses to climate science challenges, based on hands-on engineering and 'making' whilst also building an understanding of the role of considered design, taking into account materials selection, intended functionality, versatility of use and the ability to integrate human effort.
Whilst the EV Prize requires entrants ebikes to be solely powered without pedal assistance, we know there is also a need for designs that can allow for rider input, so we're going to be looking for adaptable designs that can be easily retrofitted for accommodating rider effort. That means having a way of thinking about the design to incorporate another of the sciences - the science of Ergonomics (see more on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergonomics)
EcoGeekFactorX will be an incentive prize based on the best integrated design that embodies eco-design principles, visual aesthetics, versatility, ergonomics and responsiveness to climate change and population health challenges. After all, eBikes are sometimes also about their ability to be pedalled in comfort for extended distances, across a wide variety of terrain, making sure we're also able to be active when we want to. We think our Stealth Fighter and Bomber ebikes handle that brief pretty well, but want to reward teams efforts for matching such a profile.
After all, the Hunter, whilst recognised for its innovativeness, also has some serious population health challenges that we encounter in work done at our sister company (Laughing Mind) - see http://www.newcastle.edu.au/news/2012/07/23/shed-it-motivates-blokes-to-battle-beer-bulge.html and http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au/medicare-local/ml111 - which need appropriate responses.
We want to recognise the work of each schools entry and their role as future makers, wish them well in getting their entries in place and ready.
We'll look forward to announcing the recipients of EcoGeekFactorX at the event and awarding our incentive prize to the winning team.