Friday, October 20, 2017

Financial assistance to buy an e-bike in two German provinces.

The German Federal Government does not have any plans at the moment to offer financial encouragement to purchasers of electro-vehicles, but two provinces are offering assistance to buyers of e-bikes. 

In Saarland purchasers of up to five pedelecs, cargo-pedelecs or electroscooters annually can receive up to 50% of the costs to a maximum of 1000€ for pedelecs and 1500€ for cargo-pedelecs. In addition construction of new parking areas, charging pillars and new projects such as e-bike hire for tourists will be supported.

In Baden-W├╝rttemberg the focus is on supporting the use of cargo-pedelecs as alternatives to small delivery vans. Companies, councils and not-for-profit bodies can receive up to 2000€ per vehicle. It is hoped to achieve that 5% of the deliveries in major cities will be made by bicycle and cargo bikes.

Both press releases are in German, but a translator program will yield the main facts of the programmes.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ciclovia Alpe-Adria-Radweg

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog will have noticed that it has not been published recently. I was in hospital receiving treatment for a blood disease. In my experience every time I meet the medical profession they discover something new and nasty in addition. In this case it was noticed my heart was only working at about 30% efficiency. I had noticed a tendency to breathlessness when climbing hills on the bike or on foot but put it down to colds, allergies and old age. If you feel the same way it is worth popping into your local cardiologist and having a check up. Once my heart had been repaired the oncologists could start giving me a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs. One of the side effects of my blood condition has meant that I  have a fracture of the spine because my lymph nodes are swollen and one these is too close to my spine. In this situation I need a little something to keep me cheerful. Unfortunately I am now too old to flirt with the nurses, so I have been looking at a cycling holiday next year. Whether I need a new electro-bike to help the heart or a new electro-trike to not only help the heart and offer support for my back is not clear, but I have found a suitable route: The Alpe-Adria Cycleway: www.alpe-adria-radweg.com. This runs from Salzburg down to Grado on the Med between Triest and Venice, and one can take a train through the Alps. The first question to be answered is will the Drs recommend that I cycle, at all? I have looked in various forums without becoming much the wiser.

The first problem to be solved is how do we get to Salzburg? We can take a direct train from Mannheim. The e-bike would be no problem. DB German Rail ac cepts e-bikes.  Most long distance trains do not take trikes or tandems, however. Three manufacturers: AZUBHPVelotechnik and ICE offer folding trikes which mean not only are they cheaper to transport, but you can get them onto a train, possibly with difficulty. Folded bikes go free of charge when folded. I am going to assume that the same applies to folded trikes.

The second possible problem is getting back from the coast after the trip, but it turns out that this just costs money. We can use a minibus with trailer option from Grado back to Udine, Villach or even Salzburg (www.alpeadria.bike). 

It is a gentle occupation looking at various websites about the areas along the route, hotel accommodation and the railway connections. It is probably the modern day equivalent of reading Cooks International Timetable and a good Atlas, which always struck me as some of the most interesting literature in the world.

Friday, October 06, 2017

New fines for using a mobile/cell phone while riding a bicycle in Germany

It is illegal to use a mobile phone or read, write or send a text message while driving in Germany, not that this stops drivers doing this. The same law applies to cyclists, although the fines for cyclists are lower than for motorists. The on the spot fines have recently been increased and are quite hefty: 55€ if caught using a phone, a tablet or a laptop while cycling. I presume by laptop the authors of the law are referring to Microsoft Surface or a Chromebook of sometime, otherwise it would be awkward to attach to the bike. The mind still boggles about taking one's eyes off the road to send messages or pnone.

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