Vive le "Velosolex"

Today I tried to get spare parts for my Wanderer bicycle in Beijing. It is strange that even you would think China is a bicycle country, people actually don't know much about bicycles, and it is not easy to get parts. You also don't really get the impression that they know even how to use a spanner key or a screw driver. So finally, I decided to get what I need when I am next time in Germany, and then repair it myself.

But on my Odyssey, I had a closer look at the electric bicycles available. There is a whole range of electric scooters, but my interest was in some kind of "muscle-electric hybrid", which also is called "Pedelec". I have been trying a prototype from a colleague once, and found this the "Velosolex of the 21st Century". Not many remember the old bicycle with the small one cylinder two stroke support engine which was just flipped on the front tire when needed. I was still once riding one in the late 70s, and remember well how it blew the oily exhaust fumes strait into my face. Of course this does not happen with an electric version. Actually, the original version of the Velosolex is still available and is advertised in the US, as the "French way of getting from A to B". Other electric personal mobility concepts are provided for example by Segway. Segways are also available in China, via an importer in Guandong Province, but far too expensive to compete with the local bicycle electric competition. The one I decided for, is a simple 20 inch bicycle with a 36 Volt (10 AH) Lithium Ion battery, which is supporting via a 240 Watt motor in the front wheel. Really a bit like a Velosolex. But the manfacturer is Giant, which is a Taiwanese company, of which lso my racing bike is made. Could be called the "Chinese way of getting from A to B". The range is very much determined on how much you rely on the engine and how much you paddle. It is really a hybrid. Today I tried out nearly the full electrical range, which is about 20 km. Then the engine stopped abruptly and went home on a conventional push bike.