There is so much dogma about the right way to pedal a bicycle. I get so upset when they tell me the most efficient way to pedal is FAST!
When you run out of low gears to spin fast because your hauling cargo, you must rely on muscle. And the best way to build muscle is to slow down and push as much resistance as you can while still maintaining a balancing speed.
If you don’t believe me, try adding one hundred pounds to your wimpy bike and see how far you get, on even the smallest hills.
Perhaps the most efficient way to pedal power a fully loaded bike up steep hills would be with short crank arms and super low gears, obtainable only with a second cassette or a ‘mountain tamer’ fourth chain ring.
This one is OK if geared correctly and heavy duty wheels are put on the rear:
I don't know how much it weighs and I don't think it can be bought, but it's about time! http://cargocycling.org/tag/cargo-tricycle http://www.tntpost.com/
straps adjustable at both ends:
Most commuter cyclists seem to not understand real hill climbing. Riding as fast as they can on bikes made for speed. But when I tell them how they should add 100lbs to their bike to build muscle they even laugh at me. The secret to cargo cycling is patients and low gears.
There are some popular devices for carrying cargo like the Xtra-cycle add-on. I don't like the size of the rear wheel because it is like using a higher gear than a 20" wheel. Some companies are finally making cargo bikes with 20" drive wheels.
On some bikes the 'trail' will be changed. I know of one man that built a long cargo bike with the cargo box to the rear rather than in front of the rider, he has a hard time balancing it on the turns.
I think it would be much more sensible to use a large motor connected to the drive wheel with an automotive timing belt or use a geared hub motor, because the bicycle chains can be torn! I did it twice last year then I tore my muscle tendon a little!
$ The Teracycle cargo monster is difficult to climb steep hills with because it has a large drive wheel and the gears are too high. The lowest gear would be no more than 13 gear inches even with a Mt Tamer forth chain ring of 18 sprockets.
However it is possible to climb hills in higher gear on an MTB I use 22 gear-inches as opposed to 18gi on my recumbent bike. But not with 400lbs.
A pure ratio of the distance traveled by the bike to the distance traveled by your foot as it goes in a circle around the bottom bracket.
I would therefore propose the following equation for Gain Ratio:
Road Speed / Foot Speed = (Large Sprocket Radius / Pedal Radius) * (Tyre Radius / Small Sprocket Radius)
I believe that this fits with the basic laws of lever kinematics with a chain drive. It is identical to
Road Speed / Foot Speed = (Tyre Radius / Pedal Radius) * (Large Sprocket Radius / Small Sprocket Radius)
Don't ever buy a bicycle with higher than 18 gear inches for the lowest gear. + Gear-inch formula: front sprockets divided by the rear sprockets multiplied by the drive wheel diameter.
The Nuvinci gear-hubs for bicycles are worse than useless; they can't handle more than 26 gear-inches of torque (with human legs). And they weigh 11lbs. The maximum torque before it starts slipping is 130Nm or 96 LbFT . One wheel revolution to one crank revolution is the lowest gear possible.
Someone said they saw a video of some guy jumping on the pedals, and thought that it showed how strong the thing is. All it really shows is that it takes much more leverage to move in higher gear. And it shows how strong the chain is; I have torn chain links just climbing hills in low gear.
The secret to climbing hills with too much weight is low gears and faster crank speeds. I can balance better with a faster cadence. Clipless pedals do help, but they can create knee damage from pulling to hard.
Clipless pedals on recumbent bikes with the ball of the foot on the pedals can create toe numbness because the toes are sticking up in the air, I will have to bolt the cleats onto the center of my shoes. Pressing with the arch of the foot is much better for circulation. Also I think it’s better to just lift your "upswing" foot so the other foot doesn’t have to push it up.
It is not necessary to have your feet clipped to the pedals, just lift your foot enough that your pushing foot does not have to lift the returning foot and leg. http://commutercycling.blogspot.com/2007/10/truth-about-clipless-pedals-eliptical.html
Some people think they are pulling a lot more than they actually are. The only way to know for sure is to test it with a torque sensor on the pedals.
Road bike shoes can be treacherous for walking on cement floors, too bad they don’t make special recumbent commuter shoes.
/ how to motorize a big vehicle/ Hub Motors / How much power do you really need?