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Changes Affecting Retirement in Ecuador or Anywhere


Retirement in Ecuador… or retirement anywhere is changing.

retirement-in-ecuador

Manta is Ecuador’s largest ocean port.  See about shipping and retirement in Ecuador plus a trick to help you retire in Ecuador or anywhere below.

Those who embrace faster change can make their golden years glitter even more.

Those who use old thought in a new world may suffer.

There is a trick to gaining from change which I’ll explain in a moment.

First, an excerpt from the July 30 USA Today article “Older white males hurt more by this recession” by Dennis Cauchon, shows one example about change affecting retirement.  This change is causing more people to retire in Ecuador but affects everyone… even those who are not ready to retire.

The article says:

Dean Canaris, 56, a quality engineer for a Honda automotive supplier, was laid off in April and out the door in 30 minutes with no severance.

Harry Jackson, 55, an airline pilot and supervisor, lost his job in 2007 and, to his surprise, has found it nearly impossible to get another job.

Mark Montgomery, 53, was let go from an Owens Corning insulation factory in April and can’t afford his $575 monthly mortgage payment.

These men from the Columbus, Ohio, area are the unusual new faces of joblessness in this groundbreaking recession: older men cut loose from employment at the peak of their earning power and work experience.

In previous recessions, veteran workers were largely spared the pain of widespread job cutbacks, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Layoffs tended to be concentrated among younger workers: The younger you were, the more likely you were to get fired. Traditional, bread-winning older males — especially white men — were the least vulnerable.

Not so today. Aging Baby Boomers are suffering a harsh employment bust.

Jobless rates for men and women older than 55 are at their highest level since the Great Depression, government data show. White men over 55 had a record 6.5% unemployment rate in the second quarter, far above the previous post-Depression high of 5.4% in 1983.

Those above 55 also are spending more time than ever between jobs. Older workers spend an average 27 weeks between jobs, about five weeks longer than younger workers.

“When you lose your job after many years, you’re not only looking for a job. You find the nature of employment has changed,” says Deborah Russell, director of workforce issues at AARP, the lobbying group representing people 50 and older.

“People losing jobs are increasingly male and increasingly older.”

The loss of a job for an older worker can erase the dominant income of a middle-class family, wipe out savings as retirement nears and deny aging people health insurance when it’s needed most.

“So many of these men were coasting to retirement, working at good jobs and earning good pay.

“Then, suddenly, it was gone,” says Susan Birie, who runs the government’s Delaware Area Career Center in Delaware, Ohio.

Areas of employment that used to be considered safe are gone or going… never to return.

Our recent International Business & Investing Seminar (IBEZ) in North Carolina explained why this is so.

The industrialization of mankind has moved through five eras each with a new form of power.

Era #1: Water-sail-textiles.
Era #2: Steam-railroad-telegraph.
Era #3: Internal Combustion Engine – Car – Production Line – Petroleum.
Era #4: Jet Engine – Phone – TV – Plastics – Chemicals- Fertilizers.
Era #5: PC – Internet –WWWeb.

In the first stage of each era… markets and the economy boom. New jobs are created. Later in the era, the markets crash… the economy slows and the new wave  in the new era wipes out good jobs from the era past.

The railroad wiped out many safe shipping jobs.

The auto industry wiped out many railroad jobs.

Jet travel eliminated many opportunities originally created by cars.

The internet wipes out many jobs in travel.

These changes bring enormous opportunity for those who adapt. One must invest differently and globally.  This is why half of our IBEZ seminars are about global and why we have a strategic alliance with Jyske Bank to offer a multi currency course.

This is why we also focus half of our IBEZ seminar on how to have a global internet business.

Our goal is to help delegates use the trick so they’ll gain from change.

The trick is what we call JDI… a phrase you have all heard…. Just Do It.

We give our delegates at the course enough basics so they can start a part time internet business.  Then we followed up to get the delegates to get started.

The first week after the course, our delegates received this note from our webmaster, David Cross.

Welcome home.  I hope you had a safe trip back from our North Carolina seminar. It was a pleasure to meet you and share your ideas. We’re going to help you give it wings if you desire using the internet in business.

Let’s get started…

You’ve now got an idea – or an idea of your idea. If you want to bounce your idea of me, please do so.

Let’s begin.

Here’s what to do today – yes, right now!

=====
Step 1: Register your domain name.

http://www.godaddy.com/ is about $10 a year for a .com domain name

Done!

(You can ignore all the additional offers GoDaddy will flood you with.  Just grab your domain).

Look out for another update from me this week. Good business, David

This trick in time of such rapid change is to get started with something small.  Then  learn and evolve.

Our delegates have fun with this as well. Here is one reply David received.

Way ahead of you, David !!!  LOL   But will enjoy receiving your updates ….  My sites have been obtained and are our 2 new ventures. I’ll be focusing on one site first with the import/export of cigars. I already have a name for our newsletter so I can work on getting recognition and good Search Engine hits. I will hopefully be adding other products, such as wine, coffee, chocolate and other “vices” in the near future. Gary, I’m hoping to focus on these additional products coming from Ecuador so any leads would be great.

I was reminded of the importance of taking action by a note sent by a kind reader in Canada that said:

Hi Gary, I’ve been reading Henry Ford’s “My Life and Work,” and this short segment mirrors exactly what you have been saying for years! This might come in handy for one of your daily postings. Cheers!

This segment says:

014
—of—
102
My Life and Work
by Henry Ford

CHAPTER II: WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT BUSINESS (CONT’D)

The automobile business was not on what I would call an honest basis, to say nothing of being, from a manufacturing standpoint, on a scientific basis, but it was no worse than business in general. That was the period, it may be remembered, in which many corporations were being floated and financed.

The bankers, who before then had confined themselves to the railroads, got into industry. My idea was then and still is that if a man did his work well, the price he would get for that work, the profits and all financial matters, would care for themselves and that a business ought to start small and build itself up and out of its earnings.

If there are no earnings then that is a signal to the owner that he is wasting his time and does not belong in that business. I have never found it necessary to change those ideas, but I discovered that this simple formula of doing good work and getting paid for it was supposed to be slow for modern business.

The plan at that time most in favor was to start off with the largest possible capitalization and then sell all the stock and all the bonds that could be sold.

Whatever money happened to be left over after all the stock and bond-selling expenses and promoters, charges and all that, went grudgingly into the foundation of the business.

A good business was not one that did good work and earned a fair profit. A good business was one that would give the opportunity for the floating of a large amount of stocks and bonds at high prices. It was the stocks and bonds, not the work, that mattered. I could not see how a new business or an old business could be expected to be able to charge into its product a great big bond interest and then sell the product at a fair price.

I have never been able to see that.

I have never been able to understand on what theory the original investment of money can be charged against a business. Those men in business who call themselves financiers say that money is “worth” 6 per cent, or 5 per cent, or some other per cent, and that if a business has one hundred thousand dollars invested in it, the man who made the investment is entitled to charge an interest payment on the money, because, if instead of putting that money into the business he had put it into a savings bank or into certain securities, he could have a certain fixed return. Therefore they say that a proper charge against the operating expenses of a business is the interest on this money.  This idea is at the root of many business failures and most service failures.  Money is not worth a particular amount. As money it is not worth anything, for it will do nothing of itself. The only use of money is to buy tools to work with or the product of tools.

Therefore money is worth what it will help you to produce or buy and no more. If a man thinks that his money will earn 5 per cent, or 6 per cent, he ought to place it where he can get that return, but money placed in a business is not a charge on the business–or, rather, should not be.

It ceases to be money and becomes, or should become, an engine of production, and it is therefore worth what it produces–and not a fixed sum according to some scale that has no bearing upon the particular business in which the money has been placed. Any return should come after it has produced, not before.

This reminded me that the best investment… especially in this era where smaller is better… is in our own small business.  We are our greatest asset… but we will earn nothing if we do not act.

Here is what another delegate from our July North Carolina seminar shared.

Gary and Merri…  We truly enjoyed your seminar !!!  Thanks so much for allowing us to come. My brain is still spinning from all of the information and I hope that someday, we will be in the red enough to invest our wealth at Jyske Bank as well. Words cannot express how impressed we both were with the entire presentation. And thank you for sharing your farm with us and the wonderful lunch !!!

This may or may not be your “cup of tea”, but I would love to learn more about how to think BIG, which could maybe be a topic of one of your newsletters. I would value the information and expertise coming from you because you have been so successful. On the way home from your seminar, I thought a lot about how I need to change my thought patterns. I was a single mother of 2 for many years and during those years, I was in survival mode … how to make enough money to raise my kids well and still have enough time to be close to them.

I stumbled into timeshare at the end of the 90’s and was able to fix up my home and become credit card free. But after 5 years and moving up to Director of one of the resorts in Orlando, I left the rat-race of that industry and got back into general Real Estate and built up my print broker business. During  the housing boom, I sold my house and moved to the mountains of NC and continued servicing my printing accounts. That’s when my husband and I opened up his Cigar Shop and my New Age Shop. The Florida housing market crashed and so did my Florida printing clientele. Within the last 2 years, our savings went and up went our debts, like so many of us. Now we’re starting from scratch again !!!

The point: I have always done just enough to “get by” …. I have a difficult time visualizing a bigger picture … a bigger income … bigger wealth … bigger savings … bigger vacations … bigger anything !!!  We are very hard-working but don’t seem to get ahead …. bigger !!!

So if you decide to do a newsletter series on the topic of “thinking BIG”, I think there are a lot of us out there who could use your insight …. hey, this could even make a good “course” subject.  In any case, thanks again, Gary, Merri, David, Thomas and Haskell for your knowledge and inspiration  and I look forward to our continued contact and friendship.  Namaste,

So now we have the answer from one of the biggest thinkers of all Henry Ford.  Become an engine of production and then grow.  Little wonder that ford is the last viable US car maker.

One way to adapt to change is to move to a place where costs are lower…  but living and facilities are good… like Ecuador.

Learn more about our emailed course on how to have an internet business.

We get requests from many planning to retire in Ecuador for information about Ecuador shipping.

Merri and I have never shipped to Ecuador and almost all our readers have found it far less expensive to buy most goods in Ecuador than to ship.

ecuador-banks

For example Ecuador shipping may not make sense for tables.  This hand made dining room set built for us from solid (old) coffee wood ran $420…with 6 chairs.  You cannot beat that with shipping!

I have only had one couple tell me they shipped their goods to Ecuador.  They experienced a lot of problems. The problem was not in Ecuador shipping or Ecuador.  They shipped an entire container and stated they had the DEA in New York tear their stuff apart… break items and leave a big mess.  This is beyond the control of the Ecuador shipper.

ecuador-banks

Appliances are a bit more in Ecuador than in the US… but not enough to warrant Ecuador shipping. A gas stove like this runs between $250 and $380.

Even if we had more Ecuador shipping stories, it would be difficult to give Ecuador shipping recommendations unless we had many shipping referrals because your shipping begins where you are… so much of what you need will be local.

ecuador-banks

A couch set like this can be hand built or purchased “as is” for about $750 for two.

ecuador-banks

Read more about Ecuador shipping here.

So whether you adapt to change in a small or big way… at home in Ecuador or elsewhere abroad… get started. Take baby steps as you think big.

Gary

Join Merri me and Thomas Fischer of JGAM and our webmaster David Cross in North Carolina this October.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and early retirement in Ecuador at the course.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199

Read the entire USA Today article “Older white males hurt more by this recession

Ecuador Car Prices & Perception


Here is a lesson about Ecuador car prices and how we can gain or lose from perception.

First, you may be surprised to find that the cost of an Ecuador car overall may be less expensive than in Canada, Europe or the US.

In a moment you’ll see some new and used Ecuador car prices.  Then some broader thinking about Ecuador car prices.

First, let me share a true story (as far as I can tell) that helps illustrate a point that reflects in Ecuador car prices but goes way beyond Ecuador car prices.

You may have seen this story passed on over the internet about a musician at a Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.

He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 min. a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 min. later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

Over the 45 minutes the the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.
He collected $32.

No one knew that the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before he had sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story.  Joshua Bell played incognito in the metro station in a test organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised were: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made …..  How many other things are we missing?

So too with cars in Ecuador.  So many people from North America have a perception that they must have a car… that they never stop, even for a moment and ask about others modes of transport.

How much are we missing when we fail to enter new opportunities with an open mind?  What do we lose when we automatically try to impose old habits on new situations without first looking, experiencing and thinking.

This is how it is with so many North Americans who have not experienced Ecuador.  They impose two misconceptions about Ecuador cars.

First, they feel they must have a car without asking why.

Second, they think that Ecuador cars cost more without checking first.

So let’s look at the facts about Ecuador car prices.

Some Ecuador car prices are high… but Ecuador car prices are very misunderstood.

Some Ecuador car prices are actually lower than in the US and Europe and the cost of having a car can almost certainly be less.

Take for example a brand new Peugeot 206 that sells in Ecuador for $16,190.

I am not sure this model is still sold in Western Europe but a used 2006 model Peugeot 206  with 36,000 miles and a 1600 cc engine is advertised for sale in England at almost $17,000.

Comparing cars in different countries is difficult, but this example shows that Ecuador car prices are not anywhere as bad as some people assume.

The higher the price of a car, the greater the difference in cost.  This is in part because the percentage of Ecuador’s duty rises with price. In other words, a Mercedes may have 100% duty and a subcompact almost none.

Some cars are also partially assembled in Ecuador or other countries with trade pacts and the duty on these is reduced.

A brand new Ford Explorer XLT is advertised at $39,950 in Ecuador.  A quick check in the US shows the price in the $29,000 price range.

ecuador-car-prices

Yet a new Ford Fiesta is offered at $13,990 compared to the $12,000 to $16,000 price that is expected when the Fiesta arrives in the USA next year. Fiestas in the UK run over $17,000.

ecuador-car-prices

Ford Fiesta

Some cars seem really expensive to me.  The price shown for a Honda Odyssey minivan like Merri and I drive in the US appears to be double what we would pay in the US.  New Volkswagon Golf (called Rabbits in the US) GTIs seem astronomical as well.

Yet the asking price for a brand new Hyundai Atos Prime is only $10,290.

So depending on what you want, the price of an Ecuador car can be higher than in the US and Europe… or less.

Ecuador used car prices are not out of line either.

This 2000 Chevrolet Cheyenne pickup with 78,000 miles has an asking price of $11,000.

ecuador-car-prices

2005 Toyota Corolla, 54,000 miles, $14,700.

ecuador-car-prices

Previous articles at our site have mentioned that Merri and I do not have a car in Ecuador nor do we drive in Ecuador.  Most of our readers do not have Ecuador cars. See why at Ecuador Car Rental Review.

Though we prefer to hire drivers with cars, you can see from the prices above and below that those who want an Ecuador car will find them easily affordable.

If one takes into account the much lower cost of gas, insurance, parking and maintenance, Ecuador cars probably cost less to run than in the US, Canada and certainly are lower than in Europe.

Every country has a system and Ecuador’s is one that encourages drivers to use smaller, fuel efficient cars that have been assembled with lower cost, local labor.

I am not sure this is what was on the politicians minds when they developed the system but with high duty on big cars and low gas prices, a larger portion of the population can have their own ride if they wish… without creating such a bad a carbon footprint.

Those who want to drive a big fuel guzzler, the polluters  pay in advance.

Plus you cannot import old cars into Ecuador… only new more efficient, less polluting vehicles are allowed in.

I wonder if this is a better system than cash for clunkers where the tax payer, rather than drivers of large and old fuel consumers, pay to achieve better fuel economy?

See more used Ecuador car prices and how to obtain new Ecuador car prices for 239 different models, 220 used cars and  a list of Ecuador car dealers here.

Getting new cars in the US is one of my least favorite activities and one delight for me in Ecuador is avoiding this task.

If you feel you must have or at least know about Ecuador cars… I hope this helps.

Gary

Join Merri me and Thomas Fischer of JGAM and our webmaster David Cross in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $299.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and early retirement in Ecuador at the course.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Protected: Ecuador Dentist & Doctor Flexibility


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Cotacachi & Green


One great benefit to living in Cotacachi Ecuador is that no car is required. This a a great benefit for green living.

Cotacachi is colorful beyond green.  This is the mural on the arts center in the middle of Cotacachi.

cotacachi-green

This shot was taken by Dennis Goff and is at his new interactive site for anyone who has been to Cotacachi or wants to find out more about it from other members.

Here is Dennis with us on a trek taking photos.

cotacachi-green

There is more about the new site and more pictures in a moment.  First, a Cotacachi business idea.

Many new residents in Cotacachi have bikes and a desire for cleaner living.

Merri and I love to see this happening. Protecting the environment is of such importance.  This is why we are working with our friend, Mark Owen, to take our North Carolina farm off the grid.

Mark recently wrote this article.

Two Wheels or Four?

By Mark Owen

The ever-strengthening desire for the industrialized nations to reduce their consumption of oil has prompted considerable interest in alternative means of transportation. Today, even the Madison Avenue marketing strategists paint a positive image around vehicles with high gas mileage. We all know that a concept has become mainstream when we see it on expensive television commercials and news segments during prime time. We have seen the Toyota Prius on commercials for a long time. Flex Fuel, Hybrid and All-Electric technologies are currently or soon-to-be available to the general public.  The Big Three American companies, Honda, and Toyota all have an all-electric car in development. BMW put a fleet of 700 hydrogen-powered cars in California last year. On the horizon are hopeful technologies such as chassie-free cars framed with carbon fiber bodies, Lithium-ion batteries for Electric and Hybrid cars, and small hydrogen power plants for the average Joe.

All those technologies are gearing toward making cars that are fundamentally similar to the ones we drive now. Designers and manufacturers have determined that consumer tastes change slowly. And these improvements may suffice, and they may come fast enough to make a significant difference. But there are many of you who are eager to push the envelope, live just beyond the comfort of the mainstream, and ponder the logical extremes of the challenges we face.
I like to venture out there once in a while, out there in those logical extremes. So I purchased an electric bicycle. I have owned it for five weeks now, and I am very pleased. Mind you, I live in Florida where the winters are mild. OK, the winters are better than just mild, they are great. The weather has not yet prevented me from riding whenever or wherever I needed to go. I have fitted my new bike with a child’s bike seat to the delight of my daughter. She and I ride to her school on the smaller neighborhood streets almost each morning now. At a relatively slow eighteen miles per hour and with no car encasing her, she enjoys more of her glorious environment. I have also intrigued many of the other parents that watch us drive up to school.

I also fitted the bicycle with a small canvas trailer. It is intended for transporting children, but I only use it to haul groceries from the store or tools to and fro my jobsites. I am a contractor who works out of a small Toyota truck. I usually go to my jobs in my truck the first day and leave all my heavy tools there. The ensuing days I have the option of commuting to that job on my new bike. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, depending on the distance to my jobsite. (It also depends on my mood.)

As you probably guessed, these electric bikes cannot travel far before they run out of steam. They run out of steam even quicker if you are pulling a trailer. Even a ten-pound trailer with skinny bicycle wheels. I learned this on my first commute to work. I got about half way there and the batteries died. I had to pedal the rest of the way there. I also learned that day that I should have brought my charger with me. I made it home for dinner that night, and did not feel the need to go to the gym the next morning, if you get my drift. I won’t soon forget that lesson.

Regarding the range on many of the electric bikes available, most of them can travel up to eighteen miles on a full charge. This varies considerably. The roads in my part of Florida a very flat. So that factor is the same as the “typical” used in most range evaluations. Most electric bicycles are called pedal-assist, so you are supposed to help the motor along by gently pedaling yourself. The weight of the passenger(s) is a factor, as is the weight of any baggage. I also learned that tire inflation and brake adjustment greatly affects range. Under-inflated tires or dragging brake pads will reduce your mileage.

I have found that my commutes to my daughter’s school are a very pleasant six-mile round trip. We can go as fast as she wants, I get a little exercise, and I comfortably make it home to recharge before I turn around to pick her up. Going to my work has proven to be sketchy because I usually drive on busier roads, at higher speeds to keep up with traffic, and the distances have been greater. Splotchy battery performance during my work commutes is what affects my mood some mornings. If I have a lot of work to do that day, I don’t want to also pedal half way home. As a sidebar, a fella gave me two supercharged batteries that he wants me to rig on to my new bike. They will strap into my basket. The electrical connection will be easy enough with a one-dollar connector from AutoZone. These batteries are “glass-mat” type from Harley Davidson motorcycles and have considerably higher amp/hour output than my factory-installed bicycle batteries. If I am crazy enough to do this, my wife or I will report back to you in later issues. That article will be a Must Read.
I will certainly keep riding my electric bike. I like the interest it generates, and the ensuing discussions. I would recommend it, with reservations, to many of you. If you are interested, read on.

I have done lots of research on the various electric bicycles available. Many of them are French or Italian. This concept must be popular across the pond. Most the other bikes (not mine) install their electric motor inside the center of the rear hub. I think this concept will work well in later-generation scooters, but If you run out of battery charge in one of these bicycles, it is very difficult to pedal them the rest of the way home. This arrangement also concerns me because parts for this assembly become very particular, very precise. Improvisation during repairs and maintenance becomes problematic. These European devices, in my experience, seems to be Solid State in that their many curious wires all bundle themselves into the center compartment where there are fuses and too many switches for my comfort. This center compartment contains a motherboard, a very proprietary piece of equipment that could not easily be circumvented. These bicycles are more like a moped than a pedal-assist bicycle. Electric bike technology should not be that sophisticated.

The other main style I saw was a regular bicycle with an electric motor that drives a wheel that you press against the rubber of your front tire for propulsion. This method creates both friction and slippage loss. More importantly, front-wheel-drive in a small car is good; front-wheel-drive on a bicycle is bad. The motion feels un-natural, and the weight of the motor on your front forks is very cumbersome. I felt like I had to constantly worry about endo (end-over-end flipping) or the front wheel slipping out from under me. Besides that, the aesthetics of these vehicles seemed all wrong.

I purchased my bicycle because it was the only one of its kind. It was  second-hand off Craig’s List, and I have no affiliation with the manufacturer. I have looked up their website, though. It is a Synergy Cycle, from Los Angeles, California. I saw yesterday that they reduced their purchase price to only $799.00. This is about half the price of any other electric bike I have seen to date. Their website advertises that a full charge costs between five and 7 cents. I have no reason to doubt this because my bike charges via a small transformer from a regular outlet from empty to full in about 30 minutes. (I will verify electric consumption and report this after I get my new amp-meter for my next birthday.) Either way, this bike has small initial and operational costs. Paltry indeed.

First it is a regular, high-quality, rugged bicycle. It seems they retro-fitted the motor system on after-the-fact. I know, that’s a redundancy, but my old high school English teacher probably won’t see this. And I really want to get this point across. Everything about this bike is as simple as possible. Any bike mechanic can work on most of it. Parts are as easy to find or improvise as any ordinary bike parts.

But then there is the motor/battery system. This stuff is strange to everybody. Who do you get to work on one of these babies? You guessed it…you, yourself, and you. The motor is about as big as a grapefruit, and it is bolted to the right rear main stay. Its got lots of torque and can pull a trailer and me with ease. (Even though extra weight draws more from your batteries.) Its armature runs parallel to the rear hub, about five inches above it. It is connected to the rear hub via a metal link chain and freewheel. This allows the electric motor to operate independent of the manual pedals. The manual pedals can operate independent of the motor, too. One pushes while the other freewheels. Or both can run simultaneous for top speed and longevity.

The motor is wired to the battery pack via two insulated wires that are neatly strapped to the frame. That’s all, just two wires. The battery pack is a plastic case that holds two 12v batteries joined in series to make a 24 volt system. There is a female jack for charging and an on-off switch on the side of this battery pack. The battery pack is removable with one quick-release bolt and one electrical connector. This way you can bring the battery in to your home or office to charge while the bike stays outside. From the battery pack (on the “bike” side of the dis-connector) there runs one cable to a thumb throttle on the handlebars. The throttle is spring tensioned. If your battery pack is switched “on” you may engage and accelerate the motor with a simple push of your thumb. The throttle is spring-tensioned, and its default mode is also “off,” creating a double “off” safety feature. It’s convenient and dummy-proof.

The only wires I don’t like are the two joined at the base of the throttle cable that go to each of the two hand brakes. If you are agile enough to simultaneously push the throttle with your thumb and pull the brakes with your fingers, the action of the brakes will shut down the electric motor. Talk about redundant. I’ve gotta give them credit, though. That is the only fat on the whole machine.

The double kickstand is very stable. It lifts your rear wheel off the ground and allows you to work on rear components while freewheeling, with the bicycle in the upright position. Did I mention the front fork shocks and the double mono-shocks on the main frame? The factory seat is nice enough, but I added a “gel” seat cover I mail ordered off the internet for $15.00. Even at 20mph+ this bike is comfortable and handles nimbly.

As much as I rave about it, though, I am having a hard time convincing my wife about the comfort of my new bike. She compares it to her car, though. And vehicle safety is another issue I concede to her. Like a good mother hen, she asks that I call her the moment my daughter and I arrive at school. And isn’t vehicle safety one of the biggest impediments to mainstreaming small, efficient vehicles? When I saw a new Smart Car pass by me on the interstate, even I think to myself “that does not look safe from here.” It makes me wonder how unsafe my electric bike looks from the vantage of a regular car in traffic.

Even so, my experience with the electric bike has made me ponder concepts such as electric motorcycles that travel at highway speeds. I have already seen children’s electric scooters that hold large batteries under the footrest for a low center of gravity. Could these toys be made a little bigger? Could they accommodate two or three passenger? Is “Two Wheels or Four?” really the only alternative? What about three wheels? I have also pondered safety seats for adults, safety helmets, and 5-point safety harnesses, similar to the features in NASCAR vehicles. I have faith that one of you readers will someday retrofit an electric motor from an industrial fan onto a beefed-up tricycle frame, bolt on a couple of tractor-trailer batteries, and test-drive your prototype at 70 mph. Another one of you might mold a NASCAR seat and a modernistic faring from carbon fiber and add it to the mix. Now that test-drive would be a productive use of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

We are now witnessing the first generation of electric bicycles. They will improve. Maybe this means they will have to look and act more like cars. Some of these bicycles will accommodate themselves to the existing road systems. Some roads throughout the country will be dedicated exclusively for the use of “ultra light” vehicles. Or something far-reaching and un-knowable will happen to this industry. I’m not saying this industry is going to supplant the possible demise of the Big Three, but who knows? Maybe somebody will retrofit one of those French mopeds with solar wings and try to fly it across the English Channel. I will be right there to cheer them on.

We have been looking at business ideas in Cotacachi such as Ecuador export ideas.

Here is a Cotacachi green business idea.  Import or make electric bikes.

For those interested in Cotacachi organic ideas see  Cotacach Organic Gardens here.

cotacachi-green

Entrance to Meson de las Flores.

This photo is another at Dennis Goff’s new site. Here are some more shots.

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Gary Scott and immigration attorney, Roberto Moreno, at Meson.

Dennis is a professional photgrapher who spends winters in Cotacachi and saw there is an an ever increasing number of readers at our site who want to connect with people who have “lived the experience” in Cotacachi.
cotacachi-green

Ecuador roses at Meson.

Dennis thought it would be fun… and informative to start a light site.

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Start of a parade. Wouldn’t electric bikes be better?

Anyone can join and contribute to the network.  Dennis will monitor content to keep it appropriate.   The intent is to keep it light hearted and fun and a great place for like minded people who enjoy Cotacachi.

Ecuador-tours

Tour delgates at Meson.

You can visit Dennis’s site here.

Until next message, may your world be beautiful and green.

Gary

Learn  more about Cotacachi business ideas at our July 4-8 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Enjoy savings by attending our real estate tours at the same time.

July 4-8 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

We provide discounts for delegates who attend two or three courses and tours in a month.

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Plus during the month of April, (this offer expires April 30) enjoy  our extra 2-4-1 savings.

Because Merri and I will not be conducting the July tours, our 2-4-1 offer lets you attend the July 2009  Ecuador export tour free if you enroll in one of our three International Tangled Web Business & Investing Made EZ courses, in July, October or November that we will conduct.

You get two courses for the price of one.  Enroll in any of these courses that Merri and I will conduct below and choose any one of the three July tours free.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

There is no need to  hurry either. If you are not sure about attending two tours,  sign up and attend the July export tour now… then we’ll knock the tour fee off our International Tangled Web Business & Investing Made EZ courses, in July, October or November fee later.

You can also still take advantage of the two or three course discount as well.

For example, if you choose to attend all three of the July Ecuador tours… both real estate and export tours, then you can have the two or three courses discount and still attend a July, October or November International Tangled Web Business & Investing Made EZ course free.

The 2-4-1 offer expires April 30 2009.

We hope to meet you in North Carolina or Ecuador.

Gary