Gas Powered Bicycle – Bill & Tel in Ireland
Bill & Tel’s Excellent Gas Powered Bicycle Adventure!
Ireland, as you are have doubtless heard, is a great place to visit – but perhaps not the best place to live all year round! – Rain, freezing winters, short winter days and long nights…and of course, those green rolling hills – not so great if you want to use a cycle to get around…enter the Golden Eagle gas powered bicycle!
Myself and Terry had previously used a couple of 33cc Campian engines sourced from Spain – great little machines but rather dirty in operation and hopeless in the rain (typical of the friction roller design). Having searched the planet for a suitable replacement we came across a forum contributor who spoke very highly of the design, performance, and reliability of the Golden Eagle gas powered bicycle, and it was at this point that the search for the holy grail of gas powered bicycle engines came to an end.
The first thing you discover about Golden Eagle is that they are just really nice folk who have a real interest in their customers – a very reassuring observation when you’re about to fork-out the best part of a £1000 ‘quid’ to someone on the other side of the sphere!
Tel had damaged his back during a weight lifting episode a few years ago and had some reservations about the degree of advantage the Golden Eagle gas powered bicycle would present over our existing engines – He had nothing to fear! After an almost effortless 30mins to secure the engines to our bikes, we set off for test number one – the Flush road in the Belfast hills. Even with the standard gear attached we had no difficulties getting over the hills – something we had never previously managed to do!
A few observations at this point – The gas bicycle engine improves dramatically after about 200 miles, so be patient and you will be richly rewarded. And whatever you do… don’t compromise on the quality of 2 stroke oil – the engine is designed to maximize performance with minimum emissions – it can’t spit out the rubbish you put into the tank like older conventional ‘dirty types’! Courtesy demands that I refrain from telling you which of the two cyclenauts was guilty of this error of judgement!…lets just say, Tel has now learnt his lesson (Gloat)!
Slemish Mountain was for us the ultimate test. Budding historians will recognize it as the place tradition states St Patrick spent his servitude after his captivity from mainland Britain prior to his conversion. After a terrible summer we finally made our way in mid August to the foothills of Slemish, some 35 miles north of Belfast, traversing several demanding hills in the Glens of Antrim along the way. The engines proved superb in every department – quiet, responsive, and very easy on the leg muscles (and the back)! After about 2 hours we reached the foothills of Slemish – great fun.
We had some reservations about how well the gas powered bicycle engines would perform in normal cycling mode – Yes, there is a little drag, but it won’t hinder the pleasure of a typical journey for the majority of cyclists. The only 2 adjustments we’ve had to make since the purchase was to lift the rear wheel a tad to tighten the belt, as this will stretch a little initially and come off occasionally in ‘standard cycling’ mode. And secondly, a simple adjustment to the throttle cable to stop the rear wheel spinning completely when the throttle is off.
In conclusion then, a super little engine, very well designed with remarkable power for its size. As Tel & I parked at the foothills of Slemish Mountain we couldn’t help wonder how much more dramatic St Patrick’s escape would have been with the assistance of a Golden Eagle gas bicycle engine! – I think there’s a Monty Python sketch in the making here – the idea certainly kept us amused all the way back to Belfast!