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FELA as a Commuting Gym

Updated: Feb 5

In “How much should the average adult exercise every day?” Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. suggests:

1. “Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity… spread out this exercise during the course of a week.”

get fit in your commutes
Let your FELA sculpture you

Numerical simulation of FTP-75 (EPA test for 18 km trip with one boost to 91km/h, 17 runs at 50km/h, averaging 34 km/h) shows that an ordinary person in FELA spends 4.62 Wh/km or 310 Cal of food energy in 31 min. That effort translates into 150 W of pedaling (sub-vigorous level), given a 1:1 assist, i.e., another 4.58 Wh/km is drawn from the battery, tallying up energy use to 9.8 Wh/km.

Considering muscles' work as beneficial, FELA is 46x greener than Tesla S (210 / 4.6 Wh/km). Using a more realistic 300 Wh/km in the city for a 2300 kg EV, we'd get a factor of 66 or 220 compared to a conventional car. If you set 1:2 assist, you pedal at a leisurely 70W during the same 30-minute commute.

The five-day commute amounts to 5 hours of vigorous or moderate physical activity, depending on the assist level you've set and trip conditions.

This tripled recommended dose may sound overkill, but I suspect that the physiologists just don't want to scare us out of doing at least the minimum, and a 20 km commute is in the 95 percentile, meaning most of us need much shorter trips, still un-bikeable or unworkable for many reasons.

2. “Do strength training for all major muscle groups at least twice weekly. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after 12-15 repetitions.”

FELA pedal drivetrain is designed to reach 50km/h with 12-15 strokes of each leg in 4-5 sec. During this acceleration, each leg will push at 40-70 kg (depending on your fitness and drivetrain setting), and you will beat cars in green signal start to be the first on the next intersection.

FTP-75 simulates 18 starts like this. So, you will score 500 “squats” daily. Ladies will melt away “organically" their cellulite in a few weeks, i.e., without commitment to the gym (that fails and dents self-esteem) and dieting (very bad for your mood and relationships).

Tuned for directional stability, FELA allows you to help your legs with your arms and shoulders.

Here you have it: full body workout two times a day, five times a week, with no money and time spent in a gym.

3. “Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems. Sitting too much negatively impacts your health and longevity, even if you get the recommended .. daily physical activity.”

Without speculating on the detrimental factors of sitting for 10+h a day, just think that we hadn't been doing that for hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution, only in the last 2-3 centuries since the "industrial revolution". Comparing the sketches of ordinary contemporaries made by Renaissance artists with the New York summer street snapshot is depressing.

Pedaling in a reclined position, particularly vigorously, engages your back's and thighs' big muscle groups, strengthens them, restores the vascular system, and hardly can be considered as lounging in a couch in front of the TV or sitting on a chair in an office desk. Forget silicone implants: It's muscular, moderately lean back that is not only a sign of cardiovascular health but is sexy for those who care about their look.

4. “Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits.. If you can't fit in a 30-minute walk during the day, try a few five-minute walks instead. Any activity is better than none.. Most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.”

That’s exactly what FELA does: it combines physical activity requirements with personal transportation needs. No more self-flagellation on broken New Year’s resolutions, which is not good for your psyche.

But what to do for those who don’t have 18km commutes to pedal at a moderate level or don't want to sweat before an important event? FELA provides options: minimal assistance to get fit, pedaling hard during shorter trips, or no pedaling in business attire like driving a car. The assist level is set from your smartphone app as you go.

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