I went on a long afternoon ride yesterday without considering that the ebike had already been back and forth on chicken chores a couple of times and wasn’t fully charged no matter what the power bar said. I ended up wishing I had those 4-6 miles back, but I almost made it.
I know better than this – but the ‘power bar’ indicator sort of encourages a rider to assume that he’s got so much time at X power output when in fact it’s an indicator of overall battery state of charge. So when you’re down to one bar it’s really trying to tell you “the battery’s really low, Joel. Consider homesteading right here.” Everything would have been fine – in fact the motor was still working when I got the bike back to the barn – if it hadn’t been for that one last big upgrade. I got as much of a running start as I could, but by the top you’re switching to the lowest gear and the highest power setting – which turned out not to be there when I needed it. And so things got harder and harder and suddenly gravity just decided to pull me and my 80-pound ebike back down the hill. When that last bar starts to blink, that’s the charge controller saying “You’re on your own.”
I’m more wise to the way this works than I was last year when I took my first spill doing more-or-less the same thing, so things didn’t end too badly. I stopped the bike and got off while still keeping the rubber side down, and there was still enough motor assist to help me push it to the top as long as I wasn’t demanding 750 watts that just weren’t in the battery anymore. Then I still had power enough for the last mile or so back home, but I’m glad the trip wasn’t a single yard further.
Guess I’ve found the limit of its practical range in hilly country. 🙂