Praise for the ebike…

On a whim I took the ebike all the way to town and back – to the other side of town, which in this case only makes a little difference…

It behaved itself beautifully, though these pannier bags are not working out at all. After several attempts to mod them, I still end up with one side or the other bungee’d to the rack to keep it out of the spokes.

Part of it is that I’m just more canny about power management now, but I’d still swear the bike gets better mileage out of a battery than it did at first…


That 12.5 is the mileage for the return trip, which is about a mile more than the trip out was because I took a side jaunt for chicken chores. So a little less than 25 miles on the clock, and the power bar is showing three bars at rest. That’s misleading, of course; there’s not nearly a half charge left but still. That’s a damn sight better mileage on a charge than I got the first year, on dirt roads with lots of sand and ridiculous grades. With a steady diet of paved roads and reasonable grades, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could squeak 50 miles out of it.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to Praise for the ebike…

  1. Robert says:

    Been following your E-bike Saga with interest; my round-trip work commute is 48 level, paved miles. Arthritis precludes a purely-mechanical bike if/when SHTF. Hmm.

    Panniers: Novara has a rear-rack-pannier system that works quite well.

  2. Robert says:

    ETA: have you considered a spoked-out-and-back path to test the actual maximum mileage? Old farts with bad knees wanna know! My doc says I’m not a candidate for an upgrade- yet.
    Seriously though, ignorant question: does the cyborg limb affect your bicycle trip planning? If I’ve crossed a line, tell me STFU, no offence taken.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just a thought:

    After the elections are over in a couple of months, hie thee to towne, gather a couple of those lightweight corrugated plastic political yard-signs, and fabricate them into spoke-guards. a tough of ye olde rattle-can should dress them up nicely.

  4. Joel says:

    Robert: What do you mean by “spoked-out-and-back?” Back and forth until I run out of juice, then see how far I went?

    On the subject of the prosthesis: I’m not at all sensitive about it. I suppose I was, a bit, when I was younger but it happened 50 years ago. Now it’s just part of my charm, like baldness and bad eyes and crooked teeth and severe social maladjustment. If it affects me at all emotionally, to be honest, it’s on the short list of things I’m kind of happy with myself about: This really bad thing happened and I carried on regardless.

    To your actual question: Sometimes it’s a bit of a problem. I can’t push on the left very well, and my control of the position of my left foot on the pedal can be precarious. It has a bad habit of slipping right off when things get hairy, sometimes making moderately bad situations suddenly become “oh shit.” But it doesn’t affect trip planning.

  5. Robert says:

    Yeah, out-and-back, say, ten or twenty miles round-trip with a pick-me-up-I’m-out-of-juice contingency plan to get home. Manufacturer-claimed mileage may differ from actual…

    “just part of my charm” Good for you! I have three of four of those conditions!

    Thank you for a forthright answer RE the prosthesis; I’m just gathering info for my possible future. BTW, there are nifty attachments that can keep your foot aligned with the bike pedal, if that’s appropriate; I’m not a PT/OT but I pretend to be one sometimes at work when I forget my station in life. 🙂

  6. Ben says:

    “ It has a bad habit of slipping right off when things get hairy,“. It even happens to those of us still lucky enough to have retained our meat limbs! They make a variety of foot restraining devices for exactly this, but it can cut both ways safety-wise because if you can’t get your feet loose, it can make an accident much worse!

    I cycle with standard so-called “clipless” SPD peddles, and there is definitely a learning curve to them, because you WILL forget to disconnect at first and cause embarrassing low-speed falls (at least). You must twist your ankles to disconnect, so I assume that wouldn’t work for you.

    These magnetic peddles might be better for you:
    https://www.magped.us/

  7. sevesteen says:

    I’ve seen panniers made from cat litter buckets (basically a 5 gallon bucket in a rectangle rather than a circle), https://www.thebikebucket.com/index.html makes a kit with hardware, but it doesn’t look like it would be difficult to duplicate. The hard part in your neck of the woods might be sourcing the cat litter bucket.

  8. Joel says:

    I’m definitely not interested in any sort of retention device – history has proven that will certainly result in a full Biden sooner rather than later.

  9. Kentucky says:

    “Full Biden!” Hahahahahahaaha! 😉

  10. sevesteen says:

    In the 90’s, I was an attach-your-foot-to-the-pedals-cyclist, now I use BMX pedals. These are a bit longer and wider than standard, with spikes of some sort to keep your feet from slipping. The spikes range from plastic nubs to replaceable steel spikes, and they are the best I’ve found for normal shoes.

  11. Malatrope says:

    Been experimenting with my new ebike and, being an engineer, that involves pushing the limits and figuring out why. A few interesting things I’ve discovered so far:

    a) tire pressure makes an enormous difference in range. Fat tires (4×26) are operated down to just a few pound of pressure. Low pressure (3-5 psi) makes for a comfortable ride on grader-chop, but miserable mileage. I increased it to 10 psi and my range on a 10ah battery went from ~10 to ~15. And now I have to try to avoid the choppy parts of the road…I ended up using a cinch strap to tie the battery down against the frame so it doesn’t try to tear itself off.

    b) not all battery makers are alike. Being a cheap ebike, it came with a cheap battery made by WhoKnowsWhoWeAre Company. I got a second battery from a real company (so that I could check actual total range and get home without pedaling) and that one delivered 20 miles instead of 15 miles rage.

    c) pedaling on hills makes huge difference. Indulge when you can.

    Finally, you and your bike are why I finally broke down and bought one. It has been a great experience, and is forcing me to get in better shape. Thanks for expending the effort to write this blog.

  12. The Neon Madman says:

    +1 on the tire pressure. Keeping the tires fully inflated will make a big difference in both battery life and unassisted pedalling.

  13. Joel says:

    Yeah, in fact I (think I) run the same size tire, 4X26, and I keep them substantially more inflated than that. More like 30 psi. Which probably does give me a harder ride, but it keeps the sidewalls on the rims. Not sure I even *could* run them at 10 psi. For sure it would do terrible things to the battery mileage.

  14. Malatrope says:

    I think 4×26 is the “standard size” for fat tire bicycles. It says on the side of them that the pressure range is 5 psi to 30 psi, so you are at the highest. High pressure also equals more likelihood of punctures. I haven’t tried installing those “puncture-proof” strips between the tube and the tire yet, but I carry a spare tube, inflator, and tire spoons.

    The thing was shipped with the pressures at 2 psi in the rear and (unreadably low) in the front. I didn’t notice for about 100 miles. The range was terrible, but it sure was a smooth ride and just floated over deep gravel and sand like it wasn’t there.

    I’m also trying to balance out the wear pattern. When on pavement, at 10 psi I’m only seeing contact with the road across about an inch and a quarter. These things are wearing out ridiculously fast (as in, may not make 1000 miles).

To the stake with the heretic!