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Preview: Ebike Revolution

Ebike Revolution





Updated: 2017-11-13T04:46:17.913-08:00

 



Impressions on the Conversion 10 Days Later

2007-08-09T20:31:38.022-07:00

(image) I've been getting used to riding an ebike and I must admit I really like it. It goes much further than advertised on a charge. The other day I rode it 15 miles and took lots of hills. It never fell below the "high" reading. I was quite amazed. Of course, it's the middle of summer. I'm sure that my range will become more limited in the winter months.

I got a big saddle with springs which has improved the comfort factor a lot. I also got a new lock so I can lock up the hub motor and the battery (although the battery is already locked to the frame). However, I found that I was unable to pry the lock from the lock mount (it fits too tightly and I had to have a large man take it out of the mount), so now I have to carry it in my pannier instead of on the frame

Everyone who has tried it out has given it good reviews. It feels plenty fast enough at 15 mph. In my weakened state, I was riding about 7-8 mph on the flat before the conversion so this has effectively doubled my speed. I love taking it up hills. It takes even steep hills without a fuss. I tend to pedal it as I ride and on really steep hills that's a good idea. I charged up a very steep hill coming home from the grocery store with fully loaded panniers today and the bicycle zoomed up at 9 mph. By the way, the mechanic at the Bike Gallery found a magnet that fit on my spokes so now my bicycle computer works again and I can find out how fast I'm going and how far I can go on a charge. And he didn't charge me for the magnet, bless his heart.

Today I rode it 11 miles and didn't pedal much since I was pretty tired; it worked just fine. It felt so great to be out on a bicycle and not cooped up in a car. It's so great not to wear myself out anymore.

The really great thing is that it's still a folder. If I take off the battery (not difficult) I can still fold up the bicycle and put it in the trunk of my car. Of course, the hub motor is so heavy that I may need help to do that, given my current puny condition. But it's very important to me to have a bike that I can take with me when I go on trips.



Converting the BF With Lots of Help

2007-07-30T14:37:35.150-07:00

Photo is of Roberta filing down the dropouts on my bicycle.(The next post takes place in three parts because it’s so hard to intersperse photos in the text.)I finally converted my Bike Friday to an ebike, with a little help from my friends. It wasn’t easy at all. Having done so, I don’t think I would do it again, at least not with a Bike Friday. I wanted the smallness and the foldability, but it took sacrificing my favorite (and only) bicycle.Still, it’s a thrill to ride around on it, and to effortlessly scoot up hills. Also, one can pedal at the same time which increases its range and provides some exercise. I went for a ride last night as the sun was setting and it was really fun.On the other hand, I miss the light agile bicycle that the BF was before conversion. I had to make too many alterations to it to unconvert it again. It’s sort of a Franken-Friday now.So, the first shock was the fact that I had to file out the dropouts. I had heard that the new motors came with 9mm axles but evidently, that’s only for the 26” and 700 wheels, not the 20” like I needed. So I arduously filed it down, which took hours. Roberta came over and helped me get the rest of it filed down. She helped me wrestle the wheel on and get the battery on and get it hooked up. It wasn’t an easy job. For one thing, the motor was wired so that it turned backwards, at least according to the instructions and the arrow on it. We had to take it off and turn it around. Next the throttle wouldn’t fit on the handlebars so she scraped the inside of the fitting (see picture) until she could get it on. The battery wouldn’t settle into place and the brakes were all wonky by that point, but she had to leave.It was sort of working at that point although it wasn’t finished. I took it out on a test run without front brakes. It was a little scary, but it took hills so beautifully I was very encouraged. That is the nice thing about small wheels. They’ve got a lot of torque. The drawback is that they go slower, of course. However, going 15 miles per hour is a great improvement over my usual cruising speed so I’m not complaining.One of the problems was that the battery rattled a lot. It obviously wasn’t fitting onto its bracket properly. I took it off to reseat it but then couldn’t get it back on at all. After fussing with it for an hour or so (and the damn think is heavy) I gave up andI was completely exhausted by that point so I packed it in and decided to work out the rest of the bugs in the morning with Stephen’s help. For one thing, Stephen is a good bicycle mechanic. He was able to adjust the brakes easily. I learned a lot more about brakes yesterday than I ever knew before.Getting the battery to fit was a huge process. It turns out that the battery casing was preventing it from sitting properly. We went to the store and got something to fit into the drill to file it down. Then we drilled a new hole in the mounting bracket because it was too far forward for the battery to fit onto it. Then we had to countersink the screw we put in. There was a lot of problem solving to be done, but Stephen cheerfully went through it step by step.At long last we finished it. I took it out for a test run and it worked! The brakes were fine, the battery didn’t rattle (much). I love it when I go up hills. I’m no so crazy about it on the flat. And I need a new magnet for my bicycle computer because the old one doesn’t fit on the huge spokes.I miss the bike that it used to be, though. I’ll have to get used to it, I suppose. I certainly don’t need 27 gears now. About seven would do me. Using a Bike Friday for this purpose is really gilding a lily. I had labored under the illusion that it could be converted back, but I don’t think it can now. Still, I can ride so much further now. My energy is still pretty low. This will allow me to resume a bicycle oriented lifestyle.Supposedly, I’ll get 8-12 miles per charge. I’m somewhat limited now because I have to run the battery down a few times all the way to condition i[...]



Fitting the Battery with Stephen

2007-07-30T14:18:57.493-07:00

(image)

Getting the battery to fit was a huge process. It turns out that the battery casing was preventing it from sitting properly. We went to the store and got something to fit into the drill to file it down. Then we drilled a new hole in the mounting bracket because it was too far forward for the battery to fit onto it. Then we had to countersink the screw we put in. There was a lot of problem solving to be done, but Stephen cheerfully went through it step by step.





Bike Friday Conversion Completed

2007-07-30T14:10:26.961-07:00

(image)

At long last we finished it. I took it out for a test run and it worked! The brakes were fine, the battery didn’t rattle (much). I love it when I go up hills. I’m no so crazy about it on the flat. And I need a new magnet for my bicycle computer because the old one doesn’t fit on the huge spokes.

I miss the bike that it used to be, though. I’ll have to get used to it, I suppose. I certainly don’t need 27 gears now. About seven would do me. Using a Bike Friday for this purpose is really gilding a lily. I had labored under the illusion that it could be converted back, but I don’t think it can now. Still, I can ride so much further now. My energy is still pretty low. This will allow me to resume a bicycle oriented lifestyle.

Supposedly, I’ll get 8-12 miles per charge. I’m somewhat limited now because I have to run the battery down a few times all the way to condition it. I wanted to take it to Beth’s send-off party last night but I was afraid once I got to 9th and Hawthorne I wouldn’t be able to get all the way home.



Recumbant Electric Bicycle.

2007-07-07T21:38:54.982-07:00

(image)
I've started a new blog over at www.ebikerevolution.com but I haven't figured out how to upload pictures yet so this blog is my current repository for images. This image comes from www.cruzbike.com from the "photomonial" section (under "testamonials"). I've always been interested in recumbants and this one has larger wheels (26") so it rides high off the ground, something that I prefer. Anyway, this ebike is a nice looking one so I thought I'd post it.

I'm still having problems tracking down a conversion kit for my bicycle. I have no idea why this is so hard. Everone seems to be back ordered at this point. I ordered a battery from ATIV Solutions. Eric Converse, the owner, was very helpful. Unfortunately, he only sells kits for 26" and 700 wheels.



Working on a new website

2007-07-03T02:31:28.446-07:00

Chira has designed a new website for me. It's www.ebikerevoltion.com. I just started posting on it yesterday and it will eventually replace this website. It's a much more versitile format.

I've been trying to get my Bike Friday converted and running up against all sorts of barriers. I went to Scoot On This and they assured me that they could do it. They had a motor on a 20" wheel already. In fact they had two of them. However, now neither seems to work. So I tried to order one and all the distributors are out of Crystalyte motors and the weeks are slipping by with many promises and no deliveries.

I'm in no physical shape to ride yet so I suppose I shouldn't be so impatient, but being relegated to a car for all trips is horrible and I want to get back on a bicycle as soon as possible.



A Visit to Clown House to see the Tall Bikes

2007-06-26T14:20:37.304-07:00

(image) A three-tier tall bike

(image) A Lawnmower Bike (doesn't cut grass, but it's cute)

(image) Caffeine Jones demonstates how to mount a tall bike

(image) Howard rides a tall bike for the first time
after expert instruction
So, this is only the second post and I’m already straying from the topic. However, I had a lovely experience yesterday. I’ve been an admirer of tall bikes, bicycles that have been welded together in all sorts of crazy ways to create outlandish vehicles. There’s a house on Alberta Street that has a large yard full of these fabulous creations. It was Howard’s birthday yesterday and we had lunch on Alberta Street (at the Vita Café – great vegan food) and then drove down Alberta. I wanted him to see this amazing place. To our delight, the wife of the mad creator, Caffeine Jones, was sitting on the front steps so we stopped to talk to her. I had my phone camera with me (my good camera disappeared sometime during the last couple of weeks in haze of my operation) so I took a number of slightly fuzzy photographs.
Caffeine was accompanied by her young son, who was helping her display the bicycles. He looked to be about two years old, if that, and so was the silent partner. He was very solemn and businesslike. Caffeine assured us that the tall bikes were not as difficult to mount and dismount as they appears and pulled a bicycle from the pile for Howard to try. I had to decline due to health concerns, being rather post-op at present. However, I could admire from afar.
If you wish to learn more about their business as a bicycle clown act, more can be found at http://www.clownhouse.org/.




Fomenting the Ebike Revolution

2007-06-26T14:24:06.961-07:00

What would it take to create an electric bicycle revolution in Portland, Oregon?How can we match the vehicle to the trip, and radically reduce our consumption of energy? Why are we using so much energy to go to the store to get a few items or to get to a dental appointment? Why do we drive when we can walk or ride a bike?Portland is, for an American City, very bike friendly. I have been a bicycle commuter for years in this city. I love bicycling here. However, I was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and repeated surgeries and treatments have meant that I’m not the rider that I was. Recently, I would ride to a destination and find that I was too exhausted to get home and even too exhausted to lift my bicycle onto a bicycle rack on a bus. I resented the money that I had to spend on driving, the gas, the insurance, and the repairs. I hated the fact that for every mile I drove I was emitting a pound of carbon, just like all the other cars on the road. Most of all, I was so jealous of the people out there on bicycles when I was trapped in a car.I realized that I had to get the appropriate technology to get myself around. It was time for an electric bicycle, an ebike. The ebike is quiet, non-polluting, and relatively inexpensive. It costs about 5 cents to travel 20 miles. As much as I love bicycling without a motor, it was becoming increasingly clear that I needed help to continue my lifestyle choices.The following was quoted in the Clever Chimp blog and provides food for thought:Ivan Illich said it best:"A people can be just as dangerously overpowered by the wattage of its tools as by the caloric content of its foods, but it is much harder to confess to a national overindulgence in wattage than to a sickening diet. The per capita wattage that is critical for social well-being lies within an order of magnitude which is far above the horsepower known to four-fifths of humanity and far below the power commanded by any Volkswagen driver. It eludes the underconsumer and the overconsumer alike. Neither is willing to face the facts. For the primitive, the elimination of slavery and drudgery depends on the introduction of appropriate modern technology, and for the rich, the avoidance of an even more horrible degradation depends on the effective recognition of a threshold in energy consumption beyond which technical processes begin to dictate social relations. Calories are both biologically and socially healthy only as long as they stay within the narrow range that separates enough from too much." —Energy and EquityIn future posts, I will discuss some of the the research that I have come across. In the meantime, I'm in the process of converting my Bike Friday to an ebike. I will let you know how that goes. I'm using a local shop to do this: Scoot On This. Unfortunately, they are swamped with orders right now and are sorely in need of resources to expand their services. They will be unable to start on the coversion for a week or two and I've already been waiting for a while. It's sort of a Pop and Pop business at present. If I had more energy, I'd do the conversion myself, but I don't have the mental reserves to take on that sort of project at present.I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to form an umbrella organization for ebikes and ebikers. I believe that we can get more people on bicycles this way, people who want to communte but who don't want to arrive to work all sweaty, people who are semi-disabled (like me), people who have large hills to navigate, people who want to dispense with their cars and rely exclusively on bike power, like the Stokemonkey folks.I'm currently compiling a list of resourcees that I will post on a new website that I'm in the process of putting together. In the meantime, if anyone wishes to write to me and don't want to, or can't use the comment feature of this blog, my email address is seiza@ebiker[...]