Ebike Experience

Bike trail in St. Charles, Mo.

Now that we’ve had our ebikes for a bit, I thought you all might be interested as to how things are going. So, I thought of some answers. However, if you have a question, for which I didn’t give an answer, please put your question(s) in the comment section. If I can answer, I am happy to do so. If I don’t know, I will tell you. Here we go, or in other words, let’s ride:

How do you like the ebikes?

We are loving the ebikes!! We have had them about six weeks, and we’ve ridden over 230 miles.

Where do you ride?

Dan and I live in New Town St. Charles. We are lucky enough that we can get on our ebikes at home and ride across the state on trails if we wanted. We can ride out of our neighborhood, onto the Boschertown Trail, over 5th street (on a wide sidewalk), and end up on the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a crushed limestone old rail bed which runs for 240 miles across Missouri. Much of the Katy Trail follows the Missouri River. We also ride around our neighborhood.

At the back of our neighborhood is a beautiful park, called Fox Hill Park. Fox Hill Park is very appropriately named as the trail to get into the park is a very steep hill. In our almost ten years of living here, Dan and I have ridden our bikes to Fox Hill Park – twice. The first time was, well, the first time. We rode it a second time on a day we were feeling particularly optimistic. Now that we have our ebikes, we’ve gone up that trail into Fox Hill Park about ten times. Whose the smart fox now?

How do you transport the ebikes with your travel trailer?

We have put our ebikes inside our travel trailer. One lays on the dinette (when it is in the bed position), and the other lays on our jack knife sofa. We put a pillow under the pedal, so it doesn’t make too much of an indentation. Dan brings the ebikes into the trailer. Each bikes weighs 60 pounds. Some people use a ramp to put the ebikes on a rack or in a truck, but we don’t need that at this point.

We looked into putting a hitch on the back of our travel trailer. However, this is not recommended by Hollywood Racks company because of safety concerns. So, we will not do that. We do plan to purchase an ebike rack to use on the back of our Ford Expedition.

We rode to the St. Charles Family Arena
where they were getting ready for an RV show!

How long does the battery last?

This we are still figuring out. Of course, how long the battery lasts depends on several factors: the pedal assist levels used, use of the throttle, the terrain, any head wind, your own weight. I did find an article with an online calculator which can be used to give a rough estimate.

Our ebikes have a battery indicator. When the battery is full, there are five bars. So far, we have ridden 33 miles on a fully charged battery. We did have a strong head wind the back half of the ride. The indicator does fluctuate between levels before eventually settling on the lower level. My bike had gone down to two bars a bit, but it was still on three bars after the 33 miles. What we don’t know is if the battery is like a gas tank – meaning once it starts going down, it goes down quickly.

How do you take care of the battery?

  • We are careful to not let our battery get too low before charging.
  • And we are careful not to overcharge. We do not charge the batteries overnight. Rather, we charge them during the day, check on them and unplug when the light turns green.
  • We also charge the batteries while they are on our bikes. But this winter, once we know it will be too cold to ride, we will bring the batteries inside our home.

What are the challenges?

Making a ninety degree turn is tricky. I’m still learning how to do this.

If I stop pedaling, the pedal assists stops – this is a good thing. So, if I am going around curves or if others are coming the other way on the path, I stop pedaling. This slows me down gives me more control.

When I first started riding, if I stopped on a hill, I couldn’t get going again. The bike has five levels of pedal assist and seven gears. I’d be on gear seven, and it would be too hard for me to pedal. However, I’ve since learned to use the throttle to get me started. The throttle will work even if you are not peddling as long as you are on pedal assist level one or greater.

I really watch out for cars as the driver may not fully cognizant of how fast I am going. And I never assume cars will stop for me because I am in a crosswalk. I’ve seen too many times when they don’t stop or even look.

I am not as friendly these days. I focus on my riding, so I certainly can’t wave. Sometimes I don’t even smile or nod to others, as I am focused on riding safely. Hopefully, they understand. I have had a couple people yell at me when I pass. They have yelled, “I like your bike!”, and I yelled back, “Me, too!”

It’s harder to take pictures. My phone is in my backpack or in a saddle pack on the back rack, so in order to take a photo, it’s a matter of stopping, standing securely, getting out camera, etc. – you get the idea. I know I have ridden right past some great photo opportunities. I guess that’s the price you pay when you can go 14 miles per hour – uphill.

Have you fallen?

Yes. And I wasn’t even riding! I was waiting for Dan, and somehow, it was like that book “The Tipping Point”, gravity got the momentum and I just fell over. If I’m waiting now, both feet are on the ground.

As a side note, I’ll mention they do sell ebike trikes. This is a great choice when a regular ebike is too challenging for whatever reason.

We’ve ridden to breakfast, to lunch, to Dollar Tree, to the Irish Festival at Frontier Park on the Missouri River and to this fruit stand. Where would you go?

Can you leave the bike out in the rain?

What?? We are not going to leave our bikes out in the rain. One night, we brought them into our 23 foot travel trailer. We managed, putting one on the dinette (when it was in the bed position.) The other ebike we left standing up; we could squeeze by when needed. We have ordered an ebike bike cover to use when we are camping, and rain is predicted.

Is there anything else you want to mention?

Yes! I did join two Facebook groups related to ebikes. One is Ebike Cyclists Over 60. The other is E-bikes of America. Facebook Groups are an excellent way to research topics, learn, and support others with the same interest. These groups can be full of inspiration.

Now that we have the ebikes, I am on the lookout for long, paved trails that we could access from a full hook up campground. I haven’t found such a list. So, I will be making my own record as I discover such places. I will also write notes should we visit in person. I’ll include things like what good restaurants are nearby!

I plan to add an “Ebike” tab on the website. I’ll put this resource and ebike related posts under there. I’ll update the record of full hook up campgrounds and trails as I learn more. If others want to add info or contribute, I’ll add this in as well.

I could talk all day about ebikes, but I’m not going to do that. I’d rather ride. So, that’s it for now. See you on the trail!

Betty and Dan ready to ride.

17 comments

  1. Thanks so much for this! I’ve been looking at e-bikes for several weeks now but didn’t know anyone who had one. I’m glad to know that you love it, and also how you transport it. I was concerned about that since I knew it wasn’t recommended to put them on a hitch-type bike rack. Now I can’t wait to order one! Have a great Sunday!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are more than welcome! You can use a hitch-type bike rack, but it just needs to be one for ebikes. Hollywood Racks have them, but they are all currently sold out! It is just not safe to put the on the back of a travel trailer. I believe the weight back there increases the sway, and thus affects safety. I really love my ebike, and I feel it has opened up a whole new world of ebiking. Good luck with yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Betty, My husband almost bought an ebike to get around but instead we purchased a 2019 Ford escape which had been used as a company car with low mileage and under warranty. Good deal but hard negotiations. This week was so rough but the car is wonderful and now we can let my husband ‘s old Alero be worked on while I have a wonderful safe car to drive to work! And one day, it will tow a camper perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is all great info. I think I can get up to 60 miles on my ebike, but I have not let the battery get that low. And mine does not have a throttle. We may be buying a 5th wheel later this fall, so we will be figuring out how to transport the ebike with that setup. Wayne does not have one yet, but I am sure he will get one sooner rather than later! I will be watching for more info on trails near campgrounds!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hollywood Racks does have a ebike rack (hitch) that is approved for 5th wheels. Their website has great info. Our next goal is to try 40 miles to see how the battery does. We had a really strong head wind when we did the 32 miles; we had it on Level 3 most of the way back. I don’t use the throttle much, but it’s handy to have. There are lots of long trails with campgrounds, but the kicker is, we like the full hook up campgrounds. I’ll be working on that resource soon, and I’m hoping others will let me know if they find such a spot. Good luck with your 5th wheel search. So exciting! Have a great Sunday!

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  4. Looks like you guys are getting good use of your e-bikes. I have two Lectric bikes( 2nd gen) sitting in a cart. I almost bought them, but hesitated. They get a lot of good reviews but we can’t find anywhere to test ride.

    Storage is a big issue. I don’t want to put them in and out of the camper. So we are looking at the folding bikes. I’m thinking we will get a cap for the truck and store them folded in the bed. Bottom line is we can’t make up our mind. We’ll have to make a decision soon because we want them before our Thanksgiving camping trip with the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we are getting great use! Storage is a conundrum. For now, putting them in/out of the camper works for us. We didn’t think the folding bikes would be comfortable for us on long rides, especially with Dan being 6’8″. We are rethinking if we should bring them to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons next summer. Good luck with your decision. Safe travels!

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  5. Excellent post. I’m between an e-bike and a trike. We don’t have a lot of trails where we live but I need something to get around the neighborhood – take the garbage to the dumpster, visit neighbors, etc. Now I have some thinking to do. I’m glad you are enjoying yours. May they bring you miles of smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The trails are nice because it is so easy to go a long distance. It feels so easy when we are riding, but I can tell I am getting exercise. I hope you are doing well. I know you are close to your last treatment. I am looking forward to your next post. Enjoy your day!

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  6. After you commented on my “Ode to a Cow” blog post, I checked out your blog. Three words caught my attention…RV, travel and retirement. My husband and I are newly retired. We love to travel. Having an RV would be nice, but it is a dream at the present time. We enjoy bicycling the trails (no e-bike yet). Anyway I added your blog to my reading list. You have a new follower 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I am so happy to have a new follower that is interested in the same topics! I have been retired for 3 years, and my husband just retired completed this past February. (He worked part time for a couple years.) We saved our money for years before we bought our travel trailer- which we have had for 3 years. It sounds like we have lots in common, and I really look forward to reading your blog, too!

      Liked by 1 person

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