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.
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.
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!