Well, let’s start with a little background info. My ebike has seven gears, five levels of pedal-assist and a throttle. And of course, it has a battery.
The ebike battery has a range of 30 to 80 miles. That’s a pretty wide range. Terrain, wind, rider weight, use of pedal-assist and the throttle all factor into how many miles one can go on a fully charged ebike battery.
Now, like a regular bike, the ebike has gears, too. Those can come in handy for hills. Especially going up one. For the first couple of months, I just kept the ebike on the seventh gear. Between using the pedal-assist and the throttle, it never felt difficult to pedal.
But then I read in a Facebook group about how using the gears could lengthen the number of miles one can go on a battery charge. I don’t know why, but I decided I needed to use the gears. That way, I could get more miles out of each battery charge.
I guess I was thinking of the future. I always got big plans for the future. The farthest we have gone was 36 miles, and on that ride, there was plenty of battery left. But if we ever wanted to go far, real far, we might need more miles on the battery.
The strategy to get more miles on a charge was simply to use the gears as gears are meant to be used. So, when going uphill, go ahead and downshift, so the rider, using the appropriate gear, is doing more of the work to get the ebike up the hill, and thus using less of the battery. It all sounds good.
Now you know, like a regular bike, if one happens to shift when not peddling, the chain can come off the gears. I was fully aware of the requirement to pedal when shifting, and I even thought about it on that fateful day. As you may have guessed at this point, when I enacted my new “save the battery” strategy, it didn’t take long for the chain to come off the gears.
Of course, Dan and I know how to put a chain back on the gears, but there was another issue. There’s always another issue. The chain had slipped into a spot where it was stuck. We tried and tried, but we couldn’t get the chain unstuck. So, I sat on the grass on the side of the road with my ebike, while Dan rode back home. He got the car, came back and drove me and my “locked up” ebike to our friends at The Bike Stop Cafe. Using a tool, they quickly pulled the chain out, put it back on the gears, all with no charge. We happily went on our way back home, me on my ebike and Dan in the car.
I’m actually kind of glad this happened when it did. We had been riding home from the library, so we were close to home and the road. There are often times when we are miles from the nearest road, like when we are out on the Katy Trail. This could have also happened when we were traveling. In that case, we’d have to find another reputable bike shop in an area where we aren’t familiar with services. Yep, I’m sure glad it happened when it did. Pretty darn lucky, right?
As lucky as I am, I am not going to press my luck. You might even say I am going to switch gears, by not switching gears. Bottom line: I am abandoning my strategy to “stretch the battery” by using the gears. It may work just fine for some, maybe even you. But as for me, I’m not taking any chances. My gears are going to remain on Lucky 7. And that, my dear readers, is how I roll.