Switching Gears on My Ebike

Can you see where the chain is?

Now What?

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.

18 comments

  1. I would have been panicked in your situation. How lucky that you weren’t out on a distant trail! I used to ride a 5 speed bike and I can tell you honestly, hubs wasted money buying that for me. A standard bike would have been fine. In the years that I rode it, I didn’t attempt switching gears even once.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I switched gears all the time with my regular bike. I had 21 speeds, but I basically thought of it as having 3 speeds with 7 increments on each level of high, medium and low. But no more! And yes, I am so glad it happened in a spot close to home. It’s funny that you never switched gears! Were there not hills? Did you take shorter rides? Sometimes we just prefer simplicity! Thanks for reading, and I hope have a fun week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No hills at all where we were living at the time. I only used my bike for short rides around our flat prairie home town where we were living at the time. I never did take it up as active exercise. You’re much more advanced than I was! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! For some reason, I just don’t think my good luck would follow me into the casino. Maybe you could try it, and let me know. 🙂 Hope you have a great week ahead!

      Like

  2. Interesting, I have never even heard of such a bike. An ebike? Hmm. I must live under a rock! 🙂 Thank you for sharing, now I must switch gears myself and get dressed for today! Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Back in the day, Joe Stampley had a trucker song called Roll On, Big Mama. It was a standard opening song at 9 PM at Cowboys, when the mall closed and they could turn up the amps. You hear the loud sound of the diesel semi firing up first before he begins to sing. First thing that popped into my head, but I did not think you would appreciate if I had said roll on, big Mama. It was a great song to dance to, and back then, I was pretty svelte from all the exercise.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m from a big family, so saying “Roll on, Big Mama” would have just rolled off my back! However, I would not have known the reference. Now I did find the song and listen to it on Youtube. I’m thinking with a few tweets to the words, it could be an ebiker’s theme. “The trailway is our home.” (instead of highway) And the trunk horn at the end could be replaced with a couple tinkles of my ebike bell.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I always think the guidance to pedal while you switch gears is misleading, and that might be why it happened. You have to pedal, then switch gears, then pedal again: note, you are not actually pedalling and switching gears at the same time! “Real” cyclist seem to do it almost without noticing, the rest of us have to learn the technique!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sure you are right! I never had the issue on a regular bike. I’m thinking with the ebike, maybe I tend to not pedal more often; although, I do make a point of pedaling. In any case, it’s just gonna stay on 7. I tried to learn how to ride a motorcycle and failed. I tried to take dancing lessons and failed. I’m putting switching gears on an ebike in the same category. Something in brain makes it hard for me. I do appreciate your comment. At least, I know have an explanation of why the incident happened. Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

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