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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-19-17, 03:55 PM   #1
Darth Lefty 
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E-bike commuter in Ridgecrest CA

A former coworker of mine recently posted this screed on Facebook. His last post on the topic was "what bike and motor should I get" and I must have missed what happened in between but it's clear he's got it sorted out. He's a handy guy, the sort that is always welding on his 4x4 crawler, so no surprise a bike conversion was no problem. Athough, ten years ago when we parted company it would have been strange to hear him say that riding into work was hard!

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Marathon post warning...

This week I finally stopped thinking about it and tried biking to work. The electric bike conversion did great to remove most of my concerns and excuses. I was able to get from home to the office in nearly identical time. I managed to avoid driving my truck through the entire work week. I did have to make one trip home in my wife's car to fetch my charger though.

I rode over 50 miles this week including some other errands.

Lessons/observations for the week:

Car traffic isn't nearly as scary if you're going almost the same speed as them.

I definitely need to get a rack to ditch the backpack. I now know how much storage I need on said rack.

A loaf of french bread is pretty big to go in a backpack.

Don't forget to take the helmet. The base police have more strict rules even then California. I have a ticket to prove it!

Don't blindly believe the manual for the charger showing battery capacity vs voltage. They used the wrong chart for a lower voltage battery. Hence the one trip I drove this week to get the charger.

I didn't get lazy and let the electric motor do all the work. Despite the heat I actually got a lot of exercise. 75% or so of max effort for 15 minutes straight.

I am definitely not hard core enough to do my commute without the electric assist. At least not this time of the year.

I need to see if I can figure out a way to still move the kids around. My wife kindly did it all this week. Thank you. Has anyone seen a double kid bike trailer big enough for 4 and 6 year old?

I think 105 is my cutoff temperature I'm willing to ride in. I rode in everything from 57-103 degrees this week. Maybe with the right clothes and a provision for having water on the bike I might ride in hotter conditions. Sadly that means this whole next week is out.

I thought I might dread it at times but didn't. I genuinely enjoyed riding every time.
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Old 06-19-17, 04:16 PM   #2
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Sounds like a pretty hardcore bike commuter. 15 minutes at 75% effort is not easy.
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Old 06-19-17, 11:27 PM   #3
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Motor details for those who want to know

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I ended using my 15 year old full suspension mountain bike with a magic pie v5 hub motor, powered by a 52V 11.5A-Hr battery. It's surprisingly torquey and gets me around quicker than I thought it might. The hub motor definitely makes it tail heavy but I was concerned about the reliability of mid drive units and wanted good power.
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Old 06-20-17, 09:05 AM   #4
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That's pretty cool.

Those magic pie wheels with the giant motorized hub and tiny spokes, does that make them stronger than wheels with ordinary hubs and long spokes?
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Old 06-20-17, 10:48 AM   #5
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Entertaining possibility of that wheel kit is that it comes in a front or rear version... you could make yourself a 2WD
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Old 06-20-17, 11:29 AM   #6
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Not a fan of hub motors. If/when I do my bike conversion, I'll be using a BBSHD mid drive. Hub drive is nice and cheap, but the nice thing about the mid drive is that it gives you a nice smooth method to have variable assist to your pedalling, rather than just riding it like a motorcycle.
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Old 06-20-17, 12:16 PM   #7
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Not a fan of hub motors. If/when I do my bike conversion, I'll be using a BBSHD mid drive. Hub drive is nice and cheap, but the nice thing about the mid drive is that it gives you a nice smooth method to have variable assist to your pedalling, rather than just riding it like a motorcycle.
So do some hub E-Assist models like the BionX.
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Old 06-20-17, 12:44 PM   #8
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From the people I've talked to, rear hub is OK but more expensive, front hub really is detrimental to the stability of the bike. At a demo a couple of years ago I rode front and rear hub bikes, and the ones with front hub seemed very squirrelly to handle.

Rear hub was enough more that it's within spitting distance of mid drive anyway.
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Old 06-22-17, 12:22 PM   #9
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Seems odd that it had not occurred to him to have a water bottle until he rode in 105F.
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Old 06-22-17, 03:40 PM   #10
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I saw a guy hauling ass the other way on the MUP yesterday. Probably in excess of 30 mph, hardly pedaling. I'm thinking of requesting the Park Police to start patrolling the area if I see him again. That was seriously dangerous.
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Old 06-22-17, 03:50 PM   #11
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Seems odd that it had not occurred to him to have a water bottle until he rode in 105F.
I'm not sure how long his ride is now. Back when we worked together it was about six miles, mostly flat and he's an athletic guy. But he's moved house and job both since then, plus ten years and kids.
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Old 07-01-17, 01:06 AM   #12
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I saw a guy hauling ass the other way on the MUP yesterday. Probably in excess of 30 mph, hardly pedaling. I'm thinking of requesting the Park Police to start patrolling the area if I see him again. That was seriously dangerous.
So, if he was pedaling really hard, it wouldn't have been dangerous and you wouldn't have a problem with it. (That's kind of the feeling I get from you concerning your attitude toward e-bikes.)
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Old 07-01-17, 02:50 AM   #13
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30 mph on the MUP is dangerous, full stop.
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Old 07-03-17, 08:15 AM   #14
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One of my friends showed up to my 50mi berfday ride on an e-assist bike -- he was riding in style!
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Old 07-03-17, 09:58 AM   #15
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One of my friends showed up to my 50mi berfday ride on an e-assist bike -- he was riding in style!
Did his battery last the entire ride? Mine would not. It would be much easier for me to complete a 50 mile ride on my carbon road bike than ride the last 15 miles on my 55+ lbs ebike without any assist.
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Old 07-03-17, 12:14 PM   #16
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Yes, he said his range was 100mi, plus or minus. He had an Alfine 8-sp IGH and said he never shifted; I guess he was trying to make it t least a little bit hard on himself.

It was a Kalkhoff Integrale, I'm not sure which particular model, but it was 8sp IGH with a belt drive, front suspension, and hydraulic disc brakes.

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Old 07-03-17, 03:40 PM   #17
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Yes, he said his range was 100mi, plus or minus. He had an Alfine 8-sp IGH and said he never shifted; I guess he was trying to make it t least a little bit hard on himself.

It was a Kalkhoff Integrale, I'm not sure which particular model, but it was 8sp IGH with a belt drive, front suspension, and hydraulic disc brakes.
A 100 miles is a long way, in my experience you would only actually get about 25 to 30 miles "worth" of assistance/powered riding on an average battery if you don't pedal, thus, if he made the 100 miles he actually must have pedaled 70 miles himself...
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Old 07-05-17, 08:57 AM   #18
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well it's e-assist, not e-bike, so you have to pedal or the motor does nothing. And I'm guessing this is no average battery, it looks like a pretty high-end outfit. This model has Di2 and claims 205km range. Maybe he's got that battery.
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Old 07-05-17, 09:25 AM   #19
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well it's e-assist, not e-bike, so you have to pedal or the motor does nothing. And I'm guessing this is no average battery, it looks like a pretty high-end outfit. This model has Di2 and claims 205km range. Maybe he's got that battery.
With that battery, 36vX17Ah=612watts/20= 30.6 miles worth of assistance is The way it seems to average out... So he Actually pedalled 69.4 miles worth.

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Old 07-05-17, 09:27 AM   #20
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?? What are those numbers? 36x17 != 612/20
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Old 07-05-17, 09:30 AM   #21
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?? What are those numbers? 36x17 != 612/20
Fixed bellow.
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Old 07-05-17, 09:31 AM   #22
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?? What are those numbers? 36x17 != 612/20
Fuzzy maths.
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Old 07-05-17, 10:36 AM   #23
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I have a friend who has about a 60 mile no-assist range. He built the bike up himself using Li-Fe-Po batteries, which are way more money than LiIon, but crazy dense and can be abused badly without harm, and he built his own electronics for the entire thing too. He also has a secret switch to take it from legal 20 MPH cap to uncapped, which is says is about 45 MPH on level ground.
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Old 07-05-17, 10:43 AM   #24
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?? What are those numbers? 36x17 != 612/20
It is a calculation of the e-bikes range using common formulas.
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Watt hours is a way to measure the energy capacity of a battery pack, so you know what to expect from your new E-bike in terms of range performance. To calculate the watt hours (WH) of a battery pack, simply multiply the voltage by the amp hours (Ah) of the pack. A 36-volt 10-Ah battery pack has 360 watt hours (36 X 10 = 360). If you are nitty with your energy usage, each mile you travel will cost you about 20 watt hours. Therefore a 360 watt hour pack will get you about 18 miles.
from here

The formula comes down to:
(V x Ah)/20=Miles
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Old 07-05-17, 10:49 AM   #25
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Fuzzy maths.
Ah, No, it's a pretty well proven formula...
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