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  1. #1
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    Electric Bike or Ride in a Car.

    ok, here is the deal. I currently bought a nice road bike an ben putting in 60 miles a week. My work commute is about 38 miles round trip which equals about 200 miles a week just getting to an from work.

    So my idea is to use my bike as much as possible, heck i am even thinking of selling my car an just having my wifes around.

    Anyway, THE BAD part is that my knee is hurting me some an it appears to be getting worse. I understand that some guys are using electric bikes as a method of transportation or at least augmenting thier biking ?
    \
    So would it be better to spend an additional 600 on an kit an add it to 1 of my bikes. I really think that it is going to take me a considerable amout of time to be able to bike 200 miles a week plust weekend shopping or traveling.

    So should I buy an electric kit to save my legs some ??? Are these just as bad on the environment as the Cars since they have throw away batteries ?

    I mean I would like to go CAR lite but it appears that I live in a place where the drive is pretty far for some things. So maybe the electric kit would help maybe it wont ??

    Thanks any info would be great ?

    jay

  2. #2
    Seņor Mambo
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    This prolific list might interest you.

    If you want to NOT pedal for 18 miles one way, then you'll definitely need to do some reading about engine/battery/speed limitations. Many battery options are assist options in which it is necessary to pedal.

    But if you do get rid of your car, there's always the option of a velomobile. I keep telling my wife this same thing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    Get an electric bike if you can. It is deffinitely more environmentally friendly than a car, since it is probably the most efficient motorized vehicle you can ever ride on. For starters, electricity is usually derived from more renewables(ntionwide, about 50% is from coal, 14% nuclear, 15% natural gas, 5% from oil and the rest is renewable including hydro-electric, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass) and cleaner sources than gasoline(which is more than 70% petroleum).

    Don't worry about batteries too much, it is illegal to throw them away outright and you have to drop them off at a recycling place, more often than not. Plus, you have to option of battery technologies, with Sealed lead acids being the most polluting(Material wise. It's still zero emission) and cheapest, but also the heaviest(expect to pay $100 for a pack to power an e-bike, and they are good for about a half a year to a year, depending on how you use them). Then there's Nickel Metal Hydride, which is cleaner, lighter and more expensive, but they last three times as much as SLAs(expect to pay $300-$400 to). NiMh also tend to give you a longer range(I've seen some kits claim to go 10-15 miles more than SLAs of the same amps/voltage).

    The only problem I see is that road bikes are not really appropriate for e-bike application. They have thin tires, a more fragile frame, and brakes are inaddequate. Most kits sell 26 inch tires, and they recommend that you use tires with a thickness of about 1.5 inche and above. Electric bikes are also heavier and can double the weight of your bike, especially if you're using Sealed lead acid batteries, 30 lbs for a 36 v 12 amp pack(you can shave off a good 10-15 lbs if yopu're using NiMh).

    As for your commute, I think that if its not too hilly(think San Francisco), you should be fine with an electrick bike with SLA batteries(My current set up, using a 30 lbs 36 Volt 12 amp SLA batteries, my range is about 24 miles on a single charge. About 18-20 miles if I am not too careful with my use of the battery. 15 miles or less if I don't pedal at all). Ride one way then charge it while you're working. It should be fully charged when you're ready to go home(a typical system is fully charged after 6 hours from empty). You should be able to go farther on more expensive battery systems. Also, expect to replace the SLAs after 6 months of daily use if you're gonna use them 38 miles 5 times a week, but $100 every six months still beats car maintennance and gas in that same period.


    One last thing, it is alot of fun!

    Anyway, enough of my long winded post, hope that helped.

  4. #4
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    or you could try to figure out the knee apin and work you way up (slowly) to riding the whole thing under your own power.

    i bet your knee hurts cause your ramping up the mileage too fast, or pushing to high of a gear. get out there and spin! try to ride to work once a week; then twice... maybe leave your car at work one night, ride home, ride in the next morning, and then drive home...

    you can ride the distance just don't try to go all out too quick.
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

  5. #5
    Ferrous wheel
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    Be sure your bike is properly fitted/adjusted. Knee pain sucks.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  6. #6
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    Just a thought but you could also get a motor scooter or moped. The 49cc motor scooter/mopeds cost 1000-1500 and don't require an additional licence. Cheap in my mind. They get upwards of 100 mpg and still give you the two wheel feel and the wind in your face. At that distance, I would seriously concider it, but am personally more interested in the moped for my wife who doesn't bike.
    Scott

  7. #7
    Senior Member oldroads's Avatar
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    Electric doesn't really do too well. A gas-powered moped or motorized bicycle will move you around a lot more effectively. There are some great kits for adapting weed-wacker motors for use on bicycles for around $100 including the motor.
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  8. #8
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    figure out why your knee is hurting. It's probably an issue with your bike setup and/or your cycling form.

  9. #9
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    I also agree, figure out why your knee is hurting. Do you use clipless pedals? If you do, get a pair with more float. If not, then get some, and make sure they have lots of float. Clipless pedals will help you spin (turning the pedals at 90-100rpm), which will improve your efficiency AND save your knees.
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  10. #10
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Check seat height. An old cliche that may apply is that pain in the front of the knee means seat is too low, pain in the back of the knee means seat is too high.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CigTech's Avatar
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    I commute 35 miles every day. I do it on a Peugeot Road bike. At first I did it on a MTB and had all kinds of pains. Now I can do the same ride in 55 min and have no pain. How long have you been doing this commute and is the bike set up right for you?
    May your feet keep move'n with the wind to your back.

    CigTech

  12. #12
    Senior Member likeakidagain's Avatar
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    i agree mountain bikes seem to take it out of your knees on lonr rides..my hybrid is so much easier on the knees

  13. #13
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    I disagree, oldroads. Electrics have come a long way and gas motors are already not as popular. Most gas motor used to convert bicycles tend to also be more polluting(even more so than a car, in alot of cases!), especially if you're using weed whackers.

  14. #14
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    I disagree, oldroads. Electrics have come a long way and gas motors are already not as popular. Most gas motor used to convert bicycles tend to also be more polluting(even more so than a car, in alot of cases!), especially if you're using weed whackers.

  15. #15
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    I suggest that you do not buy an electric bike.

    Instead, keep riding. It is only a matter of time before your body fully adjusts to the mileage that you plan to ride.... That is what happened to me. At one point, the pain was very bad, but it has completely subisded at this point.

    Also, remember to stretch after each ride.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    Umm, if it helps you ride more, why not. I wouldnt ride a bike for longer distances if not for mine. The OP sounds like he could benefit greatly from it, and prevent him from using a car instead.

    All the stretching, adjusting wouldnt help if you don't feel like doing something because it is harder especially if you have the option of riding the comfy car. Don't even start with the "you're not a serious cyclist" BS that some might think.
    Last edited by chicbicyclist; 06-01-06 at 02:54 PM.

  17. #17
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    I'm just saying get to the heart of the problem...the knee pain.

  18. #18
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldroads
    Electric doesn't really do too well. A gas-powered moped or motorized bicycle will move you around a lot more effectively. There are some great kits for adapting weed-wacker motors for use on bicycles for around $100 including the motor.
    Driving a decent car will pollute less. Cheap 2 cycle motors pollute like tire fires. I don't even use my weed wacker anymore for this reason.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  19. #19
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    Thanks to you all.

    Hey thanks for all the great information.

    I think I am first for the next few weeks concentrate on reducing my knee pain. I been icing and taking advil. I also have a ROAD BIKE very nice one that has been fitted to me.

    I have clippless pedals an ride at a high cadence. I believe my problem might be that I am riding too much too early like many of you have said.

    I been really only riding a for a little over a month now. I have been averaging about 30 to 60 miles. So anyway, if the pain persists over the next few months I will probably get an electric bike but also go get a doctor. I have already had a knee examination on my left knee from running.

    The doctors said that the from the MRI that the knee is in good shape it is that I have some abnormal cartilege in my knee cap that will be irritated from too much use.

    He suggested icing an advil. I think my knee should feel better than when i ran if i slow up some.



    Thanks

    jay

  20. #20
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    Have your options

    There have been great and informational replies in this thread. I, too have been commuting with my mountain bike, then switched to a commuting road bike with racks and panniers. I was averaging 32 miles round trip in the hills of San Francisco and the southern peninsula. It has built up my endurance significantly. I don't see myself competing for a bike race or anything, I just love riding. Although, there have been days when I just needed a little assist to tackle the hills, I have looked into getting an electric bike.

    When I was preparing to go to Thailand for my vacation, some personal unfortunate events made me cancel my trip and I decided to use my vacation time and to research electric bikes. Soonafter, I found the right conversion kit for my mountain bike and next thing you know, I was riding all over the place. I still use my road bike on recreational rides, but I use my electric bikes in almost everything that I do. I even pulled out my Burly Nomad cargo trailer and started doing my shopping, donated clothes and books, and other misc. things. Bottom line I just have more time to do more things with more energy left.

    In my line of work, I would need to conserve some energy for the long grind ahead of me (such as chasing after suspect, report writing, and other community service.) Having an electric bike just give you more options wether you would like tackle those hills or save it on another day...

  21. #21
    Senior Member blippo's Avatar
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    The electric bike has made riding fun again and something I look forward to doing.

  22. #22
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    I've been through a very similar situation.

    i get recurrent knee pain - its all due to lack of stretching. I'm building up again the riding. My suggestion is to get a heart rate monitor and limit yourself using that. Ensure you have a cooldown and stretching at the end. I also have a very high powered electric bike, which takes the stress off my knee. I now ride at high cadence in top gear. Very rewarding and much easier. I still take the road bike out regularly.

  23. #23
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    sure is a good idea to invest in a good electric bike considering the price of petrol these days and tolls and spares for cars and aslo you cant find a good place to even park a car these days unless you pay $20 so yes a good bike is definaltey the way to go if around a city,i have saved so much money allready on bus fares etc and petrol since getting my bike i havent looked back since,hell i can even beat cars to the shop and back and park my bike inside most shops while the security cameras watch it for me lol beat that service

  24. #24
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    ps,i forgot to add you also see more chicky babes on the bikes haaaaaaa you can chat em up on the highway man.you see some nice g-strings as well in my city haaaaaaaa

  25. #25
    Recumbent Trike countersTrike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicbicyclist View Post
    Umm, if it helps you ride more, why not. I wouldnt ride a bike for longer distances if not for mine. The OP sounds like he could benefit greatly from it, and prevent him from using a car instead.
    Agreed. It took 2 years with knee/hip pain, but having a 36 volt motor installed last year has multiplied distance, added acceleration (especially at Stop signs), and flattened hills. As an assist, I can 'assist IT' too! Mixing oil with gas, leaving clouds of blue smoke, and competing with every boom box in the area to see who is noisier is way back in my past.

    countersTrike

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