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Bike commute between San Francisco and San Jose on e-bike?

Old 05-13-23, 08:37 AM
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Bike commute between San Francisco and San Jose on e-bike?

I live in San Francisco and work in San Jose. Google map says the bike route is 40 miles, and it will take 3 hr 31 minutes.

Currently I am using a regular bike + Caltrain. It takes me about 2 hours total to get to work, more time when Caltrain delays.

I was thinking if I can get an e-bike and cycle the whole distance. Has anyone done a similar thing? Would an e-bike help me get to work in about 2 hours for a 40-mile distance? Is it still pretty physically demanding? (I am a bit out of shape, I wonder if using an e-bike on a 40-mile route will help me get some exercise done to get back into shape)
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Old 05-13-23, 01:11 PM
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I used to commute from SF down to Redwood City 5 days a week on a road bike and that usually takes me 1:15~1:30hr. It might be kind of ambitious to try averaging 20mph on a commute, but I guess it's possible if you've a high-power e-bike with a large enough battery capacity.
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Old 05-13-23, 08:20 PM
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One way to find out; rent an ebike and ride the route on a weekend to see how it goes. Let us know whether it works out!

Originally Posted by bikecommuter13
I live in San Francisco and work in San Jose. Google map says the bike route is 40 miles, and it will take 3 hr 31 minutes.

Currently I am using a regular bike + Caltrain. It takes me about 2 hours total to get to work, more time when Caltrain delays.

I was thinking if I can get an e-bike and cycle the whole distance. Has anyone done a similar thing? Would an e-bike help me get to work in about 2 hours for a 40-mile distance? Is it still pretty physically demanding? (I am a bit out of shape, I wonder if using an e-bike on a 40-mile route will help me get some exercise done to get back into shape)
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Old 05-18-23, 05:04 PM
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There's a bunch of people who do it on the regular. The best place to get more information is the SF2G page:

https://sf2g.com/

If you're riding a pedal assist e-bike then you're going to be getting plenty of daily exercise and if your alternative is ~2 hours via Caltrain then you're probably going to hardly be slower and maybe faster, on an e-bike.

Like Korina suggested: rent an e-bike and try it out. It may be a little hard to find a place that normally rents out higher-end e-bikes. Most places that regularly do rentals are renting out cheaper ones for the masses to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge. Which may not even have a big enough battery to give you even low power pedal assist all the way, one-way. But check Sports Basement and also check with an e-bike specialist like:

https://newwheel.net/

If they have demo bikes for test rides then maybe they'd be willing to let you test ride for an entire day for a fee. Or maybe even for free if they're cool and you're cool and they feel like you're going to buy a new high-end e-bike from them if the test ride goes well.
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Old 05-19-23, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bikecommuter13
I live in San Francisco and work in San Jose. Google map says the bike route is 40 miles, and it will take 3 hr 31 minutes.

Currently I am using a regular bike + Caltrain. It takes me about 2 hours total to get to work, more time when Caltrain delays.

I was thinking if I can get an e-bike and cycle the whole distance. Has anyone done a similar thing? Would an e-bike help me get to work in about 2 hours for a 40-mile distance? Is it still pretty physically demanding? (I am a bit out of shape, I wonder if using an e-bike on a 40-mile route will help me get some exercise done to get back into shape)
not that easy to average 20mph even with an e-bike. it’ll obviously need to be class 3, with a max speed of 28. you’ll eat the battery very very fast at that speed, a more reasonable cruise would be 24mph or so, which will still take around 400 watts assuming you’re putting in around 100 for that time. 400 watts for 1.75 hours is 700wh, about the largest battery you’ll find on a readily available e bike. it is doable but quite difficult. something like a turbo vado 5, non-IGH. depending on where on SF you are, where in SJ you’re going, and whether you’re getting a baby bullet I wouldn’t be surprised if Bart to berryessa and then a short ride was faster.
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Old 05-20-23, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
not that easy to average 20mph even with an e-bike. itíll obviously need to be class 3, with a max speed of 28. youíll eat the battery very very fast at that speed, a more reasonable cruise would be 24mph or so, which will still take around 400 watts assuming youíre putting in around 100 for that time. 400 watts for 1.75 hours is 700wh, about the largest battery youíll find on a readily available e bike. it is doable but quite difficult. something like a turbo vado 5, non-IGH. depending on where on SF you are, where in SJ youíre going, and whether youíre getting a baby bullet I wouldnít be surprised if Bart to berryessa and then a short ride was faster.
I have read the same statement online, but I don't understand -- why would peddling faster drain the battery sooner? That sounds like counter intuitive. If I am using my own force more, doesn't that mean I am using the battery less?

I am thinking of buying Juiced CrossCurrent X. It claims to have 80+ miles range. They use "NEW G2 battery (SGS Certified to UL 2271)pack! With over 995 watt-hours of power and an 80+ mile riding range". Will it still not work?
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Old 05-20-23, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bikecommuter13
I have read the same statement online, but I don't understand -- why would peddling faster drain the battery sooner? That sounds like counter intuitive. If I am using my own force more, doesn't that mean I am using the battery less?

I am thinking of buying Juiced CrossCurrent X. It claims to have 80+ miles range. They use "NEW G2 battery (SGS Certified to UL 2271)pack! With over 995 watt-hours of power and an 80+ mile riding range". Will it still not work?
its just physics - takes almost 8 times as much energy to go 40mph as it does to go 20mph. your legs can supply more power as you go faster, but not that much more, so basically the faster you go the less range youíve got.

that bike has a very large battery - assuming you donít go full throttle the whole way, it should be just about possible to go +/- 50 miles in 2 hours on a charge. an interesting resource is Bike Calculator

you can put in your weight, the bike weight, tires type (probably put MTB for that bike), and your position (the more upright you sit, the more power it takes to go fast, by a LOT) and see how many watts it takes to go a certain speed. the bike is probably about 80% efficient, and you canít use 100% of the battery, so that 995wh battery is really more like 750wh of effective propulsion, which means the maximum watts you can use for 2 hours is 375. if you think your legs can supply 100 watts, thatís 475. assuming no hills and no wind, 475 watts gets you 24mph, so 48 miles in two hours.




of course, youíll have lots of starts and stops, so the average speed will be lower. you will have some hills - although not many on the SF2G route. you wonít likely have a headwind in the morning, but the afternoon will be vicious. your riding position and tires may be better than the calculator assumption, but i can tell you from many thousands of miles of e biking that youíll rarely do better than the physics suggests, and an average speed of 20+ is fairly hard to achieve. i think itís possible in this case, but not easy.

roughly where in SF and where in SJ are you trying to connect?
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Old 05-20-23, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
its just physics - takes almost 8 times as much energy to go 40mph as it does to go 20mph. your legs can supply more power as you go faster, but not that much more, so basically the faster you go the less range youíve got.

that bike has a very large battery - assuming you donít go full throttle the whole way, it should be just about possible to go +/- 50 miles in 2 hours on a charge. an interesting resource is Bike Calculator

you can put in your weight, the bike weight, tires type (probably put MTB for that bike), and your position (the more upright you sit, the more power it takes to go fast, by a LOT) and see how many watts it takes to go a certain speed. the bike is probably about 80% efficient, and you canít use 100% of the battery, so that 995wh battery is really more like 750wh of effective propulsion, which means the maximum watts you can use for 2 hours is 375. if you think your legs can supply 100 watts, thatís 475. assuming no hills and no wind, 475 watts gets you 24mph, so 48 miles in two hours.




of course, youíll have lots of starts and stops, so the average speed will be lower. you will have some hills - although not many on the SF2G route. you wonít likely have a headwind in the morning, but the afternoon will be vicious. your riding position and tires may be better than the calculator assumption, but i can tell you from many thousands of miles of e biking that youíll rarely do better than the physics suggests, and an average speed of 20+ is fairly hard to achieve. i think itís possible in this case, but not easy.

roughly where in SF and where in SJ are you trying to connect?
Hey, Thanks for spending the time to share the detailed info and your knowledge with me. This is approximately my google maps route. As I have mentioned before, my personal time is usually a little bit better than google's estimates. If by my own strength, I can average about 11 mph, I would need that e-bike to add about 10 mph or so to get me to work within 2 hours. Do you think that battery can do that?
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Old 05-20-23, 08:45 AM
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If it were an unobstructed path, or very hilly, the e-bike would enable you to shave off a substantial amount of time. In (sub)urban stop and go traffic, on relatively flat terrain like the route on your google map, you probably aren't being limited by your conventional bike pedaling speed, so it will be less dramatic.

Put slightly differently: my wife commutes 20 miles by e-bike. The only place where it saves her a substantial commute time is on the up-hill sections. You will, however, arrive at your destination less fatigued and sweaty.
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Old 05-20-23, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bikecommuter13
Hey, Thanks for spending the time to share the detailed info and your knowledge with me. This is approximately my google maps route. As I have mentioned before, my personal time is usually a little bit better than google's estimates. If by my own strength, I can average about 11 mph, I would need that e-bike to add about 10 mph or so to get me to work within 2 hours. Do you think that battery can do that?
there are quite a lot of stops and starts on that route. i think even with a class 3 e-bike, and getting up to 25-28mph as often as possible, it will be very difficult to do it in two hours. possible. but very difficult.

if i wanted to ride but also get there fast, iíd personally probably ride to millbrae, take a 30 min express train to mountain view, and then ride from there on the bay trail, skipping the crappy stop and go suburban parts in the middle. easily doable in an hour and a half if your schedule aligns with the baby bullet timing.
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Old 05-20-23, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
If it were an unobstructed path, or very hilly, the e-bike would enable you to shave off a substantial amount of time. In (sub)urban stop and go traffic, on relatively flat terrain like the route on your google map, you probably aren't being limited by your conventional bike pedaling speed, so it will be less dramatic.

Put slightly differently: my wife commutes 20 miles by e-bike. The only place where it saves her a substantial commute time is on the up-hill sections. You will, however, arrive at your destination less fatigued and sweaty.
That's interesting. So an e-bike might not help me that much in terms of getting to work faster if I want to bike commute the whole way?
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Old 05-20-23, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bikecommuter13
That's interesting. So an e-bike might not help me that much in terms of getting to work faster if I want to bike commute the whole way?
It is highly dependent upon the route. I could not ride 80 miles per day and put in a full day of work and not feel exhausted, so an e-bike would be very beneficial in that regard, but neglecting fatigue, I am not sure I would be able to ride that particular route much faster on an e-bike than a conventional one, especially during commuting hours.
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Old 05-24-23, 12:37 PM
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Based on your path, at least half of that you can go pretty fast...though technically you're limited to 15mph on the Bay Trail.
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Old 05-24-23, 02:44 PM
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You will find yourself on city streets and having to stop frequently for traffic lights and stop signs. Better to stay with the train and your current bike. It only takes one stupid motorist looking at their smartphone to drive over you can either kill or cripple you. To me it is not worth the risk.
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Old 06-02-23, 03:18 PM
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Four hours daily?

I'd get a motorcycle. Like a car that can take cuts
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Old 06-02-23, 03:19 PM
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... I also probably wouldn't live that far from work. It does not seem reasonable
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Old 06-09-23, 07:25 PM
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With a Class 2 bike that won't assist you past 20MPH then you're almost definitely not making it within 2 hours. But I think you may very well be able to make it in not much longer. As in 10-20 minutes longer.

Here's the Strava "segment" for the SF2G Bayway route:

https://www.strava.com/segments/328237

The record is 1:56:22 but it's a real outlier with 7 out of the Top 10 times coming in between 2:11 and 2:15. But if you look at the 2:14:23 time, it was done with an 18.6MPH average speed. And while this segment ends at Google, nearer than your Baylands Park endpoint, this one starts in the Mission, whereas you're starting all the way down near Candlestick Point. I bet it takes you less time to ride from Google to Baylands Park than from their starting point in the Mission to your starting point.

That all said, on some parts of the route you'll be on a MUP that will also have pedestrians, and you'll need to slow down to 15MPH or slower to be safe and courteous.
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Old 06-16-23, 04:50 PM
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All these calculations are nice and all, but they will all fly out the window the first day you encounter a headwind. Any headwind of note will not only wipe out all your expectations of timely arrival but will also exhaust you to no end, even on an electric bike. And the route in question can get quite windy.
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Old 06-16-23, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by AndreyT
All these calculations are nice and all, but they will all fly out the window the first day you encounter a headwind. Any headwind of note will not only wipe out all your expectations of timely arrival but will also exhaust you to no end, even on an electric bike. And the route in question can get quite windy.
yes, and unfortunately they're going southeast in the morning - likely not much tailwind, and northwest in the afternoon - A TON OF HEADWIND. there's a reason the club is called "SF2G" and not "G2SF"
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Old 06-17-23, 03:13 PM
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@bikecommuter13, it's been over a month; have you tried riding the route? Come to your senses? Got squished by a Ram 1500?
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Old 06-17-23, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina
@bikecommuter13, it's been over a month; have you tried riding the route? Come to your senses? Got squished by a Ram 1500?
Hi Korina , I haven't done it yet. From what I have heard, the battery is questionable for 40+ miles. And bike trail speed limit is 15 miles per hour. I am thinking of using a regular bike for the ride. But I need to fix at least one of my bikes. I have been going to my local bicycle co-op to fix them, but I don't feel they are ready for 40+ mile rides yet. Besides, my legs are tired even after 2 days of 13 mile rides going to the bicycle co-op. So I am taking it slow, lol.
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Old 06-18-23, 01:11 AM
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Cool! Yes, you do need to build up your legs. Don't be afraid to mix it up; partway by train and the rest by bike.

Originally Posted by bikecommuter13
Hi Korina , I haven't done it yet. From what I have heard, the battery is questionable for 40+ miles. And bike trail speed limit is 15 miles per hour. I am thinking of using a regular bike for the ride. But I need to fix at least one of my bikes. I have been going to my local bicycle co-op to fix them, but I don't feel they are ready for 40+ mile rides yet. Besides, my legs are tired even after 2 days of 13 mile rides going to the bicycle co-op. So I am taking it slow, lol.
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Old 06-18-23, 01:37 AM
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At least it is flatish once you get down to the bay!

But as a long term bike commuter I too think 40 miles twice a day and a full work day is too much, even with an ebike, although I've never had one..
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Old 06-18-23, 03:54 AM
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Do you have a place to leave the bike at work? If you do, you could commute one way and take the train home. The next day you could take the train to work and ride home. A 40 mile commute is a pretty good work out.
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