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What have you learned from commuting by ebike?

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    What have you learned from commuting by ebike?

    (1) It is a total stress reliever. I have a job with over the top stress. A couple minutes into my ride home and I have completely forgotten about my problems.

    (2) Slow the Heck down! Live to ride another day. If it is dark, foggy, wet or crowded, you have to reduce your speed. You have to drive defensively 100% of the time. Statistics will catch up with you, and you obviously want to avoid being killed or seriously injured. When you double your speed, you quadruple the kinetic energy that your body will absorb upon impact, not to mention the increased braking distance required.

    (3) Get the best brakes available. I now use hydraulic brakes with 203mm rotors, because when I had mechanical disk brakes with 160mm rotors I got in accidents that could have been avoided.

    (4) Leave early and enjoy the ride. Leaving home 5-10 minutes early is the difference between a pleasure ride and a road race. If you leave late, please drive safely and just be late to work. It only takes one mistake to ruin your life.

    (5) Getting flat tires sucks! I created a support system with my wife. I call her and she comes out to rescue me, whereupon I thank her profusely.

    (6) This is the best security chain that I have ever seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lDcViM1EKc

    (7) This is one of the best padlocks that I have ever seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47uTBJP-Wak

    (8) This guy made a strong ground anchor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-TiYLhHeaU

    (9) In reference to the above three points, a professional thief can still get through all of that in about 8 minutes. One can use GPS tracking (hidden in the bike or battery) and/or one of the good alarm systems (silent or otherwise) where the police come when the alarm is tripped. The response time should be less than 8 minutes, of course. If the police will take longer, you have to double up the chain and padlock, the idea being to keep the thief busy cutting until LE arrives. Expect monthly fees for both the GPS tracking and alarm system, but also expect that the perp will be taken into custody and your ebike returned.

    (10) I now use a fixed stem because I had a cheap adjustable stem fail and I was almost killed by a bus.

    (11) One of my customers works as an emergency room doctor. He had only one recommendation: wear a full face helmet. I noticed in the Red Bull extreme riding videos that all of those guys wear a full face helmet. They may be in a tank top and shorts with no other protection, but they always have a full face helmet. The doctor was telling me about facial fractures that he had seen, and it was very convincing!
    Last edited by commuter ebikes; 11-14-2016, 02:51 PM.

    #2
    I agree with all. For many years I rode/commuted on a road bicycle, then rode off-road enduro single-track motorcycles and a couple years street motorcycles. I'm now going back to bikes, and an e-bike. I'm fortunate, I don't have a particularly dangerous commute, nor do I have to lock my bike but I wholeheartedly recommend the full face helmet, and tubeless setup.

    2016 closeouts of this helmet are $109.

    https://www.bellhelmets.com/cycling/...-mips-equipped

    Comment


      #3
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiaOSf2sQxM&t=158s

      I'm now convinced that insurance and an accurate compilation of receipts to file a claim is the best protection. SO I used the largest U lock to avoid a really easy theft, but NOTHING will give more than a few seconds of protection from a professional thief.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by tomjasz View Post
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiaOSf2sQxM&t=158s

        I'm now convinced that insurance and an accurate compilation of receipts to file a claim is the best protection. SO I used the largest U lock to avoid a really easy theft, but NOTHING will give more than a few seconds of protection from a professional thief.
        Agreed. Police don't prioritize bike thefts in-progress unless there's a major thief out there breaking into garages and making headlines every week. GPS might help track it down afterward, but I would ask the cops whether they've had any success with it before adding yet another monthly fee to your budget. Everyone wants you to pay automatically every month because it is the best business model ever, and there are tons of scams.

        Otherwise a great post by the OP!

        Comment


          #5
          1) Drivers misjudge me all the time. For example, drivers underestimate my uphill speed. Usually what happens is that they try to pass me so that they can change into my lane and then take a right at the next intersection. In these cases, I slow down and let them change into my lane, giving them plenty of room.

          2) I now rarely pass cars at intersections and I wait in line like a car, but immediately move to the right once traffic starts flowing. This makes me more predictable to drivers.

          3) I need improved brakes. I carry too much speed on one down hill section and there is a light near the bottom. Working on this now.

          4) I should have gone as big as possible with the battery...but my 52V 13.5AH battery pack will do for now.

          5) Light rain isn't so bad. I will be biking home tonight in rain. Ok, next morning...and I got drenched! It was moderate to heavy rain. Still work to do on my clothing...need to find a lightweight rain suit.

          6) Cheap chinese LED front light, with switch..Failed on my ride home but I had a back up light. I think too much water got into the switch. I need to better waterproof my bike.

          7) Clothing is an issue. There could be a 30F degree difference between morning ride and afternoon ride. Also, there could be a 10F degree difference between my house and work. Bike clothing generally sucks the colder and wetter it gets in combination with speed. Most bike clothing is too tight for cold riding and not wind resistant enough for high speed riding (>20mph). I would like heat from my core to move into my arms but due to tight clothing, it doesn't get there. Basically, no air circulation to even out the temperatures. I could be overheating my core but freezing my arms off. So, I think snowboarding clothes (and helmet) are more appropriate for cold winter riding. When I say cold winter riding, I mean below 30F. I basically have a range of clothes (and layers) for every 10 degrees....

          Comment


            #6
            Also want to thank the OP for creating this section. Commuting means putting huge miles on your bike, often in traffic and at much higher speeds than normal biking. Odds are you will see every kind of situation imaginable, including close calls and crashes, so prepare and ride accordingly. I will take any and all suggestions on how to ride better and safer (just don't tell me to ride slow all the time because that ain't gonna happen!)

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for the Commuting Section! In 2016 only - commuted 8,000+ miles. Here's my video of what I have with me when I ride.






               

              Comment


              • Galroc
                Galroc commented
                Editing a comment
                I think you and I are competing for most miles/week on Strava. I am 21 miles each way, I am only up to 2500 miles but I just started a few months back.

              #8
              Strava miles 2016

              Comment


                #9
                 

                Comment


                  #10
                  Originally posted by osmaster View Post
                  Strava miles 2016
                  That is a really high amount of miles!

                  +1 for green transportation

                  Comment


                    #11


                    That is a shockingly long commute! I don't know how you do it! Are you in really good shape as a result? I assume that you are pedaling in addition to the motor. Very inspirational.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Originally posted by Galroc View Post
                      1) Drivers misjudge me all the time. For example, drivers underestimate my uphill speed. Usually what happens is that they try to pass me so that they can change into my lane and then take a right at the next intersection. In these cases, I slow down and let them change into my lane, giving them plenty of room.

                      2) I now rarely pass cars at intersections and I wait in line like a car, but immediately move to the right once traffic starts flowing. This makes me more predictable to drivers.

                      3) I need improved brakes. I carry too much speed on one down hill section and there is a light near the bottom. Working on this now.

                      4) I should have gone as big as possible with the battery...but my 52V 13.5AH battery pack will do for now.

                      5) Light rain isn't so bad. I will be biking home tonight in rain. Ok, next morning...and I got drenched! It was moderate to heavy rain. Still work to do on my clothing...need to find a lightweight rain suit.

                      6) Cheap chinese LED front light, with switch..Failed on my ride home but I had a back up light. I think too much water got into the switch. I need to better waterproof my bike.

                      7) Clothing is an issue. There could be a 30F degree difference between morning ride and afternoon ride. Also, there could be a 10F degree difference between my house and work. Bike clothing generally sucks the colder and wetter it gets in combination with speed. Most bike clothing is too tight for cold riding and not wind resistant enough for high speed riding (>20mph). I would like heat from my core to move into my arms but due to tight clothing, it doesn't get there. Basically, no air circulation to even out the temperatures. I could be overheating my core but freezing my arms off. So, I think snowboarding clothes (and helmet) are more appropriate for cold winter riding. When I say cold winter riding, I mean below 30F. I basically have a range of clothes (and layers) for every 10 degrees....
                      I have been strictly bicycle commuting for 4 years now and have toured back and forth across Washington state a handful of times. We have four seasons where I live, but the wet and cold ones are quite wet and cold. I just want to share how I stay warm:

                      Boots: Frogg Togg 1200fill $75, amazon
                      Gloves: wind/waterproof snowboarding gloves $35, amazon (havent tried the bar muffs or whatever, but really dont see a huge need for them just yet. the snowboarding gloves I bought are standing up to harsh rains and snow no problem and my hands stay dry.)
                      Rain gear: frogg togg pro lite rain suit XL, $40, amazon
                      Midlayer: carharttt arctic overalls, $75
                      Stoic wind/waterproof snowboarding jacket $75, nwot ebay
                      Undergarnments: exofficio boxer briefs (learned about these from long distance tourers while pedaling my 10 speed across the state a few years ago, great for wicking moisture away from your junk, and very comfortable for long rides.) $20, REI
                      Socks: regular socks do just fine as these boots are way overkill for cold and rain both.
                      Eyewear: typically yellow shooter aviators, but really considering ski goggles or something similar for this winter.

                      What does your fender situation look like? If you dont have fenders yet, they will change your life for wet riding and I very highly advise getting some asap :)

                      Comment


                        #13
                        What I have learned commuting on an ebike (with average speeds of 20mph) is that: 1. A fairing is necessary. 2. Shocks are very much appreciated. 3. I would love to have a Rohloff or Alfine 8.

                        1. My first ebike was a Diamondback Haanjo Cyclocross: http://electricbike.com/forum/forum/...ybrid-commuter I soon bought a Zzipper Thriller fairing. It made a huge difference but was designed more for a road bike with dropped bars and so didn't reach up high enough to block the wind from the shoulders and head without me crouching down. Also, the paved roads around Columbia County, NY are crappy (see #2) and the vibration cracked the lower bolt holes. Karl Abbe, the owner, sent me a new, thicker one that is one inch taller. It is working well, holding up and blocking the wind. If you order one, tell Karl that it is for an ebike and only order the thickest version.

                        2. Zipping around at 20-30mph takes a toll on the hands, arms and shoulders. So I looked for a Craigslist bargain on a full-suspension bike. At the time I knew nothing about these. I bought a 2006 Marin Rift Zone for $280. It was a bargain and well equipped and maintained, but as it happened it was a bear to find a place for the Dolphin battery. I patched up my cracked fairing and mounted it higher and straighter. The shocks make a big difference and the whole set up works really well, except that the battery is mounted high. With a really nimble bike and a high center of gravity I have to really stay on my toes steering. It is squirrelly like a white water kayak rather than a straight tracking sea kayak. The set up that LUNA featured for awhile as "the fastest BBSHD" bike looked about perfect.

                        3. I have trouble keeping my derailleur aligned, which is necessary with so much torque.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by quantumcloud509 View Post


                          What does your fender situation look like? If you dont have fenders yet, they will change your life for wet riding and I very highly advise getting some asap :)
                          I have SKS Fenders with an additional spoiler on the front fender. It was very heavy rain and mostly the horizontal surfaces of my clothes got soaked and my feet. Lake MXZ 303 Winter Boots filled with water after going through deep water by accident thanks to flooded roads. Wasn't a huge issue due to wool socks. The rain was so heavy that my cheap LED light failed because water intruded and completely filled the lens cavity. It works now after I drained the water out.

                          I just picked up a cheap but traditional $10 heavy duty rain jacket and pants that I will be able to wear over my biking clothes. I just have to remember to pack the rain suit on rain days. I have reflexive axle straps for the bottoms. The hood is detachable.
                          Click image for larger version

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                            #15
                            I have been watching this thread because of the cold weather wear. Today I went for a ride in the low forties. I used a knit cap under my helmet, flannel lined jeans, Duofold thermal top with t shirt and heavy sweat shirt, and some large work gloves with wool liners. I went less than 1/2 mile and went back home to dig out my old full face motorcycle helmet. Let me tell you that did the trick. It kept my head and ears warm and I could control air circulation with vents and the front shield.

                            Here is the first selfie I have ever taken.
                            Click image for larger version

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                            The Duofold thermals I have used for year, and I really like them, but they seem to have gone out of style and are hard to find. There were definitely no tall sizes around. The closest one I found is from L.L.Bean. I will have a couple in a few days and report back. They are made from cotton merino wool and nylon. http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/75097...ductId=1237203

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                            • calfee20
                              calfee20 commented
                              Editing a comment
                              The picture is to big. Why did I think I would be able to edit that? Oh I guess there is a window of time for the edit. Oh well next time.
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