Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

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Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by The Legend on Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:18 pm

Has anyone taken the plunge and bought electric bikes to stick on the bike rack? What are they like? Do you feel stupid riding them? Do you think people look out and go lazy so and sos?

I am toying with the idea because we never did cycle when we were younger and when I hired a push bike 10 years ago I was jiggered just riding on The Tissington Trail.

Do you still get a sore bum riding an Electric bike?

Patrick
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by Dutto on Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:52 pm

Hi there,

The answer is "Never! While you are able to ride an ordinary push bike."

When you live in Skegness like we do you notice that:

1. Most of the people riding electric scooters are "fat" rather than "elderly" and are usually seen munching a burger.

2. Most people riding electric cycles are elderly. Unlike their compatriots on the scooters, they are not fat, but they are suicidal. (This manifests itself as, without any protective equipment such as a helmet or goggles, they whizz up and down the roads and pavements at speeds that they could never achieve without an electric motor. They are therefore hated by road users and pedestrians alike!

We are both 68 years old and we ride push bikes. Over the last nine years we have averaged about 4,000 miles a year and "Yes." on a long run our bums do get a bit sore. However, if you select a really good bike with a suitable seat, and then adjust the handlebars and the seat properly, you minimise that problem.

Other benefits of a push bike, apart from staying healthy, are:

1. Cycling is much more economical than any other form of transport except walking. (Plus you don't have to put the bike "on charge" every night.)

2. A decent bike weighs in at less than 12 kilograms so it minimises the "weight problem". (Goodness knows what an electric bike weighs - but it must be over 20kg.)

3. They require very little maintenance and an annual service at Decathlon or Halfords costs about £50, with all "worn parts" replaced as part of the deal.

4. There is no "distance limit" other than your own abilities. (To celebrate our 65th year we paddled in the Atlantic Ocean at Bordeaux and then cycled along the Canal Lateral and the Canal du Midi to Agde where we paddled in the Mediterranean. Five hundred kilometres in five days - and neither of us had been on a bike for forty years before we retired!)

I have a "Triban 7 Road" and my good lady has a slightly smaller framed "Triban B Twin" from Decathlon. Apart from the size, the main difference is that my bike has 27 gears (3 main and 9 cogs) whereas my wife's bike has 24 gears (single main, three hub gears and 8 cogs). My good lady thinks her bike is easier to operate.

Add the yellow vests, pump, spare inner-tube, multi-tool, cycling helmets, capes and bike-lock and the whole lot comes well under the 34 kilogram limit of the Fiamma Bike Rack.

(We cannot stress too much the value of a "motor cycle quality" lock. We saw a Triban 7 offered for sale in a Toulouse market for €50 and I suggested that, at that price, I should buy it for spares. We laughed at the idea and carried on shopping. It was only when we got back to where we had parked our bikes that we discovered that the wire cycle lock on mine had been cut with bolt croppers and we had been looking at my own bike!! Sorry to say, the bike and the thief were never seen again!)

So, "Get an electric bike whilst I am still able to ride a push bike?" No thank you!

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Dutto drinksallround
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by The Legend on Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:48 pm

Wowwww Dutto

What a brilliant reply. Totally convinced us not to get electric bikes. Will borrow a couple of normal bikes and practise on t'canal near where we live. Thanks very much for your comments.

Best wishes

Pat n Wendy
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by Ramblingon on Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:05 pm

My sister and her hubby turned up the other day with their bikes we all had a short ride out -after some comparisons and complaint about sore bums we decided my bum was ok because of my wide sprung seat -just spend some money on a good sprung saddle you will be surprised at the difference they make both sister and bro in law left me and swore they would change their saddles before going on holiday the next week. something like this ............
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VENTURA-DOUBLE-SPRUNG-GEL-BICYCLE-BIKE-SADDLE-15043-/160597125116?pt=UK_sportsleisure_cycling_bikeparts_SR&hash=item256455a7fc#ht_2163wt_905 look here
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by Dutto on Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:26 am

Ramblingon wrote:. . . . . my bum was ok because of my wide sprung seat . . .

Hi there,

Before buying a seat work out what you want to do; and remember that the lads on the Tour de France are sat on their seats for up to eight hours a day using seats that look like knife blades!!

The secret is to stop "chafing" and the bigger the lump between your legs the bigger the potential for "chafing". If you just want to toddle down to the shops and back then a sprung gel seat will be OK. But if you want to get out and about from the area where the van is parked then go for a much slimmer seat and buy a pair of Lycra padded cycling shorts.

Incidentally, I have always maintained that the men who wear padded Lycra cycling shorts are:
a) Extremely well endowed men who want everyone to know about it.
b) Extremely fit men who want to show off their muscular bottom and thighs.
c) Cyclists who know that they may look a prat - but they are a "comfortable" prat!

I fall into category "c" - but pretend that I am actually in "a" and "b"!!! (To be honest, you only look a prat in the UK as on the Continent of Europe EVERYONE wears cycling shorts or trousers if they go further than the local market.)

Also, at Decathlon they do quite slim gel seats specifically made for the ladies. I am assured that the extra £20 or so that we paid for my wife's Royal Gel Seat greatly improved her cycling life! In my own case my trusted very narrow gel seat has now done about 20,000 miles and it is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. It is so comfortable that I am a bit frightened to change it until I get back to France where I can get a replacement!

Enjoy the bike - it is incredible how soon you can get away from the "tourist trap" where you park the van and see the real world beyond.

Best regards,

Dutto drinksallround

PS Check out http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/women-flx-gelflow-saddle-173364684/ for a ladies slim-line saddle.


Last edited by Dutto on Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add PS)
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by stevomar on Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:14 am

Hi
We never go away without our bikes - in this country or abroad.
About 30 mins. after this pic of my wife and Billy the dog was taken (in the Peak District near Ashbourne) we came accros a couple in their late 70's who were cycling on the Tissington Trail on electric bikes. They would pedal when neccessary and use the electric on inclines. At least they were getting out in the fresh air and getting some exercise
Cheers
Stevo



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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by Ramblingon on Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:05 pm

Just looking at the dog -I have 2 border terriers I was thinking of getting a fold up trailer for them as well, does it work well is the added load hard work and does the dog try to escape? (sorry about the thread hijack) blushes
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by stevomar on Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:48 pm

Ramblingon wrote:Just looking at the dog -I have 2 border terriers I was thinking of getting a fold up trailer for them as well, does it work well is the added load hard work and does the dog try to escape? (sorry about the thread hijack) blushes
Hi
We use a harness to keep Billy in his trailer.
You don't notice that you are pulling the trailer until you get to an incline.If it's too steep I just get off and push.
Stevo
I

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by dandywarhol on Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:30 pm

We've just bought a couple of 2nd hand electric bikes - A Wisper 705 and a Powacycle Salisbury.

Both 24v and very good. We are neither elderly nor fat, so I take exception to the previous poster's comments. Being electric assist then pedalling is still part of the deal. I've always liked 2 wheel motorcycle power but tend not to see a lot of the scenery at speed. Never really enjoyed the effort involved when pedalling uphill - getting sweaty isn't something I relish, maybe I'd be happier in Holland, not Scotland!

So, at 21kg with a lithium polymer battery down low in the frame the weight is hardly noticeable. Maybe I'm going against the flow in this thread but I'm not arrogant enough to say "Yes" - go and buy one..............

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by plattypus on Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:00 pm

I'm with you on this one Dandy. I havn't cycled for 6 or 7 years now, But would def. consider an electric bike for the same reasons, We're not fat either, just don't 'enjoy' the struggle, and dodgy knees don't help.
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by squip on Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:15 pm

I don't think there is a right or wrong about using electric bikes. Some people have a physical problem that makes it difficult to pedal an unassisted bike so in that case an electric bike makes perfect sense. If you can't /won't ride a normal bike then an electric one is better than no bike.
A point to bear in mind is that good electric bikes can be very expensive [c£1000] and cheap ones can be very heavy. Whatever make of electric bike is bought it will be heavier that a normal bike and will probably be too heavy to be carried on a bike rack suspended on the back of a van. Especially the type of rack fitted to the rear door of a van conversion.

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by The Legend on Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:32 pm

Ramblingon wrote:Just looking at the dog -I have 2 border terriers I was thinking of getting a fold up trailer for them as well, does it work well is the added load hard work and does the dog try to escape? (sorry about the thread hijack) blushes

Sorry, Whose wife are you calling a dog? She looks fine to me.
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by dandywarhol on Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:14 pm

squip wrote:I don't think there is a right or wrong about using electric bikes. Some people have a physical problem that makes it difficult to pedal an unassisted bike so in that case an electric bike makes perfect sense. If you can't /won't ride a normal bike then an electric one is better than no bike.
A point to bear in mind is that good electric bikes can be very expensive [c£1000] and cheap ones can be very heavy. Whatever make of electric bike is bought it will be heavier that a normal bike and will probably be too heavy to be carried on a bike rack suspended on the back of a van. Especially the type of rack fitted to the rear door of a van conversion.

squip

I paid £625 for both bikes, one with a spare (new) battery. Battery condition and how they're charged is imperative with electric bikes - ask the right questions before buying.................... as for weight - 2 leccy bikes (batteries in the 'van) weigh around 38kg - Fiamma's racks allow for 60kg, although I still use a tie down strap from the rack to the roof ladder to take the strain on potholes or sleeping plod.

As for physical fitness, I'm fairly fit but years of using my knees as the third "wheel" when racing bikes for a decade has left them a bit battered and creaky so_sad - the electric bikes make sense for me (us) and look forward to using them on Orkney in 10 days - pedalling/motoring into the wind will be a pleasure............ up!

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by Dutto on Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:35 am

dandywarhol wrote:Fiamma's racks allow for 60kg . . .

Hi there,

Sorry, but the Fiamma bike carrier on the back off-side door of our Duetto is rated at 34kg maximum, and we don't have anything higher up to hang a strap on!

I would also like to point out that, in my original post, I said "Get an electric bike whilst I am still able to ride a push bike?" No thank you!; the key point being "I am still able."

With regard to "sweating up hills" the whole point of having 24 to 27 gears is to tackle hills. The system is to decide what pressure you wish to apply to the pedals and then set a comfortable pedalling speed on the flat. Afterwards you just change gears "up" or "down" to maintain the two. As long as you keep the pedals turning you will keep moving.

On our bikes the lowest gear is so low that it is many years since we have had to get off and push them up a hill; on the other hand, walkers have been known to overtake us!!

Just one other "tip" when buying a bike. If you intend to use the bike on the road for most of the time then get a "road bike". The extra rolling resistance of the studded tyres on a "mountain bike" can make cycling a lot harder; plus, the sprung front forks and rear suspension add enormously to the weight.

Keep pedalling and enjoy,

Dutto drinksallround

alittlesecret
PS Before anyone mentions cycling and the hills of Scotland, we lived in Glenkindie before we retired! In Scotland the main cycling problem isn't the up and down of the hills it's all the gravel that is left on the roads after each winter's gritting operations. Many a death trap awaits the unwary as your tyres scrabble for grip on a mound of sand and gravel at corners or in the centre of "T" junctions!


Last edited by Dutto on Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:40 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add the actual)
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by dandywarhol on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:09 am

Hi there - I took exception to the arrogance of "The answer is "Never! While you are able to ride an ordinary push bike." and ) as an engineer (not yet retired) I have a reasonable understanding of torque multiplication with gears. Certainly the 34 kg max. on your rear doors will be a problem with heavier bikes.

Electric bikes are "goverened" to a legal maximum of 15 mph - additional pedalling will produce more speed if you want/need it, as you can achieve with unpowered cycles, so I don't really understand the comment about they whizz up and down the roads and pavements at speeds that they could never achieve without an electric motor

Anyway, surely it's all about choice - Legend asked a reasonable question about the pros and cons of electric bicycling, let's keep it objective and give positive information. smile!

Enjoy your cycling up! smile!

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What a brilliant thread!!

Post by Dutto on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:43 pm

dandywarhol wrote:. . . . and ) as an engineer (not yet retired) . . .

I love this Thread! I don't think there has been quite as many points of view since someone asked "Should women get the vote?"

With regard to the above declaration of engineering prowess let me remind everyone:

o Engineers took two years to design the RMS Titanic.

o Engineers took three years to build the RMS Titanic.

o Operators took three months to sink the RMS Titanic; and that was AFTER they had read the Manual (written by Engineers)!

I hereby end my input to this thread by extending my deepest sympathies to all those people who are "not old, not fat and not disabled", but who still ride electric bicycles.

Best regards,

Dutto

PS I forgot to mention that averaging the "governed speed of 15 miles per hour" on an ordinary pushbike took us quite a time to achieve - but we got there eventually.

drinksallround


Last edited by Dutto on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add PS)
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by dandywarhol on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:12 pm

The engineers at Harland and Wolff found the Titanic to be of sound build when it left Belfast - First Officer Murdoch was a Master Mariner, not an engineer (but unfortunately a Scotsman!). Unfortunately he mistook the "Iceberg right ahead" command and the poor old ship took a dive.

Luckily, there were no electric bikes on board or the batteries could've shorted out.............................

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by andygump on Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:48 am

Hi,


I have been riding a bike now for 65yrs and a keen cyclist for 60yrs(touring, racing,and now just to keep fit). If you haven't been cyclists for many years, by all means get yourselves the electric ones, but get the more expensive ones, as they will be lighter and have better battries.

The object is to get out and about wherever you are parked up, and you will still get a certain amount of exercise by using the pedals whenever you can. I would think a slightly wider saddle would be better for the electric bikes, as the road saddles are not built for comfort,and I shouldn't think you will be doing a huge mileage.


Whatever you do decide get out and enjoy yourselves now as you never know what is round the corner (intended play on words smile! )
My poor wife was also a very keen cyclist, but now has Parkinsons so cannot join me in my cycle trips, and she misses it so much.

So get on your bike (Electric or not) wave wave


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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by rosgrech on Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:37 pm

I have only just come across this discussion - just on the day when we have been thinking about getting some bikes to take with us in the camper.

The main "hitch" in that decision is my inability to ride a bike! Balance, or rather the lack of it, being the problem, along with no childhood cycling experience whatsoever. I have come across some adult stabilisers though, but fear ridicule as I cycle around - I'm a sensitive soul! shrugg

Insufficient finances for a bike rack so we are thinking more along the lines of folding bikes (probably secondhand) which can be carried on the floor of the camper and we already have a utility tent where they can be stored on site.

Whilst we enjoy walking we are finding that our range is diminishing but we think that bikes will allow us to extend that so seeing and enjoying more in the same amount of time. Our new puppy will be carried aloft in either a carry-sling or the rucksack - suitably restrained of course.

Your thoughts?

broomstick Rosemary



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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by dandywarhol on Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:44 pm

rosgrech wrote:I have only just come across this discussion - just on the day when we have been thinking about getting some bikes to take with us in the camper.

The main "hitch" in that decision is my inability to ride a bike! Balance, or rather the lack of it, being the problem, along with no childhood cycling experience whatsoever. I have come across some adult stabilisers though, but fear ridicule as I cycle around - I'm a sensitive soul! shrugg

Insufficient finances for a bike rack so we are thinking more along the lines of folding bikes (probably secondhand) which can be carried on the floor of the camper and we already have a utility tent where they can be stored on site.

Whilst we enjoy walking we are finding that our range is diminishing but we think that bikes will allow us to extend that so seeing and enjoying more in the same amount of time. Our new puppy will be carried aloft in either a carry-sling or the rucksack - suitably restrained of course.

Your thoughts?

broomstick Rosemary



My thoughts are with the puppy................................................

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by Tony F on Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:35 pm

Just a few thoughts:

If you're planning on buying bikes ONLY for use when you're away in your van, then I'd think again. You need to ride regularly (not necessarily intensively) to build up a basic level of bike fitness that is necessary to make even short excursions pleasurable. Little and often to begin with will help develop this, and will help to deal with the age-old "sore bum syndrome".

I'm no engineer, but there's an old saying that applies to most things - you can have it strong, cheap and light, so long as you only want two of the three. As regards cycling, DON'T be tempted by cheap bikes, especially cheap "mountain" bikes with all the unnecessary weight (and total
inefficiency) of front and/or rear suspension especially. Efficient, effective suspension is expensive, and the cheap stuff will just slow you down. Wide knobbly tyres just create excessive rolling resistance, so if your off-road excursions are limited to bridleways, towpaths and the like, go for a "cross bike" (bigger wheels, narrower tyres, less aggressive tread) that will also be very useable on the road.

DO use a reputable local bike shop (I wouldn't recommend Halfords) where you can go back with questions, and DEFINITELY get them to set the bike up for you. The thing that puts most people off after a short time is usually traceable to a wrongly set-up bike that isn't fit for purpose. Getting bike fit will involve some degree of discomfort, depending on how hard you want to work at it, but much of it can be easily avoided. I can't believe how many people I see riding bikes with the seat set far too low, so that their knees are under permanent strain. Personally I hate "gel" saddles - they chafe - and wide seats also offer plenty of surface area to cause discomfort, but finding the right perch is inevitably a matter of trial and error unfortunately. And yes, that can get expensive. "Specialized" dealers offer a neat and non-embarrassing way of measuring your "sit-bones" and this is a great guide to which width of saddle you should be using. Disc brakes on bikes are the best thing since sliced bread, BUT ONLY IF THEY'RE THE FULL HYDRAULIC TYPES which are (almost) fit-and-forget. Cable-operated disc brakes on the other hand require constant fiddling as they wear, so if you don't want hydraulic discs go for good old-fashioned rim brakes - so much easier to adjust and service yourself.

Until very recently I rode a high-end full-suspension MTB and a "hardtail". Both were brilliant at different things, but I hurt myself quite badly one day, and had to change my riding preferences gettinwrong to something less "hard core". I now have the aforementioned "cross" bike (available with dropped or straight bars), still ride off-road quite a lot, but enjoy spinning along the lanes too, and it's perfect for both.

Whatever bike you choose - even if it is electric - just get out and ride!!!

Tony
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by rosgrech on Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:59 pm

Thanks Tony for that very comprehensive reply, which has given us some pointers in the right direction for us.

The bikes would not only be used when we are away, the intention is to get out and about locally and regularly taking them in the camper to get further afield as well as including them on our longer adventures with the camper.

Must source out our local cycle dealers and see where we go from there. It may be that we hire some bikes to see what suits us and, more particularly, get me up and running instead of lying in a bed of nettles as has been known on a previous attempt to ride a bike! hugegrins Hence the stabiliser idea.

Thanks again Tony. I will post a bulletin of progress in a few weeks.

broomstick Rosemary

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Electrics bikes

Post by JanGlover on Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:06 am

We have been "sometimes" bike riders all our lives. We took two lightweight, good folding bikes with us on holidays and enjoyed cycling them until we came across Spanish and Portugeae roads made from small granite squares with gaps between. The small wheels of the Ridgeback folder got trapped in the grooves and made the whole experience very dangerous. I ended up on the floor twice and had the bruises for months after! The other problem that we have encountered since moving to Devon from East Anglia is very steep hills. You can zoom around flatish Cambridgeshire but the experience is less pleasurable when you find you have to get off and walk up steep Devon hills.We have just bought two fairly expensive Wisper electric bikes which so far have been brilliant. You have to completely discharge the batteries three times to train them and wehave manged to go 60 miles using the assist mode before the battery ran out of juice! They
went up the hills fine but you do need to do some pedalling as well. I would say that they were a really good buy if you want something that will allow you to explore and generally extend your range without taking a car or the van broomstick
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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by dandywarhol on Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:22 am

Now that you've drained the batteries Jan it's imperative that you put them on charge after every journey - no matter how short - otherwise you'll end up with the same as countless used electric bikes for sale on the market - expensive, overweight bicycles! Keeping them charged every time will ensure long battery charge and long life (and yours I hope allthumbz )

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Re: Electric Bikes? Good or on your bike?

Post by JanGlover on Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:51 am

It says in the handbook to completely discharge them them three times and we have only done it once! We are going to be doing a lot of exploring. We have a trip planned to Hartland but not today because it is very wet. Hopefully Summer will start later in the week! beachball
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