Flat Out Protection

One of the main trade-offs in owning an ebike is that changing tires and tubes is harder, and with most rear wheel motors, it best to adjust the deraileur and disk brakes at that time. So what to do if riding in the city, with metal and glass everywhere? I looked around at the various products sold to help prevent flats, got a bit confused, but then found this great video from Bolton Ebike where they put the top products to the test: Mr. Tuffy Tire Liners, Slime, Tannus Armour, and Flat Out, the clear winner.

So we have been adding Flat Out to all the bikes that come through the shop, if the client approves. It just makes sense (though I make more money if you bring me a flat tire, I am not that anxious to work on preventable problems!)

Flat Out the best


NYC Cargo Bike Revolution

I just found this new (Jan 11, 2022) feature by Street Films on cargo bikes in NYC, it gave me all the feelies about how we can change our future for the better. After 4 years riding my RadWagon cargo ebike with the grandkids, groceries and dog, I totally understand and agree with the sentiments expressed by the cargo bike users featured in this video. It makes life in the city easier and more fun, cheaper and less carbon intensive, all positives in my book. I’ve had a few cargo ebikes in the shop for tune-ups/repairs, and they are wonderful machines for families as well as delivery drivers!

I had not heard of Street Films before, but I like them. Here is an added link to the shorter Cycling Copenhagen…


Vela 2 – Brazilian-Euro Style City Ebike

This cute Vela 2 commuter ebike came in for some assembly and tuning (plus some Flat Out for the tubes). It says it is designed in Sao Paulo and made in China, but checks all the boxes for being a Dutch-Euro style commuter ebike.

Vela 2, Vela 2, Euro Style Commuter Ebike
Vela 2, Euro Style Commuter Ebike
  • A Pedelectric (Class 1) fixie, it has no gears to change, but the torque sensor reads how much effort you are expending, and sends more power as you need it.
  • Comforable seat and upright seating position (handle bars well above the seat).
  • 36V/350W Geared Motor, 10 Ah battery
  • Battery is hidden in the downtube below the seat, with USB port
  • Boost mode at two levels, Start-up and Hills
  • Tamper detection/Electromagnetic Lock/GPS anti-theft /App
  • Fenders front and back
  • Rear Rack
  • Built in lights
  • Chain Guard
  • Step Through frame

All in all, a great value ($1600) for a stylish commuter bike, with room for a front basket as well as a couple of panniers on the rack. Keep an eye out for it around Bloomington in the new year!

Vela 2, São Paulo, Brazil
Vela 2, São Paulo, Brazil
Btown Biking Ebikes

The Verge on Ebikes

The Verge

“… electric bikes belong in a category of their own because they’re more than just a fun tech fad. They could actually be the future of transportation.”

I think the Verge is correct, ebikes will be (and are in Europe/Asia), the future, a whole new transportation mode. I can make it downtown and at my destination from the eastside (~3 miles) in less time than in a car, averaging 15 mph. Of course cars can travel 25-30 mph in town, but with all the traffic lights, stop signs, traffic and parking, the actual door to door time is about equal. On the ebike I am getting exercise, fresh air, and learning about my city; I am gazing at the clouds, lowering my carbon bootprint, and helping create a more humane vibe on our largest community space, our streets. (IMHO the streets belong to the people, not the cars!)

More bikes/ebikes, less cars/noise, better air, safer streets and healthier citizens, these are the goals I am working towards, one ebike at a time!


Why Dutch bikes are better…

This is a great video about Dutch bikes (Omafiets) from a Canadian point of view, he lists many of the advantages that I cite to folks as the advantages of ebikes for transportation, not just sport.

Here are a few of the fine points that make this style of bike so useful as a day to day mode of transport in northern Europe.

  • Upright riding position-less effecient, but more comfortable
  • Handlebars swept back, less stress to arms/back/neck
  • Easier to look around, don’t have to raise head
  • Normal clothing
  • Step through ease
  • Coat guard
  • Chain guard
  • Frame lock for quick stops
  • Fenders, front/rear rack
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Internal gears or fixies
  • Coaster brakes/no cables
  • Simple, easy to maintain

Here is the Ecotric Lark, which seems to fit the bill for most of the points mentioned above, it can be ordered from Ecotric, and I have one in the workshop.

Ecotric Lark
Ecotric Lark 36V/500W

We also have an Ectotric Peace Dove, which meets most of the list, with front basket, rear rack, comfort seating, step through frame throttle and power assist, while it lacks the fender and coat guards. but is a great value at $700.

Ecotric Peace Dove

VanMoof Proof

VanMoof E-Bike
VanMoof E-Bike

This Dutch e-bike came in for repairs this week, and so I had to do some research to familiarize myself with its unique points. It works in power assit mode (no throttle), with a 36V/250W motor, a typical Euro e-bike. It has a fully protected chain, electronic shifting, and a hidden battery and controller. The built-in electronics include bike tracking and recovery, and a built in lock that is activated by the app only. In short a really cool Euro-commuter bike.

I knew little about the VanMoof brand, so I looked it up, and came across this video ad they ran in Europe, only to be banned by the French (who apparently needs to protect their stellar auto brands…).

VanMoof is now behind in RadPower in venture capitalization, but still an ebike leader, especially in the Euro market.

Later: Unfortunately, this was an early model, and the controller and battery were just not accessible without cutting wires, and no guarantee we could get it back together, it is all proprietary design, and they don’t share their manuals. I am recommending it to go back to the factory for service, but the client does not want to do it…


Zephyr Ebike Workshop

Zephyr-Ebikes Shop
Zephyr E-Bike Workshop

Welcome to Zephyr E-Bike Workshop! We support and encourage the ongoing micromobility evolution, with the hope that everyone can experience the freedom, fun, and practicality of e-bike travel!

We are the only bike shop in Bloomington/Southern Indiana that specializes in ebike repairs and maintenance. We assemble, tune, repair, consult, update/upgrade, fix tubes/tires, adjust brakes/gears, and of course, troubleshoot electronic problems.

We also buy/sell/trade pre-owned e-bikes, and we carry a few new Ecotric ebikes, which we have found to be a really good value is its price range ($800-$1200).

Many e-bike repairs can be a bit tricky , but we are ready to handle them with skill and alacrity!

Ebike curious, but not yet an owner? Come in for a consult, let us help you take a test ride and select your style. We can then order and assemble, tune, test, and outfit it with whatever accessories you choose.

Ecotric Dolphin
Ecotric Dolphin Fat Tire Folding step-thru

Here is a classic beach cruiser (Pedelec, Punta Gorda, FL), we just got in the door, and it is the most comfortable bike we have in stock!

Classic Beach Cruiser
Classic Beach Cruiser $875

We are dedicated to helping folks get on an e-bike and learn how much fun and convenient they are for both city and country living. Come by to ride, or talk about e-bikes, and narrow down your choices. We are open 12-5 pm every afternoon, Mon-Fri, and beyond that by chance, call or text, if we are not in the shop. This is business in the time of Covid, no easy way!

Zephyr E-Bike Workshop
Zephyr E-Bike Workshop

Senate E-Bike Act?

Ecotric Lark
Ecotric Lark 36V/500W

Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) have introduced the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (Senate E-BIKE Act), and yeah, I support it, as does the House, where there are 21 co-sponsors of the bill. It offers a tax credit worth 30 percent of a new e-bike’s purchase price, and the credit would also be fully refundable, which would allow lower-income individuals to claim it. E-bikes are definately more expensive from the get-go, so this would be a big help.

“The bill makes a clean alternative more accessible to more people,” Schatz said. “E-bikes make lots of sense for working people, young people, and others who either cannot afford or don’t want a car.”

A recent study found that if 15 percent of car trips were made by e-bike, carbon emissions would drop by 12 percent. I have found my e-bike riding has eliminated at least 80% of my car trips, and made them more pleasant to do in the process!

The E-Bike Potential: Estimating regional e-bike impacts on greenhouse gas emissions

E-bikes are not an entirely new mode of transportation, but they are one of the fastest growing, most practical, and carbon reducing ways of getting around in the city. (Did I mention they are fun too?!)

Ecotric Dolphin
Ecotric Dolphin

Domino Effect?

Check out this RadCity Step-Thru at Domino’s in Eastland Plaza!

I agree with whoever makes decisions at Domino’s, this RadPower e-bike is a great value. With a 48V/750W rear hub motor, this bike is maxed out power wise (to be legal on our multi-use paths), and can handle a 275 pound load. The step-thru feature is essential for carrying large loads, and front hydraulic forks takes out the bumps. The high handle bars make for a comfort ride, and the rear rack is welded on the body, quite sturdy. I am thinking it would be great for pulling a trailer as well. It is $1600, and not available till this November (unless you are a giant corporation like Dominos!)

RadCity Step-Thru


Zephyr & Charlie Bird

Charlie Bird of Bloomington came by the Workshop to help build a few new bikes last week, and of course he and Lalo (dog prince of the manor) got along just fine…

BTW, Charlie’s new book is available at Zephyr E-Bike Workshop, or on his website at!

Charlie Bird Loves Bloomington