Short Trips

A research study for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics focused on the number of daily trips taken in the United States. “In 2021, 52% of all trips, including all modes of transportation, were less than three miles, with 28% of trips less than one mile.  Just 2% of all trips were greater than 50 miles.” This means that half our driving could be done by bike for most of the year!

So one quarter of trips could be taken care of with a bike of any style (<1 mile), and half if using an ebike (<3 miles), with no sweat, often even faster than a car. Sounds like this city ebike thing makes some sense, especially when equipted with fenders, racks, panniers, mirrors, lights, and a basket.

It can become a full fledged errand machine, one that is fun to use, and easy to park close to your destination.

Cargo bikes are ever more popular, as they can do carry more (people or cargo), and with electronic assist, go farther and faster with more ease than ever before. Moms love them, as kids love doing errands with them, food delivery folks find them essential, and even hunters use them in outback.

Ebikes and cargo ebikes can save time, money, and fossil fuels by using a more appropriate amount of energy to get our daily chores done. I know I don’t need 2 tons of steel truck to go 4 blocks to buy our daily bread!


Coming and Going…

This week brought these two bikes past the workbench, one is heading out, the other just coming in.

A2B and Radwagon

On the way out is the black A2B Galvani, it came out in 2015, so it is old as far as ebikes go. Here is Electric Bike Review’s take on the Galvani. A quality ebike for the day, it has a gearless 350Watt motor (think longevity), front shocks, fenders, hydraulic disk brakes, build-in lights and rack. It needed a new inner tube, some chain lubrication, a brake adjustment, and shift indexing, and the deraileur was stuck/rusted in place. Its battery was dead, but I was able to find a factory original that was used, but in good shape, and now it is ready to ride again!

The orange RadWagon just came into the shop, it after 3 years, something went wrong on the electrical side of things. I tested the battery, it was putting out plenty of volts. Then I disconnected the motor, and reconnected it to my RadWagon, and the motor worked fine. As the display had been recently replaced, it seems most logical that the controller went bad (the display gave a variety of errors, then just turned off). So it has been ordered, and is on the way, I am confidant that it will cure the problem, but I am not sure. There can be mulitiple points of failure in any system, and the best way to figure it out is to fix one after the other till it works!

About Ebike Warranty Service I’ve found that many support techs at the major brands want you to start with the cheapest possibility, then work from there, company policy, even when the solution seems obvious to me (I’m looking at you Lectric). I did the full monty with the great folks at Vela (Brazilian commuter style), all the diaganostics were for naught, and after several internationl work sessions, they sent a new bike, and paid for all my labor besides, a good company!

I now judge ebike brands not so much on their level of quality, but rather on how they fix their problems when they occur. Different quality levels are needed as many folks have budget constraints, so no judgement on $1000 ebikes. So an inexpensive brand with good service can be preferable to a more expensive brand with poor or non-exitant service except in major cities, (I am looking at you Van Moof)!


Looking at Lectrics

Lectric XP2
Lectric XP2

This Lectric XP 2 came into the shop this week for assembly, the cargo/rack package makes it an especially useful and fun ebike. This one will be riding the trails in Lawrence county next week, so keep an eye out for it! Lectric come through the shop almost as often as RadPower models, so they are very popular in the $1000 price range.

I am been impressed that this brand is inexpensive, yet well designed and put together. Lectric sells only folding ebikes, and thus have gotten quite a few details right over the years.

Here is a rundown of their current line-up. I excluded their XP Long Range as it was the same as the XP 2.0 with a 14 Ah battery, which is an option on the XP 2.0 for the same price. Marketing, I guess.

Lectric XP lite Video Review
18 lighter than the XP 2.0, with a smaller drive train & 2.6″ tires
Price: $800
Drivetrain: 36V/300W/7.8Ah
Weights: Bike 46# Cap: 275# Rack: 55#

XP 2.0 & XP 2.0 Step-Thru Video Review
Current best seller, best combo of price, power, battery, & weight
Price: $1000
Drivetrain: 48V/500W/9.6 Ah or 14 Ah (+$200)
Weights: Bike 64# Capacity: 330# Rack: 75#

XPremiumVideo Review
MidDrive Torque sensing + throttle, hydraulic brakes suspension fork, dual battery, 4″ fat tires
Price: $1900
Drivetrain: 48V/500W/ double 10.4Ah battery
Weights: Bike 75# Cap: 330# Rack: 55#

The XPremium, the only middrive, torque sensing model they make, is very unusual for the fat tire folding ebike catagory. (Also, most middrive/torque ebikes start at >$2000)


Bike Hating?

What is up with motorists hating on bikers? Anyone who rides in Bloomington knows that unkind/unsafe motorists will met on every journey around town.

On those long journeys in the county I’ve been openly threatened a few times (a litre of Coke thrown at me while being passed, rolling coal while climbing a hill, and of course high speed passing within a foot of me). However, those incidents were rare, spaced out over 20 years, while the mini-aggressions of city riding occur every day. It seems that the evidence shows that separated bike paths are the only way to make our cities safe for bikers and pedestrians.

Check out this Guardian article, apparently drivers in England have the same opinion of bikers as here, that we are in their way, and should be relegated to painted bike lanes. They do not see us as an integral part of the transportation system, but rather an impediment.

This has been proven an incorrect assumption by the success of the 7-Line from Walnut to Dunn, IMHO. I can now bike and motor on 7th St more quickly (not faster) than before the protected bike lane was installed.

Cars travel more slowly due to the narrowed lanes, but with no stop signs, the trip to Dunn St. takes less time, with the added benefit of less stress on the brakes and engine of car. On the bike side, it is faster with no stops, but more importantly, it feels much safer! Bikes have been given priority on this street, and it benefited motorists as well, it is a win/win.


Best Ebikes 2022?

Well, people often want advice, and of course I give it, but my hands on experience is limited to a dozon or so brands. The article below reviews a full spectrum of trials and evaluations by the Electric Bike Report, with most brands represented. Of course the big players like RadPower, Aventon, and Blix all show up in multiple catagories.

Others have show up in a specific catagory (i.e. Lectric as the best inexpensive fat tire folder). Additionally, there is a section on batteries and their life cycles, all in all, this is an accurate introduction to ebikes in 2022, give it a look!

Just Another Form of Transportation…

Ryan Van Duzer loves his ebike, and can tell you why in this well crafted video (well, he is a tv star). Of course, he has an extra fancy mid drive model ($3000), but he hits all the major points to be made for riding an ebike. He explains why ebikes are great for exercise as well as for day to day errands.


Rad Mini comes and goes…

This RadMini had a electrical problem, a bad connection led to a fire, no one hurt. But that spark that ignited the problem fried not only the wiriong harness, but the alao controller. Once those were replaced, it was possible to ride, but rode intermittantly wacky. So I replaced the LCD, and voila, it worked! All three parts were damaged by the voltage surge caused by the faulty connection.

But wait, there is more! For some strange reason, the wired-in headlight stays on unless the battery is turned off, not just the display! This seems to be a well known glitch with the upgraded RadRunner/Mini controllers. Fortunately, my well informed client understands the conundrum (she pointed it out), and is happy that her flaming RadMini is back on the road!

RadPower Mini Repair

This is a great ebike, unfortunately, it was discontinued by RadPower in favor of the RadExpand, and/or the RadRunner, (which is not foldable), but I think this one at least will live on for a number of years.


Why the Dutch don’t wear helmets…(because cycling is not inherently dangerous?)

Our way of life (where cars have primacy in city planning) makes biking dangerous. As pointed out in the video, biking is not dangerous, being hit by cars is dangerous. Separated biking infrastructure makes cities better for everyone, motorists included.

Here in Bloomington we have the new 7-Line separated bike lane along Seventh St, and certainly there have been complaints from some motorists, but I don’t get it!

I’ve traveled Seventh Street between Walnut and Dunn Sts. several times in my truck, and it is now a faster trip, as there are no stop signs. The lanes are narrow, so you don’t speed even going downhill, but with an even pace, it is quicker than stopping at every cross street as in the past. By prioritizing bike traffic, traffic flow was improved!

Helmets verbotten? No, just funny

We need to reclaim our streets from the car/oil industrial complex that has almost taken over our public spaces. Our streets need people, bikes, buses, skateboards, scooters, onewheels, or any appropriately sized method of transportion. Two tons of steel, glass, plastic, gas, and oil is not needed to pick up groceries!

So while I am on this Holland theme, here is another great video from Holland. I’ve found that many of the ebike curious who come into the shop want most of the features mentioned in the video. Why? Because so many folks want to use ebikes for more than recreation, they want it as main form of transporation, to work, to school, to the store, to church, to the park…it is amazing how many activities require short trips that can be done on a bike/ebike.

Omafiets for everyone!

Btown Biking

Purple Rans (on the way)

Purple Rans Stratus on Lake Monroe
Purple Rans Stratus on Lake Monroe, 2010

I wrote the post below back in 2007, when I first started riding my Rans Stratus, the long wheel base recumbent that you may have seen me riding around the county. I had been riding “Long Green”, an older Rans that I got from Kevin Atkins, (thanks Kevin, you changed my life!). I had been riding my Trek hybrid on long trips for a couple of years, and developed a real pain in the neck from the riding position (in addition to a new computer job where my bifocals caused me to have a chin up position, just like when leaning over a bike). Both contributed, but I had to keep working, so something had to change with my riding, and thus the recumbent.

What a joy it was to ride pain free, and with the easy rider seating, I was free to scan the sky and surrounding scenery rather than the road in front of me. And with no pressure on the prostate and all, I was never going back, and least on the long rides. 

So after my double bypass operation, I was not in shape to resume my normal 4-5000 miles/year schedule, but there was no way I was going to stop biking, and I bought a used Trek cargo ebike, and rode it around town for a year or so before wearing out the battery. I searched the web and 4 years ago bought my RadWagon, which has been a great city bike for me. But it wears on my wrists and butt on longer trips, and so with Emmanuel’s expertise, we retrofitted the old Rans with a front hub motor and a large capacity battery. Now I can again ride all the great ridges and valleys Monroe county has to offer in comfort! 

March 2007- I looked all over web, trying to find the best LWB recumbent I could get for the price. If I were to buy new, I would have considered the Bachetta line, they look really good for the money. But as I cruised the few bike shops and bulletin boards that have recumbents, I found a 97 Rans Stratus that looked good to me. It was through in Austin. I told the guy I ride a lot of hills and that my current bike has a 3 speed internal, which the 97 does not have. So I decided have him rebuild the back wheel with the internal gearing, and a Rans rack for the back. This should allow some longer rides, and the ability to move groceries, instruments, etc. around town without my numerous canvas bags. I am hoping it will be here sometime next week, I am still riding the LongGreen, but it is very wobbly at 20 mph, and the rubbing tire is tiresome. I hope I made the right decision, I expect that I will be using this for the next 5-10 years, and I figure I log over 4000 miles/year, counting both commuting and weekend riding. I would like to bring that up this year, with DST I might be able to get an extra 25 miles of an evening!

If you are interested in the recumbent style of bike, I have this Cycle Genius in the shop, 20″ wheels and super comfy seat, $650.

Cycle Genius LWB Recumbent
Cycle Genius LWB Recumbent

Ecotric Trick

So this is the second Ecotric that came in the shop because the front tire came of on an early ride. In this case, I was able to replace the bent brake rotor and get it running (the rider ended with a broken wrist).

Ecotric Folding fat tire ebike – 48V/500W motor

I consider Ecotric to be a value brand, that is, they are less expensive than more famous brands like RadPower and Aventon. And so it is with parts, in this case the spindle ends on axle appear to be knurled in such a way that you could adequately tighten with your fingers, but no!

On one side there is a 5mm hex hole that must be used to get adequate torque on the wheel. So you can certainly finger tighten the wheel when putting it in the fork, but you must then use your hex and in this case, you should use a wrench at least 6 inches long, and apply pressure at the end of the hex key till it feels good and tight. If you choke up as in the second picture, you may not be able to apply enough torque to keep this wheel on, which seems to me to be a problem with this design.