Report on my New Electric Bike: #1

by | Jun 7, 2013 | 79 comments

Report on my New Electric Bike: #1

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My new Currie TrailZ Electric Bike. So far, I am very happy with it.

I’ve been telling you that I was going to get an electric bike for while now and at the beginning of May I finally decided to do it. Because they are so expensive I didn’t want to just throw my money away by buying a top-quality bike and then discover I hated it; but I didn’t want to buy a cheap bike that worked so badly it didn’t give me a true picture of what owning an e-Bike would mean. I finally ended up buy one of the lowest cost e-Bikes on the market. My thinking was if I found out I hated it I could sell it and not lose too much. On the other hand, if I loved it, I could sell it for not too big a loss and buy a higher end bike.
While browsing e-Bikes on Amazon.com I stumbled across the perfect beginner’s bike for me. It is a Currie TrailZ e-Bike which cost $499.99. All the reviews on Amazon and on other sites I found said it was an amazingly good bike for the low price. I would have ordered it from Amazon, but they were out-of-stock when I was ready to buy so I found a local dealer in Prescott who carried them and bought it from them instead.
I also wanted to buy a bike that is in a practical price range for many of you, my readers. I know many of you don’t have thousands of dollars lying around to spend on a bike. But most of us can save $50 a month for 10 months and be able to afford this bike, (or even $25 a month for 20 months and then buy it). I’m hoping that in a year or two it can save me enough in gas and wear and tear on the van to pay for itself. I think that is very realistic. Here is the Amazon page on the bike I bought:
 Currie Technologies eZip Women’s Low Step-Thru Trailz Electric Bicycle, Blue
Bike-Motor-001

In this picture I have both batteries in their mounts and you can see the motor.

The bottom line: Without the electric motor, I would have taken a regular bike for a ride and been so discouraged by how hard it was and I would never have ridden it again. But with the motor, I can use it as a crutch while I build up my strength and stamina. After that I will only use the motor for the hills and for long distances. So my goal for right now is to ride the bike every day and use the motor as little as possible to build up my comfort on a bike and my leg strength and stamina. I don’t have any doubt I can do that because my consistent walking has given me a base of fitness to easily build on. If I am satisfied with a cheap bike with almost no experience, strength or stamina, how much more would I love it with a high quality bike and decent physical ability. I’m looking forward to finding out!
Why did you want a bike?
More often than not, I’m camped from 4-8 miles from shopping and I hate driving the van in for that short a trip. But it is much too far to walk and also too far for me to ride a bike as out of shape as I am. But there are lots of good reasons I would ride a bike if I could:

  • I’d spend a lot less on gas.
  • I’d avoid a lot of wear and tear on the van
  • I’d pollute less and do something very good for the earth.
  • I’d be much healthier!
  • It would be fun!

With a list of advantages like that, how could I not want to ride a bike!!
Why not just a regular bike or a 2-Stroke gasoline powered bike?

Bike-Battery-holder

Here we are looking down at the motor. You can see I have taken one of the batteries out of its holder. You can ride with just one or both batteries.

I want a bike to be able to haul freight. On the way to town I will carry my garbage on the way back I will carry 2-5 gallons of water plus groceries. That could easily weigh 30-60 pounds plus towing a trailer to carry it all in. I’m an old fat guy and I will never be able to do that on a non-motorized bike. My good friend Brian bought a 49cc, 2-Stroke motor kit and added it to his bike so I considered doing that instead. After watching Brian’s experience I decided I didn’t want one for these reasons:

  • They are fairly expensive
  • They are difficult to mount on your bike and I am not a mechanic!
  • I think their quality is low so their long-term reliability is nill. Again, I am not a mechanic and I don’t want to fuss with the thing.
  • The gas tank on Brian’s bike was always leaking and I’d have to carry it inside my van.
  • It stinks and pollutes like crazy!

Honda makes a small motor that is often mounted on bikes, so I would consider buying a bike with one of those already mounted. But that would have been more expensive than a good electric bike. And I would still have to buy, store and carry gas for it. With my solar power, an e-Bike provides free and non-polluting transportation for the rest of my life; to me it is a no-brainer!!!!!
Was it hard to start riding a bike again and does the motor really make it easier?
Yes, it was very, very hard! When I was a kid I rode a bike every day and thought nothing of it; those days are long gone!! Five year ago, when I first hit the road again, I bought a bike to take with me and after my first few rides I was so discouraged I knew I wouldn’t put in the time and effort to build up my strength and stamina so I sold it. The electric motor has changed that!

Bike-Chain-drive

Looking from the other side you can see the drive chain. It has a clutch so that if you are coasting or pedaling without the motor on, the motor isn’t dragging you down

The first few feet after you launch the bike from a stop are the hardest because you have no momentum; you have to get it all with your legs which is hard even in your lowest gear. Then you have to work hard after each gear shift to build up to speed. But with an e-bike I just give the bike a little shove and step on the pedal and then hit the throttle. The throttle does all the work of getting me up to speed and then I work up the gears to top speed with very little effort. The 450 watt motor on my bike has an amazing amount of torque, it really shoves me forward! After it has me moving; maintaining my speed in a high gear on level road is not that hard, so I may not use the motor again. Then, if I hit a hill I use the motor to maintain my speed because right now I don’t have the strength or stamina to do it myself. The motor takes all the misery out of riding a bike and leaves all the joys and advantages! (Except the misery of my butt on that tiny seat, more on that in a later post!)
How much pedaling do you have to do?
Right now it is my goal to build my fitness level, so I am doing as much pedaling as I can. But, even after my fitness increases, I will continue to minimize the use of the motor. That way I can do longer rides with less effort. In other words, right now an 8 mile ride is all I can do and I still have to rely on the motor quite a bit. In a year I want to be able to go on a 20 mile ride and use the motor about the same amount and come home less tired. A year after that maybe I can do a 40 mile ride, use the motor about the same amount and be even less tired afterwards. The more I pedal, the longer the battery will last and the further I can go on one battery charge.
How fast can an electric bike go and how far can you go on the charge in your battery?
E-Bikes are regulated by the Federal and State governments. By law they have to have a motor smaller than 750 watts (mine has a 450 watt motor which is larger than most) and a speed of less than 20 mph. That way they fall under the laws regulating consumer devices like non-motorized bicycles. If they go faster than 20 mph they become a motor-vehicle and fall under the laws regulating cars and motorcycles, so all e-bikes have governors that keep their speed below 20 mph.
Bike-Throttle-best

The throttle works just like a motorcycle, you twist it and you go! One of the ways this bike costs less is it gives you very little information. There is a red, yellow and green light for the status of the battery.

You have to understand that e-Bikes aren’t like motorcycles, they are bicycles and you are going to have to pedal them. If you try to use the motor as your only source of forward motion by not pedaling, even the best battery on the best bike won’t take you very far. The assumption is that you will use the motor to launch you up to speed and then use it again on hills. If you ride that way you can expect to get a range of 15-40 miles off one battery depending on the quality of the bike and the battery (in a very hilly area it might be much less, on a very flat area it may be more). Because my bike is a very low end bike and I am not very fit, I think I would be lucky to get 5-10 miles out of one Sealed Lead Acid Battery. For that reason I bought two batteries. My thinking is to use one battery on the way into town and then switch and use the other battery on the way out of town.
What kind of batteries do e-bikes use and which one is best?
Bike-Battery-Lock

The battery has a lock so it isn’t easily stolen.

This is a complicated subject and all depends on how much money you have to spend. The cheapest batteries are Sealed Lead Acid (which I assume is an AGM). It is just like the house battery for you van, only smaller. They have the advantage of being cheap, but they are also heavy and have a limited life—mine only claims 200 discharge cycles and weighs 17 pounds. The next step up is Lithium batteries which weigh half as much and can easily get double the cycles. There are numerous types of Lithium batteries and the best can get up to 1000 cycles and still have 40 miles range. But the lithium batteries are very expensive. A spare SLA battery for my bike cast $150. Currie makes a replacement Lithium battery for my bike that costs $350 and another very high quality lithium battery for it that costs $500. So when my batteries fail, I can buy a whole new bike for the price of one high-end lithium battery! Right now it has all left me a little confused; this is something I will work out over time. If you have the money there is no doubt that lithium is better in every way. But I can buy three SLA batteries for the price of one lithium battery; is that still better?
Here is a direct replacement SLA battery from Amazon for $108
 Currie Technologies 24-Volt Bicycle Battery Pack, Black
Here is a direct replacement Lithium battery from Amazon for $362
Currie Technologies EZIP/IZIP RMB Lithium Battery
How are you carrying it?
I have more room than most, so I just carry it in the van between camps and then it is outside in camp. If you have a limited amount of room, you can carry it on a bike rack or there are numerous small folding e-Bikes available.
Why did you buy a girls bike?
Because I am an old fat guy who doesn’t care what people think of him!! I’m not kidding, that really is the answer! I am not as limber as I once was and throwing my leg over a bike seat is hard for me. Plus I have a very short inseam and a long torso which makes straddling a bike a very unpleasant experience on a men’s bike. I am very glad I bought a step-through bike and every bike I ever own will have one.
Can I convert my old bike to electric?
Yes! There are numerous kits to convert your old bike. I’m afraid I don’t know much about them, but Amazon sells a kit from Currie to turn your bike into my exact bike and it is very highly rated on Amazon and it only costs $327. Find it here:
Currie Technologies Power Kit
Remember, I make a small amount of money from any purchases you make from Amazon after you click-through from my sites–and best of all it costs you nothing.
This post probably doesn’t answer all your questions, but there will more posts to come as I ride more. I will keep you informed about my progress.

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79 Comments

  1. Naomi

    Sounds wonderful! I don’t think I could deal with a non-electric bike, either. This looks like a great way to build up strength.
    Being a website junkie, I have to share this:
    http://www.railstotrails.org
    I have a friend that loves to go on bike rides at some of these places.
    Take care,
    Naomi, aka Osa Diabla

    • Bob

      Naomi, thanks for the link, very interesting.
      Bob

  2. CAE

    5 miles on a bicycle is maybe a 30 minute ride and you get in shape. Is it really that hard. I do 25 miles a day. It’s not that hard. I’m 55. But I guess I just like to be physical.

    • Bob

      CAE, I can only speak for myself and my answer is yes, it is that hard. It is fairly hilly here so I do little flat riding and the bike is very heavy. You may be doing 25 miles a day now, but can you remember back to when you first started, was 25 miles easy then or did you have to build up to it?
      Either way, it is hard for me and that’s just the way it is. But, I’m planning to see it improve.
      Bob

      • HoboHounds

        I hope this bike helps you reach your fitness goal! It sounds like you’re setting realistic, attainable short term ones!

        • Bob

          Thanks Hobohounds, I believe it should work pretty well, but only time will tell.
          Bob

      • CAE

        Yes, it took me a while to go 25 miles. But I feel great from the work-out and I think as we all get older it’s really important to maintain our health by using our bodies enough so that we get a decent cardio work-out and maintain muscle mass, etc…
        Hills can be tough. But, you can always get off and walk the bike. Just a thought. I know you walk everyday. So it’s not like you’re a coach potato.

        • Bob

          CAE, I used to run long distances so I understand how to build endurance and how easy it can seem after you have built it up. When I was 44 I decided to start running. At first I literally could not run around the block. But being a turtle I kept at it. Eventually I found I had a capacity to start running and just keep running. I was terribly slow, but I was running, and running a lot. I started running 5 Ks and then 10 Ks and then I decided to run a a 1/2 marathon, and I did a couple of those. I did one run a month of LSD Long Slow Distance which for me was 20 miles. I did that for over a year and then ran my marathon. When I crossed the finish line, I knew I wasn’t done, I could easily have kept going. I thought I might try a 50 k next (32 miles), but I lost all my interest in running and had knee surgery soon after which ended my running career.
          I think the bike is going to be a perfect addition to my walking!
          Bob

          • Mara Alexander

            I love your new bike! I think what you’re doing and the way you’re going about it is awesome.
            And thanks for sharing all of your research with us! I had looked at e-bikes as an alternative to a car, and got a little overwhelmed at the differences, batteries, etc. I did find something that’s totally cool…a cross between a car and an e-bike:
            http://www.organictransit.com/models.html
            They just started producing them, though, so it might be a while before they’re readily available. I’ll look forward to reading about your experiences with your bike, I’m more than happy to benefit from your research. 🙂

          • Bob

            Mara, those look great! you get weather protection and built in solar. The price seems very reasonable! I have a friend who bought a very hing-end e-Bike that cost $4000 by itself. It is an incredibel bike, but it should be!
            i gave a lot of thought to a three-wheel e-Bike but I didn’t know how to carry it. They are more comfortable, safer and carry a lot of cargo.
            Bob

  3. Kim

    Congrats on the new wheels!
    Hey, girls’ bikes rock! Trust me – I’ve been riding them my whole life.

    • Bob

      When you get here we will go for a ride! But you will have to take it easy on me!
      Bob

  4. Diane

    I never understood why men’s bikes have that jewel smashing bar…it seems like they got it backwards

    • Bob

      Diane, it is actually much stronger structurally. Triangles make one of the strongest possible joints and the crossbar gives you an outstanding triangle. But today’s metals and technology make that a moot point.
      Bob

  5. Lynn

    Hi Bob – I don’t know if you noticed because you didn’t comment but that bike has a weight capacity of 240 lbs. I don’t know how much water and towing you are going to be able to do. Unless I am reading it wrong.

    • Bob

      Lyn, I honestly had not noticed that weight limit, thanks for pointing it out. When I picked it up from the shop I asked him about carrying weight and he said that I should not add any more weight to the back wheel. With me and the batteries on there it is maxxed out. That’s why I have to get a trailer so the weight is on it and not on the bike. A little bit of the weight would be on the bike as “tongue: weight, but not much. And I would move the second battery from the bike to the trailer which will take 17 pounds off the bike.
      Of course it is all weight that still has to be moved forward, but I don’t think it will be a problem for the bike structurally.
      Bob

      • Walking Bob

        The weight in the trailer does not add up to the gross weight limit of the bike, on the tongue weight, as Bob noted, is considered. So LOAD UP that trailer with as much as you can pull !

        • Walking Bob

          Sorry, meant to type “ONLY the tongue weight of the trailer is added to the bike’s gross weight limit or the bike’s cargo weight limit.”

        • Bob

          Walking Bob, that’s right so if I keep riding I will for sure get a trailer. I might even get a quality regular bike and then add an electric trailer that has a motor and battery in it and it pushes the bike forward.

  6. fratermus

    I’ve had a Currie eZip for a few years and really like it.
    I have the stock SLA but bought a nice 24v charger for it (BatteryMINDer off amazon). Really gets the max out of the low-tech batteries and keeps them in good condition.
    Since my Freecycle lawnmower is also 24v I use it for that, too.
    I bet folks with fancy two-bank solar charge controllers on their boondocker could set up one side to charge up the SLA and the other side to do the house batts.

    • Bob

      Frateermus, that is a great tip! A good charger can make a big difference in how long a battery lasts and I think the one that comes with it is pretty cheap. I will look into the batteryminder,
      Bob

  7. Offroad

    bob – i owned that bike for two years before selling
    1). you can replace the lead acid batteries yourself. take the case apart and you have a standard battery set you can get at a battery shop. cut cost to $60.
    2). read up on lead acid. they do not like to go into deep discharge. literally need to start charging them immeduately after round trip. else your 200 cycles will drop to 100 discharge-recharge cycles.
    3). if you can get 5 miles of assisted power boast. you are doing good.
    4). i switched to a motor assist for a bicycle. aka motorized biking. then decided on a moped. never looked back.

    • Bob

      Of road, that is a good tip, when these are shot I will take them apart and see if I can just get that part replaced. I’d love to save some money on them.
      Bob

  8. ILDan

    Cool bike! I know you say you’re not handy, but you might have some luck converting a used kid’s bicycle trailer. Most are yellow, mount to your seatpost, hold about 100 lbs, and fold for storage. Best of all, many used examples are easy to find.
    Also, a buddy is an Aurora bike cop downtown and he uses this seat http://www.thecomfortseat.com. I couldn’t afford it, so I bought this one http://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-No-Pressure-Bicycle-Seat/dp/B000DZGLVY locally. Before this seat, I couldn’t ride around my block w/o pain thereafter.
    By the way, no mention of a helmet!?! I would not be typing to you this morning were it not for a $50 foam helmet that saved me from a 40 mph head-on. After the accident, the company, Giro, had me mail in the banged up one for their research and sent me a new one free of charge! (Be leary of used ones as they could have sustained structural but not visible damage.)
    Be safe and have fun!

    • ILDan

      I just read the comment by Redeye, suggesting towing a Honda generator. Hysterical! It did get me to thinking about your solar, though. If you were able to produce 24v on the road, or close to it, you’re range could be extended or at least help to keep the batteries topped off. Can’t wait to hear your experience with your bike and reading others’ comments really starts my brain turning.
      Also read Cheri and Tony’s post.
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Did Homer get any cake?

      • Bob

        ILDan, I try hard to keep my birthday private, so no one around here knew anything about it which means there was no cake. I guess the cat is out of the bag though! Thanks for the well-wishes!
        Bob

        • m.a.

          oh – Happy Birthday! I’m quiet about mine, too. I just like to spend it alone, & think about all I’ve been through in my life and how amazing it all is that I’ve made it this far. I know you’ve had pain, as we all have, but I hope that it is way overpowered now by the good life you lead, the beauty around you and all of us people in your ‘tribe’ who you’ve helped and befriended. It will only grow. xx

          • Bob

            MA, I have had pain, as have we all! Which is why I’m so blown away by how great my life is. It exceeds my every possible hope!
            For a very long time I had given up hope of ever being happy; I decided it just was not an option for me. I am so grateful those days are long gone!!
            Bob

    • Bob

      ILDan, YES I am wearing a HELMET! After I wrecked my last motorcycle there is no way I am going riding anything on two wheels without one. My next post will be on accessories so I was going to wait to mention it then, but I should have done it now. I also got a new helmet after I wrecked my Honda 250. It had done it’s job extremely well, but I couldn’t trust it again.
      Good advice on the seat. I have a bunch of bike stuff in my Amazon cart right now and a seat is among them. As soon as I have a local address the order will be on its way.
      Thanks for the tips!
      Bob

  9. Rob

    We sold the vehicle & went to the bikes last Feb.
    A cart is a good idea, we mounted slightly larger milk cartons on the back of the bikes for grocery store trips and what fits in those little carry around baskets (in the store)is what will fit on the bike.
    Hills… slowing down is what I do on hills, I’m doing well if I can just ride up the hill. That electric assist should be a big help!
    Wind…. On a windy day in Quartzsite I had to pedal DOWN the overpass.
    My biggest issue with a bike are the cars on the road….watch yourself!
    We bought a vehicle last weekend.

    • Bob

      Rob, I am sure I will be getting a bike trailer of some kind, the options are pretty overwhelming, but its good to have so many great choices. In fact I’m considering getting a trailer with an elelctric motor and battery in it. It attaches to the bike and pushes it forward. That way you can use any good quality bike and it will still be very light, all the weight of the motor and battery is in the trailer. But that is a ways down the road. i still have to prove myself with this one.
      There are some winds in Quartzsite that no amount of pedaling will get you through, unless you can pedal 50 mph!! I’ll be there next January at the latest, maybe we can go for a ride together!
      Bob

  10. Gypsy Boho

    I have written several posts about my Cyclomatic Folding Electric Bike on my blog. It has given me some heartache but I really enjoy riding it on the beach. I also pull a doggie cart with my 2 Shih Tzus. Never had any problems with my 24V Lithium-ion battery but the 250W motor is lacking in power to pull me and my doggie cart – although we (me, dogs, and cart) are all under the weight capacity for the bike.
    I paid $800 for the bike but would like to upgrade to a more powerful motor. There are many bikes to choose from but I was not willing to pay thousands of dollars for a bike.
    Good luck to you with your new electric bike.

    • Bob

      Gypsy Boho, I understand your reluctance to not spend much money on an electric bike, that’s why I ended up with one of the cheapest bikes you can buy. But, so far so good. I’m glad you found that red button!! My bike has a very annoying habit, if I don;t use the motor for awhile it turns itself off and I have to stop and turn it back on. But I just got in the habit of using the battery every do often to keep it alive.
      I wish you the best in renting your room!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Scott, a seat replacement is a certainty. Some people say the nose of the seat is important for control of the bike. Have you not found that to be true? Did a noseless seat reduce your control of the bike?
      Bob

  11. MI

    Hi Bob,
    Congrats on the bike! You’ll love it. It seems that you have a good attitude for using it. The fitness part will come faster than you think — not as sure about any weight loss 🙂 About 7 years ago I decided to try to live without a car. I had recently moved back to Portland, Oregon and figured if I couldn’t do it here, I couldn’t do it anywhere.
    I have a Brompton folding bike with a trailer and usually do about 20 miles a day round trip with some hills thrown in. I ride rain or shine. I guess my point is that it is really doable and like most things in life has a lot to do with attitude. I am now 64.5 and pretty fit although still kinda chubby! I am surprised that I have been so successful with it. I was an old road trip person from way back having camped my way by car, tent, bike and kayak from Alaska to Mexico and points in between. Being carless has allowed me to live in the city fairly cheaply for a number of years.
    Now, with rents soaring and my wanderlust returning–I am ready for a car or van again and hitting the open road and I can see where an electric bike would be a good addition to that lifestyle. I know a lot about the life style having done it when it wasn’t so popular or accepted, but, I have really appreciated your blog and the comments of your readers — always great to learn new ideas from fellow travelers.
    Thanks a lot and enjoy your new wheels! Homer might even enjoy a ride in the trailer!!
    Mi

    • Bob

      Ni, I’m pretty sure Homer isn’t going for any rides with me!! An 80 pound dog would kill me I think! I know what you mean abut not loosing weight. I prepared for and ran a marathon and I was always chubby. I ran one long run of at least 20 miles every month for over a year and was still chubby. I don’t have any illusions about lots of weight loss.
      When you get on the road be sure to look me up, we will go for a ride together, but you will have to take it easy on me!!
      Bob

  12. Sam

    Wasn’t sure your gimpy arm would let you hold a bike unright.

    • Bob

      Sam, my arm is causing me some problems. The angle is fine for it and it takes very little strength, but it is getting pretty unhappy with the constant slight pressure of leaning on the handlebar. It might get better, but if not I suspect that it might mean I can’t do long rides. For now I am just shifting it around as much as I can and it is okay. I’ll just have to wait and see.

  13. Calvin R

    I recently made the mistake of buying a gasoline scooter rather than an electric conversion kit for my bicycle. The scooter is legally a motorcycle, which means tags, motorcycle endorsement, and mandatory helmet for a year. None of that applies to the electric bicycle conversion, but all of it applies to any gasoline-powered kit or motorcycle-like vehicle except what Ohio (current location) considers a “moped,” which is a long explanation.
    I agree with you about the working up to the exercise factor. At one point in Tucson, I was making an 18-mile round trip commute with my recumbent bicycle. That was only after I had built up some real fitness and was located in near-ideal climate and terrain conditions. When I decided to take the bus this past winter in Ohio, I still got some exercise, but had to work up to anything longer than a 5-mile round trip. That gets more and more serious as I get older. I’m 56 years old now, and I ride partly to keep the arthritis in my knees at bay. I could do that just as well with an electric motor on a bicycle, but the scooter will not do anything for it.

    • Bob

      Calvin, like both you and CAE pointed out, as we get older it is really important we keep moving. I have found I have lost a lot of flexibility and muscle mass as I’ve aged. An electric bike just seems to solve so many problems (Physical health, strenghth, flexibility, cost of gas, repairs to van, safety, legal requirements, maintenance problems) that it is a perfect addition to my life!
      Bob

  14. Redeye

    Hey Bob, mount your honda generator on the back
    then you’ll have plenty of power.

    • Bob

      Redeye, why didn’t I think of that!!
      Bob

  15. Cheri and Tony

    Was the bike a birthday present from you to you? That was a pretty sneaky way for me to let everyone know you are having a BIRTHDAY on Sunday wasn’t it. LAUGHING LAUGHING LAUGHING!!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday this year. You are very special and I am looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the group on Tuesday.. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BOB!!!!!!!!!!!!! HUGS from Cheri and Tony

    • Bob

      Cheri, i thought we were friends!!?? And you go and tell everybody that! Oh well, it can’t be undone now!
      Bob

  16. Naomi

    Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

    • Bob

      Thank you Naomi, I appreciate your good thoughts!
      Bob

  17. Ellen

    Happy Birthday Bob!

    • Bob

      Thank you Ellen, it’s kind of you to think of me!
      Bob

  18. dan novinger

    Offroad’s comment item 2) [above] is a good one in my opinion. What happens to lead acid batteries, as offroad had stated, is the deeper that you [discharge] “cycle” them, and the longer they stay discharged, the quicker they will wear out. If you buy the lithium batteries, you will not discharge nearly as deeply the batteries [because they have a greater reserve capacity pool from which to draw], hence, they may last even longer than 1000 charge cycles advertised, since you would not be discharging them to the same depth of discharge as the lead-acid batteries, plus you aren’t lugging the extra weight from the lead acid batteries if you are carrying the lighter lithiums around with you.
    If you were not forced to use this vendors’ battery form factor, then there are “deep cycle” lead acid batters that will allow more deep discharges in the life of the battery, however they use even more lead in that type of battery, hence they are heavier, and larger, and hence create additional logistical problems. You might have to build a custom trailer made just to carry the larger, heavier batteries – one more problem to solve. Plus they are not gelled, but rather liquid acid batteries, so there is more risk and danger using them. Might be better off using the lithiums.
    I think you are very wise getting the inexpensive bike to try it out. Lots of people dive right in without fully considering all the considerations, and then regret it later on. I will read with great interest what your findings are with this experiment of yours. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your very generous sharing of your ideas and experiences. I’ve considered getting one of these in the past, but wasn’t sure where to start. There are so many choices.
    Also you mentioned the problem that you have had with pain from bicycle seat. This has been a problem that has also bothered me as I get older. I’m 61, and I recently have purchased a used “recumbent tadpole configuration trike” I find that this solves the wrist and seat pain problem of conventional bicycles completely. I’ve started bicycling recently much more because it’s FUN to bicycle when you don’t have the seat pain. Plus I’ve read that some folks have added electric and gas motors to their trikes, so you could do the same [electric or gas motor] things with the recumbent that you are doing with the conventional bike, but without the bike seat or wrist pain.
    I know that I’ve become a believer since I have converted over to recumbent. Best wishes, and thanks for your good writing and sharing in this blog.
    regards,
    Dan

    • Steve

      I’ve ridden a Sun EZ Sport long wheelbase for 10 years now and couldn’t go back to riding a wedgie. It’s all about comfort, like riding in a cushy backed seat. No pain in the butt, no pressure on the wrists and palms. It’s black and has the lines of a motorcycle. People young and old will call out to me as I’m riding, “cool bike!” and I’ve never had that happen before.
      Recumbents rule, but not so good going uphill. A power assist would be nice then.

      • Bob

        Steve, I did a quick google search on recombent bikes and nothing jumped out at me. Do you have any recomendations? I’m pretty sold on electric bikes. I wonder if you could use an electric trailer on one?
        Bob

    • Bob

      Thanks for all those good tips Dan! I’m trying to really baby these batteries and see if I can get them to last. I plug them in as soon as I get home and use them both on rides so neither one goes down to0 far. I will look into getting a BatteryTender since a good charger can really help a battery last.
      The good thing about his bike is there is a direct replacement for the SLA with a Lithium so I can switch to those later on if I want to keep this bike. I’m pretty sure though if I like it enough to keep doing it, I will upgrade to a better bike. This bike is so heavy it takes some of the fun out of it. But It all remains to be seen.
      Bob

  19. DougB

    I’m with Scott. No doubt you’ve already ordered some kind of wide, cushy replacement seat, but if you have even a hint of numbness in your man-parts after a trip, or already have mild prostate problems, do yourself a big favor and consider a no-nose seat. They look wonky and counterproductive, but they are actually more comfortable in use. I wrote an article about the one I selected here: http://strollingamok.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/back-in-the-saddle-again/
    Also, since you still have to pedal your contraption, don’t be tempted to lower the seat below optimum pedaling height. You’ll blow out your knees, besides tiring quickly and using up your batteries faster. It’s still a bicycle, and a very heavy one at that. Most folks who complain about how much effort it takes to pedal have the seat set too low.
    And since I seem to be telling you what to do and not do, then I’ll end by telling you to enjoy your B-Day!

    • Bob

      Thanks Doug, you’ve earned the right to tell me what to do with a bike by being such an experienced rider! I appreciate all you taught me before you left. Our new campsite is much closer to the road than we were at Prescott, but it has some real bad rocky areas. I walk it about 1/2 way to the road it is so bad. There are now 4 bike riders in this camp and if you were here we would have 5–our own little bike gang! We could call ourselves Hells Old Codgers!
      Bob

  20. LaMarr

    Congratulations! I purchased a full suspenssion mountain bike about five years ago. I’ve rode it twice. My daughter bought one just after that. She claimed her husband and her would ride mine and hers together. They still have air in the tires but they sit in the shed.
    Ten years ago I had a Phat E electric scooter with 24 volt motor and two 12 volt batteries. For charging from 12 volt lighter socket on the truck I put a series parrallel switch (Double Pole Double throw) that could be switched from 12 to 24 volts. (Two sockets and a plug could also work)
    Working solar going through a 12 to 110 volt conversion and another 110 to 24 colt conversion wastes a lot of energy.
    Either way keep moving.

    • Bob

      Lamarr, I understand all about starting a new hobby on fire and then quickly burning out!! I am a black belt master at that!! But I think this is going to be the exception for me, There are so many advantages that I think I will follow through on this one.
      That’s good advice on the charging. It is pretty wasteful going through the inverter and then back to 24 volt. Fortunately I have an abundance of solar so that is what I am doing for now. I think you are full of the most innovative ideas of any vandweller I have ever met!!
      Bob

  21. Cyrus

    Great review bob! I thought a great deal about an electric bicycle, and many other types of vehicle to take with me. I just happened to come across a folding bicycle that would work perfectly, so that’s what I did. It made the most sense for me for a lot of different reasons. I’m glad your bike is working out for you too!

    • Bob

      Cryus, I read your blog post and I am very impressed with how well it folded up and fit under your bed. I was also very impressed with the price you paid for it!
      Bob

    • m.a.

      wow, Cyrus – nice bike! my friend has a folding bike for commuting in the city, but it’s a tiny one so she can fold it up & take it on the bus. Yours looks sturdy & good. Nice buy! & it looks like it works well in your van. I’m currently sharing floor space with my mt. bike in my Ford E150. :)) Fortunately I’m a good sleeper & not very big!

    • Bob

      Pretty sweet. I’m sure it didn’t cost the military more than $1,000,000 each!
      Bob

  22. Dazar

    I bought the same bike a few years ago to commute to work, i got mine from walmart. It only came with the one battery, it cost me around 350 i think. I had to make a 10 mile commute to work and back. On the way to work, it was all uphill but only one steep hill. neither the motor nor the bike could handle that hill anyway. It worked well, and as time went on the battery started to hold less and less charge. Fortunately as my stamina grew, i needed it less and less. The battery died out about 6 months of use, even following the charging instructions. Currie didn’t even have replacements available and had nill support. I hope they changed. Still, i think it was a worthwhile investment. I considered buying another after the sprocket broke, but went for a regular, and much lighter bike. The currie is a beast to just move without the motor.

    • Bob

      Dazar, yes, they were selling them for about $350 for awhile, I missed out on that. They are an inexpensive bike so they aren’t going to last a really long time. It is a really heavy bike! As of right now I am encouraged enough to plan to replace it with a much lighter and better quality e-Bike later on.
      It sounds like you had a fairly positive experience with it and it helped get you started with bicycling.
      Bob

  23. Dazar

    Oh, i have some advice. I traveled at night a lot, and if you do, you will want headlights. the ones they sell for bikes are very expensive, or the cheap ones at the department store that suck battery and light up nothing. I took 2 led flashlights (3 bucks) and used cable ties to put them on the handle bars. They were on tight but also adjustable up an down. They worked great, and since they were LED the batteries lasted longer than the bike. They make some nice taillights too.

    • Bob

      That’s a great idea Dazar! I’ve got plenty of LED flashlights to mount on it! But I don’t plan to do much night time riding, but you never know!
      Bob

  24. m.a.

    Hey – congratulations on your bike, Bob! I haven’t been keeping up with the blog, so I missed this. I’m so glad you got one, and you’re liking it. And it sounds like you’re in a beautiful new area with good places to ride. I’m on my good old ‘beater’ one-speed mt. bike again, getting stronger and feeling great. It’s a great way to travel & really feel and smell and sense the world around you. Have fun on it this summer – & have a great RTR. x

    • Bob

      We all wish you were here MA! When does it get too cold in Idaho for you, October? See you down the road!
      Bob

      • m.a.

        yes, you will!

  25. John MacArthur

    Nice article!
    We would like reach out to US e-bike riders to share their experiences in a survey.
    Please follow the link to the online survey:
    http://tinyurl.com/e-bike-survey
    Portland State University is trying to better understand the role that e-bikes can play in a sustainable transportation system. The online survey will ask questions about purchase decisions and use of e-bikes to better understand the barriers to wider e-bike use.
    Thanks!

    • Bob

      John I took the survey, I believe in e-Bikes and want to do everything I can to promote them.
      Bob

  26. Mikel

    thanks for making me practically choke on my coffee with your comment about “one more goddamn Fancy Nancy book” – th78#&t21a;s how I feel about Littlest Pet Shop animals and those tiny fucking little Polly Pocket rubber SHOES. Now those SHOULD be illegal.

  27. arjun

    wow great!I love bike. It truly makes the rest of life better.

  28. NanAnymn

    We include four children, two in diapers. In the present climate my preferably half lately conveys two or three diapers, a insufficient wipes, a pair of invalidate baggies and a pacifier exactly in her tote. We keep some additional garments in the rear of the minivan. All things else is sauce.

  29. haAvali

    I provide https://kidstrust.org as a service to my parents customers. Gladden read the following reviews if you start spurn of my site. Past using this project, you send me a happy hour 😉

  30. Saqib

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience

  31. Sarah Pearl

    Hy Bob !
    I hope this bike helps you reach your fitness goal! It sounds like you’re setting realistic, attainable short term ones!
    Take Care

  32. SonuMonu

    Nice article!
    We would like reach out to the stores but unfortunately stocks are out in almost everywhere.

  33. JH Kalito

    I would like to see more posts like this. I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information on your blog.

Table of Contents

79 Comments

  1. Naomi

    Sounds wonderful! I don’t think I could deal with a non-electric bike, either. This looks like a great way to build up strength.
    Being a website junkie, I have to share this:
    http://www.railstotrails.org
    I have a friend that loves to go on bike rides at some of these places.
    Take care,
    Naomi, aka Osa Diabla

    • Bob

      Naomi, thanks for the link, very interesting.
      Bob

  2. CAE

    5 miles on a bicycle is maybe a 30 minute ride and you get in shape. Is it really that hard. I do 25 miles a day. It’s not that hard. I’m 55. But I guess I just like to be physical.

    • Bob

      CAE, I can only speak for myself and my answer is yes, it is that hard. It is fairly hilly here so I do little flat riding and the bike is very heavy. You may be doing 25 miles a day now, but can you remember back to when you first started, was 25 miles easy then or did you have to build up to it?
      Either way, it is hard for me and that’s just the way it is. But, I’m planning to see it improve.
      Bob

      • HoboHounds

        I hope this bike helps you reach your fitness goal! It sounds like you’re setting realistic, attainable short term ones!

        • Bob

          Thanks Hobohounds, I believe it should work pretty well, but only time will tell.
          Bob

      • CAE

        Yes, it took me a while to go 25 miles. But I feel great from the work-out and I think as we all get older it’s really important to maintain our health by using our bodies enough so that we get a decent cardio work-out and maintain muscle mass, etc…
        Hills can be tough. But, you can always get off and walk the bike. Just a thought. I know you walk everyday. So it’s not like you’re a coach potato.

        • Bob

          CAE, I used to run long distances so I understand how to build endurance and how easy it can seem after you have built it up. When I was 44 I decided to start running. At first I literally could not run around the block. But being a turtle I kept at it. Eventually I found I had a capacity to start running and just keep running. I was terribly slow, but I was running, and running a lot. I started running 5 Ks and then 10 Ks and then I decided to run a a 1/2 marathon, and I did a couple of those. I did one run a month of LSD Long Slow Distance which for me was 20 miles. I did that for over a year and then ran my marathon. When I crossed the finish line, I knew I wasn’t done, I could easily have kept going. I thought I might try a 50 k next (32 miles), but I lost all my interest in running and had knee surgery soon after which ended my running career.
          I think the bike is going to be a perfect addition to my walking!
          Bob

          • Mara Alexander

            I love your new bike! I think what you’re doing and the way you’re going about it is awesome.
            And thanks for sharing all of your research with us! I had looked at e-bikes as an alternative to a car, and got a little overwhelmed at the differences, batteries, etc. I did find something that’s totally cool…a cross between a car and an e-bike:
            http://www.organictransit.com/models.html
            They just started producing them, though, so it might be a while before they’re readily available. I’ll look forward to reading about your experiences with your bike, I’m more than happy to benefit from your research. 🙂

          • Bob

            Mara, those look great! you get weather protection and built in solar. The price seems very reasonable! I have a friend who bought a very hing-end e-Bike that cost $4000 by itself. It is an incredibel bike, but it should be!
            i gave a lot of thought to a three-wheel e-Bike but I didn’t know how to carry it. They are more comfortable, safer and carry a lot of cargo.
            Bob

  3. Kim

    Congrats on the new wheels!
    Hey, girls’ bikes rock! Trust me – I’ve been riding them my whole life.

    • Bob

      When you get here we will go for a ride! But you will have to take it easy on me!
      Bob

  4. Diane

    I never understood why men’s bikes have that jewel smashing bar…it seems like they got it backwards

    • Bob

      Diane, it is actually much stronger structurally. Triangles make one of the strongest possible joints and the crossbar gives you an outstanding triangle. But today’s metals and technology make that a moot point.
      Bob

  5. Lynn

    Hi Bob – I don’t know if you noticed because you didn’t comment but that bike has a weight capacity of 240 lbs. I don’t know how much water and towing you are going to be able to do. Unless I am reading it wrong.

    • Bob

      Lyn, I honestly had not noticed that weight limit, thanks for pointing it out. When I picked it up from the shop I asked him about carrying weight and he said that I should not add any more weight to the back wheel. With me and the batteries on there it is maxxed out. That’s why I have to get a trailer so the weight is on it and not on the bike. A little bit of the weight would be on the bike as “tongue: weight, but not much. And I would move the second battery from the bike to the trailer which will take 17 pounds off the bike.
      Of course it is all weight that still has to be moved forward, but I don’t think it will be a problem for the bike structurally.
      Bob

      • Walking Bob

        The weight in the trailer does not add up to the gross weight limit of the bike, on the tongue weight, as Bob noted, is considered. So LOAD UP that trailer with as much as you can pull !

        • Walking Bob

          Sorry, meant to type “ONLY the tongue weight of the trailer is added to the bike’s gross weight limit or the bike’s cargo weight limit.”

        • Bob

          Walking Bob, that’s right so if I keep riding I will for sure get a trailer. I might even get a quality regular bike and then add an electric trailer that has a motor and battery in it and it pushes the bike forward.

  6. fratermus

    I’ve had a Currie eZip for a few years and really like it.
    I have the stock SLA but bought a nice 24v charger for it (BatteryMINDer off amazon). Really gets the max out of the low-tech batteries and keeps them in good condition.
    Since my Freecycle lawnmower is also 24v I use it for that, too.
    I bet folks with fancy two-bank solar charge controllers on their boondocker could set up one side to charge up the SLA and the other side to do the house batts.

    • Bob

      Frateermus, that is a great tip! A good charger can make a big difference in how long a battery lasts and I think the one that comes with it is pretty cheap. I will look into the batteryminder,
      Bob

  7. Offroad

    bob – i owned that bike for two years before selling
    1). you can replace the lead acid batteries yourself. take the case apart and you have a standard battery set you can get at a battery shop. cut cost to $60.
    2). read up on lead acid. they do not like to go into deep discharge. literally need to start charging them immeduately after round trip. else your 200 cycles will drop to 100 discharge-recharge cycles.
    3). if you can get 5 miles of assisted power boast. you are doing good.
    4). i switched to a motor assist for a bicycle. aka motorized biking. then decided on a moped. never looked back.

    • Bob

      Of road, that is a good tip, when these are shot I will take them apart and see if I can just get that part replaced. I’d love to save some money on them.
      Bob

  8. ILDan

    Cool bike! I know you say you’re not handy, but you might have some luck converting a used kid’s bicycle trailer. Most are yellow, mount to your seatpost, hold about 100 lbs, and fold for storage. Best of all, many used examples are easy to find.
    Also, a buddy is an Aurora bike cop downtown and he uses this seat http://www.thecomfortseat.com. I couldn’t afford it, so I bought this one http://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-No-Pressure-Bicycle-Seat/dp/B000DZGLVY locally. Before this seat, I couldn’t ride around my block w/o pain thereafter.
    By the way, no mention of a helmet!?! I would not be typing to you this morning were it not for a $50 foam helmet that saved me from a 40 mph head-on. After the accident, the company, Giro, had me mail in the banged up one for their research and sent me a new one free of charge! (Be leary of used ones as they could have sustained structural but not visible damage.)
    Be safe and have fun!

    • ILDan

      I just read the comment by Redeye, suggesting towing a Honda generator. Hysterical! It did get me to thinking about your solar, though. If you were able to produce 24v on the road, or close to it, you’re range could be extended or at least help to keep the batteries topped off. Can’t wait to hear your experience with your bike and reading others’ comments really starts my brain turning.
      Also read Cheri and Tony’s post.
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Did Homer get any cake?

      • Bob

        ILDan, I try hard to keep my birthday private, so no one around here knew anything about it which means there was no cake. I guess the cat is out of the bag though! Thanks for the well-wishes!
        Bob

        • m.a.

          oh – Happy Birthday! I’m quiet about mine, too. I just like to spend it alone, & think about all I’ve been through in my life and how amazing it all is that I’ve made it this far. I know you’ve had pain, as we all have, but I hope that it is way overpowered now by the good life you lead, the beauty around you and all of us people in your ‘tribe’ who you’ve helped and befriended. It will only grow. xx

          • Bob

            MA, I have had pain, as have we all! Which is why I’m so blown away by how great my life is. It exceeds my every possible hope!
            For a very long time I had given up hope of ever being happy; I decided it just was not an option for me. I am so grateful those days are long gone!!
            Bob

    • Bob

      ILDan, YES I am wearing a HELMET! After I wrecked my last motorcycle there is no way I am going riding anything on two wheels without one. My next post will be on accessories so I was going to wait to mention it then, but I should have done it now. I also got a new helmet after I wrecked my Honda 250. It had done it’s job extremely well, but I couldn’t trust it again.
      Good advice on the seat. I have a bunch of bike stuff in my Amazon cart right now and a seat is among them. As soon as I have a local address the order will be on its way.
      Thanks for the tips!
      Bob

  9. Rob

    We sold the vehicle & went to the bikes last Feb.
    A cart is a good idea, we mounted slightly larger milk cartons on the back of the bikes for grocery store trips and what fits in those little carry around baskets (in the store)is what will fit on the bike.
    Hills… slowing down is what I do on hills, I’m doing well if I can just ride up the hill. That electric assist should be a big help!
    Wind…. On a windy day in Quartzsite I had to pedal DOWN the overpass.
    My biggest issue with a bike are the cars on the road….watch yourself!
    We bought a vehicle last weekend.

    • Bob

      Rob, I am sure I will be getting a bike trailer of some kind, the options are pretty overwhelming, but its good to have so many great choices. In fact I’m considering getting a trailer with an elelctric motor and battery in it. It attaches to the bike and pushes it forward. That way you can use any good quality bike and it will still be very light, all the weight of the motor and battery is in the trailer. But that is a ways down the road. i still have to prove myself with this one.
      There are some winds in Quartzsite that no amount of pedaling will get you through, unless you can pedal 50 mph!! I’ll be there next January at the latest, maybe we can go for a ride together!
      Bob

  10. Gypsy Boho

    I have written several posts about my Cyclomatic Folding Electric Bike on my blog. It has given me some heartache but I really enjoy riding it on the beach. I also pull a doggie cart with my 2 Shih Tzus. Never had any problems with my 24V Lithium-ion battery but the 250W motor is lacking in power to pull me and my doggie cart – although we (me, dogs, and cart) are all under the weight capacity for the bike.
    I paid $800 for the bike but would like to upgrade to a more powerful motor. There are many bikes to choose from but I was not willing to pay thousands of dollars for a bike.
    Good luck to you with your new electric bike.

    • Bob

      Gypsy Boho, I understand your reluctance to not spend much money on an electric bike, that’s why I ended up with one of the cheapest bikes you can buy. But, so far so good. I’m glad you found that red button!! My bike has a very annoying habit, if I don;t use the motor for awhile it turns itself off and I have to stop and turn it back on. But I just got in the habit of using the battery every do often to keep it alive.
      I wish you the best in renting your room!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Scott, a seat replacement is a certainty. Some people say the nose of the seat is important for control of the bike. Have you not found that to be true? Did a noseless seat reduce your control of the bike?
      Bob

  11. MI

    Hi Bob,
    Congrats on the bike! You’ll love it. It seems that you have a good attitude for using it. The fitness part will come faster than you think — not as sure about any weight loss 🙂 About 7 years ago I decided to try to live without a car. I had recently moved back to Portland, Oregon and figured if I couldn’t do it here, I couldn’t do it anywhere.
    I have a Brompton folding bike with a trailer and usually do about 20 miles a day round trip with some hills thrown in. I ride rain or shine. I guess my point is that it is really doable and like most things in life has a lot to do with attitude. I am now 64.5 and pretty fit although still kinda chubby! I am surprised that I have been so successful with it. I was an old road trip person from way back having camped my way by car, tent, bike and kayak from Alaska to Mexico and points in between. Being carless has allowed me to live in the city fairly cheaply for a number of years.
    Now, with rents soaring and my wanderlust returning–I am ready for a car or van again and hitting the open road and I can see where an electric bike would be a good addition to that lifestyle. I know a lot about the life style having done it when it wasn’t so popular or accepted, but, I have really appreciated your blog and the comments of your readers — always great to learn new ideas from fellow travelers.
    Thanks a lot and enjoy your new wheels! Homer might even enjoy a ride in the trailer!!
    Mi

    • Bob

      Ni, I’m pretty sure Homer isn’t going for any rides with me!! An 80 pound dog would kill me I think! I know what you mean abut not loosing weight. I prepared for and ran a marathon and I was always chubby. I ran one long run of at least 20 miles every month for over a year and was still chubby. I don’t have any illusions about lots of weight loss.
      When you get on the road be sure to look me up, we will go for a ride together, but you will have to take it easy on me!!
      Bob

  12. Sam

    Wasn’t sure your gimpy arm would let you hold a bike unright.

    • Bob

      Sam, my arm is causing me some problems. The angle is fine for it and it takes very little strength, but it is getting pretty unhappy with the constant slight pressure of leaning on the handlebar. It might get better, but if not I suspect that it might mean I can’t do long rides. For now I am just shifting it around as much as I can and it is okay. I’ll just have to wait and see.

  13. Calvin R

    I recently made the mistake of buying a gasoline scooter rather than an electric conversion kit for my bicycle. The scooter is legally a motorcycle, which means tags, motorcycle endorsement, and mandatory helmet for a year. None of that applies to the electric bicycle conversion, but all of it applies to any gasoline-powered kit or motorcycle-like vehicle except what Ohio (current location) considers a “moped,” which is a long explanation.
    I agree with you about the working up to the exercise factor. At one point in Tucson, I was making an 18-mile round trip commute with my recumbent bicycle. That was only after I had built up some real fitness and was located in near-ideal climate and terrain conditions. When I decided to take the bus this past winter in Ohio, I still got some exercise, but had to work up to anything longer than a 5-mile round trip. That gets more and more serious as I get older. I’m 56 years old now, and I ride partly to keep the arthritis in my knees at bay. I could do that just as well with an electric motor on a bicycle, but the scooter will not do anything for it.

    • Bob

      Calvin, like both you and CAE pointed out, as we get older it is really important we keep moving. I have found I have lost a lot of flexibility and muscle mass as I’ve aged. An electric bike just seems to solve so many problems (Physical health, strenghth, flexibility, cost of gas, repairs to van, safety, legal requirements, maintenance problems) that it is a perfect addition to my life!
      Bob

  14. Redeye

    Hey Bob, mount your honda generator on the back
    then you’ll have plenty of power.

    • Bob

      Redeye, why didn’t I think of that!!
      Bob

  15. Cheri and Tony

    Was the bike a birthday present from you to you? That was a pretty sneaky way for me to let everyone know you are having a BIRTHDAY on Sunday wasn’t it. LAUGHING LAUGHING LAUGHING!!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday this year. You are very special and I am looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the group on Tuesday.. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BOB!!!!!!!!!!!!! HUGS from Cheri and Tony

    • Bob

      Cheri, i thought we were friends!!?? And you go and tell everybody that! Oh well, it can’t be undone now!
      Bob

  16. Naomi

    Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

    • Bob

      Thank you Naomi, I appreciate your good thoughts!
      Bob

  17. Ellen

    Happy Birthday Bob!

    • Bob

      Thank you Ellen, it’s kind of you to think of me!
      Bob

  18. dan novinger

    Offroad’s comment item 2) [above] is a good one in my opinion. What happens to lead acid batteries, as offroad had stated, is the deeper that you [discharge] “cycle” them, and the longer they stay discharged, the quicker they will wear out. If you buy the lithium batteries, you will not discharge nearly as deeply the batteries [because they have a greater reserve capacity pool from which to draw], hence, they may last even longer than 1000 charge cycles advertised, since you would not be discharging them to the same depth of discharge as the lead-acid batteries, plus you aren’t lugging the extra weight from the lead acid batteries if you are carrying the lighter lithiums around with you.
    If you were not forced to use this vendors’ battery form factor, then there are “deep cycle” lead acid batters that will allow more deep discharges in the life of the battery, however they use even more lead in that type of battery, hence they are heavier, and larger, and hence create additional logistical problems. You might have to build a custom trailer made just to carry the larger, heavier batteries – one more problem to solve. Plus they are not gelled, but rather liquid acid batteries, so there is more risk and danger using them. Might be better off using the lithiums.
    I think you are very wise getting the inexpensive bike to try it out. Lots of people dive right in without fully considering all the considerations, and then regret it later on. I will read with great interest what your findings are with this experiment of yours. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your very generous sharing of your ideas and experiences. I’ve considered getting one of these in the past, but wasn’t sure where to start. There are so many choices.
    Also you mentioned the problem that you have had with pain from bicycle seat. This has been a problem that has also bothered me as I get older. I’m 61, and I recently have purchased a used “recumbent tadpole configuration trike” I find that this solves the wrist and seat pain problem of conventional bicycles completely. I’ve started bicycling recently much more because it’s FUN to bicycle when you don’t have the seat pain. Plus I’ve read that some folks have added electric and gas motors to their trikes, so you could do the same [electric or gas motor] things with the recumbent that you are doing with the conventional bike, but without the bike seat or wrist pain.
    I know that I’ve become a believer since I have converted over to recumbent. Best wishes, and thanks for your good writing and sharing in this blog.
    regards,
    Dan

    • Steve

      I’ve ridden a Sun EZ Sport long wheelbase for 10 years now and couldn’t go back to riding a wedgie. It’s all about comfort, like riding in a cushy backed seat. No pain in the butt, no pressure on the wrists and palms. It’s black and has the lines of a motorcycle. People young and old will call out to me as I’m riding, “cool bike!” and I’ve never had that happen before.
      Recumbents rule, but not so good going uphill. A power assist would be nice then.

      • Bob

        Steve, I did a quick google search on recombent bikes and nothing jumped out at me. Do you have any recomendations? I’m pretty sold on electric bikes. I wonder if you could use an electric trailer on one?
        Bob

    • Bob

      Thanks for all those good tips Dan! I’m trying to really baby these batteries and see if I can get them to last. I plug them in as soon as I get home and use them both on rides so neither one goes down to0 far. I will look into getting a BatteryTender since a good charger can really help a battery last.
      The good thing about his bike is there is a direct replacement for the SLA with a Lithium so I can switch to those later on if I want to keep this bike. I’m pretty sure though if I like it enough to keep doing it, I will upgrade to a better bike. This bike is so heavy it takes some of the fun out of it. But It all remains to be seen.
      Bob

  19. DougB

    I’m with Scott. No doubt you’ve already ordered some kind of wide, cushy replacement seat, but if you have even a hint of numbness in your man-parts after a trip, or already have mild prostate problems, do yourself a big favor and consider a no-nose seat. They look wonky and counterproductive, but they are actually more comfortable in use. I wrote an article about the one I selected here: http://strollingamok.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/back-in-the-saddle-again/
    Also, since you still have to pedal your contraption, don’t be tempted to lower the seat below optimum pedaling height. You’ll blow out your knees, besides tiring quickly and using up your batteries faster. It’s still a bicycle, and a very heavy one at that. Most folks who complain about how much effort it takes to pedal have the seat set too low.
    And since I seem to be telling you what to do and not do, then I’ll end by telling you to enjoy your B-Day!

    • Bob

      Thanks Doug, you’ve earned the right to tell me what to do with a bike by being such an experienced rider! I appreciate all you taught me before you left. Our new campsite is much closer to the road than we were at Prescott, but it has some real bad rocky areas. I walk it about 1/2 way to the road it is so bad. There are now 4 bike riders in this camp and if you were here we would have 5–our own little bike gang! We could call ourselves Hells Old Codgers!
      Bob

  20. LaMarr

    Congratulations! I purchased a full suspenssion mountain bike about five years ago. I’ve rode it twice. My daughter bought one just after that. She claimed her husband and her would ride mine and hers together. They still have air in the tires but they sit in the shed.
    Ten years ago I had a Phat E electric scooter with 24 volt motor and two 12 volt batteries. For charging from 12 volt lighter socket on the truck I put a series parrallel switch (Double Pole Double throw) that could be switched from 12 to 24 volts. (Two sockets and a plug could also work)
    Working solar going through a 12 to 110 volt conversion and another 110 to 24 colt conversion wastes a lot of energy.
    Either way keep moving.

    • Bob

      Lamarr, I understand all about starting a new hobby on fire and then quickly burning out!! I am a black belt master at that!! But I think this is going to be the exception for me, There are so many advantages that I think I will follow through on this one.
      That’s good advice on the charging. It is pretty wasteful going through the inverter and then back to 24 volt. Fortunately I have an abundance of solar so that is what I am doing for now. I think you are full of the most innovative ideas of any vandweller I have ever met!!
      Bob

  21. Cyrus

    Great review bob! I thought a great deal about an electric bicycle, and many other types of vehicle to take with me. I just happened to come across a folding bicycle that would work perfectly, so that’s what I did. It made the most sense for me for a lot of different reasons. I’m glad your bike is working out for you too!

    • Bob

      Cryus, I read your blog post and I am very impressed with how well it folded up and fit under your bed. I was also very impressed with the price you paid for it!
      Bob

    • m.a.

      wow, Cyrus – nice bike! my friend has a folding bike for commuting in the city, but it’s a tiny one so she can fold it up & take it on the bus. Yours looks sturdy & good. Nice buy! & it looks like it works well in your van. I’m currently sharing floor space with my mt. bike in my Ford E150. :)) Fortunately I’m a good sleeper & not very big!

    • Bob

      Pretty sweet. I’m sure it didn’t cost the military more than $1,000,000 each!
      Bob

  22. Dazar

    I bought the same bike a few years ago to commute to work, i got mine from walmart. It only came with the one battery, it cost me around 350 i think. I had to make a 10 mile commute to work and back. On the way to work, it was all uphill but only one steep hill. neither the motor nor the bike could handle that hill anyway. It worked well, and as time went on the battery started to hold less and less charge. Fortunately as my stamina grew, i needed it less and less. The battery died out about 6 months of use, even following the charging instructions. Currie didn’t even have replacements available and had nill support. I hope they changed. Still, i think it was a worthwhile investment. I considered buying another after the sprocket broke, but went for a regular, and much lighter bike. The currie is a beast to just move without the motor.

    • Bob

      Dazar, yes, they were selling them for about $350 for awhile, I missed out on that. They are an inexpensive bike so they aren’t going to last a really long time. It is a really heavy bike! As of right now I am encouraged enough to plan to replace it with a much lighter and better quality e-Bike later on.
      It sounds like you had a fairly positive experience with it and it helped get you started with bicycling.
      Bob

  23. Dazar

    Oh, i have some advice. I traveled at night a lot, and if you do, you will want headlights. the ones they sell for bikes are very expensive, or the cheap ones at the department store that suck battery and light up nothing. I took 2 led flashlights (3 bucks) and used cable ties to put them on the handle bars. They were on tight but also adjustable up an down. They worked great, and since they were LED the batteries lasted longer than the bike. They make some nice taillights too.

    • Bob

      That’s a great idea Dazar! I’ve got plenty of LED flashlights to mount on it! But I don’t plan to do much night time riding, but you never know!
      Bob

  24. m.a.

    Hey – congratulations on your bike, Bob! I haven’t been keeping up with the blog, so I missed this. I’m so glad you got one, and you’re liking it. And it sounds like you’re in a beautiful new area with good places to ride. I’m on my good old ‘beater’ one-speed mt. bike again, getting stronger and feeling great. It’s a great way to travel & really feel and smell and sense the world around you. Have fun on it this summer – & have a great RTR. x

    • Bob

      We all wish you were here MA! When does it get too cold in Idaho for you, October? See you down the road!
      Bob

      • m.a.

        yes, you will!

  25. John MacArthur

    Nice article!
    We would like reach out to US e-bike riders to share their experiences in a survey.
    Please follow the link to the online survey:
    http://tinyurl.com/e-bike-survey
    Portland State University is trying to better understand the role that e-bikes can play in a sustainable transportation system. The online survey will ask questions about purchase decisions and use of e-bikes to better understand the barriers to wider e-bike use.
    Thanks!

    • Bob

      John I took the survey, I believe in e-Bikes and want to do everything I can to promote them.
      Bob

  26. Mikel

    thanks for making me practically choke on my coffee with your comment about “one more goddamn Fancy Nancy book” – th78#&t21a;s how I feel about Littlest Pet Shop animals and those tiny fucking little Polly Pocket rubber SHOES. Now those SHOULD be illegal.

  27. arjun

    wow great!I love bike. It truly makes the rest of life better.

  28. NanAnymn

    We include four children, two in diapers. In the present climate my preferably half lately conveys two or three diapers, a insufficient wipes, a pair of invalidate baggies and a pacifier exactly in her tote. We keep some additional garments in the rear of the minivan. All things else is sauce.

  29. haAvali

    I provide https://kidstrust.org as a service to my parents customers. Gladden read the following reviews if you start spurn of my site. Past using this project, you send me a happy hour 😉

  30. Saqib

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience

  31. Sarah Pearl

    Hy Bob !
    I hope this bike helps you reach your fitness goal! It sounds like you’re setting realistic, attainable short term ones!
    Take Care

  32. SonuMonu

    Nice article!
    We would like reach out to the stores but unfortunately stocks are out in almost everywhere.

  33. JH Kalito

    I would like to see more posts like this. I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information on your blog.