Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

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x8pg2qr
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Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby x8pg2qr » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:51 pm

In the Tasmanian Times.

With interview and photos.

Joeblake
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby Joeblake » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:15 pm

Cool. Good luck to them.

Joe
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy
Bertrand Russell

desvejk
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby desvejk » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:46 am

Great pics and great ride.
Worth sharing with http://BicycleTouringPro.com.
It's a good site and they need some education on eBikes.
Cheers,

Des

desvejk
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby desvejk » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:48 am

BYW.
What was your range for each day's battery charge?
How much weight were you carrying?
Cheers,

Des

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Comedian
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby Comedian » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:25 am

How far was this ride? Google maps says 200k but I gather they didn't go the most direct way.

I've got to say while I wish them well I don't think ebikes are at all suited to this type of journey. In fact, the range on that kind of bike is only 30-40k although I see a bike on their website that claims 90km. I bet they don't do 90km loaded for touring and pushing up hills. Were there spare batteries? How did they go pushing 40+kg of ebike and gear around when the batteries went flat?

I guess while being a supporter of e-bikes I've just got this warning light flashing in the back of my brain that encouraging this is not such a good idea. IE you've got two young fit people that could have done this without an ebike. Instead you've got at least 5k worth of chinese ebikes with massive LIPO batteries that have a very short lifespan. Hmmm...

Anyway, I wish them all the best. :)

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x8pg2qr
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby x8pg2qr » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:43 pm

Only reason I knew about this, was through following their twitter feed. The Tasmanian visit was from 27th January to 9th Feb. Maybe the owner will provide answers there, or here if someone alerts him to this thread. They've also done a Melbourne to Canberra ride earlier. As for whether this is a good idea, it's not something I would do. But if selling e-bikes was my trade, it would probably be helpful from a "eating my own dog food" point of view.

glowwormbicycles
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby glowwormbicycles » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:06 pm

Hey guys,

this is yours truly, who went on the ride and owns the electric bike shop. Thanks x8pg2qr for posting this, I had no idea it was up here!

We went through the Central Plateau. If bikely.com every loads again you can see the paths at http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/by/Glowwormbicycles. The bikely distances seem a little off, we measured around 330km in three days including around 60km of unsealed roads, heaps of climb and a lot of headwind. And a drenching rain on the first day

It's with some pride that I can say that Comedian is wrong about the e-bikes being unsuitable to touring and also completely wrong about the 30-40km range. I would state the range of the batteries at 30-120km. 30km because that's the worst I've heard from a customer for a 36V 14Ah battery and 120km because that's the best we've done so far. We had two batteries each, 4 in total. 3 were 14Ah and one was 10Ah (by mistake, very embarassing!). Most days we finished with a decent amount of battery to spare, which is how you'd want it to be. If we only had one battery then we could have done this trip over more days. The Torq weighs 27kg with 1 x 14Ah battery and 31kg with 2 of them. The torq was also carrying the 3rd battery, the chargers and the food. This was because it had the larger Ortlieb panniers and because the Sprint had to make do with the 24Ah total whereas the Torq had 28Ah to use. I reckon with batteries, chargers, e-bike, camping gear, food (and the rest of our stuff - books etc), the Torq probably weighed 45-50kg. The bikes are good bikes, so zero punctures on tyres, no problem braking down the huge descents with all the weight, no problem in the thunderstorms or dirt road and corrugations. Actually the ride didn't end in Launceston, we continued to the Circus Festival in Golconda, another 60km the next day (on one battery).

x8pg2qr is absolutely spot on about eating dog food :) Naturally one of my motives to do this ride was to promote the e-bikes. Comedian is right that Kaitlin and I are young and fit and can ride without e-bikes. In fact we have ridden in Tassie before on our normal bikes. The point though, is that the dog food was delicious. Last time we rode along the East Coast because it's flatter. This time on an e-bike we were able to go through the really rugged parts. We could have done it on a bike but it would have taken a lot longer. That's not a problem because cycling is a pleasure but you also have to see the point that is made by this ride is not 'hey young people go ride across the state', it's 'hey Hobartians, if we can ride 330km through wind, rain, dirt and mountains in a dress and suit, then you don't need to driving your cars 5km to and from work'.

Some photos of the ride at flickr.com/photos/glowwormbicycles

glowwormbicycles
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby glowwormbicycles » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:35 pm

desvejk wrote:BYW.
What was your range for each day's battery charge?
How much weight were you carrying?
Cheers,

Des


I think I was carrying around 48kg including bike and batteries and gear on my Torq. I think the Sprint was around 35kg including bike and gear. I weigh 67kg and Kaitlin maybe 55-60kg. We're both quite good cyclists and were pedalling diligently but could never have done this ride in this time without the motor. I would estimate that we pedal about the same on our electric bikes as our normal bikes. The exception is steep hills and headwinds where you can't help but put in 'too much' power on a normal bike. By contrast, I don't think I stood up on my pedals once on this trip and pedalled at the same rate whether or not it was hilly or windy. We were smart about our battery use and used them to our advantage. If we were able to pedal above say 20km/h without the motor, we didn't turn the motor on (actually it does that automatically, you just have to set the cruise control speed on it). So the motor kicked in on hills, winds, rough surfaces etc.

If you patiently go through the http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/by/Glowwormbicycles descriptions of each day I've tried to say when and where we used up our first battery for the day but it went roughly something like this:

Day 1 - 125km. Climb: 1440m Descent: 1270m. Head winds for around 20km of the trip and a lot of rain.

10Ah battery ran out at 80km mark on Kaitlin's Sprint. 14Ah was still going well on mine but we swapped both and made it the rest of the 30-40km for the day.

Day 2 - 75km. Climb: 1500m, descent: 800m. Steep climbing was at the start on sealed part. Then a lot of rough dirt road (mainly flat), then some climbing on the dirt road. Light head winds.

This day we only used one 14Ah battery but we charged for 2 hours during lunch. We finished the day with some battery to spare. It's hard to say what we used but probably around 16Ah would be my guess, so more than one battery.

Day 3 - 110km. Climb: 770m Descent: 1800m. All sealed except 20km. Mainly a flat ride with a huge drop over 10km. Very strong headwinds for the final 30km

This day I had my 2 x 14Ah batteries both plugged in so I made it the whole way without thinking about batteries. The Sprint's 14Ah battery ran out at around the 95km mark.

master6
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby master6 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:30 pm

I live just outside Hobart, in Carlton for those who know the area. I am a member of the Vets cycling club, and ride up to 90 km on training rides. Typical ride would be Carlton, Sorell, Richmond, Grasstree Hill, East Derwent Highway, Bellrive, Tunnel Hill, Cambridge, Sorell, Carlton. My average speed over this ride is 25 kph. I want my wife to come with me. She is 60 years of age, with a respiratory problem similar to asthma.
Can you tell me:-
Can she do this trip with me on an electric bike?
What will the bike cost me?

I realise I am asking a hard question, as I am not able to accurately describe my wifes cycling ability.

cachexian
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby cachexian » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:35 pm

Hi Master6,

Don't know about your wife but if you have a look at the website http://www.currietech.com.au in the "media" section for some videos of Ebike use by those of less than ideal health. This link might work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNjFvL4uzO4

or:
<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qNjFvL4uzO4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I think that some level of fitness is still required to ride an Ebike. I'd estimate that it's about half as hard as riding without assistance.

Good luck,
Cachexian.
Scott Sub 40 with 200W, 36v Ezee geared front hub motor
and...
Trek Madonne 3.1 driven by left leg and right leg

glowwormbicycles
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Re: Write up of electric bicycle tour in Tassie

Postby glowwormbicycles » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:25 pm

Hi Master6,

I would visit a local e-bike supplier with your wife and talk about your options. There is a few in Hobart and one place at Macquarie's wharf that does e-bike day hires.

In short, the answer is yes, your wife can ride with you on an e-bike. The question is whether or not the optimal solution is for her to do the entire ride that you're talking about. Things to think about are the fact that the longer the ride, the more batteries and higher cost of the e-bike. Also, there may be other limitations other than pedalling, such as getting generally tired of being on a bike (mentally and physically).

Maurice

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