The Learning Curve of E-Bike Commuting

I’ve been riding my e-bike for about a month now (~100 miles) and really love it, though to be honest it hasn’t been the smoothest road.  So far, all of the problems I’ve had are things that can happen to any bicycle commuter and are not related to the electric assist.

My first problem, and second and third for that matter, involved me not knowing the route to and from work by bike.  Given that I did not want to ride my bike on the major streets and highways I usually take to work, I had mapped out a route using Google Maps Get Direction Bicycling option (bummer this isn’t supported on iPhones).  Even though I had printed the directions, I had to stop a few times to check that I was going the right way and got confused and took a few extra detours on my first day.  Because of all the one way streets I use, coming home I missed another turn and took an even longer detour.  Thankfully, going a little farther (over a mile extra) with an electric assist bike is not as tiring as when you are completely human powered.  Now that I’ve ridden the route a dozen or so times, I know my way.

Another problem I have is with my pannier (aka bag to carry laptop and stuff on the back of the bike).  On the few times I biked to work this past year without the electric assist I wore a backpack with my laptop, lunch etc., and did not like wearing a backpack and biking.  I purchased a nice waterproof pannier to go on my bike rack to carry my laptop and miscellaneous gear back and forth.  Unfortunately, my heel bumps the bag as I pedal so I’ll need to make some modifications to the bag.  Luckily, since I don’t need all my strength pedaling up hills and so forth, I’ve been able to get by just shifting my foot forward on the pedal a little bit.  I know how to fix it, but just haven’t gotten to it yet.

Rear wheel nut & rack screw that fell off

The next problem to hit me was a blown tire.  While still getting used to the new route, the shifting for hills and the electric throttle I rode over a big pothole and popped my rear tire, the one with the electric motor.  I knew enough to have a spare tube, pump etc. to replace a blown tube, but unfortunately I hadn’t adjusted to non-quick release rear wheel in the back so I couldn’t get the wheel off to replace the tube.  Alicia came to my rescue and now I carry the right sized wrench in my pannier.

The last problem I’ve had so far (knocking on some wood) was losing the screw that held on one side of the back rack.  Even though it had a locking washer the screw had somehow vibrated loose and the rack started rubbing on the hub of the wheel making a horrible vibration and racket.  After figuring out what was wrong and that if I was especially careful to avoid bumps the rack would mostly stay in the right place with friction and I was able to limp the bike home.  I had to stop over a dozen times to reposition the rack back in place and even tried a few cable ties as bandages, but eventually made it home just in time to take my son out to cub scouts.  I’ve since gotten a replacements screw (longer this time) from the local bike shop and checked all the screws for tightness.

Throughout this the electric assist bike kit has worked great and now that I’ve worked out the kinks I’ve had several trips to and from work without incident.  If you are considering an electric assist bike and have questions, please ask them in the comments below.

Happy Green Biking!

What questions do you have about e-bikes?  Ask in the comments below.

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  1. When you first encounter a problem with your electric motor, always have someone that knows a lot in fixing electric motor have it checked.
    electric motor rewinds

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