Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My First Ride On The Electric Bike!

Oh yeah baby.

I finally got the tires pumped, there was no snow, no rain, and the temperature being all the way up to 40 degrees I figured it was time to learn how to operate my new electric bike named "peewee". If I had to describe my first experience with peewee in one word it would be "hilarity" , if I had to do it in two words it would be "holy shit!" and three words "somebody help me...!!!"

So after my neighbor kindly filled the tires with some air blowing machine he happens to have in the back of his truck for his tools, we all took turns riding up and down the muddy road. I let everyone else go first since I am a big scared-y cat like that, and I rather watch everyone else make mistakes first. :)
Getting on the bike and starting the throttle was a bit like your stereotypical teenager learning to drive... stop... start... brake...start....slide...stop.... start. All jerky and wack.
When I took it to the end of the gravel road and onto the paved main road the freaking chain on the bike started falling off- after someone else (i won't name names) had kept switching the gears too fast. Bort *ehem* helped me put the chain back on about 10 times when my mailman pulled up to the mailbox! I happen to love my mailman and we are good friends, so he rolled down the window to see what kind of trouble I was brewing.
Then he said this "You know, I think yer' tire is on backwards! Look at yer' front tire, it's turned around the wrong way..."
Well.... shit. it is. ha. To which my only reply was "this is why I don't belong on the road!" I proceeded to turn the darn tire around for the millionth time. (This was the second time I had been told this, and thought I had fixed it the first time. See the pink arrow pointing to my turned around wheel as I unknowingly cruise around in the pic above.) Duh.

A few more times of the chain falling off (and a minor fit of cursing the bike wishing for a donkey), and I finally got the hang of the bike's uphill movement. Although slightly jerky and shocking - when you pedal the bike it forces the electric motor to kick in - which surprised the hell out of me and suddenly I was cruising like a born to ride harley davidson biker... but smaller, less hardcore, and less graceful. And not in enough leather to look "cool". (Remember when Pee Wee Herman went to the biker bar looking for his lost bike, and knocked over their rows of motorcycles? That's more my style.)
Once I was going good on the bike, I could not stop myself - and just kept moving along up the mountain even though I could feel the air upward dropping to colder temps, my hands already freezing under my gloves and in the back of my mind thinking downhill might be a bit f-ed up since I noticed the brakes were... um... sensitive to touch. But hey- the chain stopped falling off and I WAS FREEEEEEEE!!!! Freedom!!!!!!
Till I got to a squished up mailbox, pulled over and realized the battery gage is like really fishy when going uphill. In fact it acted JUST like a tank of car gas - when going uphill it said it was almost empty, when going flat or downhill it said it was full! Since there's no gas in peewee, I don't have a clue how to understand what he's communicating... I mean, is electricity sloshing around to the back of the battery? lol
I decided to turn around and cruise back home.
I wanted to poke my own eyes out on the way. The brakes were SooooosooOOOOoooOOOOOooooooooo sensitive that even the indication of touching them brought the bike to a slamming halt which resembled an insane 10 year old driving a car, jerking to go and stop so much I figured I would vomit by the time I got to the bottom of the valley again. It was single handedly one of the most horrid annoying terrible no good very bad rides back ever - and I still had so much fun!!! The icy wind was blowing straight through all 5 layers of wool and cotton clothing, my fingers were numb, I was going down hill at either death defying speeds causing me to scream and grit teeth or the speed of a slug holding the breaks down almost falling off the bike from lack of inertia.
So... in conclusion. I think peewee is something I have to get the hang of, AFTER somebody helps me fix those control freak brake pads. And maybe it's way less spazzy to ride on a warmer day.
(It's not me, it's the bike... i swear.)
ding ding!


Kittie Howard said...

If you were there when the West was settled, we'd have settled it faster!

linda said...

You go girl!

Susie Collins said...

OMG Leslie, this story was hilarious. What a toy! I can hardly wait until the donkey makes the scene. They can have messed up brakes, too.

Lou Cheese said...

Technically, your fork is on backwards, and I warned you about that several weeks ago little darlin'. Depending on your tire tread it too may be backwards, there's usually an arrow on the side of the tire which gives an indication of which way it should be facing. It's probably unpainted and made from raised rubber. If it's unidirectional tread don't worry about it (unidirectional tread looks the same coming or going, directional tread will have grooves that usually points forward)

And if they chain is falling off repeatedly it's most likely a chain tension problem, although aggressive shifting can trigger the chain to slip more often with that condition. Check the bikes dropouts and/or chain tensioner, it'll be a lot easier than shortening the chain. Also, fix that immediately or the chain could wear rapidly and become damaged. Whether or not you use electricity or pedal power. it all has to go through the chain.

Jeremy P said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with your electric bike. It will take some time to get used to if you're not familiar with bikes and some minor repairs will be required along the way. But a great eco-friendly choice -- they're a lot of fun!

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Kittie! ha. Best compliment I've gotten all year...even though this year has only been a month long.

Linda! yeah... I go, it's stopping that is so hard. :)

Susie - The donkey is coming as soon as I move to my new place, which is still a mystery to me. At least a donkey is something I can understand, the bike is like a machine with no mind for me to persuade. :)

Lou Cheese muffins.... I KNOW! I totally turned it around after you told me, but obviously there are evil little elves living at my house who flipped it back around again... this is why i don't like elves. They probably loosened the chain too.
What I really need help with really bad, is how to loosen the rear brake so it can slow the bike and skid - and NOT just flat out halt to a stop if i touch it. Cause going downhill was something I never want to do again on the thing, as it is now.

Jeremy P ---> dude... should it need repairs already. Maybe I don't know enough about bikes?
But the wheels stopped spinning with electricity after only 4 miles of riding... can the battery get too cold and freeze up?

OH Electric bike, i want you but you baffle mE!!!!!

Mokihana and Pete said...

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to do .... Janice Joplin sang it in that old Bobby McGee song. And so, you go do what ever you have left to do!

Fun moving!

Panne said...

take a pic of you rear brakes and the brake lever and i may be able to coach you on adjusting it. sounds like they are a little too tight or not tight enough causing them to grab.

i bet that thing squirrely with the forks on backwards, lol.

Panne said...

forgot to ask what type of battery you have? certain types need to be drained fully the first few times to keep it from developing a "memory".

some are affected by cold temps.

what does the manufacturer say the hour range of the bike is? hills, weight and operation play a big part in battery range.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

I love that song, and i am glad you reminded me of that line... i feel like that should be the bumper sticker on my bike. "Nothing left to lose". :)

Panne -
I will try and take pictures, i am pretty sure they are too tight and not too loose, i hardly touch it and it stops the bike immediately. It may have to do with my weight too, because bigger taller people who road found the brakes to be jumpy but it didnt come to a dead stop as fast as it did for me.

As for the battery i followed the exact directions for charging it for the first time, but after it stopped going after 4 miles and it kept going back and forth between saying it had a charge and didn't have a charge I charged it cause it acted as though it was dead. But after re-charging the 6 hours, second time - it still is acting half dead. ?!?

this is the link to the actual bike for more info on it::::

And here are some specs on the bike::::
These are much lighter than the standard lead/acid or Ni-MH battery. You get about longer life up to 500 reharges compared to NiMH (300 - 400 charges) or the lead/acid batteries (200 - 300 charges).
Battery: 36 Volt Advanced Lithium Ion 10Ah
Frame: Aluminum alloy, folding
Handle bar & stem: zoom, alloy, stem folding
Rims: Alloy black, silver side edge
Wheel size: 20 in
Derailleur: SHIMANO 6-speed
Brakes: F/ V-brake, R/ servo brake
Motor: 350W
Working style: pedal assisted & throttle control
Charging time: 6-8 houirs
Range: 21-24 miles
Speed: up to14 mph
Weight: 49 lbs., plus 9 pound battery

Panne said...

lithium doesn't develop a memory. you may have a defective battery. you may want to contact the company.

it must be a fast, high output charger to get it done in 6 hours.

i had the idea of adding a solar panel to possibly extend the range, but 36 volts eliminates that option.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Panne- I am going to call the Liberty Bike company today and ask what the problem is. Another dude I talked to said that this battery did develop memory... so Jeez Loo-weez, this is all really confusing.

That sucks about not being able to add a solar panel, cause I was already thinking of that! Dang it!

Wild Canary said...

You crack me up! what fun...the comments were also great! Hope you iron out the bugs...thanks so much for brightening my day!

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Your welcome Wild Canary! :)
Hoping to get the thing running properly ASAP...

Panne said...

went digging to double check myself and found this site. lots of detailed info that you'll find helpul.

Mokihana and Pete said...

Hay Leslie,
Pete says, "The battery won't work in freezing weather" ... so, maybe it's the weather outside that's frightful! He also asked, "No donkey?"

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Panne- will check that out.

Hey Mokihana!
Thanks! That is good to know - maybe the weather is making it screwy, although i brought it into the warm house and it still seems funny. We've been in a big snow storm and i havent got to call the company yet.

I can tell you this, i would way rather a donkey - the bike was a really nice & generous gift from my parents because where i live right now I can not have a donkey - once i move to my own place in the near (VERY NEAR please universe) future the donkey will be the first thing i prepare for. Not that i dont love the bike, but the donkey is something that means more to me then transportation - it is also to be a companion animal to help me cope with my bad health and to be my baby, cause i can't have any of my own.