4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

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mlt34
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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by mlt34 » Jan 31, 2015 6:59 pm

That's the reason I wanted to go with a dedicated dash cam as opposed to a go-pro type camera that I have to remember to turn on. My setup is going to run off of my pack voltage and turn on automatically and start recording anytime the bike turns on. That way I never have to touch it, it's just always recording if I'm on the bike.
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by rborger73 » Feb 02, 2015 5:05 pm

mlt34 wrote:That's the reason I wanted to go with a dedicated dash cam as opposed to a go-pro type camera that I have to remember to turn on. My setup is going to run off of my pack voltage and turn on automatically and start recording anytime the bike turns on. That way I never have to touch it, it's just always recording if I'm on the bike.
That is a good idea. I may have to switch mine over to one as well. If I had mine running when I got hit I would of had a nice little chunk of cash right now. I knew the person so tried to be the nice guy and didn't call the cops, since I hate cops, and got screwed over. Gave me 100.00 total lol. Just wasn't worth the headache of going after him. Too bad for him though he owns a mechanic shop and it's a small town. I asked him for 250 to 300 to cover damages to the bike, and my leg didn't fully heal for 4 months. He pulled out right in front of me with 2 or 3 car lengths to stop if that. I was doing 22 to 25 as I had just left off the throttle getting ready to stop at a stop sign coming up. Shop had a dump truck they were working on parked, and he didn't look when he pulled out. He had just washed his truck and the road was wet from it. I could of possibly swerved around him but he was turning towards me and he was near the center of the road. I was afraid he wasn't going to stop at all and I would of been run over instead of just hit a front end.

Was a fullsize 90's chevy truck. My forearm dented the formed curvy front edge of the hood. So he bitched at me about that the next day. lol Was 100% his fault too. If I had video evidence I would of just sued him after he screwed me over. I still have 2 years and I told him if my knee starts acting up I'll likely go after him. Next time I'll just lay in the street till the ambulance gets there. lol I actually probably did the right thing by putting my bike back together enough to get home and rode the 13 miles left of my commute. Kept my leg from getting as stiff. I rode the next day my normal 40 mile round trip commute. Didn't miss any days of riding because of it, but I would get some pain from it. Still a slight dead feeling spot on the inside of my knee, but really don't notice it too much.

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by flyingbeekeeper » Feb 04, 2015 1:43 am

Grindz -

Fellow electrical engineer here. Let me say, first, I'm impressed on the achievement. I watched all your bike tour youtube postings and read the entire forum thread on it, too. I checked out your website as well looking for the 'lessons learned' debrief but didn't find any.

I, too, am looking at a week to 10 day bike tour this year and was hoping to get your tips of what you learned. I want to take a slower, enjoyable pace.

Here is my list from what I took away from your daily blogs:

Lessons Learned

1. Charge at vending machines, Ice machines, gazebos with power during the day.
2. Use dual battery packs to dual charge.
3. Don't tour in high summer
4. Carry spare chargers
5. Use ES & Warm Showers as a support group to couch surf and get encouragement.
6. Don't shoot for 150-200 miles a day, do 100-120 instead and enjoy it.
7. Use smart phone/Google for route and finding support bike shops.
8. Glympse to let the wife know where you are.
9. Own up to tripping someones breaker
10. Don't bring too much crap, stores are all along the route.
11. Look out for sprinklers when camping. And use a bike cover even on clear nights.


Unknown lessons

- bathrooms?
- dining ideas? Fast food good/bad? dictated by plugin availability?
- laptop worth it?
- what to jetison?
- when to stop for the day?
- covert camping pointers?
- tire brand recommendations?
- Cargo trailer? Worth it?
- camp stove?
- what battery pack do you have that can take 16 Amps?
- odd gear that you found useful?

So I'm interested in the unknown lessons. Can you shed some light on that?

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 04, 2015 12:29 pm

flyingbeekeeper wrote:Grindz -

Fellow electrical engineer here. Let me say, first, I'm impressed on the achievement. I watched all your bike tour youtube postings and read the entire forum thread on it, too. I checked out your website as well looking for the 'lessons learned' debrief but didn't find any.

I, too, am looking at a week to 10 day bike tour this year and was hoping to get your tips of what you learned. I want to take a slower, enjoyable pace.

Here is my list from what I took away from your daily blogs:

Lessons Learned

1. Charge at vending machines, Ice machines, gazebos with power during the day.
2. Use dual battery packs to dual charge.
3. Don't tour in high summer
4. Carry spare chargers
5. Use ES & Warm Showers as a support group to couch surf and get encouragement.
6. Don't shoot for 150-200 miles a day, do 100-120 instead and enjoy it.
7. Use smart phone/Google for route and finding support bike shops.
8. Glympse to let the wife know where you are.
9. Own up to tripping someones breaker
10. Don't bring too much crap, stores are all along the route.
11. Look out for sprinklers when camping. And use a bike cover even on clear nights.


Unknown lessons

- bathrooms?
- dining ideas? Fast food good/bad? dictated by plugin availability?
- laptop worth it?
- what to jetison?
- when to stop for the day?
- covert camping pointers?
- tire brand recommendations?
- Cargo trailer? Worth it?
- camp stove?
- what battery pack do you have that can take 16 Amps?
- odd gear that you found useful?

So I'm interested in the unknown lessons. Can you shed some light on that?
Awesome Thanks! These are really good talking points. I have an article upcoming in Electric Bike Action magazine, and one I'm going to write for ElectricBikeReport.com. You have given me some great ideas to expand upon things I didn't get into in the more broadly-targeted electric bike action article.

Let me address a few things that jump out at me.

1. Those are the top 3, but you can find outlets anywhere if you're privy, but these are easiest to find.
2. False, I would encourage 1 large battery pack. If you make the packs removable, this might be nice, but otherwise I would encourage one larger battery pack. There are a few advantages to this, most importantly charge C rate stress.
3. I love touring in summer. I think a better lesson would be, don't try to do 154 miles per day for an entire month straight... :)
4. Not necessarily spare chargers, but your daily range is limited by your efficiency and charge rate, so the closer you can get to about 1200-1500w the better.
5. Crowd sourcing places to stay is a great way to save money and experience more, but it requires planning that I did not always have time for. There's a price you pay for spontaneity and speed. Be careful on warm-showers though. The people I met were ridiculously nice and accepting, but I feel that the whole e-bike thing may cause some people to be less enthusiastic about hosting, because they don't feel as much a kinship. I recommend being forward about the situation and explain the bike in detail.
6. Agreed. 100-120 per day is an ideal pace with my rig. This can be increased by utilizing j1772 ports IMO and a higher speed. It could also defeat the purpose.
7. Google maps sucks for ebikes. It's amazing, but the rules are not the same for cycling, walking, or driving. I would advise careful route planning beforehand using satellite imagery, street view, and national bike routes, to determine shoulder size etc.
8. I used google+ mostly for my wife, Glympse is better if you have a bigger audience :) I had several hundred people follow me on Glympse per day.
9. ABSOLUTELY! Get approval wherever possible beforehand. I calculated that my one battery charge is the same as the monthly uncertainly in the average power meters measurement. So nobody will miss the electricity. But freaking people out is not good :)
10. Great point thanks, You got it, Ebike touring might tempt you to bring too much. I picked like I do on motorcycle trips, and it just didn't work out well at first.
11. hahaha yes!

Bathrooms - In the midwest, sometimes unplanned roadside stops were necessary... Otherwise, other charge stops with bathrooms such as gas stations and restaurants work too ( just make sure you buy stuff there of course) Many bike paths have public stops along the way as well.

Restaurants - Here is what I've found:
Dunkin' Dounuts - It seems like these always have outlets that are enabled. I don't know why, but it was a consistent theme, YMMV. They also have a good eggqwhite flatwhich which isn't quite as diabetes-inducing....
Mcdonalds - almost never have outlets enabled
Wendy's - almost never, always brick construction
BK - 50/50
Diners - very often
my contrast gas stations - almost always - it sucks huffing gas fumes while you charge though...irony

Laptop- I used my laptop for the edits, and it was nice to have. You don't really need it in general, but I would recommend a 13" or smaller macbook for space. the 15" is kind of a monster. 10" would be ideal IMO, but just leave it at home if you don't have to do video editing / catalog photos / etc. Most android / ios devices can do as much as a cheap small computer anyway.

Do not bring - extra clothes. You don't need a week's worth of clothes. Wash them nightly if possible, or every 2-3 days, and bring about that much worth. Extra tools. Everyone is different here, but I brought way too much in tools/extra components. This is hard though, if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere... The weight does add up. I wanted to bring a skateboard and a melodica too. This didn't happen with good reason :) Make sure you have the smallest tent and sleeping bag. Mine are worth about 30 bucks collectively, and they're huge. I've literally used my 20 dollar tent over 100 times, but I should have spent the money on something smaller. I could have done without my fullface motorcycle helmet too. It was nice to have a few times, but a lightweight downhill helmet probably would make more sense. That's really hard though. I would like something in-between. I brought a microphone along with me in case I wanted to create some content for the podcast, never used it. Brought an icharger 106b along with me, never used it and nearly destroyed it.

When to Stop: This depends on how you tour. If you're racing across the country for no-good-reason, as I was, you have to just keep running. I tried not to do much after and before dark. I would recommend to find someplace to camp a couple of hours before dark though. Every day was different for me. I dunno.

Covert Camping - This can be dicey, but many times people won't mind if you pitch a tent for a few hours in a rural church lawn (but mind the sprinklers as you mentioned). Public parks if they are large enough in the suburbs work. Graveyards are great places to camp, if they're the type that are left open 24 hours a day. Nobody is going to mind the company :) Of course all of these require special care not to bother people, so make sure not to break the law etc...... there are cheap or even FREE campsites in many small towns in the midwest, right in the middle of the village. Ask around. These are often called "fairgrounds" and these are great places to camp. The freedom to camp pretty much anywhere doesn't need to end even though you need a plug to charge up. a quick one-hour top off and you can spend a few hours sleeping off the beaten path.

Tires- There are a lot of different touring rigs that can work. For anything 26", hookworms are the only tire to use. That being said, I would recommend motorcycle type tires for longevity instead. A narrow tire lightweight touring rig could be really compelling too, but that's just different from what I have going on.

Trailer - I would avoid a trailer unless you have some really niche reason (say your dog wants to come along, I don't know) If you need a trailer you're probably trying to bring too much. Especially if you have a cargo bike :)

Camp stove - I have brought one of these on motorcycle trips before, but you know what? It's so much easier to eat at restaurants and not bring a lot of food along with you. That's my strategy, and since there is so much time to stop, you might as well. That's just my strategy though. If you're thinking about going further off the beaten path, and saving more money, this might make sense.

Battery Pack - fast charging in under an hour isn't that difficult for most battery packs, even low C cells. I have a >2kwh pack, but I don't think I ever used more than 1.6kWh.

Odd gear- my lighter surprisingly came in handy as a soldering iron. The motorcycle cover was useful in the rain, but if I had a large tarp that I could use to create cover for myself as well, that would have been event better. The motorcycle cover was as much for security as for rain resistance. That way you're not advertising what you're leaving around, even though it's all still there. rearview mirrors (are not really odd) but essential. My giant rear taillight, also essential. Bandaids/first aid, always have a little bit of this. A multitool can replace a bunch of tools and you always know where they all are. Onboard USB charger was super useful. Just make sure you have a couple of extra cables. Also if you use a camera that USB charges, than you can spare a few more chargers. Plastic baggies for electronics and other stuff you don't want to get wet. Handlebar mount for the phone was essential too, Broke one and ordered another on amazon. Without this I couldn't see my navigation, which made negotiating bike paths impossible, since they aren't named, and you end up going the wrong way very easily.

These are absolutely wonderful points beekeeper, thank you for summarizing them! I hope you don't mind if I use some of them while creating a more expanded article :)

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 04, 2015 12:32 pm

grindz145 wrote:
flyingbeekeeper wrote:Grindz -

Fellow electrical engineer here. Let me say, first, I'm impressed on the achievement. I watched all your bike tour youtube postings and read the entire forum thread on it, too. I checked out your website as well looking for the 'lessons learned' debrief but didn't find any.

I, too, am looking at a week to 10 day bike tour this year and was hoping to get your tips of what you learned. I want to take a slower, enjoyable pace.

Here is my list from what I took away from your daily blogs:

Lessons Learned

1. Charge at vending machines, Ice machines, gazebos with power during the day.
2. Use dual battery packs to dual charge.
3. Don't tour in high summer
4. Carry spare chargers
5. Use ES & Warm Showers as a support group to couch surf and get encouragement.
6. Don't shoot for 150-200 miles a day, do 100-120 instead and enjoy it.
7. Use smart phone/Google for route and finding support bike shops.
8. Glympse to let the wife know where you are.
9. Own up to tripping someones breaker
10. Don't bring too much crap, stores are all along the route.
11. Look out for sprinklers when camping. And use a bike cover even on clear nights.


Unknown lessons

- bathrooms?
- dining ideas? Fast food good/bad? dictated by plugin availability?
- laptop worth it?
- what to jetison?
- when to stop for the day?
- covert camping pointers?
- tire brand recommendations?
- Cargo trailer? Worth it?
- camp stove?
- what battery pack do you have that can take 16 Amps?
- odd gear that you found useful?

So I'm interested in the unknown lessons. Can you shed some light on that?
Awesome Thanks! These are really good talking points. I have an article upcoming in Electric Bike Action magazine, and one I'm going to write for ElectricBikeReport.com. You have given me some great ideas to expand upon things I didn't get into in the more broadly-targeted electric bike action article.

Let me address a few things that jump out at me.

1. Those are the top 3, but you can find outlets anywhere if you're privy, but these are easiest to find.
2. False, I would encourage 1 large battery pack. If you make the packs removable, this might be nice, but otherwise I would encourage one larger battery pack. There are a few advantages to this, most importantly charge C rate stress.
3. I love touring in summer. I think a better lesson would be, don't try to do 154 miles per day for an entire month straight... :)
4. Not necessarily spare chargers, but your daily range is limited by your efficiency and charge rate, so the closer you can get to about 1200-1500w the better.
5. Crowd sourcing places to stay is a great way to save money and experience more, but it requires planning that I did not always have time for. There's a price you pay for spontaneity and speed. Be careful on warm-showers though. The people I met were ridiculously nice and accepting, but I feel that the whole e-bike thing may cause some people to be less enthusiastic about hosting, because they don't feel as much a kinship. I recommend being forward about the situation and explain the bike in detail.
6. Agreed. 100-120 per day is an ideal pace with my rig. This can be increased by utilizing j1772 ports IMO and a higher speed. It could also defeat the purpose.
7. Google maps sucks for ebikes. It's amazing, but the rules are not the same for cycling, walking, or driving. I would advise careful route planning beforehand using satellite imagery, street view, and national bike routes, to determine shoulder size etc.
8. I used google+ mostly for my wife, Glympse is better if you have a bigger audience :) I had several hundred people follow me on Glympse per day.
9. ABSOLUTELY! Get approval wherever possible beforehand. I calculated that my one battery charge is the same as the monthly uncertainly in the average power meters measurement. So nobody will miss the electricity. But freaking people out is not good :)
10. Great point thanks, You got it, Ebike touring might tempt you to bring too much. I picked like I do on motorcycle trips, and it just didn't work out well at first.
11. hahaha yes!

Bathrooms - In the midwest, sometimes unplanned roadside stops were necessary... Otherwise, other charge stops with bathrooms such as gas stations and restaurants work too ( just make sure you buy stuff there of course) Many bike paths have public stops along the way as well.

Restaurants - Here is what I've found:
Dunkin' Dounuts - It seems like these always have outlets that are enabled. I don't know why, but it was a consistent theme, YMMV. They also have a good eggqwhite flatwhich which isn't quite as diabetes-inducing....
Mcdonalds - almost never have outlets enabled
Wendy's - almost never, always brick construction
BK - 50/50
Diners - very often
Walmart - almost always
my contrast gas stations - almost always - it sucks huffing gas fumes while you charge though...irony

Laptop- I used my laptop for the edits, and it was nice to have. You don't really need it in general, but I would recommend a 13" or smaller macbook for space. the 15" is kind of a monster. 10" would be ideal IMO, but just leave it at home if you don't have to do video editing / catalog photos / etc. Most android / ios devices can do as much as a cheap small computer anyway.

Do not bring - extra clothes. You don't need a week's worth of clothes. Wash them nightly if possible, or every 2-3 days, and bring about that much worth. Extra tools. Everyone is different here, but I brought way too much in tools/extra components. This is hard though, if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere... The weight does add up. I wanted to bring a skateboard and a melodica too. This didn't happen with good reason :) Make sure you have the smallest tent and sleeping bag. Mine are worth about 30 bucks collectively, and they're huge. I've literally used my 20 dollar tent over 100 times, but I should have spent the money on something smaller. I could have done without my fullface motorcycle helmet too. It was nice to have a few times, but a lightweight downhill helmet probably would make more sense. That's really hard though. I would like something in-between. I brought a microphone along with me in case I wanted to create some content for the podcast, never used it. Brought an icharger 106b along with me, never used it and nearly destroyed it.

When to Stop: This depends on how you tour. If you're racing across the country for no-good-reason, as I was, you have to just keep running. I tried not to do much after and before dark. I would recommend to find someplace to camp a couple of hours before dark though. Every day was different for me. I dunno.

Covert Camping - This can be dicey, but many times people won't mind if you pitch a tent for a few hours in a rural church lawn (but mind the sprinklers as you mentioned). Public parks if they are large enough in the suburbs work. Graveyards are great places to camp, if they're the type that are left open 24 hours a day. Nobody is going to mind the company :) Of course all of these require special care not to bother people, so make sure not to break the law etc...... there are cheap or even FREE campsites in many small towns in the midwest, right in the middle of the village. Ask around. These are often called "fairgrounds" and these are great places to camp. The freedom to camp pretty much anywhere doesn't need to end even though you need a plug to charge up. a quick one-hour top off and you can spend a few hours sleeping off the beaten path.

Tires- There are a lot of different touring rigs that can work. For anything 26", hookworms are the only tire to use. That being said, I would recommend motorcycle type tires for longevity instead. A narrow tire lightweight touring rig could be really compelling too, but that's just different from what I have going on.

Trailer - I would avoid a trailer unless you have some really niche reason (say your dog wants to come along, I don't know) If you need a trailer you're probably trying to bring too much. Especially if you have a cargo bike :)

Camp stove - I have brought one of these on motorcycle trips before, but you know what? It's so much easier to eat at restaurants and not bring a lot of food along with you. That's my strategy, and since there is so much time to stop, you might as well. That's just my strategy though. If you're thinking about going further off the beaten path, and saving more money, this might make sense.

Battery Pack - fast charging in under an hour isn't that difficult for most battery packs, even low C cells. I have a >2kwh pack, but I don't think I ever used more than 1.6kWh.

Odd gear- my lighter surprisingly came in handy as a soldering iron. The motorcycle cover was useful in the rain, but if I had a large tarp that I could use to create cover for myself as well, that would have been event better. The motorcycle cover was as much for security as for rain resistance. That way you're not advertising what you're leaving around, even though it's all still there. rearview mirrors (are not really odd) but essential. My giant rear taillight, also essential. Bandaids/first aid, always have a little bit of this. A multitool can replace a bunch of tools and you always know where they all are. Onboard USB charger was super useful. Just make sure you have a couple of extra cables. Also if you use a camera that USB charges, than you can spare a few more chargers. Plastic baggies for electronics and other stuff you don't want to get wet. Handlebar mount for the phone was essential too, Broke one and ordered another on amazon. Without this I couldn't see my navigation, which made negotiating bike paths impossible, since they aren't named, and you end up going the wrong way very easily.

These are absolutely wonderful points beekeeper, thank you for summarizing them! I hope you don't mind if I use some of them while creating a more expanded article :)

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by mlt34 » Feb 04, 2015 5:02 pm

Hey Troy,

I'm working on finishing up my touring bike and then hope to start on my own 1,000+ mile trip early next week.

Can you expand just a little bit more on your navigation? I've got that handlebar waterproof mount for my iphone, but how do you find bike paths? Can you get street view or should I rely on a small 11.6" chromebook for morning google maps route planning?

Thanks for the inspiration!
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by flyingbeekeeper » Feb 04, 2015 6:27 pm

Great feedback!

More questions:
1. Assuming there is always a town when you need to charge, how many times do you need to charge per day? 1x, 2x, or 3x?

2. Pity on the full face helmet. After watching your video, I ordered one thinking you knew something more than I did on that. LOL. Oh well. However, it should be pointed out if one consistantly goes 25 mph ebiking vs 10-15 mph for biking, a full face helmet makes more sense for the inevitable crash at speed. So I'm undecided on that point. Years ago, I crashed hang gliding in Mexico and cracked open my helmet but walked away fine, so I am biased towards a good helm to keep my noggin intact.

3. I also ordered the Cycle Satiator which is weather resistant and can handle any chemistry, but it is only 360 Watt (7amps at 48V). I may have to do your LED trick, but I'm a bit concerned as the Sun-Thing LiFePO4 battery is supposed to charge limit at 8 amps. Your trek proved fast-charging is key, so I figured go dual battery packs to dual charge and double the charge rate.

4. I think #7 would be worthy of more elaboration.
7. Google maps sucks for ebikes. It's amazing, but the rules are not the same for cycling, walking, or driving. I would advise careful route planning beforehand using satellite imagery, street view, and national bike routes, to determine shoulder size etc.
My Google-Fu failed to find nice methodology for route-making except for Google Maps. The workflow could be done the night before. My take:

Route Planning

1) Google Map Biking Route
2) Confirm shoulder width is viable with Satelite imagery in Google Maps
3) Adjust route accordingly to shoulder/traffic/excessive turning
4) Program route waypoints into GPS (optional)

This would require
a) wifi/cell availability
b) time to do this the night before, and
c) tablet or small laptop with wifi (optional) to do it efficiently

What would you do different?

5. On camping choices, what would you recommend to the forum? You didn't seem to be a fan of KOA. Personally, If I'm wanting to enjoy my tour, I'll be wanting real camp grounds some nights and a motel every other night or so. Your thoughts?

Looking forward to your article!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 05, 2015 9:00 am

mlt34 wrote:Hey Troy,

I'm working on finishing up my touring bike and then hope to start on my own 1,000+ mile trip early next week.

Can you expand just a little bit more on your navigation? I've got that handlebar waterproof mount for my iphone, but how do you find bike paths? Can you get street view or should I rely on a small 11.6" chromebook for morning google maps route planning?

Thanks for the inspiration!
Next week?! I'm kind of jealous of your weather :D

The more planning you can do ahead of time the better. That is completely against my personal ethos, of deciding the route as you go, and planning very little. This is a good method, so long as you leave yourself enough time, and you can bail on bad roads that will leave you with some pretty new scars, or worse.

That being said, google bicycling directions are usually pretty amazing. I mostly just used my phone, but if you have the time to just spot check the route on street view for shoulder-quality, I highly recommend it.

How long are you planning to take?

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by mlt34 » Feb 05, 2015 10:19 am

I'm not sure on the trip length yet, probably about a week. I'm balancing my desire to do a long XC with my relatively short period of time in the country and spending time with my family here.

I've got the bike almost ready - I've got two 72V20AH packs and I've only done a few test rides so far and found my range should be over 50 miles per pack, but that was without all my gear. If I can keep it at 50 miles per pack then that'd be awesome. I could hopefully do one recharge stop midday and have approximately 200 mile per day range. Here's the build thread if you're interested: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... =3&t=66636

It's the shoulder size/quality that worries me a bit. That's where street view seems so useful. I remember a few times following you on Glympse and then out of curiosity checking google maps street view to see what you were seeing. Sometimes the shoulders seemed a little non-existent!

I also love the idea of not planning so much. It seems so romantic to just hop on the ebike and ride until the sun starts going down and you look for a place to call it a night, then start again the next morning. At the same time, there are practicalities of life that don't quite allow for that. I think the compromise of morning/night before route planning will be good.
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 05, 2015 10:27 am

flyingbeekeeper wrote:Great feedback!

More questions:
1. Assuming there is always a town when you need to charge, how many times do you need to charge per day? 1x, 2x, or 3x?
I usually stopped 3-4 times per day, in order to play it safe. I may have done even more on days when I wouldn't bother letting the bike charge after the current began to taper, to maximize time stopped to charge
flyingbeekeeper wrote: 2. Pity on the full face helmet. After watching your video, I ordered one thinking you knew something more than I did on that. LOL. Oh well. However, it should be pointed out if one consistently goes 25 mph ebiking vs 10-15 mph for biking, a full face helmet makes more sense for the inevitable crash at speed. So I'm undecided on that point. Years ago, I crashed hang gliding in Mexico and cracked open my helmet but walked away fine, so I am biased towards a good helm to keep my noggin intact.
I have done a lot of motorcycling in the past decade so I tend to be biased toward this type of safety gear. When it wasn't too hot the helmet was good. You can't overdo the helmet really. Wear as much as you can stand to wear. I'm not overly impressed with the stuff in the downhill market. The ability to flip down the visor is so nice when it's rainy, or your cold. I will continue to use this helmet around town, but it is heavy and hot... ,so it's just maybe not ideal. If you're doing that speed (27) and in traffic, it's probably the right move. I was averaging more like 20-22 mph while underway, which made me feel even less need for the helmet. I'm torn.
flyingbeekeeper wrote: 3. I also ordered the Cycle Satiator which is weather resistant and can handle any chemistry, but it is only 360 Watt (7amps at 48V). I may have to do your LED trick, but I'm a bit concerned as the Sun-Thing LiFePO4 battery is supposed to charge limit at 8 amps. Your trek proved fast-charging is key, so I figured go dual battery packs to dual charge and double the charge rate.
That satiator looks amazing. That being said, you can get a whole bunch of relatively dense cheap power from a meanwell HLG series or similar. This is much more sketchy and not at all adaptable the way that the satiator is, but you might want to run the numbers and see if it's worth it for you. what size pack and what C rate are you using? I do have a spreadsheet for this...it's ghetto though
flyingbeekeeper wrote: 4. I think #7 would be worthy of more elaboration.
7. Google maps sucks for ebikes. It's amazing, but the rules are not the same for cycling, walking, or driving. I would advise careful route planning beforehand using satellite imagery, street view, and national bike routes, to determine shoulder size etc.
My Google-Fu failed to find nice methodology for route-making except for Google Maps. The workflow could be done the night before. My take:

Route Planning

1) Google Map Biking Route
2) Confirm shoulder width is viable with Satelite imagery in Google Maps
3) Adjust route accordingly to shoulder/traffic/excessive turning
4) Program route waypoints into GPS (optional)

This would require
a) wifi/cell availability
b) time to do this the night before, and
c) tablet or small laptop with wifi (optional) to do it efficiently
What would you do different?
You have outlined a good methodology. Google bicycling directions have an odd way of taking you through deep stone/dirt roads, which may or may not be suitable to you. The endless unnamed bike paths can confuse riding and walking directions as well. This is specifically true outside of major urban/suburban areas. As you pointed out, it requires an internet connection, of which I was often limited to 1G cell, or nothing at all, so I couldn't assume that I could even load google maps, that's a great point... That's probably the main reason to have an idea beforehand, and maybe cache some maps. If you tried to do what you outlined there, you would essentially be doing way more preparation than I did :) secondary paved roads with decent shoulders are ebike heaven IMO.
flyingbeekeeper wrote: 5. On camping choices, what would you recommend to the forum? You didn't seem to be a fan of KOA. Personally, If I'm wanting to enjoy my tour, I'll be wanting real camp grounds some nights and a motel every other night or so. Your thoughts?
Looking forward to your article!
Agreed, KOAs are overpriced generally. The benefit of a nice mom-and-pop campsite is that you have a guaranteed plug. State parks are wonderful too, without exception. I've never had a bad experience with one, anywhere. You might even consider asking folks who already have campsites if you can piggyback on their campsite for the night. That happened to me once, and I got to sleep inside a nice RV, when I was just hoping for a free place for my tent. If you can plan 2 days in advance use couchsurfing, it rocks. If you weren't able to plan in advance, give warm showers a try, since you can call up members on the phone generally. Then look for state parks / "fairgrounds" / Parks / cemeteries / churches with large lawns. I would make a hierarchy list so you don't forget, there are so many options, but it all takes time to find :) Add airbnb to the list too. That site rocks. Again, requires a little planning though.

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 06, 2015 7:07 pm

mlt34 wrote:
It's the shoulder size/quality that worries me a bit. That's where street view seems so useful. I remember a few times following you on Glympse and then out of curiosity checking google maps street view to see what you were seeing. Sometimes the shoulders seemed a little non-existent!
I Agree. When in doubt, take the whole lane, and make sure you're seen. Most people can't drive (myself included) and they have no idea how close their car is to you, so take the whole lane so they're not tempted to pass, wayyy too close. You saw what happened with the dumptruck :)

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by mlt34 » Feb 06, 2015 8:14 pm

I'll be wearing a backpack with a big orange rain cover for visibility :D

Oh no, I missed the dump truck! Which video was that?!?
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 07, 2015 5:17 pm

mlt34 wrote:I'll be wearing a backpack with a big orange rain cover for visibility :D

Oh no, I missed the dump truck! Which video was that?!?
day 24 ish? You don't actually see the dumptruck, I just mention that a dumptruck ran me off the road and i ended up with a bit of rash. I also recommend putting AS LITTLE in the backpack as possible. Wearing a packpack for many hours on a bike is painful. visibility is good though my friend!

I just heard back from Guinness again, asking for more evidence that I already submitted. Fingers crossed that we can make this official soon.

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by mlt34 » Feb 07, 2015 5:40 pm

Yea I'm thinking the weight distribution will be such that I'll keep the lightweight things in the backpack (sleeping bag, some food, etc) and the heavier things in a small duffel on the rear rack (tools, water, chargers). Also I'm hoping the height will work out that the bottom of the backpack will actually rest on the duffel on the rear rack, that way the straps just keep the back from falling off my back and don't actually support most of the weight.

two more sets of fingers crossed! You should send the guy at guinness a link to this thread as evidence. Tell him to get readin'.
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by tomjasz » Feb 10, 2015 2:58 am

Updates? We're watching!
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by FLBikeDude » Feb 11, 2015 5:02 pm

I had a couple of questions.....

1.) What happened (if anything) with Law Enforcement throughout your trip...
The reason I ask is, I know SOME States have different laws concerning E-Bikes and that I'm sure there's at least one that outlaws them... Did you check on that?

2.) What was your total AVG WH/Mile for the entire trip? My attempt (below) I believe will be at approx 22wh/mile with a 15a max for an 80 mile distance between charges. (Charger will be a .5c Charger).. two hour charge times for breaks etc..

3.) I'm planning on a Trip from South Florida to either NY or Cali or maybe a full "triangle" trip (FL to NY to Cali).. Is there any advice, that you think you may have missed giving out...

I'm planning for it to be as long as it needs to be... whether it's a month or two or 6... (preferably about 3 months - either this or next spring/summer)
I'm going to be using a 48v 40Ah pack for the motor and a 12v 60Ah pack for all the 12v accessories (more to follow on that)... Besides a few clothes, tools, spare controller, chargers, etc and a 12v inverter for the times when an outlet might not be available to me. (I will also have a 20a Charger for the 12v batt)
I'll be using a lower amp charger for the main motor battery for overnight charging...
I'm planning on 100-120 mile days average, 80 at a min and 140 as a max.
I'm thinking of trying to use the couchsurfing and warmshowers ideas to minimize cost. (I've read some of what you've talked about using those.)

My main idea, I'm thinking, is to route my trip to be as direct as possible AND to hit as many Starbuck's along the way.. (I saw you did the D&D thing, and thought SB might be an alternative, as I love SB for my coffee....)

Any additional thoughts, comments, queries, questions, etc are welcome...

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 11, 2015 5:13 pm

FLBikeDude wrote:I had a couple of questions.....

1.) What happened (if anything) with Law Enforcement throughout your trip...
The reason I ask is, I know SOME States have different laws concerning E-Bikes and that I'm sure there's at least one that outlaws them... Did you check on that?
Nothing. In my home state of New York ebikes have been quasi-legal for some time, and never once have I had an issue. Treat the fellow road/path users with respect (whether that means giving them space, slowing down, etc) and I doubt you will have trouble. In fact a police officer outside of Chicago signed my witness book :)
FLBikeDude wrote: 2.) What was your total AVG WH/Mile for the entire trip? My attempt (below) I believe will be at approx 22wh/mile with a 15a max for an 80 mile distance between charges. (Charger will be a .5c Charger).. two hour charge times for breaks etc..
27 wh/mile at an average 21mph. This was largely due to poor aero features (aka my way-too-big sleeping bag and other junk) I was expecting 20wh/mile at 20mph from my previous testing around town. seems reasonable.
FLBikeDude wrote: 3.) I'm planning on a Trip from South Florida to either NY or Cali or maybe a full "triangle" trip (FL to NY to Cali).. Is there any advice, that you think you may have missed giving out...
DO IT. Living life on a bike is rad and with the proper safety measures, it's the best thing that humans can do in life, in 2015. Fact. ;)
FLBikeDude wrote: I'm planning for it to be as long as it needs to be... whether it's a month or two or 6... (preferably about 3 months - either this or next spring/summer)
I'm going to be using a 48v 40Ah pack for the motor and a 12v 60Ah pack for all the 12v accessories (more to follow on that)... Besides a few clothes, tools, spare controller, chargers, etc and a 12v inverter for the times when an outlet might not be available to me. (I will also have a 20a Charger for the 12v batt)
I'll be using a lower amp charger for the main motor battery for overnight charging...
I'm planning on 100-120 mile days average, 80 at a min and 140 as a max.
I'm thinking of trying to use the couchsurfing and warmshowers ideas to minimize cost. (I've read some of what you've talked about using those.)
This sounds ideal, except for the 12V pack... I don't know what's going on there... seems not ideal
FLBikeDude wrote: My main idea, I'm thinking, is to route my trip to be as direct as possible AND to hit as many Starbuck's along the way.. (I saw you did the D&D thing, and thought SB might be an alternative, as I love SB for my coffee....)

Any additional thoughts, comments, queries, questions, etc are welcome...
Interesting idea. There was one starbucks that I ended up in, in colorado springs (I love coffee too) but I couldn't find an outlet there. Starbucks is not as popular in the midwest, at least not along my route, so I have little input on this. Worth looking in to for sure. Good luck!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by FLBikeDude » Feb 11, 2015 6:17 pm

In regards to the 12v battery, I use it currently for EVERYTHING not related to the motor battery... I routinely do 100 mile round trips here in South Florida on the weekends.. From Palm Beach county to Miami/Dade County (and back)
The 12v battery is useful for....
1.) My LEDs for front and rear lights, brake light and turn signals are all 12v and use VERY LITTLE amps... (2 amps if I had them all running at the same time)
2.) My Air Pump is a 12v Pump because I want a powered one instead of a foot pump, it's also smaller and much easier to use an electric one, than a manual one.
3.) I use it for my 12v / 800w Inverter in case I need to use it to charge my battery (with my 48v 3a {smaller} charger), especially if I can't find an outlet. - This really hasn't been an issue, BUT I have used it twice, in as many years. I also use it for anything that may require a 110/120 outlet.. (Home Depot sells a 12vdc/110vac mini fridge that holds 6 cans of soda or three 1 liter water bottles)....
4.) My (waterproof) radio/speakers also uses the 12v battery (4 amp usage).. a radio/music REALLY makes the time go MUCH faster!

It takes me about 3 hours to do a 40 mile trip, because i'm usually not going faster than 20mph and usually doing about 16 on avg... I like to take it slow and enjoy the ride... I have a max speed set at 25 mph, to keep amperage low, and can keep a 20mph avg, if I really want to feel a TINY bit rushed.. :)
I have done a 160 mile (really 157) ride within one day, doing an average of 20mph (mostly 22 mph) from ~6am to ~7pm with a single charge in between.. Only was able to accomplish that, because I had the wind behind me both directions (morning then evening), 75 degree day and a completely flat run....

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by flyingbeekeeper » Feb 12, 2015 12:39 am

I saw a site on the Sun Race where the 2013 winner is now stuffing his sleeping bag and tent into long thin PVC pipes to improve his aero. I'm going to test this out soon, but I figured others would like to know. Grind, I figured you'd have done a bit better in mi/wh had you stuffed your fluffies into cheap PVC tubes.

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 12, 2015 8:21 am

flyingbeekeeper wrote:I saw a site on the Sun Race where the 2013 winner is now stuffing his sleeping bag and tent into long thin PVC pipes to improve his aero. I'm going to test this out soon, but I figured others would like to know. Grind, I figured you'd have done a bit better in mi/wh had you stuffed your fluffies into cheap PVC tubes.
Yeah, that's for sure. But the beauty is that I didn't have to buy anything new. Still the same twenty-dollar tent and 40 dollar sleeping bag.

I should have tested the rig beforehand to make sure everything was worked out. I would have been able to make well over 300 miles in the day if I hit my 20mph/20wh/mile spec. Aero matters!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by veloman » Feb 12, 2015 12:19 pm

You could easily make a coroplast tailbox that improves your aero and can store normal things like a tent and sleeping bag, clothes, etc. Stuffing them in pipes would be better than having them flapping in the wind, but still not ideal. (must be at least 6" diameter?) extra weight?


I have been looking at an Austin to DC trip. Google street view of the bike directions shows a lot of narrow country roads with 75mph speed limits here in TX. WTF? 75? on 25 feet of asphalt with oncoming traffic closing in at 150mph a few feet away (if you are driving)? What is with TX? ugh, it makes me lose hope for getting around this state safely. This road would be 45mph tops in CT.
I'm thinking how I can design a streamliner recumbent so I can cruise at 50mph and not get plowed into from behind.
Mush! Mush you electrons! Push harder!
I offer electric powered lawn mowing service in Austin http://efficient-ventures.com/

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by mlt34 » Feb 12, 2015 2:09 pm

That's the problem with recumbents. I keep drooling over potential designs that pop into my head for recumbents and velomobiles, but I just can't shake the feeling that one idiot texting while driving is all it takes to leave me eating through a straw for the rest of my life or (probably even better) dead. And I just don't trust that orange flag on a stick thing. That's for cruising along the boardwalk, not saving my life.
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by veloman » Feb 12, 2015 2:17 pm

mlt34 wrote:That's the problem with recumbents. I keep drooling over potential designs that pop into my head for recumbents and velomobiles, but I just can't shake the feeling that one idiot texting while driving is all it takes to leave me eating through a straw for the rest of my life or (probably even better) dead. And I just don't trust that orange flag on a stick thing. That's for cruising along the boardwalk, not saving my life.
You misinterpreted. I would feel a lot safer cruising at a closer speed to traffic on these narrow fast roads on recumbent, than I would on an upright at 20-30mph feeling like a sitting duck.
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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by flyingbeekeeper » Feb 24, 2015 12:34 am

Grindz, any news on the Guiness Book claim?

Also, as I prepare my gear for Spring touring, I have a few more questions.

1. Did you get a suspension seat post?
2. Did you add a fuse for your battery pack?
3. How many spare tubes did you pack?
4. What pressure did you decide to keep your tires at?
5. Any hints to alleviate back, neck, and shoulder strain after so many hours of biking?

best!

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Re: 4500+ Miles US Ebike Tour - August 2014

Post by grindz145 » Feb 24, 2015 9:31 am

flyingbeekeeper wrote:Grindz, any news on the Guiness Book claim?

Also, as I prepare my gear for Spring touring, I have a few more questions.

1. Did you get a suspension seat post?
2. Did you add a fuse for your battery pack?
3. How many spare tubes did you pack?
4. What pressure did you decide to keep your tires at?
5. Any hints to alleviate back, neck, and shoulder strain after so many hours of biking?

best!
Dude, I don't know what's going on. The lesson I have learned is just pay Guinness the money, because I'm losing hope of ever getting this closed out. I send them messages twice per week. They have a new database since January and think they're having trouble with it.

1. no
2. yes
3. 3 ish + patches
4. 60/45, This is very specific to my bike though and I don't think it will help you
5. Don't wear a backpack, and train. I honestly didn't have much trouble in this regard. I think it's because I literally ride everyday and my body is just used to it. So train! :)

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