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EBikes as Cyclist (Health) Assist

Posted: Jul 15, 2012 1:24 pm
by DrkAngel
Being old and feeble (50ish, overweight, with bad heart and lungs, high blood pressure etc.), the only way I could get back into cycling was with an eBike.

In PAS (Pedal Assist System) mode, my weak input was amplified to a very comfortable 12mph.
I was mobile again, carousing along the back streets and trails.
Able to go along with the grandkids on little adventure rides.
If they got too far ahead I could twist the throttle, a little, and herd them back into line.

As I got used to this modest exercise all aspects of my health seemed to be improving. I found myself inputting a larger percentage of my motorvation, spending a large percentage of my cycling at beyond the eBike speed of 16mph.

Becoming loyal to my physical therapist (my eBike) I decided to help build up my buddy. 1st step was to help "him" keep up with me, so I found a compatible freewheel and regeared for a 25% speed increase, moving PAS mode from 12 to 16mph and TAG (Twist And Go) mode from 16 to 20mph.
$20 for 25% speed increase

Next I was able to recycle "bad" notebook batteries into light weight, high capacity battery packs. Improved our range, from about 15, to +50 miles, (per 10ยข recharge). 24 to 25.9V improved also (22mph motor only w/some assist to 25mph)
Homemade Battery Packs

We've been able to spend years ... and thousands of miles together, complementing each other nicely. Completing multiple "Centuries", rocketing ahead of cars from stoplights, slipping effortlessly through gridlock traffic etc.

Sadly ... lately ... I've found my buddy lagging behind, not being able to keep up.
My, near 30mph, sprints are telling of an outgrown "pal".
"Sniff"
But no! ... not yet!!!

I could bump up my buddies speed by "juicing" him.
The equivalent of steroids - higher voltage!
No, we shall remain a team!
Respecting each other!

I will endow him with longer legs, regearing for even higher speed.
After decreasing the motor freewheel to the smallest possible, the only possible improvement will be to increase the motors drive sprocket, stock of 9T increased to 11 or 12T, possibly higher, tough to find compatible, but am building 11T's using 2 different methods now.
EZip Drive Sprocket Upgrade

My buddy will lose low speed acceleration, but gain high speed cruising assist. He will have to depend more on me, getting up to speed, and I can depend more on him pushing to and maintaining 30mph. (25mph (some assist speed) / 9T x 11T = 30.5mph.)

Teamwork!

Bicycle Safety - The Math of Speed

Oops! - Forgot to mention that I upgraded from a 14T to 11T rear sprocket! (90 crank rpm = +28mph)
Sprocket Ratio = Pedal Assist MPH

Re: EBikes as Cyclist (Health) Assist

Posted: Jul 15, 2012 1:41 pm
by MattyCiii
I've been riding a parallel path, but now reach a crucial crossroads.
44 years old and in pretty good shape to begin with, I started cycling a few years back just to improve my commute some. This time last month, I was "mostly car free", would put about 300 miles a month - pedal only - on my folding bike, and leveled off at a weight 10 lbs lighter than when I started (didn't have much to lose to begin with). All the while I've been arriving at the tops of hills less winded, and I've been making my gearing both taller (swapping chainrings and sprockets) and broader (adding an ATS Speed Drive so I can pedal at a higher top speed).

A few weeks ago I entered the Electric Age...

Already I'm succumbing to the sweet sweet siren's song of that belt drive whine, winding that throttle to punch it and get up to speed. There will be impacts on my health.
1) Post e-drive I've had sore quadriceps several days. Something about having the gears to mix e-drive and pedaling, maybe I'm getting a decent workout?
2) I stop for STOP signs better. Why not, a flick of the wrist and I'm back up to speed.
3) Maybe I'm pedaling as hard as before, but the ride is faster so the workout is shorter.
On the balance, I expect to gain some weight over the next few months.

Or not - maybe I'll go further, faster, and bike more often with this new found power and freedom.

Re: EBikes as Cyclist (Health) Assist

Posted: Jul 15, 2012 5:26 pm
by dogman dan
Yeah, results vary depending on your starting point. I could pedal like that in my 20's, but when I reached my adult weight of 190, it sure got harder.

By the time I started riding a little again, at 50, I wasn't good for much of anything. I'd traded skiing and windsurfing for hot air ballooning for ten years, and gone soft on champagne and shrimp. Getting an e assist took me from riding at best weekly for 4 miles, to riding 100 miles a week. Everything improved a lot in my health and stamina.

Now I've come full circle, having caught west nile virus. Chronicly fatigued, I barely can ride at all, and when I do I rarely pedal. As I slowly recover, I'm able to pedal just a bit again now. Part of the cure is getting exercise that is not too strenuous, and ebikes are going to be a big part of my healing.

On a side note, at one point I ripped up a knee pretty bad pedaling too hard on a regular bike uphill. Healing that knee in motion, on the ebike was crucial. That knee is fine now. As the torn knee healed, keeping it moving on the ebike was just the thing, whithout risking reinjury.

Re: EBikes as Cyclist (Health) Assist

Posted: Jul 15, 2012 5:44 pm
by The fingers
Without the motor, I could not go very far on the heavy cruiser; and forward leaning posture hurts my crotch, shoulders, back, and neck. While I pedal less, I am on the bike longer and more often, which helps me stay active and mobile. Otherwise, I would probably have quit commuting by bicycle altogether, or go to a rather expensive tadpole trike not knowing if my knees could take it. When I moved and my commute increased from 3-7 to 7-12 miles each way, I decided to electrify the freebie Fiore step through and have no regrets. After 25+ years of pedaling, I needed a little help! :D

Re: EBikes as Cyclist (Health) Assist

Posted: Jul 15, 2012 5:51 pm
by docnjoj
Yep it is true. I'm 67 and my wife is 57 and in the last month we both ended up in the hospital. I with some kind of intestinal blood vessel problem and she with spinal neck surgery from a Auto accident 14 years ago. We just started riding again today after a month of not and we hurt all over. We did about 6 miles to start compared to our normal 20+ per ride but it's a start. Thank God we have electric assist. No way to do this type of recovery on standard trikes without much more pain.
otherdoc