Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

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mlt34
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Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 03, 2015 10:33 pm

So after being inspired by Grindz145's epic 4500 mile trip last August that also inspired many others, I too want to do my own touring ebike trip. Something of a good old fashion 'american roadtrip'. I don't have the time to do as epic of a trip as he did, but I still want to do at least a week long, 1,000+ mile trip. I'm in the US for a period of time and am building a bike for the purpose of the trip.

The basic rundown is a steel frame hybrid bike with a 9C 2810 motor, two 72V 20AH NMC packs with matching 900W chargers, a 12fet 4011 EM3EV controller and the open road.

My plan is to mostly backpack it, perhaps add a small tactical bag to the rear rack in case my gear doesn't fit in the backpack. I want to pack as light as possible but I fear the sleeping gear (tent, pad, sack) are going to take up a bunch of room, so I might have to add the second bag. I don't want to go with panniers because I want to stay as aerodynamic as possible and keep the bulk of the packing behind my body. I'll mostly camp and perhaps stay a night or two in a motel if I feel I need the break. I served in the Israel Defense Forces so I don't mind 'roughing it' so to speak.

Another part of this trip is that I want to attempt to see what the maximum miles I can do in 24 hours is. I love the fact that Grindz145 attempted and broke the record for longest ebike trip with his journey. This isn't about setting records, it's about the experience, but still having some kind of accomplishment to say you were the "first" to do something or had done the "most" of something is kind of cool. To my knowledge there isn't an official or even unofficial record of the most ebike miles in a day, but my goal is 300 miles. I think it is possible, though it won't be easy. I also won't attempt this everyday, but rather choose one day to be the day and I'll just freaking go for it.

Also, this is going to be totally self-supported. I know there have been some other long ebike trips that have had various degrees of support and those are valuable trips in their own right, but I want this to be the fruit of my own efforts. There is no fresh battery swapping - I'll carry my packs with me and recharge along the way when I run out. Supplies will either be brought ahead of time or found along the way. I will reasonably plan but I don't want to be stuck in a fixed schedule. I intend to mostly plan the day before, attempting to choose an endpoint for each day (preferably with camping areas and an electrical plug somewhere) but other than that I will just go with the flow and see where the road takes me. I don't have a destination in mind, rather I'm going for the journey.

I've just started building the bike. Pictures and details to follow soon. Also more specific plans and packing list. I want to include my thought process and plans here for three reasons 1) to help me keep my thoughts straight, 2) to get input from others, and 3) to help others in the future see how I did it and learn from either my experiences or from my mistakes.

This should be an interesting ride...
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 03, 2015 11:25 pm

Time to start building. Here's the bike:
schwinn.jpg
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It's a Schwinn Wayfarer steel frame 700c hybrid comfort bike. I didn't buy it at Walmart but make no mistake about it, it is for all intents and purposes a Walmart bike.

Yes, I can all hear you screaming now. I know, I know, it's a disposable bike, it's garbage, what are you doing, are you crazy, you're an idiot, insults to your mother and other assorted reactions to using a walmart bike.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk specs. It's a steel frame with nice steel dropouts. The welds are good. There's tons of room on the frame (and in it). The cheapest parts are also the ones I'm replacing, including:
  • Wheels: 9C rear hub with double wall rim, front wheel not sure yet what to replace it with.
  • Seat: upgrading to comfortable cushy saddle (hey, this isn't going to get pedaled much, especially not at 28-30 mph)
  • Tires: Schwalbe Marathons
  • Brakes: I'm keeping the stock arms (it's a hunk a metal - yes I know it's from walmart but it functions as well as those on a bike 5x the cost) and upgrading the pads to some nice salmon compounds
  • Tubes: Triple thick thorn resistant
  • Handlebar: Not sure if I'll replace this or not. I can't stand the shape and I didn't realize it had that shape when I ordered it. Cruise control means the throttle won't be super annoying that way, but still, wtf is going on with those bars
  • Kickstand: double kickstand that I have laying around here already
So yea, that basically leaves the frame, stem, seat post, cranks, chain ring, deraileurs and pedals as the stock parts. Considering I won't be shifting or pedaling, that's not so bad. So I've got a sturdy steel frame for super cheap and the cost of the parts I'm putting into isn't much at all, some things I'd have to upgrade no matter the bike anyways (tires, brakes, tubes, maybe seat, etc).

I might also add a thudbuster seat post. I've got no suspension and those schwalbe marathons at high pressure are going to be about as forgiving as my wife when I forget about date night.

The biggest problem is going to be battery placement. Each of those packs are 20 lbs, and they are huge. I originally was hoping at least one would fit in an EM3EV bag or an Electric Rider triangle frame bag. Boy was I mistaking!
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The Electric Rider bag is actually a bit bigger than the EM3EV bag and neither will close with this behemoth of a battery inside it. The ER bag at least gets close, but it's still no cigar.
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In the meantime I'll have to figure out another solution. I tried playing around with in frame fitment. It could work somehow. I'll have to build something custom. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
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Motor installed and double kickstand to give it a fighting chance at staying up without a wall or friend to lean on.
motor installed.jpg
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More to come as I make more progress.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 04, 2015 8:47 pm

So now I'm figuring out how to mount the batteries. One will go in the triangle, but they won't both fit there, so the other will have to go on a front rack. I could put it on the rear but that puts it high up and there's already a lot of weight going in the rear between the motor, bag, backpack etc. The front rack will also be high, but at least it spreads the weight out front to back more.

This orientation is funny looking, but I think I'll try to arrange the battery up and down. It will actually raise the center of gravity even more which I don't like, but it moves it back towards the pivot of the head tube which is better.
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I rigged up this holder for the main triangle frame battery. It will hold it side to side, then I'll add a velcro strap or two over the top to keep it from bouncing around.
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Admittedly it's not too pretty, but it should work just fine. On the subject of not too pretty, I'm almost embarrassed to show the front battery holder I rigged up.
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I looks a little better in black. Just a little bit.
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Now we're starting to look official. I did a couple mile test drive to see how it's working, but with only the center frame battery mounted, not the front rack battery yet. So far so good on the electrical systems. The handlebars are another story. I can't stand that shape. It puts your hands in a funny position and I feel like I'm going to get that high speed shimmy that quickly reaches the point of no return. I've ordered a straighter bar to replace it. Good ol' amazon prime...
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by grindz145 » Feb 05, 2015 12:20 pm

Sweet man! I love it!

Any foam around the batteries? Might not hurt.

A skinny tire bike is great for long distance efficiency if you can manage to keep the tires from causing you grief.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by grindz145 » Feb 05, 2015 12:25 pm

http://bikes-as-transportation.com/lone ... 1-context/

Checkout this trip from a friend of mine. He has a similar bike setup and took a 600 mile trip to new york last year.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 05, 2015 6:41 pm

I started but want to keep reading about your friend's trip. Looks awesome! Yea these skinny tires will be an experiment. I'm a hookworm guy myself, but when I went 700c with this bike I figured I'd give the skinnies a try. I've read about ebikes increasing their top speed by 5-10% by going to Schwalbe Marathons from fatter tires, so the efficiency gains must be fairly significant, especially over a long trip.

Regarding foam, I'm definitely putting a layer between the battery and the aluminum angles there. Also the batteries are already built with a layer of foam between the cells and the heat shrink. Between the two layers there I should be good. The only part I'm worried about is that front rack battery. I'm swapping out the handlebars to straighter bars because those just have this weird feeling to it that I imagine will be worse with the big battery on the fork. I'm still sewing the velcro straps so I haven't tried it with the front battery yet, just the middle battery, but hopefully I will tomorrow. The test runs I could do with the middle battery held in by the mount I built, but the front battery requires the straps to hold it to the angle irons that I mounted to the front rack.

Also I remember what happened to your front rack after your trip so I'm watching that one very carefully. At least you didn't have a 1,500w-hr bomb attached to your rack :shock:
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by dogman dan » Feb 06, 2015 10:19 am

It's only a bomb if you put RC batteries on there.

BTW,, You'd get a lot better riding with that much loaded on, if you stretched that bike. Lengthen it 12", and your frame flex at speed will get a LOT easier to control.

Reduces the frequency of your tank slappers. And puts your ass more on the center of the bike, so your rear wheel kicks less.

Or, you could weld some stiffening bars to it, like you see on the beach cruisers of old. Fit it above the triangle battery, like you see on the boardtracker bikes. Make that front triangle unable to flex.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 10, 2015 8:22 pm

I've gotten two test rides on it now, one 27 miles and the other 40 miles. For the second test ride I swapped out the bars to nearly straight ones. SOOOOO much better! I hated those old bars with the funny shape. Terrible.

The first test ride got me around 30 watt hours per mile. The second ride was in very windy conditions and started out around 50 wh/mi but got to 40 wh/mi by the end after the wind died down.

The test ride today got me exactly to where I needed to go.
harbor fright.jpg
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As part of the testing, I determined that my cell phone battery dies much faster than I thought while continuously using the GPS directions. So much that I'm worried that it won't last between charge stops (granted my charge stops aren't so often with 3,000 watt hours on board). So I rigged up a phone charger running off the battery (the benefits of high voltage DC - you can use stock AC transformers!) so now I can charge my phone right off my ebike's battery.
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During the 40 mile ride today I tried to take the battery to LVC and failed. Eventually I gave up. It's a 20AH pack but I got it 22.9AH before I called it a day. The voltage was sagging down to about 64V during load which is about 3.2V per cell - about as low as I want to go anyways. I was amazed I could get that much capacity out of it. You might be thinking I don't have the CA set properly, but rest assured that I'm using an EM3EV controller with the precision shunt value marked by Paul - so I know it's good.

Here are the stats from my ride today.
CA stats.jpg
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I looks like I might be cutting my week-long XC into two 3-4 day legs. I'm only in the US for a short time and want to be able to hang out with the family on the weekends, so that leaves the middle of the week this week and next week for prime ebike time. I'd rather do it all together but family comes first.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 11, 2015 1:26 pm

Mile 64:

Well I'm off. I probably should have made an "I started post" but I was excited and well, it's too late now.

I did at least remember to take a picture.

Image

About a half mile down the road I pulled over and put my jacket on. Even in south Florida it still gets a bit nippy with the wind chill.

So far, so good. I used about 33 AH to get here from the paralled 72V 20AH packs. That would normally put me just over 75% discharge but these packs are putting out over their rated capacity for some reason, and the voltage was sagging to only 69ish, so I think there was still a good bit left in the tank. Here in the Everglades though I don't know exactly how far it is until the next town so I don't want to push it too far. This little town I'm stopped at charging now has a cafe, church and grocery store but the grocery store is boarded up. I almost pulled into the church to ask for a charge but then I found this po-dunk little cafe and so now I've filled my belly and am waiting to finish filling my batteries.

This is definitely the longest I've ever gone on an Ebike and the day isn't even half over.

I've found that enjoyment of the ride correlates heavily to the quality of the road/shoulder surface.

The goal is to get to a town that is still about 110 miles from here. I'm not sure if I'll make it or not so I may be stopping sooner than expected. I don't have a good headlight yet so I'm going to avoid riding at night if I can help it.

More to follow...
Last edited by mlt34 on Feb 11, 2015 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by cwah » Feb 11, 2015 2:03 pm

This bike looks dangerous lol
Help me find my stolen electric brompton: http://bit.ly/1a0vbBC and Bosch Sinus B3 http://bit.ly/1eV0WQz

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by dogman dan » Feb 11, 2015 4:03 pm

Everything fun looks dangerous.

Have a great ride.

I see you figured out one bike touring need, continuous recharging of some kind of pocket electronics. So you can listen, or in your case watch a gps all the way.

I didn't realize you were carrying your camp by backpack. Ohh, to be young and indestructible like that again. Used to ski wilderness loaded like that. Before the crushed disks. But it will help your frame, not hanging 40 pounds over the rear wheel. Human shock absorber for that load.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 11, 2015 9:15 pm

Mile 142:

Phew, my first ever day of ebike touring was equal parts: awesome, exhilarating, terrifying, beautiful and painful.

Awesome: because the longest ride I had ever done before was 40 miles, and that was yesterday. Before that it was 25 miles years ago. I'm a city ebiker which means I'm usually doing rides of less than 5 miles. To do almost 30x that in one day is awesome.

Exhilarating: because today as the miles rolled by on the cycle analyst screen I just kept thinking "I can't believe I'm doing this - I can't believe this is even possible!"

Terrifying: because there were multiple things to scare me. 18 wheeler trucks buzzing me a meter away, dodging dead pigs in the shoulder, range anxiety etc. Perhaps the scariest thing though was the fear of being stranded. I brought along some basic replacement parts but one thing I didn't bring was a spare controller. As I was cruising through long stretches of open highway where you can see the horizon in both directions, I would suddenly think about "what happens if a mosfet suddenly blows?" or something else that could be debilitating. I'm on a walmart bike that weighs six billion pounds from all my gear/batteries and has a chainring made out of aluminum foil (I think). Alas, nothing went wrong and my fears were never realized, but it just reminded me of that feeling of being out at sea and having to put complete faith in your vessel to carry you through.

Beautiful: While much of the rest of the country is well, in winter - I'm in South Florida. The first question of the day today was whether to wear short sleeves. The weather is beautiful, palm trees line the roads and I did a scenic trail along Lake Okeechobee. It's a beautiful day.

Painful: Owwwwwww... my body.....

I had hoped to do more than 142 miles today but I got a bit of a late start. I had been planning to do 200 miles a day. HA! That's not likely to happen. I remember watching Grindz145's trip and planning my own trip in my head like a giddy school girl. "25 mph for 8 hours, I can do 200 miles easily" I thought.

Physically possible? yes.
Easy? no.

Stuff gets in the way. Your legs get tired of sitting there for hours on end (I repeat, walmart bike. Those pedals are for show.) Charging takes longer than you think. You have more range than you use, but you charge more frequently because you're afraid to run out of juice on the side of the highway. Remember those 18 wheelers from earlier? Fatigue sets in and what seemed like a blissful 8 hours of sitting there with the wind in your hair turns into a much more tiring experience.

I'm loving this, but it is also exhausting me. We'll see what tomorrow has in store.

Image
ice, ice, baby.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by grindz145 » Feb 11, 2015 9:54 pm

NICE!

142 miles is NOT messing around my friend. Congrats. Average that for a month, and you'll be well over 4400 miles. Ask me how I know ;)

Keep us posted. I know how hard it is to post updates on the road. Time runs out quickly.

Stay safe!

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by tomjasz » Feb 12, 2015 1:50 am

Wow, someone else wears a skid lid! Looks like a great ride!!

Those batteries really have me curious. Hurry up and ride so we can talk battery. Everything is new to me but especially those packs.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by dogman dan » Feb 12, 2015 7:39 am

Dude, enjoy your ride. Don't focus on miles per day. My personal best so far, only 80 miles.

Riding with that pack has got to be tough. Do 40 miles, 60, whatever is good for you each day. Work up to 150 a day if you are enjoying it, less if you aren't.

All through Grindz ride, I kept thinking how much he'd have been able to enjoy his ride with half the miles per day. He had limited time and wanted that record. I dig that. But you need to just ride what you can enjoy, and screw the suffer fest. Look at Justins ride, did he turn it into a suffer fest? Hell no. Hard days sure, but not a death march.

Have fun! If you just want to suffer, turn the motor off and enjoy the pain. The whole point of the ebike is to avoid suffering while doing superman distances.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 12, 2015 12:58 pm

Mile 220:

Man, today has been a blast! I started out on east coast of Florida on the A1A highway and it was just beautiful. I did 78 miles nearly straight through! I kept telling myself I should probably stop and take a walk to stretch my legs but the ride was going so great with the smooth road, slight sea breeze and beautiful ocean on one side and canal on the other that I was having too much fun to stop! I even had to force myself to slow down and enjoy it. There's a really good bike lane and shoulder on the highway that is smoothly paved and I kept finding myself creeping back up to 30 mph. I had to set the cruise control to 23 and just let myself soak it in.

I hear you 100% dogman! I don't want to push myself to the point of suffering. With days like this though, I just don't want to stop riding :D

I did take a quick break to check out the beach. I had to go down one of these old sand/pebble fill roads which was a little iffy on my steel frame and hipster tires setup, but it worked. Then I got onto the beach which was beautiful. I wanted to snap a picture of myself and the bike and just when I thought of it, here comes a cute little lady collecting shells. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her finger was in the picture. I figured I'd photoshop it out but now I kind of like it. Adds character to the picture. Also distracts from my ugly mug.

Now I'm charging in a Dunkin Donuts. That's right, not at a Dunkin Donuts, in a Dunkin Donuts.
They didn't have an outdoor outlet but we're nice enough to let me pull inside and charge while I ate.

I'll try to update this post with pictures. I've gotta figure out how to resize them on my phone so they are viewable on the forum.

[Edit] pro tip: resize images on your iPhone my emailing them to yourself.
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Dunkin
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Chargers purring
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[edit 2] I dont know why half of those pictures are upside down. They were correct when I viewed it on my phone. If they are upside down for you, just flip your computer over.
Last edited by mlt34 on Feb 12, 2015 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by TucsonTNT » Feb 12, 2015 2:12 pm

Awesome, thanks for the inspiration! Maybe we should start a map of all the good & bad roads & trails to go cross-country.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by grindz145 » Feb 12, 2015 5:33 pm

This is so much fun to be watching this time :) Great job!

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 12, 2015 8:26 pm

Mile 299:

End of day 2. I did the trip in two legs today. The first leg was 78 miles and the second leg was 80 miles. I charged in between the two legs to nearly full (I didn't wait for balancing but was within almost a half volt of full).

The second leg wasn't as fun as the first. It was back to inland highways which means hanging out in the shoulder getting passed by semi trucks again.

Also, does anyone know what the deal is with those scratch lines in the shoulders on many highways? They are like these long grooves that can run for miles and dance around the shoulder, but usually run pretty straight. Sometimes they are super light and almost look like a line of paint, other times they are fairly deep. Anyways, with these skinny tires I've found that the deep ones can almost wreck me if I fall into one. The ones that deep are rare but I experienced a set for like 10 miles at the end of today that were almost the death of me a couple times.

I've been using google maps bicycle routes for most of this which is usually really nice. It has helped me find really nice, scenic bike paths in multiple places such as this one:
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the only problem is that google maps often doesn't know about construction or where trails become non-bikable. Which leads to annoying situations like these:
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That's annoying when you only have to back track a few miles to get back to the highway (seen in the lower left). It could be a bigger problem if you are 20 miles from the highway when google's bike path turns into an offroad ATV trail and you don't have enough juice to make it back. That means you should always double check that you have alternatives, especially when you hit that 'point of no return' in terms of battery life.

One of the benefits of doing this trip is I get to eat at a bunch of different cute little hole-in-the-wall places along the way.
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The downside is the motel I'm at is shady as f*** and I'm sort of afraid I'm going to get robbed or raped in the middle of the night. I booked this place on the internet earlier in the day when I knew it was going to be too cold to camp, but the place was much seedier than I thought. I got eyeballed when I rolled in by a bunch of dudes that don't look like "fine, upstanding young men". Hell, the batteries on my bike alone are worth more than half the cars in the parking lot. Definitely sleeping with my knife under the pillow tonight. If I don't post tomorrow, send the cops to a motel in Clewistown. There aren't too many, it shouldn't take long.

time for some much needed replies.
grindz145 wrote:This is so much fun to be watching this time :) Great job!
Thanks! Haha, now you get to feel what it was like for all of us watching you ride across the country! I'll bet its neat to see it from the other side. We were all hooked waiting for the next 'installment'.
TucsonTNT wrote:Awesome, thanks for the inspiration! Maybe we should start a map of all the good & bad roads & trails to go cross-country.
I think Grindz145 knows most of them of by now! But yea, this is a great way to find both awesome trails as well as roads that make you think "Jeez I really hope there's an exit soon so I don't die in this shoulder"
dogman dan wrote:Dude, enjoy your ride. Don't focus on miles per day. My personal best so far, only 80 miles.

Riding with that pack has got to be tough. Do 40 miles, 60, whatever is good for you each day. Work up to 150 a day if you are enjoying it, less if you aren't.
I totally agree, dogman. So far I'm comfortable with the pace but I've found that road choice is a huge part of overall trip enjoyment. Regarding the pack, I've got all the lightweight stuff in there (sleeping bag, clothing, etc) and the heavy stuff goes in the bag on the rack (chargers, tools, locks, etc). That keeps the pack from being too much of a problem. It's still not super comfortable. I've got it adjusted for hiking and it appears hunched over on a bike requires some different fitment. I'm still playing with the straps to find the sweet spot. I'm loving the orange rain cover though. drivers move way over from far back because I think the orange blob on the road confuses them from a distance, and drivers pay more attention to things that strike them as odd than things that are familiar or are just annoying to them (cyclists).
cwah wrote:This bike looks dangerous lol
you look dangerous lol
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by tomjasz » Feb 12, 2015 8:38 pm

Jeebus. we forget Florida IS the DEEP south... Be safe!
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 12, 2015 8:44 pm

tomjasz wrote:Jeebus. we forget Florida IS the DEEP south... Be safe!
The coasts are great, it's just the center of the state that is all Alabama! Earlier today while I was riding along the beach I just wanted to be 65 and retire there. Now that I'm south of Lake Okeechobee I just want to wake up tomorrow...
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by tomjasz » Feb 12, 2015 10:20 pm

Don't wear a yarmulke or extol the virtues of the new Pope and you'll be fine.
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: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by dogman dan » Feb 13, 2015 7:54 am

Stop at goodwill, and get some camo clothes. :lol:

Sounds like you have the strength to do the miles, but anytime it does get to you, slow down, enjoy the view, and when a truck passes, you only get run off the road at 20 mph.

One thing I definitely considered when I built bouncing betty, I wanted that fat tire, full suspension bike to be actually comfortable if I dodge off the pavement at 30 mph. Truckers, or even just rednecks that pass too close abound. The bike route is all narrow ass road.

But you are riding that.... So get run off the road slower. If traveling 30, you can see the situation setting up. one truck overtaking, another on coming. Tap the breaks when you see a crowding is inevitable.

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by grindz145 » Feb 13, 2015 8:31 am

I always worry about the bedding in the seedy motels as well. I have slept in the sleeping bag on top of the bed several times. At least you can bring all of your belongings inside and lock the door!

Keep going man, you're making great progress! Those are two really long days!

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Re: Touring ebike build (and soon touring trip)

Post by mlt34 » Feb 13, 2015 6:46 pm

Mile 365:

Today was an interesting day with some interesting problems.

First of all I survived the night, so the day already started on a positive note.

I generally have done a good job of meticulously checking Google Maps Street View for the trip and ensuring I had good shoulders on the next day's route. Today I was more lax and just sort of picked a spot on the map, saw a shoulder and said let's go for it.

Bad move.
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there's a little google maps view of what I encountered. it wasn't a good time to pull out the camera and start savoring the moment.

So there I am going down SR 80 and all of the sudden I see the shoulder disappears up ahead. I pulled off onto the grass to contemplate my options. To find an alternative route I'd have to backtrack pretty far, and I was hoping that this was just a short section without a shoulder, especially since the entire road up until that point had a nice shoulder. So I decided to go for it, pulled back onto the road and floored it (err, wristed it?)

No such luck. Keep in mind that this is a highway posted 60 mph, so who knows how fast people were actually going. It turned into one of those situations where I kept going, hoping that any minute the shoulder would return, and I eventually would up too far in to turn around and my only option was to press on. I flipped the switch to "3" (which felt more dramatic than it sounds), went into a tuck and sweated bullets in the freezing wind for 18 freaking miles.

At one point before the trip I had contemplated setting up my phone to broadcast video or more likely still images for my family to see. I never got around to it and it was probably for the best. No need for my mom to see this:
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As I now play with google street view to grab those pictures, I see that there were actually some pretty places along this road. I don't remember this at all, of course. All I remember is a healthy dose of fear and swear words directed at my choice of a 10 turn version of the Nine Continent.
river.jpg
Kind of pretty. Not that I remember it at all. I do remember the ruts in the bridge quite well though...
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But eventually I crossed a county line and the shoulder returned. I guess it was a case of one municipality not wanting to step up and pay for road work in the area that the highway passed through their zone. Freakin' cheapskates... use that tax money!

But like most days, the bad was balanced out by good. Once I got back on my side of the state, Google Maps took me on some nicer roads, which I would call "country roads" as opposed to "country highways". These were posted 45 mph but very nicely paved and even though they were only one lane, there was no one around. I could fly at 30 mph sipping barely 12 amps, and take up the whole road which felt amazingly luxurious. Finally I was riding like a human being. I found I get much better efficiency in those scenarios and I think it is because of less wind. On the open highways there's greater cross winds, but on these country roads that cut through forests and towns you have less wind and so I could actually go faster using less energy.

The road was so smooth that doing 30-33 mph felt like I was doing 20, and the wide open road meant I was in the middle of the lane just enjoying the ride. I can even take my hands off the bars because with the battery on the fork there is so much inertia that it tracks by itself like a canoe. So I had a great combo on those roads of making excellent time, enjoying high speed riding and feeling like I was on a slow pleasure cruise, all at the same time!

After 66 miles I decided to actually stop at my house to charge because it was pretty much on the way to my next stop (Sanibel Island) and why charge at some gas station when I can do it in my garage. I got home, plugged in the chargers in the garage and went inside to relax on the couch with some food and TV. Best charging place ever! After two hours I went to get back on the bike, but instead of finding two fully charged batteries waiting for me, I had a garage with lights that wouldn't turn on. Apparently I tripped the breaker shortly after charging started. :x :x :x

I tried again and POP, tripped again. I had to charge one at a time and with nearly 4 hours of charging staring me in the face, I decided to call it a day. 66 miles will have to be enough for today. It's a Friday and I'm going to relax and spend the weekend with my family. Sanibel Island will have to wait until Monday. It will be there.
grindz145 wrote:I always worry about the bedding in the seedy motels as well. I have slept in the sleeping bag on top of the bed several times. At least you can bring all of your belongings inside and lock the door!
That's funny because that's exactly what I did! I remember reading somewhere that bed bugs can't crawl up slippery things or plastic, so I laid my scooter rain cover I brought with me (just in case!) on the bed, and laid the sleeping bag on that.
cover.jpg
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It's funny that I wanted to get a motel for a supposedly better night's sleep, when in fact I think I would have been more comfortable in my own tent. At least I know my bedding isn't full of parasites. Camping can also be so comforting as well. Some of the best night's sleep I've ever gotten was sleeping in the desert in the army. Of course that could have been because I was out like a light at the end of those long days. You'd be surprised how well you can sleep wearing boots and with a rifle under the head of your sleeping pad. Wish I still had my weapon last night, that's for sure :wink:
dogman dan wrote:
One thing I definitely considered when I built bouncing betty, I wanted that fat tire, full suspension bike to be actually comfortable if I dodge off the pavement at 30 mph. Truckers, or even just rednecks that pass too close abound. The bike route is all narrow ass road.
You said it, dogman! I've thought about that a lot on this trip actually. Me and that shoulder get pretty intimate after so many miles. When my dad taught me to drive he taught me to always be thinking about where your 'outs' are, in the back of your mind. As I'm going along in the shoulder there, I'm thinking about how I would bail if I had to. On my current setup, that frame and those tires are going to be a bucking bronco at anything more than maybe 8 mph if I get run off the road here. A couple times I saw the potential for that situation I hit the brakes and prepared, but that's about all I can do. Choose which side I want to lay it down on and go down on my own terms into the grass is about the best I can do. But like I think I mentioned in the last post, the big orange bag means people give me tons of room and see me from a ways off (at least from the rear) so I haven't had to test it yet.
tomjasz wrote:Don't wear a yarmulke or extol the virtues of the new Pope and you'll be fine.
I learned not to do that (the former, not the latter) the hard way while living in Arkansas. The south has a lot of great people. And a lot of the other kind too.
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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