I'm new to the ebike world and I'm looking for advice and recommendations. Before I get to that let me introduce myself and give you a little background.
I currently live in Florida and I'm 5'11" and I weigh 245lbs. I've had a desk job for the last 25 years and I'm completely out of shape. I haven't ridden a bike since I was 18, I used to ride a lot before then.
I'm 62 and a (soon to be) retired web developer. I'm good with computers and I'm mechanically inclined. I've swapped engines in cars by myself and worked as an offset pressmen printing newspapers. I also have a certificate as a camera repair technician. I did a stint at Radio Shack too. I also worked as an electronic technician intern for the Air Force when I was in college. As a kid I stripped my bicycle to the frame so I could paint it and then reassembled it. I also built a strobe light from a kit in high school.
Last time I was unemployed I ended up living on Kauai in Hawaii for 35 years. I now find my self retired and living on the mainland. Being as I will have nothing to do I thought I might travel. Many people my age get an RV. That's what I might of done if I was married but I'm not so I have the option at looking at alternatives. Getting an RV requires many expenses such as insurance, fuel, maintenance and includes too many things that could fail. So I had the brilliant idea to make a poor man's RV.
What's a poor man's RV? Well obviously it's an ebike setup for touring, why else would I post here. Just to outline my thinking it goes like this.
- Ebikes are affordable to acquire, use and maintain.
- Ebikes enable someone of lesser physical abilities to enjoy the outdoors and explore new places.
- Ebikes encourages someone of lesser physical abilities to exercise and expand their abilities.
- Ebikes are slower so the adventure lasts longer.
- Ebikes are eco-friendly.
I'm planning to build my own ebike cause that's the only way I can afford to get what I think I need. My goal is to build an ebike capable of hulling my fat ass all of the way across the country. I want to take the Southern Tier Bike Route https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes ... hern-tier/ since it goes near my kids in San Antonio Texas. I plan to visit other friends, most along the way, some a little out of the way. I have friends and family in California I want to visit and then from there fly to Kauai.
There is no timeline for this adventure, as I can stay in places as long as I like. The only factor will be weather, as I want to avoid the cold. At the end of this trip I'm thinking about flying with my ebike to Costa Rica and retire there.
Basically my ebike is going to be my only means of transportation and my home. I do plan on staying in campgrounds, motels, hostels, couch surfing, warmshowers.org and Airbnb. Those decisions will depend on finances, availability and weather conditions.
I've decided on most of my camping gear. If you're interested it's centered around a Lawson Blue Ridge Hammockhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PPJM82N/ that double as a ground tent if they're aren't any trees. I'm not asking questions about camping but all comments are welcome.
I plan on carrying everything in panniers and bags to maintain the bikes portability via greyhounds, planes, trains, city buses, cars and trucks. I also want to be as e-stealthy as possible to avoid any confrontations with local law enforcement. I'm in trouble in that department already since I'll be an old fat guy riding a heavily loaded bike. I imagine this trip will change the fat part eventually.
Given my budget restraints and my mechanical aptitude I think I can build my own ebike for touring. I have a garage full of hand tools (maybe some power tools) with a work bench and a vise. I have a mechanic friend with a garage and welding tools, I think he can do TIG welding as well since he also builds air boats. I'd need to pay him so he's there for standby. I live in the space coast area of Florida so finding fabricating help is possible but ONLY as a last resort.
As a self taught web developer I know that the web is my best resource for doing this (thanks to everyone for sharing). Here is my build strategy.
High quality cheap used bike from craigslist.com et al, or a cheap new bicycle from bicycleisland.com, bikesdirect.com, recommendations?
There are a couple of places that rent ebike near me, they have limited styles to choose from and they are expensive to rent. I plan on renting one or two to give it a try. I may also see if I can rent a 29er fatbike pedal only to see how I like that style of bike. I would also like to find out what size bike feels right for me in the style I like.
From my research these are the features that look like they would best fit my needs as outlined above. Most of these options are for comfort and convenience. I choose a mid drive as it seemed the best choice since I'll be climbing mountains (roads) with a heavy load. I don't plan to do any trail riding but I like the idea of having that option.
I would really like to go with an IGH belt drive for low maintenance and reliability but I can't find a definitive answer on this combination on a mid motor ebike for touring. This might be too cutting edge for my purposes but I don't want to miss out if it would be practical.
- Load hasn't been determined yet but it will be as much as I can fit and carry. Any estimates?
- Speed is only important in as far as it concerns safety, I'm in no hurry. Going too slow can be just as dangerous as too fast. So recommendations are welcome.
- Range is flexible but the farther I can go the more options I have as to where I can stay. I expect range to increase as my fitness level does.
- 29er Fat tire Mountain bike
- hardtail with front suspension
- Cane Creek eeSilk seatpost, only one rated to hold my fat ass.
- Brooks Saddle, my fat ass needs protecting
- Hydraulic brakes, so does the rest of me.
- Eggrider Bluetooth Displayhttps://eggrider.com/, being able to make changes on the fly and without a computer connected.
- BBSHD Mid drive kit from Luna Cycle
- Luna Cycle wolfpack v2 (52v Stealth Black - LG MJ1 13.5ah) x 2
- 52V Advanced Luna 300W Ebike Charger
- Hydraulic and Disc Brake Sensors with Cut Off
- GearSensor for Derailers and Internal Geared Hubs
- Drive Train
- Nuvinci N380 IGH
- Chainring teeth if chain?
- Since I'll be getting the Eggrider Bluetooth Displayhttps://eggrider.com/ do I need either of these?
- Luna 500c Mini Full Color Display
- Luna 750c Full Color Display
- Luna Wrench?
- Chainring teeth if chain?
- I love the durability of the Luna Cycle Wolfpack v2 batteries and I plan on carrying two. Would hooking them together so the bike sees one battery be beneficial? Depending on charging availability I may only be able to charge one depending on where I'm at so hooking them together needs to be flexible.
- Locks will be important since everything I own will be with me. I've done some research and understand the proper way to lock my bike. I envision a system with multiple locks as well as the hexlox.com Saddle Lock, Seat Post Lock, Wheel Lock, Fork & Stem Lock system. I'm also thinking of a steel net to cover the bags when I have to leave them on and unattended. Possibly covering everything up in a shitty looking blue tarp.
- No matter what I do nothing can stop a determined thief so Insurance recommendations?
- Tools, I suspect will have some specialized ones from the build which I'll be bringing. I'll have an idea of what I might need to bring once I get a bike but are there any must haves that I might overlook or that are favorites?
- I plan on implementing ghetto tubelesshttps://electricbike-blog.com/2015/06/1 ... s-of-work/ for beaches (no saltwater) here in Florida and along the way can I leave it like that for traveling?
- GPS or Smart Phone?
- I doubt my bike will come with racks so any recommendations? I'm thinking front and rear panniers.
Grin Ligo Batterieshttps://www.ebikes.ca/product-info/ligo-batteries.html seem required if I want to fly with my bike to Hawaii
These can be configured for either 36v or 72v but the BBSHD kit from Luna Cycle says it's for 48v or 52v batteries. Is there a way I can use these batteries now (hacked controller? other controller?) or do I need to wait for them to come out with 48v or 52v options?
I could buy another battery in Hawaii but I'd also need two more in Costa Rica where I'll want more range. Does anyone know how/if I could travel with my batteries to Costa Rica? Possibly by ship from Florida? I ask because certain things I bring with me when I move there won't be charged duty, I think ebikes and batteries will qualify.
I would like to develop a relationship with a good bike shop in my area. Since I don't plan on buying a bike from them what is a good strategy to develop a relationship with them? I know they're in business to sell bikes but given the retail apocalypse do they focus more on the service side of their business now? What's the best way to support my local bike shop?
I plan on touring around Florida before I start. I need to break in my bike and myself. I need to develop and practice a charging strategy. I found this article about gorilla charginghttps://electricbike-blog.com/2016/12/2 ... -charging/ which has some good advice. Still on the fence about permission vs forgiveness though, especially with strangers. Any advice here would be helpful.
I can't see myself fully retired as a web developer so I'll be blogging about this whole process and adventure. I'll be bringing my mac and iphone so any advice about online access and cell plans let me know. I have a factory unlocked iphone so I can go with pretty much any carrier. I need a plan that supports tethering for my mac and an old Android phone I'm planning on using as a bike computer. It will run gmaps, music and the Eggrider Android Apphttps://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... s.EggRider
This adventure wont start until I've saved the money and built the bike. Once I launch there will be limited opportunities to make changes. Right now I have a garage and facilities to make this happen so getting it right the first time is important. I have a little flexibility with the smaller and less expensive parts to upgrade along the way.
I know this plan sounds crazy but I've got nothing better to do. I'm out of shape, bored and currently live with family, this sounds like a viable escape.
Thanks to everyone that comments!