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Back in the Saddle: Going to California: 2011

MAPS Update

Greetings. I wasn’t very happy with the production work on these maps and I thought that perhaps a better job could be had, and therefore have revised the previously posted maps so they are better-cropped and have less mile-markers. There is an option to remove the markers although I think they offer credible value, however the largest increment is 20 miles. Also, some maps important landmarks or events identified which are explained in the accompanying monolog; when zoomed out, the maps often drop off important details.

There's more on the way. Is this level of detail useful?
Curious, KF
MAP: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 Greenville-Johnsville


Departed at 2:30 PM after lunch; Arrived at 5:30 PM
Start V was likely 63.3; End V = 58.8
Distance = 54.96; OD = 883.4
The rest is not recorded.
Hosted by my folks.

Weather was very warm and became almost unbearably hot as I approached Quincy. More problems with the fender rubbing along the way. The scary parts were between Crescent Mills and Quincy where the canyons narrow and the margins are slim. The rear hub continued to be problematic on hill climbs. I stayed with my folks through Saturday and made several repairs.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Sunday, August 7th, 2011 Johnsville-Pioneer


Departed at 7:20 AM; Arrived at 6:10 PM
Distance = 177.1; OD = 1060.5
Start V likely 63.4; End V = 56.6 with two opportunity charges
Regen = 3.4%; Vmin = 55.0
MaxS = 44.0 (record for ebike & trailer); AveS = 29.4 (best time ever)
Trip Time = 5:56:12
Hosted by Uncle.

Weather was cool in the morning at these high elevations and stayed that way as I approached Truckee, but then it became pleasant and warm with a breeze. The most-challenging part was between Truckee and Carson Passes with heavy traffic and narrow margins. Crossing the Sierras was difficult with the crosswinds. The best part though was the several bombing attempts to break my land-speed record: Couldn’t quite get the nerve to take the bike up to 46 mph. The trailer tailed well though and my confidence hugely improved. I stayed with my Aunt & Uncle for a day and hung out with my Cousins.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 Pioneer-Fresno


Departed at 6:40 AM; Arrived at 8:20 PM
Distance = 186.6 (new KF record :mrgreen: ); OD = 1247.2
Start V = 63.2; End V = 54.8 with one opportunity charge in Angel’s Camp for an hour.
Regen = 3.3%; Vmin = 52.9
MaxS = 43.0; AveS = 28.7
Trip Time = 6:23:37
Hosted by Family and Friends whilst in Fresno

Weather in the early morning was mildly humid, though on the road – cool until Angel’s Camp where the concrete reflected all the sun of the early morning. By Noon it was very warm, and after the flat was fixed I was beginning to suffer from heat stroke with the worst of it between shadeless Coulterville and Mariposa! I reached Friant about sunset and finally Fresno in twilight with the headlights running. That was the most dehydrated I had been on the entire trip and took an extra day to recover, not leaving until Saturday.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Saturday, August 13th, 2011 Fresno-Hollister


Departed 11:30 AM; Arrived about 6:15 PM though took ½ hour to pick a motel.
Start V = 63.1; End V = 56.1
Distance = 122.0; OD = 1369.1
Regen = 2.7%; Vmin = 54.7
MaxS = 35.8; AveS = 26.9
Trip Time = 4:31:32
Room at the Cinderella Motel for $48.60

Weather was warm and moderately humid with high cirrus clouds that cut the heat, though later these moved off and it became very hot until crossing Panoche Pass where the headwinds picked up and eventually cooled me down. Some of the nastiest sections I have ever been on is between I-5 and Hwy 25 on Panoche Road. Because of the elements and the road, plus my late departure, reaching Santa Cruz was improbably in daylight. This is the farthest southern leg of the journey; from here I turn north and begin my return home.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill Parts I, II, III and IV.

MAP: Sunday, August 14th, 2011 Hollister-SanFrancisco


Departed at 6:45 AM; Arrived at Presidio at 1:40 PM
Start V = 63.3; End V = 55.4 – although I briefly took an opportunity charge after that.
Distance = 127.1; OD = 1496.2 – although we did some riding after this (not mapped).
The rest of the stats are not recorded.
Hosted by Green Machine

Weather started out cool and sunny, but quickly turned to damp wet fog heading into San Juan Batista, then overcast with partial fog all the way into Watsonville. However this lifted and was just overcast and cool all the way to the other side of Santa Cruz. Then as the sky peeled back to reveal the sun I was met with strong headwind. At Montara, the construction zone created some dangerous travel and I had to assert control over the lane to prevent reckless passing and personal endangerment; I learned to be more aggressive for my own protection. Eventually found my way north to the guys waiting for me at the Presidio. Great fun hanging out! Thanks to Green Machine for hosting!

Originally posted status here, with Backfill Part I (getting there) and Part II (hanging with the eCrowd).

MAP: Monday, August 15th, 2011 San Francisco-San Rafael


Departed from Sports Basement at the Presidio at 4:50 PM; Arrived about 6:30 PM
Start V = 62.2; End V = 60.8
Distance = 18.78 (does not include morning ride); OD = 1537.5 (includes all miles as of EOD)
Regen = 12.2%; Vmin = 59.1
MaxS = 34.0; AveS = 18.5
Trip Time = 1:00:36
Room at Motel 6 for $66.63

First, the map shows the entire mileage for the day, even though the stats are for the Bridge-crossing to San Rafael. The weather in the morning was awesome and continued through the day. By the time Lyen and I began to cross the Bridge though it was quite windy, however once reaching Sausalito it was sheltered and very warm, edging towards hot, although the evening was quite pleasant. Scariest part was crossing the Golden Gate; far too many people for my tastes. Hats off to Lyen for his kind assistance!

Originally posted status here, with Backfill Part III and Part IV.

MAP: Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 San Rafael-Fort Bragg


Departed at 6 AM sharp; Arrived at 5 PM.
Start V likely 63.3; End V = 54.3
Distance = 165.3 miles (record max length on a single charge of any trip :mrgreen: ); OD = 1702.8
Regen = 3.8%; Vmin = 53.0
MaxS is buggered; AveS = 23.8
Trip Time = 6:55:23
Room at Travelodge for $93.47

Weather was cool and darkly overcast. As I climbed over to the other side to Point Reyes I was nearly cold, but it warmed after breakfast. Dodged fog and sun much of the morning, though by afternoon it was pleasantly warm and sunny with a breeze. Coming into Fort Bragg, overcast returned. No real danger here except for those Lexas tossers around Bodega Bay. Really a good character-building workout.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 Fort Bragg-Eureka


Departed at 7:15 AM; Arrived at 3 PM, though it takes another hour to find a room
Start V = 63.4; End V = 55.2
Distance = 141.8; OD = 1844.6
Regen = 3.9%; Vmin = 53.5
MaxS is buggered; AveS = 25.7
Trip Time = 5:30:24
Room at Travelodge for $87.99

Weather was cold and damp in the morning but that didn’t last long as the sun peaked out and began to lift the sky. I was heading through the woods up the tallest summit of the entire leg north by this time and upon reaching the crest began to peel off the layers. It stayed nice and pleasant all the way through the Avenue of the Giants until I reached the last crossing of the Eel River just before Fortuna when the wind picked up. The evening was overcast off and on as the clouds ebbed and flowed back and forth. Scary parts if there were some was the insecurity first time I got onto US-101 freeway, but then my skin grew thick and just went for it.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Thursday, August 18th, 2011 Eureka-Gold Beach


Departed at 9 AM; Arrived at 4:30 PM
Start V = 63.4; End V = 54.3
Distance = 140.4; OD = 1985.0
Regen = 1%; Vmin = 52.7
MaxS = 41.2; AveS = 28.1
Trip Time = 4:59:57
Hosted by Rassy at Oceanside RV Park

Weather was a bit overcast and traffic was heavy for much of the morning although both lifted after leaving Crescent City and made for a really warm day all the way until just before the Pistol River when I encountered the most severe wind and buffeting that I have ever experienced. Fighting the last 18 miles chewed right through my pack. With Rassy, we sorted out that it would be a problem as I moved north, so we developed another plan to bring me inland at the next best opportunity – Florence. My humble thanks to Rassy for being a most-excellent host!

Originally posted status here, with Backfill Part I and Part II.

MAP: Friday, August 19th, 2011 Gold Beach-Florence


Departed at 6:30 AM; Arrived about 2:15 PM, though took another 45 minutes to find a room.
Start V = 63.4; End V = 55.1
Distance = 129.1; OD = 2114.1
Regen = 0.4%; Vmin = 53.5
MaxS = 40.7; AveS = 26.5
Trip Time = 4:51:51
Room at the Lighthouse Inn for $103.40 (the most expensive of the entire trip)

Weather was cool and clear in the morning and I made good progress through the day as it warmed up. The wind began to pick up slightly and was only an issue near the end of the riding day. I very much liked the country between Coos Bay and Florence.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill Part Iand Part II.

MAP: Saturday, August 20th, 2011 Florence-McMinnville


Departed at 7:35 AM; Arrived at 3:30 PM though took ½ hour to find a room.
Start V = 63.4; End V = 55.8;
Distance = 140.5; OD = 2254.6
Regen = 0.9%; Vmin = 54.2
MaxS = 407.7; AveS = 25.8
Trip Time = 5:26:45
Room at Motel 6 for $71.99

Weather was cool and foggy in the morning, though as I made my way up the river inland this lifted quickly, and by the time I came to where Hwy 36 peeled off from Hwy 126 it was sunny – though I was still shaded by mountains. Overall pleasant and scenic riding all the way until I reached the Willamette Valley; I most humbly thank Rassy for selecting this route! Once in the Valley it began to heat up and become like a hot skillet; I was definitely suffering heat stroke by the time I reached McMinnville. However it cooled off quickly and became a pleasant evening.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Sunday, August 21st, 2011 McMinnville-Centralia


Departed at 6:10 AM; Arrived at 1:40 PM
Start V = 63.3; End V = 55.4
Distance = 143.0; OD = 2397.6
Regen = 2.0%; Vmin = 53.7
MaxS = 42.1; AveS = 27.3
Trip Time = 5:05:44
Room at Motel 6 for $43.95 (the least expensive :mrgreen: )

Weather in the morning was cool and twilight. Sunrise was shortly after Yamhill, and continued to warm up as the day progressed, becoming quite warm and humid by afternoon. It was a damn good ride out with little traffic until reaching Portland Metro and US-30, but north of Longview was pleasant and fine.

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

MAP: Monday, August 22nd, 2011 Centralia-Redmond
Last Day!


Departed at 6:30 AM; Arrived at 2:28 PM
Start V = 63.4; End V = 56.3
Distance = 118.1 (does not include ferry miles); Final Odometer = 2515.7 (a new KF record :mrgreen: )
Regen = 3.3%; Vmin = 54.5
MaxS = 39.6; AveS = 27.1
Trip Time = 4:21:22
Hosted by myself :)

Weather was humid, cool, and overcast. The sky threatened that nasty 4-letter word that starts with R. For a brief moment the sun peaked through but then things grew ugly and dark and most unpleasant as I headed north. Decided to bail on the approaching storm and hung a right and the first opportunity after Shelton making an exit through Bremerton across the Sound via the ferry to Seattle. In the last miles cutting up through Bellevue then Redmond the sky opened up and it started coming down. Thus – my trip begins & ends in the rain. Fitting is it not? :?

Originally posted status here, with Backfill here.

Unbelievably awesome notes KF! Priceless for someone else considering similar trips.

Have you been considering a long range record attempt yet :)
grindz145 said:
Unbelievably awesome notes KF! Priceless for someone else considering similar trips.

Have you been considering a long range record attempt yet :)
Heh! More like the Speed record - but that might be reaching beyond my skill. :D

I have been thinking: For my next feat ~ something a tad bit more epic: Coast to Coast diagonally! I haven’t picked out the route yet though I know whom I wish to visit near the end; my oldest brother lives in South Carolina. Thinking out loud, I could very well imagine taking I-90 east from Seattle to Missoula, pass through Yellowstone to Casper, then wiggle down to Kansas City, then Nashville perhaps. Although I haven’t given much thought about the time of year or the route back – if entertaining a loop. If it’s a one-way then I could be selective, but if we're talking about a loop, well – might as well throw in Pikes Peak as a destination for the way back, yes? :wink:

If wishes were horses that beggars could ride. I don’t think that I will want to pedal though; I have my heart set on building an eMotorcycle next and trying to sustain 200-300 miles/day.

What’s the weather like on the East Coast in the Fall? Less tornados and thunderstorms?

Dreamin’, KF
Stats and Trivia

  • Duration: Departed on July 26th and returned on August 22nd; 28 days total
  • Number of days riding: 20 – including the false start in Bend cos I traveled over 30 miles that day which is farther than the 19 miles between San Francisco and San Rafael.
  • Total Distance: 2515.7 miles :mrgreen:
  • Shortest distance: 19 miles between San Francisco and San Rafael.
  • Farthest single distance in one day: 186.6 miles between Pioneer and Fresno :D
  • Farthest distance on a single charge: 165.3 miles between San Rafael and Fort Bragg :mrgreen:
  • Fastest Speed: :twisted: 44.0 mph bombing down Hwy 88 towards Pioneer. Average Max-Speed was 40.4 mph!
  • Average Speed: Fastest = 29.4 mph between Johnsville and Pioneer. Slowest = 23.8 mph between San Rafael and Fort Bragg. Overall = 26.2 mph.
  • Average voltage: Starting = 63.3; Ending = 56.1
  • Opportunity charges: Most per day tied at 2; Klamath Falls to Burney & Johnsville to Pioneer. I stopped for a total of 6 times. I did not stop once though after hitting Fresno because I figured out that if I dropped my top-speed by 3-4 mph that it would extend my pack the same amount as if I stopped and charged for an hour, and that’s how I managed to get up the coast during windy weather or climb the steep hills.
  • Highest Pass climbed: Tied at > 8600 feet; Hwy 89 over Mount Lassen National Park going to Greenville & Hwy 88 over Kit Carson Pass going to Pioneer.
  • Shortest Day: Technically it’s a toss depending on how it is judged. The shortest single complete ride was between Greenville and Johnsville – taking 3 hours to go 55 miles. However San Francisco to San Rafael was only 19 miles and took 1 hour 40 minutes – although I had been out riding the whole day.
  • Longest day: About 13.5 hours between Pioneer and Fresno due to the flat tire.
  • Departures: Earliest was 6 AM leaving Fort Bragg to Eureka, and the latest was 4:50 PM to head across the Golden Gate to San Rafael. The average departure (throwing out the two late afternoon times) was 8:15 AM.
  • Arrivals: Earliest is tied between San Francisco at the Presidio and Centralia (2nd time) at 1:40 PM. Latest is tied with Centralia (1st time) and Bend at 8 PM. The average arrival was about 4:36 PM.
  • Time in the Saddle: Depends how this is calculated. Shortest was between San Francisco and San Rafael at 1 hour even, and the longest was between San Rafael and Fort Bragg at nearly 7 hours. The average was about 5 hours.
  • Scariest moment: Probably coming into Portland on US-30 the last 10 miles.
  • Biggest arsehole: Too many to count when they use their vehicle as a weapon, but there was about one/day.
  • Prettiest segment: Awe gosh ~ beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the best of it is just being in the saddle and on the road. However I can answer the ugliest easy enough: Where I had the flat tire! Got tired of looking at that right quick and just wanted to leave ASAP. The runner-up to that was where I dropped the bike in the powdery dirt on Panoche Road just before crossing that piddly little stream; that was no fun either.
  • Cheapest motel: Motel 6 in Centralia at $43.95, followed by the Cinderella Motel in Hollister at $48.60, and in a close third – The Ferryman’s Inn again in Centralia for $49.44.
  • Most Expensive motel: The Lighthouse Inn at Florence for $103.40, followed by the Fort Bragg Travelodge at $93.47, and in a close third, again Travelodge in Eureka for $87.99.
  • Best and worst motel rooms: Cinderella Motel in Hollister had the best charm. Least impressive was a tie between the spendy Charm Motel in Burney, both Travelodge’s in Fort Bragg and Eureka, and the Lighthouse Inn at Florence – all were not worth the money and run down.
  • Best road surface: US-101 when it was freeway, with a runner-up as the Avenue of the Giants for best 2-lane road (little to no traffic).
  • Worst Road Surface: Tied between Tionesta Road – the first 15 miles heading up to Medicine Lake, Panoche Road between I-5 and Hwy 25, and the dirt road leading into my folk’s property. All have their really horrible spots. Climbing steep inclines covered in rubble with urban tires was just no fun at all.
  • Best Bombing Runs: :twisted: Tied between Medicine Lake, from the summit to about 5 miles before Hwy 89 junction, Mount Lassen from the summit to the junction with Hwy 36, and Hwy 88 about 10 miles west of Carson Spur Summit heading towards Pioneer. A runner-up could have been east of the summit of Mount Hood – although I was still a bit in fear of going too fast and trying to understand the bike and trailer – but Hwy 26 there does have two summits and there are some good drops between the first and Warm Springs.
  • Best Weather: Between Johnsville and Pioneer; the whole day was marvelous! 8)
  • Worst Weather: Tied between leaving Redmond and coming back to Redmond. A runner-up would be the last 18 miles to Gold Beach, though up till then it was one of the finest days on the coast and I was making great time!
  • Best Brewery: I thought the Park Chalet in San Francisco had the most memorable beer cos I wuz enjoying it with my ePals! :D
  • Worst moment: The Flat Tire, bar none. :|
  • Closest I came to running out of power: Tied at 54.3V left on the pack; coming into Fort Bragg and again two days later coming in to Gold beach after fighting the fierce buffeting with the sag dropping as low as 52.7. LVC was set to 50V so I had only a few minutes left – possibly ½ hour.

I will post a critical review of what went well and what didn’t probably tomorrow. Please feel free to ask questions.

Best, KF :)
What went well and…
Part I


Design before implementation.

It never hurts to plan. :) I began a year in advance – and actually, it was far longer than that if one counts the time daydreaming about the possibilities. This trip however began a year in advance and was based upon the experience gained from the previous attempt.

It was useful to develop alternate plans for whatever reasons because in the field when things go awry, having a ready-made alternative is both timely and smart. It also pays to know the route, although part of the adventure is not knowing what is around the next bend! And although I knew the road through the Avenue of the Giants, it had been over 10 years since I took it and thus became a fresh adventure. 8)

It was also useful to try and plan for a backup place to stay in case there were unforeseen issues, such as trying to reach Santa Cruz and instead settling on Hollister when facing headwind with fatigue setting in. In short – know your limitations, and be prepared with alternate solutions just in case.

I tried to anticipate my needs as far as tools and parts went. Carrying spare tubes and the tools to repair tires was just common sense. Lugging around 3 lbs. of bulky balancing cables was not because I only used them twice and even then it wasn’t necessary. I did not bring a voltmeter because mine were too large; I thank dnmun for his lightweight gift and I used it several times to debug circuitry and throttle issues. I also thank him for providing a most-useful extension cord for the charger. :wink:

Though Spartan, I calculated correctly the amount of clothes to bring – although at the time I wasn’t entirely certain, however each item ultimately vindicated the necessity: At first bringing along a second pair of shoes, no let’s make that heavy hiking boots, seemed ridiculous. However it was great to give my feet a break in the evening, and no doubt I would have been in discomfort if I had tried to walk a mile or more in cycling shoes. I brought essentially two complete sets of riding shorts and shirts, one long-sleeved shirt, one fleece, one rain jacket (not used once), my brightly colored all-weather Seattle jacket, one pair of Levis, and five pairs of underwear and socks. I did my own laundry twice in the sink when there wasn’t access to a washer.

Sorting out places to stay in advanced worked out well. Most of the motels were predetermined with exception when the plans changed at the last minute, such as Centralia, Hollister, Florence and McMinnville. Having sponsors greatly helped and was very much appreciated! And leaning on family was doubly so. I only wished that I had more time to spend with them. :cry:


When the bike was clean on the first day.

Mechanical - Fork
The Marzocchi 44 RLO Bomber front fork required little maintenance other than a periodic wipe down or occasional topping off the pressure. The head bearings were reset thrice to eliminate play. In San Francisco I had the unit evaluated and the growing play in the steering turned out to be from the wear inside the shock and not the cartridge bearings at the head and steerer interface. I didn’t think the problem was severe enough to warrant an expensive replacement. Although I would have preferred a downhill fork, the additional length might have been problematic, as well as trying to figure out how to mount a hub motor through a 20mm axle interface. The RLO Bomber did flex quite a bit and was noted several times by enthusiasts that had flagged me down. I tried not to think about it too much – although in truth, the next bike will have a different system. The custom dual torque arms up forward were never a problem, they held up solidly, and did not requiring a single tune-up.


Front Torque Arm; there’s another just like it on the other side.

Mechanical - Frame
The 2009 Felt Compulsion 1 downhill bike frame flexed more than I imagined when under load. The particular aspects that I did not care for were the rear frame suspension and associated frame spacing for the rear tire. Had I been prescient I would have used a bolt-on dropout instead of the traditional method: The hub axle floated up and down in the slot because the last-minute change in the design placed the motor onto the ebike rather than on the trailer, thus making it a pivot for the trailer hitch; it couldn’t be tightened down properly. Also due to the late configuration the rear torque arms were not manufactured; designed – yes, but there wasn’t enough time to have them made before departure. Thus I had to craft ghetto replacements. Farfle created a left-side clamp-on torque arm that was superior to my ghetto version. If I only had a duplicate on the right side – many of the wheel problems would have been resolved much sooner.

The rear suspension worked properly, however the framework was never designed to support fenders, and I fought and struggled to create a workable solution. In the end, I removed the fender completely, although the longest piece covering the majority of the wheel was reinstalled on the last day to deflect rain. This whole fender business weighs heavily and shall influence the next bike design. The bike frame did flex IMO excessively at the pivot points due to undersized bearings; the frame was designed as a downhill bike and not to haul 200 lbs. of trailer and cargo.


Front and rear wheels.

Tires and Tubes
Generally the wheels worked well enough even though the spokes flexed more than I cared; the heaviest gauge bicycle spokes were used: Sapim Strong Single Butted. The Mavic EX 729 Disc rim on the front tire was not a problem even though it was a bit narrower than I preferred. However the Kris Holm competition rims with the cutout holes had issues and were the source of at least two rim flats. To prevent further, the rim-side facing the tube was tripled-wrapped, first with the thin plastic tape provided by the manufacturer, then by a later of Stop Flats 2, then by a layer of Velox tape.

The tire liners did not stop a ¼ inch lag bolt from penetrating the tube; perhaps steel-belted radials might have. Regardless, next year I plan to use DOT-rated tires to eliminate the tire-flex, wobble, and rotation oscillation due to wheel imbalance. The Hookworm tire treads were fine for all road conditions except in dirt and gravel where they were less effective. Where the dirt road was steep and gravelly or thick with sandy loam, the Hookworms failed to grip. At the end of the road trip though, both front and rear tires showed remarkable little wear after 2500 miles; the little bumps are worn off about an inch wide, although there is plenty of groove left to divert water. I plan to keep them mounted until November before switching to studded. As for the one tire that received the nasty flat, I have yet to plug that hole through the Hookworm; it’s a tough tire and fine for asphalt and concrete.

The foaming latex was a bust for the one flat that I had; I have no idea if it was effective at reducing other flats. The Slime that was used to seal the small leak after patching worked fine; I am still using that tire as is! The Trailer wheel was never a problem and shows little wear except where the wheel covering briefly rubbed against the tire those first two days of the journey.


The Flat Tire: Some things are best forgotten…

The disc brakes however were problematic the entire time. The hub motors where the discs mount are not truly flat nor do they have sufficient clearance to be completely adaptable to American-European bicycles. I futzed around for a whole day trying to shim the front up correctly. Only after a visit to my local bike shop did I come to appreciate the little Park tool used to deflect the disc. Sadly here again the design of the hub motor prevents easy use of this tool. My brakes always rubbed to some degree and it was annoying because it induced drag on the whole system all the time. The other notable artifact is that the discs would heat-warp when braking heavily, although I was grateful this condition would abate after a minute of cooling. Even so, much work needs to be done here – or perhaps I should just forgo bicycle disc brakes altogether and go with DOT-rated motorcycle hydraulic-actuated dual discs.


Just before crossing the Columbia on the way home.

The hitch interface worked out fine and was quite stout throughout the trip. The only issue that I had with it was the lack of a quick disconnection. The method of attachment to the rear bike axle was a problem because the nature of the original design had changed when I removed the motor from the trailer and placed it on the bike; the axle could not be tightened down sufficiently to prevent the bike axle from floating. This was ultimately resolved by adding a hose clamp around the midpoint of the torque arm on each side to prevent the axle from moving within the frame slot. The other end of the hitch at the head-steerer interface required tightening only once – and I did this in Hollister after crossing over that crappy Panoche Road.

The trailer frame, made from the Because Simple Trial bike, unbeknownst to me had excessive flex which completely altered the utility of the design and delayed my road trip by 2-3 weeks. The axial twisting issue was resolved by injecting nearly a whole can of Great Stuff foam into every accessible tube. I would caution anyone attempting this trick to buy the $5 bottle of foam remover, to use gloves, and wear throw-away clothing. Even better is two-part professional auto-body foam filler known to be stronger; if time had allowed – that would have been the optimal solution. My choice made a mess and screwed up my fingertips for weeks.


Messy foam!

Once the trailer flex was fixed, I repurposed it to be a simple cargo hauler instead of a pusher. About 40 lbs. of batteries were moved off and transferred to the bike which enhanced the trailer handling and reduced the wobbled greatly at the expense of creating a heavier bike. Regardless – I had just enough volume to stow all the equipment and clothes. The packing technique continued to evolve as I refined how to enhance the convenience and accessibility of daily items: The bike lock, my hat when not wearing the helmet, the fleece and jacket, my notebook, and my kit which had the sunscreen. The tools, parts, and clothes were packed in cargo bags and which protected the contents from road grim that permeated the insides of the faring – particularly the dust picked up from the Panoche Road over Jackass Pass.


Packing away the goods; make it dead-simple!

The faring for the most part worked well enough. It was a chore to tie the covering down, although I became faster at it as time went. I made it a habit to wipe it down daily and this kept me a little bit cleaner when accessing the contents. If I had to do this again I would likely go with a hard cover rather than a soft, or perhaps put more thought into having an internal framework that held the shape better. Regardless – quick access, particularly to tools, was not a feature. Each time I stowed something I had to lift the trailer at the end and check if the wheel could spin freely.

Towing at first was challenging: The handling was so sensitive, and it would take me three days to nail it down and trust myself. :oops: However by the time I got to Lassen National Park it was becoming quite fun, especially bombing down those grades! :twisted: It was smooth, like butter, and it responded to the slightest nuance and touch. I had used the steering dampener set to about 5 on a 7-scale and this made handling firm at low speed, but was dangerous and severe at high speed. On the third day leaving Portland I tuned all dampening off and this hugely affected low speed stability – making it very sensitive. However at high-speed, it was a dream! Big semi goes by; the wash would suck the bike and trailer and induce a wobble. With strong dampening the whole bike whipped was difficult to contain, however without the dampening the wobble was hugely reduced and it pulled out of it naturally. It took a while but I learned to use feather-touch. Even in heavy gusting wind, that trailer performed like a champ! I would like to believe that the teardrop shape provided the necessary foil and drag that countered the wobble.

Parking the bike though was a challenge as there was not a kickstand. When stopping I had to hunt for a place to lean the bike. When scouting out a motel room I had to be sure the bike and trailer could fit and have easy access. This could be frustrating if there was a step, curb, or planter in the way. Sometimes I’d end up paying $20-30 more just for the convenience.

More… KF
What went well and…
Part II


Medicine Lake: My first high summit… after Mount Hood 8)

Electrical – Controller and features
This is a two-wheel-drive (2WD) electric bike, utilizing two asynchronous motor controllers driving two differently sized tires, although using identical hub motors. At the end of the journey I can positivity and clearly state what the real issues were – although on the road, this was much more difficult to pinpoint.

The architecture was one controller driving the second controller; master-slave. It wasn’t my idea, although I probably exploited the concept more effectively than anyone else: I took the signals from the instrumentation of one controller and forked it over to the other. These included Throttle, eBrake, Cruise, and 3-Way. All Ground (GND) was shared except for the DC-DC Converter GND which was isolated – and I kept it that way for those circuits (headlights, stop lights, taillights, blinkies, and indicators). Power from the 5-Volt converter of the Master/Primary Controller pushed the signals to the Salved/Secondary Controller. The issues with this occurred repeatedly when Throttle was in full demand and the bike was under heavy load, such as climbing a hill or pulling out of a curve. Modest loads were not a problem, although in heavy load conditions the voltage would sag on the Primary 5-Volt circuit and would not be sufficient to drive the throttle signal to the Secondary. The result was my rear tire would drop out at a time when it was most desired. This went on for days and weeks until Lyen suggested a possible cause. After that – I modified my behavior and feathered the throttle instead of asking for WOT – and the problem went away. :) I also decided to become more efficient and drop-gear when climbing hills, and that had me well into the torquey power-band of 2WD which is just plain fun when rounding low-speed twisty coastal corners through the dense redwood forests! 8)

Regen worked fine for 2WD with both wheels pulling very hard – excessively so in fact after the R12 mod which raised the HVC to 94 volts. However after mating the trailer, both wheels stopped producing regen. I resolved this by disconnecting the pin from the connector where the signals forked over to the Secondary Controller, and regen was restored to the front hub. In San Francisco, Lyen and I discussed the issue and figured out that the unified eBrake signal from either controller was being overruled by the opposite controller when pulled to GND. The solution – other than pulling the wire from one, was to insert a diode in the outbound direction, likely inside the Controller case, to prevent reverse current. I didn’t have time to affect this mod on the road although thanks to Lyen I can make this change at a time of my choosing. :D


Original eBrake switches superglued in place. Afterwards I figured it was better to screw them down.

The other problem with the eBrake was that the Microswitch used to engage the control was flakey. Previously I had used superglue to mount it to the brake lever. However now I had a second microswitch to trigger the brake light circuit. The two switches stacked in this manner were knocked off by the strain of the faring covering it – twice. I think I bought maybe 8 of these switches from Radio Shack between June and August trying to resolve the problem until I found a tiny set of 4-40 UNC screws which I used to fasten and secure the microswitches once and for all at Farfle’s shop.

The Cruise Control worked haphazardly; sometimes the front hub would get the signal and sometimes the rear. On the flat it was difficult to tell if this occurred, however it was readily apparent on inclines. The solution was to try again until the setting was accepted by both wheels. I had the delay set to 1 second, and holding for a bit longer typically made it work. The horn button on the 3-Way Light Switch (the dashboard control adapted for this function) broke off after Bend on the way to Klamath Falls, and I was without Cruise all the way until I got to my folk’s property outside of Johnsville over 300 miles later. I stopped at a Radio Shack in Quincy and picked up a momentary switch which was used to replace the embedded stock unit. Later in the journey the button broke off again, but this time there was enough of a center stub that I could still affect the switch closure.


Cruise Control repaired.

The 3-Way control worked fine. I had three settings which transmuted the 24-Amp Battery/60-Amp Phase Current to 52%, 85%, and 120%, providing speeds of 20 mph, 33 mph, and 42 mph on a flat without wind. The low speed was rarely used. I stayed in medium the whole time except once when I came back from lunch and thought I was traveling a little too fast for my boots and found someone had been toying and set it high. Yesterday out of a lark I set it to high and was pleased to be able to keep up with urban traffic doing 40 mph! I just wanted to test it – that’s all: Still works! :twisted: So in essence, I had 2 hp programmed to each hub motor, though I was running at 85% the lion’s share of the time; about 3.45 hp to the wheels when at WOT. No complaints. 8)

The placement of the controllers hanging off the rear suspension and the cabling to them was a continuous source of frustration. First, I had hooked the controller’s metal tab inside the frame and that slightly reduced the tire clearance; when the wheel would flex or the axle would transposed, the tire would rub against the tab when it wasn’t rubbing against the fender. Second, the placement of the controllers interfered with the mounting of the panniers. Looking at the left side of the bike, the left upper corner of the pannier would push against the controller, shoving that little tab into the tire region about an 1/8th of an inch. I applied a field repair on the backside of Lassen which pulled the two controllers together and reduced the intrusion. The real solution though is to find another place to mount the controllers. :|

The third problem was the battery and signal cabling that routed through the most dynamic part of the bike where the suspension rocked back and forth. I mistakenly believed that the intermittent signals of the dashboard devices, particularly the throttle problems were instigated by the cabling and connectors here. Regardless, this whole nested cabling business requires new thought and routing to reduce the congestion.


Built to last!

Finally, I was very pleased with my Lyen 12-FET 100V-rated Controller which was used to drive the Secondary controller (earlier version of the same design). Both the controllers and the motors never became so warm that I could tell. Once after a good hard climb I felt them, and warm was all they were. The 2WD arrangement is the best for optimum hill climbing and sustained speeds under heavy loads.

Electrical - Miscellaneous
I had installed a DC-DC converter to create the 3.3 and 12 volt auxiliary power for vehicle lighting. It also fed power to a 12-volt USB hub which I used to power my smartphone (sic) and keep it charged. I had pesky issues with the dumbphone; each time I disconnected the power it would go through this silly media scan which would take like 2 or 3 annoying minutes to complete. It also had a habit of requiring reboot every couple of days. Listening to my music was enjoyable at night. And the camera was partly useful, however near the end of my trip the phone decided to randomly delete 1/3 of my photos. When I discussed the matter with Verizon they suggested that I contact Google since it is clearly an operating system error. Sorry – buck stops with the seller. Because my photos were deleted I do not recommend purchase of the Samsung Droid Charge. As a phone and navigation device, it worked well enough when I had a connection.


Da Black Box!

The other feature under the front faring was da Black Box that the DC-DC converter was attached to: This unit housed the relay which triggered the brake light from the ebrake (never worked and was disconnected). It also had the Left-Right signal indicator relay which did work – perfectly! Lastly it housed the key switch that disconnected the VCC-L to the Controller brains; this worked well too. Alas – I never got around to hooking up plasma cannons or neutering ray guns. There’s always next year! :wink:

As motors go – beyond the physical mounting and brake issues, the Ebike-Kit motors that I purchased worked flawlessly, provided ample torque and speed, and generally operated exceedingly well. The issues with the rear motor cutting out could be traced to external factors, and between those two aluminum hub covers they were apparently not at fault at any time.

Battery cabling was for the most part given to be problematic where the connections flexed. I spent a good deal of time trying to plan out my electrical cabling only to find that I had to hack into it to complete the ad hoc migration of batteries forward from the trailer. I found myself pulling every bit of previous battery cabling out of the pile of creativity to manufacture a quick solution that would put me On the Road. For weeks I wondered if the forward battery pack of the saddle bags were connected properly; the cables were stretched and taught to the extreme limits. Upon return to Redmond after unpacking – it was apparent they remained connected. :)

Personally, I dislike the Anderson Power Poles (APP). At every connection where there is flexing, there will also be an opportunity for charring. The bullet connectors are better IMO. The next rig I build will likely use those instead. For all my cabling, I ran 10-AWG except at the 8-AWG main bus that unified all the disparate battery assemblies before connecting to the controllers and DC-DC converter. The phase harness to both motors used 10-AWG. The phase wiring through the front hub was upgraded to Mil-Spec 12-AWG, however the rear hub was left unmodified (guessing it’s 14-AWG). The phase wires of the rear hub did become hot enough to melt through the external cable sheath although did not melt through the individual wire lining. The left-side rear pannier did rub against the phase wiring and it was determined that this affected the Hall Effect signals back to the controller, causing the motor to “misfire” and make a horribly nasty grinding sound. Once discovered (at Leggett) I rerouted the cabling and the problem went away for good. :)

The cabling to the trailer was all good and not ever a problem. However I was not a fan of the huge rat’s nest require to connect the bundle of batteries in each Sears Craftsman tool box; there must be a better way to create compact wiring! I remain convinced that there was 10 lbs. of copper wiring easily between the bike and trailer.

The Charger assembly worked out well enough. Had I known the actual output and duration of charging I would have opted for a higher-wattage unit. One pesky issue that was cumbersome is that the manner in which the wire attaches is not very strong; these units were not designed for portability and as such there isn’t a provision for a cable strain relief. I had to field repair this unit several times when the wires would pull out – wrecking the connection point. Next year I will design an integrated unit with an industry-standard detachable cord.


Crowded Handlebar.

Other Handlebar Issues
I may have said this before but the aerobars are a bust. The bike was too sensitive to use them, however they look cool! With them in place there is little room for anything else and that meant for difficulty reaching critical controls, such as the shift levers or the people-bell, the latter of which hardly works at all because it is too sandwiched and the level will not ring the bell. The Signal control that runs the Left/Right indicators is also difficult to reach; I have to use my eyes to find it and once set does not automatically reset as would a normal vehicle. The high-powered LED headlights suffered miserably and continuously because the flimsy regulators mounted in the push-button ends faltered and failed to retain their settings. I need to fix this before winter arrives.

The throttle control is sensitive. And actually I had used the Magura resistor throttle for the first few days of my journey when the original Hall-Effect throttle died right before I left. Farfle’s boss from Bend Electric Bikes gifted me a nice HE throttle and the resolution was much improved. However – we still do not have a solid throttle control that provides a smooth linear transition between cold stop and WOT without having some artifacts, voids, and surges.

The left and right mirrors worked out well enough. There is no perfect solution, however these bar-end mirrors were about the best that one could hope for. Though I brought the parts along, I never did get around to mounting the turn indicators or blinkies on the trailer. The indicators were of poor construction and the posts of two pulled right out, and I didn’t have another set. I just never got around to mounting the blinkies; I heard several times that someone would have to have been blind to miss my bike on the road. :lol:

Miscellaneous Equipment
The panniers were different this year; Ortlieb went cheap and removed some of the fastening ability. I had 9 batteries loaded on each side this time; last year it was double. The handling of the bike was hugely affected by too much weight here and I already had more than I wanted. Adding to that was the weight of 4 quarts of water and Gatorade. To prevent the panniers from flying free I had secured them to the frame with a nylon-poly rope which was an improvement over last years’ strapping. It still wasn’t optimal – though certainly much more of an improvement.

I thought my Brookes Saddle would be the comfort ticket this year, but alas – all bicycle seats are uncomfortable after 50 miles. On a hot day I ended up stopping every 15-20 miles to get off the bike and water-up; to get the blood flowing again in my posterior and to the wrists. Cool days I could go much farther; up to 40 miles without a break.


A rear view of bling!

The most enjoyable bit of equipment on the bike though was the “Diametric Coriolis Inductive Regenerator” aka propeller. It was the source of many laughs and amusement. Only one person took me seriously after pointing it out, to which upon hearing the description of the unit, replied “Sooo – it’s functional then?” One born every minute. The best group response was for a good long stretch of road between Ahwahnee-Oakhurst-Coursegold; many people drove by and gave me the thumbs-up sign of approval or waved back out their sunroofs! I still have it mounted; the utility is too good-natured to resist. My Hot Wheels nerf bar came in a distant second: Just before my trip I was eating at my favorite local Teriyaki place when an older guy came in and asked if I was the owner of that electric bike; he looked the bike over and said “I see that the model is ‘Hot Wheels’, but who is the manufacturer?”


Too hot to handle…

In all, about twice a day I would get flagged down and asked about the bike. In that sense – visually, the design was a success! Functionally, it got me from here to there and back again. There were many nagging issues and one flat tire, however – there were also 28 days On the Road that I shall never forget. It was fun, it was painful, it was hot, cold, warm, windy, still, gusting, dry, wet, foggy, sunny, cloudy, twilight, moonless, moon-shadow, smoky, hazy, clear as a bell, massive, majestic, and starlit. I fought the road, I fought my demons, I fought the pesky gremlins gnawing on my systems, I fought the Chupacabra (at least in my head), but I never fought zombies or vampires even though I was prepared with my trusty wooden stake. I experienced this road trip by myself, with my friends, with my family, with many kindred strangers, and even a few arseholes – but let’s not think about them. I was lucky, I was in love with the freedom of being On the Road, and I got to share that in real time online with those that enjoined to listen. Perhaps naivety and angst are as valuable as much as wit and wisdom…

In The End, I made it home alright.
Thanks for listening, KF 8)
I love how well you detailed the follow up post. Especially the issues you had with the 2wd electrical setup.

Some notes:

Wear on the hookworms: I have like 10,000 miles on mine. Yeah. They're almost completely slick, but they're still holding up!

Trailer sway: I had the same problem on my lawn care trailer. I made the tongue as short as possible and reinforced it to prevent it from flexing. I also moved the load much farther forward.

44 RLO: I have this fork, and I'm curious about the issues you had with it. You said it developed play because of some wear inside of it? Also, that it has some flex? I don't know much about suspension forks!

Anyways, great looking trip! Mind if I do an ebike of the week feature on it?
I wonder what it would take me to go from chicago to petoskey, mi with my 9c and a life pack expanded from .7kWh... On a 29er with big apple tires... It sounds like a lot of fun

Roughly 300 miles. 300 in a day would be awesome! That would take like 5-7kWh probably
auraslip said:
I love how well you detailed the follow up post. Especially the issues you had with the 2wd electrical setup.

Some notes:

Wear on the hookworms: I have like 10,000 miles on mine. Yeah. They're almost completely slick, but they're still holding up!

Trailer sway: I had the same problem on my lawn care trailer. I made the tongue as short as possible and reinforced it to prevent it from flexing. I also moved the load much farther forward.

44 RLO: I have this fork, and I'm curious about the issues you had with it. You said it developed play because of some wear inside of it? Also, that it has some flex? I don't know much about suspension forks!

Anyways, great looking trip! Mind if I do an ebike of the week feature on it?
Hookworms: Yes, I am quite impressed considering that last year after my 550-mile road trip that the tire wore out just a couple of hundred miles later. Much of that wear though was due to not having enough weight placed forward on the bike, thus the tire was actually slipping. However – those Hookworms are wearing like iron; I am pleased to hear you’ve gone so far on them! :)

Trailer: Loading the trailer was a constant learning process until the last week when I got it about as sorted as could be. The one sticky problem was how to package the charger and I didn’t have a cable strain relief which lead to more problems. Overall though, the sensitivity and the design worked to produce a very gifted driving experience at relatively high speed (> 30 mph). Moving the heavier items forward did help.

44 RLO Fork: The fork was in constant flex as you can imagine. I probably pushed it to the limit with the speed and mass that it was tasked to handle. After a few days of hard riding I noticed “play” in the steering. My wheel-builder guy instructed me how to properly tighten the head and set the load on the integrated cartridge bearings (top-of-the-line Cane Creek 110 Headset), and I did that three times over the course of the trip which helped a little bit. Whilst in San Francisco I thought it would be prudent to have a professional look it over. First he said he wanted me to disassemble the bike from the fork and bring it in; I gave him the eyeball and flat out told him that was completely unnecessary to “test” the wear, and invited him to step outside and take a look at what I have. This completely changed his demeanor and he was duly impressed with my modifications. Weighing the bike and the balance and the so-called play, he said the cartridge bearings were fine, but then he said that the fork’s shock-bearings were displaying wear as if I had been riding downhill for 3 years. Then he wanted to sell me a new fork. :lol: So – I’ve been around the block a few times and I figured that his game was to get me to purchase a $1500 fork – that’s if he had one in stock, which maybe he did… maybe he didn’t. Regardless – I understand the construction of shocks, and shock bearings are more robust than cartridge bearings! I was worried about the front snapping off; obviously that was not going to happen and certainly the guy didn’t think so. Therefore I passed on the potential repair and/or sale and motored on down the road. End of worry.

Ebike Feature: Go for it. 8)

Cheers, KF
First he said he wanted me to disassemble the bike from the fork and bring it in; I gave him the eyeball and flat out told him that was completely unnecessary to “test” the wear,

Weighing the bike and the balance and the so-called play, he said the cartridge bearings were fine, but then he said that the fork’s shock-bearings were displaying wear as if I had been riding downhill for 3 years. Regardless – I understand the construction of shocks, and shock bearings are more robust than cartridge bearings!

Then he wanted to sell me a new fork. :lol: So – I’ve been around the block a few times and I figured that his game was to get me to purchase a $1500 fork

Sounds about right :eek:

I think mine came stock set to 120mm.I understand that you can take them apart and set it to 100mm. (or maybe even 80mm??) Perhaps that would help with the flexing?
hillzofvalp said:
I wonder what it would take me to go from chicago to petoskey, mi with my 9c and a life pack expanded from .7kWh... On a 29er with big apple tires... It sounds like a lot of fun

Roughly 300 miles. 300 in a day would be awesome! That would take like 5-7kWh probably
Friend, 300 miles is a lot of pedaling! :shock: I consider myself to be in good shape – but I haven’t yet gone 200 in one day. Let’s do the math:
  • Figure that you have no headwind – except what you make (optimistic)
  • Figure that you are taking enough battery capacity to make the run and no spare parts or clothes.
  • Motor = 9C, 2806 or 2807 on a 29-inch wheel with big fatties; sounds good!
  • Chicago is 597 ft (182 m) and Petoskey is at 666 ft (202 m); so close that we could exclude the elevation differences as miniscule. We presume the road is smooth like glass; freeway quality.
  • Speed: This is where it gets tricky cos you want to do 300 miles in one day! Let’s say you are one studly young guy in top-flight shape and can ride for 10 hours in the seat with minimal breaks for rest, food, water, etc. Every hour you stop for 10 minutes to rest – which is reasonable. Your bike does not require maintenance of any sort during the trip; you can just focus on rest and hi-caloric food. It means that you must average 30 mph – and actually a little faster; but 30 mph is doable and I can testify that on one day I averaged 29.4 mph – so I know it can be done. Therefore I calculate it as 70 minutes per segment x 10 segments = 700 minutes = 11-2/3 hours. Not a problem; it can be done cos you are a stud! :wink:
  • A single 9C hub will require no less than 42V and 1500W to go 30 mph on a nearly empty bike; I know this from last year cos that’s how I ran. However – you need to go the distance which means you need a boat-load of batteries to sustain that kind of speed for any length of time. I said 10 hours of riding at 1500W, therefore you’d need 15kWh.
    Problem is that batteries weigh, and that mass will act like a drag on your system. We get around that by increasing the voltage (which is what I did) to 63V which can easily sustain 33 mph at WOT without headwind. I did not test to see how far I could go on a flat with my pack; the farthest distance on a single charge was 165 miles at sea level, but it was a hilly twisty windy day. I remain convinced though that 200 miles is completely possible under the correct (and windless) conditions using my 8kWh battery pack.
    You however need to go 300 miles, and simple math suggests at least 12kWh. My batteries weighed in at about 100 lbs. but you will need 150 lbs. of LiPo. We’ve stripped the bike down so you carry no extra frills and the extra 50 lbs. of batteries is not a problem. The question that I have is whether you could do this with a single hub motor or will you need a 2WD bike. With all the weight that I had, my eBike struggled to climb hills with one motor, however with two engaged - was a scream! You would have to weigh that decision yourself.
In conclusion, yes – I think it could be done, and even better with a tailwind. :mrgreen:
To your success, KF