Blog: november 2017
Get moving is a very good advice. But once you've started, how do you proceed? I went from not being able to cycle at all to about 10 miles within one year of recovery. On a good day even 20 kilometers. Provided I don't get high bridges, dirt roads or headwinds on the way. But that is something I don't know in advance and that's exactly where the problem lies.
I want to cycle more and further, but I don't dare to go outside my calibrated round for fear that I won't come back because of pain and fatigue. Don't get me wrong, I have a hard and stubborn head. If my back (and leg) indicate that they can no longer do it, I will manage to come home….on willpower and perseverance. But the price is so high…..back on the couch for a week. No thanks. Time for a different solution.
An electric bike! It seems like everyone has them these days. At first I thought it's only for old people, but boy I was wrong. It's just hip!
The search took longer than expected and I was faced with striking surprises.
What should you pay attention to when choosing an electric bicycle?
First of all you have to ask yourself
What do I want to use the bike for?
As an example I will discuss three different options where you have to pay attention to different things.
If you want to do your grocery shopping in the city, you need a bicycle that can hold sturdy panniers and possibly also a bag on the handlebars. For the first, a rear-wheel drive is not convenient, because then all the weight is in the butt (rear wheel and luggage carrier) and the bike becomes top heavy if you also do groceries in it. For a bag or basket on the handlebars, a front-wheel drive is not convenient. The weight of the front-wheel drive in the hub makes it harder to steer. This is already vastly improved compared to the first electric bicycles, but if you also want a bag on the handlebars or a basket for the handlebars, it becomes really hard to steer. For a bicycle that you want to pack, it is therefore best to go for a mid-mounted motor. This has the center of gravity around the bottom bracket, which balances the bike nicely.
If you want to enjoy cycling in the area or even make whole day trips, it is important to make sure you have enough gears. Can you switch nice and light? Can you put the bike on a light gear in case there is a headwind or if you have to cross a mountain (or dike or viaduct or bridge)? But if you have a tailwind or if you are going down the mountain, you also want to be able to pedal really hard, especially if you have a good day. It is also important that you purchase a sufficiently large battery. What is approximately the amount of kilometers you want to drive in one day? Do you expect to have support from the start or only halfway through? How much support do you think you need?
If you are in doubt between two batteries, take the larger one just to be sure. You sometimes have to pay extra for this, but then you can cycle comfortably. If you take a small battery and later want to buy a larger battery, it is often more expensive.
Can you cycle sportily with an electric bicycle? Yes, there are even mountain bikes with electric assistance. You can also only have support switched on at a certain pressure on the pedals, so that you have to cycle a percentage yourself before you receive help. If you are going to cycle in a really sporty way (read more than 40 kilometers more than 3 times a week), it is especially important to pay attention to your posture. This is of course always important, but the more often and longer you sit on the bike, the more important it becomes. Real cyclists and mountain bikers often have the bicycle adjusted for personal use. If you want, you can also do this yourself.
Read more about my search for an electric bike soon. Then I'm going to talk about the different drives and the surprise that knocked me out for a while.