Day 36 Valpariso to Kendalville, IN – 114 Miles through flat farmland

day36
114 Miles through flat farmland

MapMyRide Stats:   114 Miles  |  Time:  6:27   |  17.6 Mph

This was an excellent day for cycling.  The temperature was in the high 70’s with a slight tailwind.  The sky was blue all day and there was a zero percent chance of rain.  The cycling through Indiana was flat with lots of soybeans and corn.

DSC01843
Sunrise in the cool, misty morning

Kendallville is a warm town who welcomed us with a dinner with the Mayor, W. SuzAnne Handshoe.  The Parks Department and their board of directors made us dinner and breakfast in Bixler Lake Park.  Their hospitality was gracious and generous.  They made us feel like family.

DSC01877
Kendallville is very patriotic. They have many soldiers who serve our country.
DSC01876
The flat land in Indiana is used for growing lots of corn and soybeans.

Battery report:  For those of you who want to know about how the electric bicycle handles this high mileage, here are some details from today’s ride:

Battery 1-35 miles

Battery 2-30 miles

Battery 3-40 miles

Battery 4 just started when we reached our destination — the county park.

At this point in the trip, we have accumulated about 2500 miles and the battery life is hovering around 35-40 miles per battery.  Each day, I try to completely discharge the battery before changing it.  Each night, I run three chargers with three batteries.  I carry three on the bike and keep one in the mechanic’s truck in case it is needed in an emergency.  The extra battery on the truck is available every day if I think I am running low on power.  I am riding the electric bike with the power assist at levels 2 and 3 most of the time.  After 36 days on the road, I have only used four batteries twice, and both days were over 100 miles.

[wpvideo ail8De53]

DSC01869
Soybeans….lots of soybeans

DSC01879

 

My Electric Bicycle – Touring Coast to Coast

Everyone wants to know about the electric bike…

I am probably the first woman to ride an e-bike coast to coast.   I absolutely love the electric bike.  The Pedego Interceptor bike is the most wonderful bicycle I have ever ridden. People ask me why?  Well, most people have never ridden one, so they don’t know what they don’t know.  To shed some light on why the e-bke… there are some details below.

I-love-my-pedego

I have been an avid cyclist since age 12 when I rode my brother’s spider bike at Girl Scout Camp for bicycle touring in 1968.  I remember while cycling…this is what “happy” feels like.  This is where I fell in love with cycling.  I love to ride because it makes me happy.  I have bicycle toured all through Europe.  I have done several long tours, the longest from Tampa up the east coast to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  While riding all my life, I have slowly given in to the inevitable – old age.  I have three adult children, and have retired from my job as a school teacher.  As an old lady, the e-bike has breathed new life into my cycling aspirations.  I can keep up with my husband.

The e-bike is a great equalizer, we ride at his pace and he never has to wait for me at the top of the hills or when he has a burst of speed.  I am always there.  We both love it!!  At big rides, I love being the old lady who passes all the racer dudes.  Ha Hah!  We all want to be the fastest, the stronger rider in the group…right?  It is the cheater method to speed.  It is thrills-ville for me.  My husband thinks it is the transportation of the future.  Efficient, fun, and fast.  My husband said “It is the renewable transportation alternative” he thinks the e-bike is fantastic and is just as thrilled as I am.  It is a transportation alternative for people who live in hilly cycling areas (like my home Pittsburgh – in the Allegheny mountains).   What is the carbon footprint?  I will have to find this answer, but I know it is low-maintenance and designed with options like pedal assist and hand throttle – both of which are good for different purposes.

I own many bikes:

  1. 1974 Schwinn Varsity
  2. 1978 Schwinn Paramount (SECOND BEST EVER)
  3. 1979 Schwinn LeTour
  4. 1981 Terry Precision Road Bike
  5. 1984 Nashbar Mountain Bike
  6. 1992 Nishicki Tandem
  7. 1996 Specialized MTB Tandem
  8. 1999 Giant Cruiser
  9. 2009 Powabike 1 & 2 (first e-bikes)
  10. 2011 Crappy e-bike
  11. 2012 Pedego Interceptor – Orange
  12. 2014 Pedego Interceptor – Fluorescent Orange  (BEST EVER)

For the Big Ride Across America, I am set up to carry 3 batteries with me on the bike.  I am averaging about 45 to 60 miles per battery depending on the terrain and mileage.  In all I have only ever used the 3rd battery once for a night time ride while the other two were charging.

The Big Ride Across America - Three Batteries
The Big Ride Across America – Three Batteries

The battery:

  1. Volts:  48
  2. Type:  Lithium Ion
  3. Weight:  about 8 pounds
  4. AMP Hours:
  5. Watt Hours:
  6. Top Speed:  25 (cuts out at 25)
  7. Avg Speed:  13-17  depends on terrain and ride partners
  8. Range:  40 – 60 miles
Nightly Re-charge
Nightly Re-charge

The battery takes a long time to charge when fully discharged – about 8 hours or less.  On this Coast-to-coast bicycle tour, I carry three batteries and have only needed two.   With each day being between 85 – 100 miles, it is important to both my husband and I that we are self-sufficient and try to carry what we will need for the entire day.  We chose Ortlieb waterproof panniers to carry the two extra batteries.

Controler - MPH, Mileage and Mode (pedal assist levels 1-5)
Controller – MPH, Mileage and Mode (pedal assist levels 1-5)

To ride an e-bike requires a certain amount of cycling skill.  The throttle is the easy way to get started on an e-bike it is pretty much like you would imagine.  You pull the throttle and the bike moves forward.  It could be a lot of work to pedal the heavy bike from place to place.  The throttle helps you catch up, gives you a boost up the hill and makes multilevel terrain more tolerable.

The pedal assist setting on the controller is another story.   I have had pedal assist on a previous bike, but never really liked it till now.  I was surprised how much I like the Pedego power-assist setting.  My husband (riding partner) really likes the pedal assist because I can pace him and a steady speed and cut the headwinds with my upright position and create a vacuum behind me for him to ride with ease.  He also can help me control the level of pedal assist between levels 1, 2 and 3 depending on how fast he wants to ride.  Level 1 is about 8 mph (up steep hills), Level 2 is about 14 mph for flats, Level 3 is about 17-18 mph and good for pace-lines and tailwinds.  He sets the pace and lets me know when to pace him at a higher or lower level of assist.  I can pull the front for most of the ride and push a higher speed than we might otherwise ride.  The pedal assist is very steady and wonderful for pulling through a headwind.  It is heavenly!

Motor and Cog set
Pedego Interceptor motor and cog set

The front and back wheels have disk brakes which may get a little squeaky, I keep them clean with an alcohol wipe that helps keep the squeaking to a minimum.  The brakes are very responsive and soft, as we descend some of these mountains.  It has 7 speeds which pretty much meets most of my needs, I guess I would prefer a double chain ring in the front for a greater range but that isn’t an option right now.   I haven’t found a hill I couldn’t climb with the range of gears on hand so I am very satisfied with the components.  I replaced the click shift on the second day of the tour with a Shimano click shifter because I dropped the bike and broke the plastic parts inside the original click-shift component.  I have been cleaning the chain weekly and have had no trouble with the components.

I would like to apologize in advance to all of you cycling “purists” who fight against the e-bike.  I know the hard-core bicycle industry people are having a hard time advancing this type of bike.  Just know that for me, it is the ideal situation to get me back on the road, having lots of fun.  Thanks Pedego for making it possible for me to ride my bicycle across America!

This is me…in control…yay!

My Control Panel
My Control Panel