Senior citizen, live on a big hill, 10 miles to grocery store

Discussion in 'Help Choosing an Ebike' started by Amflautist, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    I'm not-yet-77, female, 6' tall and need an ebike to get to the grocery store and back. The hill I live on is long and steep in parts. When I was half this age, it took me 35-45 minutes and everything I had in the tank to ride home. It's not possible for me to do this anymore. Can anyone recommend bikes that will fit this bill?
    BernieS likes this.

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  3. ReallyGoodEbikes

    ReallyGoodEbikes New Member

    Let me ask, is price a consideration? Also, do you have a preference for a step-through or step-over frame style? Know this will help narrow the options.
  4. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    Price is not a consideration, although mentally it would be hard for me to justify more than $5K. Step-through, eh, aren't those girl's bikes? I really prefer swinging my leg over a frame.
  5. ReallyGoodEbikes

    ReallyGoodEbikes New Member

    Well, of course I'm biased, since I sell these brands, but might I suggest the Biktrix ULTRA.
  6. BernieS

    BernieS New Member

    I understand your "pain". I'm 78 (male) and losing my eyesight (macular degeneration) for driving and have been looking at ebikes as a solution for getting around when I lose my drivers license. Fortunately in our small Western Montana town it is mostly flat in the valley. But I want to be able to haul panniers full of groceries, beer, wine, etc. We have one bike shop in town with limited experience with ebikes but it was important to me to deal locally so that I would be welcome when I needed service done. (Next nearest LBSs are 40 miles away) As a result I finally decided on a 2018 Giant Quick E+. It has a reasonably good set of components along with 2" tires. No front suspension unfortunately but I plan to install a BodyFloat suspension seat post once I take delivery as well as a rack for a trunk bag cum panniers. The upshot is: my suggestion would be to look locally and see what brands of ebikes your local bike shops handle.
  7. rich c

    rich c Active Member

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  8. scrambler

    scrambler Member

    More info would help narrow it further.
    What country / state are you in, as not all models are available everywhere.
    Do yo mind using a classical derailleur with all its maintenance, or would you rather have an internal Geared hub for simplicity and maintenance free.
    Do you mind using a traditional chain, or would you want a Carbon belt for quietness, cleanliness and maintenance free.

    If you want to go for the simplest least amount of maintenance, which means Internal Geared Hub (IGH) and Gates carbon belt drive, there were a few threads recently discussing such options (below)

    One more note: If you have E-bikes dealers close by, it would be nice if you could try one of the most popular bikes using the Bosch motor, to see if it handles your hill OK.
    If it does not, then you may need to look into rarer models that have motors with a bit more power and torque.
    But if a Bosch powered E-bike is good, then your choice is quite large (using the Bosch or other equivalents like Shimano, Yamaha, Brose...)
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  9. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    Thank you everyone who replied. A bit more information. I have always ridden big bikes. I am only 6' tall, but the height is in my legs. 37" inseam. So I always needed a man's bike frame. My tall daughter now has my 1970's vintage 10-speed Raleigh that has a classic Brooks saddle. I bought that bike in England, rode it through Nederland at tulip time, rode it through the Bordeaux one summer, from wine chateau to wine chateau. I can't ride in the classic low position anymore, not since I broke my wrist 10 years ago stupidly trying to be the figure skater I once was. My hands and arms just don't like the weight anymore. I need long cranks and a high perch for my legs, but I also now need a more upright position. 30-speed was my latest bike, but I now hate it because it never fit me well. The frame is too small and the handlebars are too low. So chains and sprockets and all that are fine with me. My knees are now my weakness. Three arthroscopic surgeries have left me bone-on-bone in both knees. The last one, in 2016, was the killer. Doc said 40% chance he could make things better, 10% chance things would be worse, 50% no change. Things are worse.

    I want this bike because I NEED to keep my knees moving in a circular motion. I could go to the gym every day, but it's 25min in the car each way. What a waste of time. A great new bike! I would ride. Only 6 months of the year, because I live in a snow belt. I live 'centrally isolated' in the middle of New York State, in a town with 2 great universities. And hills and gorges. The other thing I want this bike for is to join my athletic (Olympic) daughter and my husband on their summer bike weekends. Daughter does those 110-mile rides. Husband does a shorter circuit. I'm left at home because I can't negotiate even a small hill with these knees. I want to go along!

    I bought the Kindle ebook "A Practical Guide to Electric Bikes", and I'm getting smarter. Weight counts. My weight is usually 170, but today it's 20# higher due to inactivity. The weight will be back down to under 170 by the time I figure out what ebike I need. I will buy locally, as local as possible, twisting the arm of a local bike dealer if necessary. I'm pretty good with mechanical things, took car mechanics and used to do all the maintenance on my first car. But I don't want to invest in bike tools. Don't want to do my own tinkering, except for the occasional fix on the road. I'm not the dottering 76-yr-old you might imagine. I still actively run a computer software business. And as I never let those Agway assistants carry out the 40# or 50# bags of birdseed I buy (I do it myself), I know I could lift a 40# bike onto the front of a bus - that would take me part way up the hill on the way home.

    I'm soaking in all your recommendations! Thank you!

    As for $$$, all OK. This is an investment in my health.

    I just looked up the altitude of my grocery store and library. Approx 400'. I live at 1500'. That's a fair old hill to climb.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  10. Mark Peralta

    Mark Peralta Well-Known Member

    You might want to consider the nuvinci transmission, it has been thoroughly developed over the years. You'll never be in the wrong ratio anymore, you just set the cadence and focus on something else more worthwhile. Like enjoying the ride and the scenery or just give more attention to your safety, . It is also maintenance free.

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  11. Dewey

    Dewey Active Member

    110 miles is a long distance for an ebike, if you were to attempt to ride that distance in one go you would need to either carry a spare battery, or a battery with a very large capacity which take a long time to charge. Consider any 2017 or 2018 model year Bosch motor powered ebike with the new 500wh battery and buy a spare 500wh battery to keep in a pannier bag to swap out when you run out, examples might include the 2017 Gazelle Arroyo or Kalkhoff Agattu B8 with the large or XL diamond frames.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  12. scrambler

    scrambler Member

    "110 miles is a long distance for an ebike, if you were to attempt to ride that distance in one go you would need to either carry a spare battery, or a battery with a very large capacity"
    Riese & Muller also has several models that have two 500W batteries connected at once.
  13. Dewey

    Dewey Active Member

    True and they look very nice but they are also twice the price.
  14. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    Haha. No, I wasn't thinking of doing one of those 110 mile routes. Usually there are shorter routes also. In the last one, daughter's boyfriend did the 60-mile ride, my husband rode 40 miles. I will be perfectly satisfied just to be there and take part in the festivities, even if only 20 miles.
  15. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Well-Known Member

    I recalled this bike from one of courts reviews recently.

    Seems like it might be a very good fit. The new Shimano drive is supposed to have plenty of torque for your hilly area, and there 500wh battery at your size would give you fifty miles of range easily.

    It sounds like regular maintenance won't be an issue with all the bikers in your family either.

    The baskets would be s great fit for grocery shopping as well. I think they had some very interesting color options to boot.
  16. indianajo

    indianajo Member

    More power to you. Great set of athletic goals for your future.
    I'm age 67, going on 107 I hope. I also have no cartilage in my knees, plus bone spurs, related to Army service in the seventies. The more I ride the bike the less the knees hurt. I ride a bike everywhere I don't rent a U-haul truck, and the constant use has since I quit working age 58 dropped 55 lb , pulled rest pulse down from 85 to 64, cloresterol down from 213 to 130.
    A few tips. You live in the US. I wouldn't want a small wheel bike like the tern or Cero above. We get potholes and uneven pavement in the US, up to 6" deep and separators up to 3" high don't get repaired for months. You want at least 26" wheels, to cut shock when you hit an elevation change. I missed it and hit a 2" pavement ledge last Saturday at 8 mph on Louisville river bike path , and had to push the bike up steps when park dept. allowed vendors to set up tables on the ramped bike path. For comfort I prefer 1.75 " (45 mm) to 2.1" (55 mm) tires or bigger pressured only to 50 psi. That pressure keeps me from denting the wheel on a sidewalk ledge I go over weekly with groceries. I use Kenda Full knobby tires which are a bit noisy, but grip better if I slide over the pavement edge, and have 500 % fewer flats than the thin street tires I was riding previously. I don't ride a suspension bike. I do have seat springs. Many pro level bikes won't take tires that wide.
    If you go over 15 mph in the wet down hill you'll probably want disk brakes instead of rim, which are less likely to fade due to being wet. You'll want an aluminum frame if you ever intend to put the bike on a bus rack. A short frame big wheel electric bike reviewed here is the izip p3 protour
    which has aluminum frame, disk brakes, turn back handlebar, a book rack, and comes in 3 sizes.
    I ride 12 months a year, only falling back to riding the city bus to the grocery store when the city has pushed mounds of icy snow into piles in the bike lane & sidewalks. Black glare ice I won't ride on, but I will ride on snow up to 12" deep. I wear clothes to handle the temperatures. Extreme contractor grade gloves are required some times, available only at the farm supply or home store. I wear up to 5 layers some time, say 5 degrees F & below.
    I need 21 speeds to get up 15% grades here in Clark Cty, including a 30:29 low low sprocket. Using that gear is slower than walking, but riding unloads my wrists & back twister muscles from pushing the bike. That is without electric assist. That means a triple front sprocket: 30, 42, and 52 sprockets, 29 to 14 on the rear. Bosch mid drive systems replace the front sprocket set with their own single, so IMHO they are not for pedal assist up steep hills.
    See my current rides below. I carry up to 50 lb of groceries. Because of the uneven weight distribution this causes (85 lb rear 25 lb front without me or groceries) I'm looking at buying stretch rear cargo bikes like the yubabikes bodaboda or the kona ute
    xtracycle also has a long frame cargo bike.
    You'd want the taller step-over bodaboda of course with your long legs. Or the large kona. As you can see from my pictures, my leg inseams are short, 28", my torso is long, so I'm riding upgraded kid bikes.
    Best of luck shopping and achieving your fitness goals.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  17. rich c

    rich c Active Member

    Every street in the entire US? Pretty wide generalization wouldn't you say? No 6" deep pot holes around me.
  18. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    Pots holes here. Lots of them! Summer 2015 I was riding with daughter and husband downtown, on the flats. We came out of a lunch place, just after an unexpected rain storm. Riding towards a nearby park, the road was covered with water, and wouldn't you know it, I was the one who hit the pothole. Went down on the gravel, tore a long gash in my arm, right down to the bone, and ended up in the hospital emergency room. Oh yes, we have potholes here! Dangerous ones!

    Besides, I want 700c wheels. For memories. For those summer weekends with the big kids.

    I have been reading several threads here regarding ebikes. And I contacted my local bike shop. They only carry Trek, Raleigh, iZip. Another option is to check out bikes during the next visit to my daughter, who lives in Boston. I'm thinking I may be buying a bike in Boston. I can stay with my daughter for days, weeks, checking out bikes, getting service, etc. Only drawback is the 7-hour drive to get there.
  19. rich c

    rich c Active Member

    If you want the 700c, then we are going to need a weight limit on the groceries. I was thinking you were talking a cargo bike, but if you just go for a short run and not buy the weekly groceries, any ebike will work with nice panniers. You could also consider a trailer.
  20. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    Two things. First, I just signed up for 2 weekly bike clubs. I don't want to say old ladies, because most of the women are in their 40s and 50s. But I signed up! They have an easy circuit and harder circuits. I will start with the easy, go to the harder when I get my ebike. Or sooner? The hard core cyclists at our 'Ladies Club' recommended two more local bike shops. Well, one is local - mainly a repair shop, but perhaps that will be my ebike maintenance shop. The other bike shop is an hour away, but they might be willing to order an ebike for me. They do carry Pedego.

    Second, I am starting a list of non-negotiables. I know I need disc brakes. These hills, water and snow, potholes, wow.

    OK, one more thing. Is there an app for my phone that will tell me the grade I am on? Or maybe a google app for my computer? I just drove home a new route from the fall 'Ladies Club' signup tea. This route is one of the possibilities for getting home, to the top of the hill. It has a few very steep places. How can I measure the grade?
  21. Amflautist

    Amflautist New Member

    Maybe I'll only need mustard and lemons and olive oil. Small purchases for interesting sauces. A fish. I won't need to buy a trailer's worth of food, because I am busy filling our freezer with garden vegetables right now.

    Oh yes, panniers! I will have panniers and I will have fenders.