Commuter Log

Brambor

Well-Known Member
I suppose today is day 0 of my attempt to commute to work. I wanted to start yesterday but I woke up to light snow and a forecast for snow turning to freezing rain turning to rain.

So I skipped Friday. When I drove to work I did see one diehard commuter on a bicycle and felt like a wuss :)

Today (Saturday) I woke up at 6AM committed to bike to work as a trial run. I figured this would be a great way to check two routes that I am considering.
  • Route 1 - shorter but more dangerous.
  • Route 2 - 5 miles longer but much safer. It required a short jaunt through a dirt road next to my house.
I made me a bottle of hot Earl Gray Tea with honey and lemon, put on thin wool layers, wind pants and a wind jacket, pogies (sea kayaking hand covers), helmet and a lightweight wool buff neck gaiter.

I got out of the house and slid on my stairs. Ice. We still have snow around the house, there is still skiing at resorts and in the woods. I went anyway. I wanted to do Route 2 but when I got to the dirt road it was blocked by about 8 foot high snowbank from the snow plows. I guess I will have to wait for this to melt.

Took Route 1...

Set the bike to turbo mode.

It was a great day, not too cold. The rain puddles from yesterday were frozen. I was committed to be careful. ehm. So after about 3 miles and conquering about 4 hills I'm ripping it over 30 miles an hour on this minor downhill slope when I hit more extensive black ice, laid down the bike and covered the next 100 feet sliding on my left side. Besides torn jacket, maybe a slightly bruised rib, bruised ego and a minor road rash on my arm I was ok. Glad to be ok. The bike was totally ok too except of a minor scuff on the rearview mirror and slight nick on the saddle. I think the lack of extensive damage from the sliding was the ice on the road. It was pretty smooth sliding.

Ok. Got up, drank some hot tea and continued on my way. On the way I thought about how typical this is for my personality. When I first started sea kayaking I got probably the most expert seakayak (Nordkapp) and it took me a while to tame the beast and be comfortable. Looks like I have to give the Turbo more respect and understand that the black wheeled stalion will buck me if I don't behave.

The road wasn't too busy for the rest of the way to work. I kept a steady 20mph average and felt good. Most of my gears stayed on the highest gear or the second highest gear. The most noticeable electric aid was on the steep hills (obvious). I never went lower than the middle of the gears on the steepest hill and felt comfortable biking.

black-specialized-turbo-electric-bike.jpg black-specialized-turbo-commuting-story.jpg road-rash-crashed-ebike.jpg

Got to work, checked on some apps I've been writing, and some jobs that I've been running over the weekend and now I'm sitting here typing this. Time to head back home soon.
 

Dave

Active Member
Very cool, Brambor. I know what you mean about the ice and snow, same problem here in upstate NY. I havn't fallen yet, but came close several times on black ice. Glad you didn't seriously hurt yourself or the bike. That bike is awesome looking, and I love the color. I saw 30mph once, briefly downhill on the Carbon, and it's a little scary. I was glad for the hydaulic disc brakes as I was coming up to a pretty sharp curve, then intersection. I think we are due for some warmer temps next week so better riding conditions, I still only have 50 miles on my Carbon.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Thanks Dave. On the way back the roads dried up and the sun pokes through the clouds a little. I took the longer route back and was shocked I made great time getting back. Especially one intimidator hill went by without a hitch. I had a little bit of headwind up that hill but still maintained 10-15 mph. On normal slopes I was doing 24 most of the time with a few peaks to 28mph. I'm a bigger dude (about 240lbs, 6') so I am happy with the speed performance. I used 40% of the battery on the way back and 30% of the battery on the way in. I was in Turbo all the way.

When I got to the dirt road shortcut to my house I saw the snow:

deep-snow-going-to-work.jpg

I decided to go through the snow anyway to see how deep it is. Well it was deep. I was postholing most of the way up to my knees. I think a week or two of warm weather will take care of that.

Although it is a huge difference between assist and no assist I can still say that it is a workout to bike to work. This is still a bicycle in every facet of a way, I still had to shift on the steep uphill sections. The difference is the constant maintained higher speed, not hufffing to a almost a standstill on the steep uphills and quicker pickup acceleration. I love it.
 

Vern

Active Member
1st-Your bike looks so sweet. I haven't seen one of those in person yet. Absolutely Awesome!!

2nd- Ice, Snow, Are you crazy? Or I'm a total wimp.?or Both. Ice on the road?? What the heck! Get in the car, turn the heat on, and enjoy you tea! Start commuting when it is safer!

3rd -I guess I have no excuses now out here in sunny CA. I have the heat going right now because it is a chilly 67 degrees in the house. Burrr

4th I totally agree with your entire post especially the last paragraph!! Commuting by e-bike is still a workout, it is just much more practical than a reg bike!!! My 9 year old son gives me a hard time about using the e-bike saying that I am so lazy. He is joking, BUT what is more lazy riding in my car, or working my butt off on my E-Bike???
 

James

Well-Known Member
Brambor you're the Boss!! Ice and Snow commutes are hardcore! Good for you man, look out for the black ice for sure. I've had a few close calls but haven't put my bike down (yet), glad you and your bike are doing ok.

The bike looks awesome. So stealth... love it!
Happy Commuting
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys

it is interesting to realize the cadence required to reach 28mph at the highest gear. I am not sure I have the skill to pedal much faster.
 

Dave

Active Member
I couldn't agree more. I have done a few " speed trials '' on the Neo Carbon and to maintain that type of speed for any length of time, is very difficult. I am pretty much pushing as hard and as fast as I can, and get tired out very quickly. The difference between 20mph and 27 or 28 is night and day in terms of endurance, at least at this point. It will interesting to see if I am able to get in better shape as I ride more.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Brambor! Great story there, you're an adventurer :D

I'm glad your typing hands weren't injured in the fall, sounds like you handled it well. There's something invigorating about getting out there in the snow, rain, wind etc. when others are retreating indoors... You take a spill, shake the dust off and keep going, unstoppable!

I like to either stay really clean or get really dirty and sometimes life just forces your hand. I'm glad you took on the snowy section, even if it's not accessible yet I'm sure it has built up your confidence and that sense of freedom on foot, by bike or by ebike is one of the best feelings! Nobody can get in your way, you're focused on riding and you can go anywhere!

I'm not sure if you've seen this before but it embodies the feelings of trekking with ebikes. The Iceland Challenge with eFlow bikes by Currie.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Did not bike to work today. This is the road outside of my house this morning. Ice and freezing wintery mix all the way to work. The roads are a real mess today.

snowy-road-conditions.jpg

Ravi - lots of white, honky, ice out there today! :)
 
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Brambor

Well-Known Member
I woke up around 5:30 and leisurely took my time to leave the house around 6:10. I pedalled to the snowbank of the dirt road and walked the bike down the hill through the crusty snow. Took a photo and said to myself: Today will be a good day. There were a couple of patches of bare ground showing and I only postholed 3-4 times on the way to the spot where I could mount the bike.

beautiful-dawn-ebike-ride.jpg

I looked at the watch and noted 6:20AM.

The ride was great. Not much traffic on the road. I guess I got passed by a car about 30 times. I was booking it and felt great. The road had ice patches in two small spots but I slowed down through those. Otherwise the asphalt was dry.

When I arrived at work I looked at the watch and could not believe it. it was 6:55! 35 minutes to work - wow. I thought it would take me about 50 minutes. The other day I did not measure the time it took. 10.8 miles on my cell phone gps. 60% of my battery capacity left.

specialized-turbo-after-commute.jpg
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
That's awesome Brambor! Sounds like you made great time but also kept the bike under control with the snow and stuff. I'm glad it's working so well for you :D
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
today was colder. Under the freezing mark a little bit. It made walking across the snow easier. The snow is starting to thin out. Today I tried pedaling in Eco mode for a while and then switched back to Turbo. I also switched to Regen on two downhills and to Eco a few more times just to see how I could conserve energy. I ended up with 68%. I'm not sure it's worth doing but it's nice to tinker and figure out how things work.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
today was colder. Under the freezing mark a little bit. It made walking across the snow easier. The snow is starting to thin out. Today I tried pedaling in Eco mode for a while and then switched back to Turbo. I also switched to Regen on two downhills and to Eco a few more times just to see how I could conserve energy. I ended up with 68%. I'm not sure it's worth doing but it's nice to tinker and figure out how things work.
Interesting to hear your thoughts on regen. Whenever I speak with ebike companies that don't offer the feature on their direct-drive bikes they always say it's not worth the added expense... and yet, I still think it's cool! Will definitely save your brake pads :D
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
the ride back today was fun. I kept ahead or with the traffic for 4 miles while in the city. Fun. Speaking of fun...Turbo is fun. Before I started riding an ebike I thought I would mostly ride in eco mode and use turbo on some occassions but nahah'...i now really just love it in full assist. It is fun to go fast.

I also want to comment on lack of suspension...i just stand up to ease the bumps and it's fine like that but it does slow me down a little to make a safe compensation.

I find myself looking forward to the end of the work hours ...wanting to get out and ride.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
I find myself looking forward to the end of the work hours ...wanting to get out and ride.
I know that feeling, and it's so great that not only is it fun but also healthy for you. I always feel alive riding to work and back, especially with the speed of an ebike :D

Have you considered adding a Thudbuster to your Turbo Brambor? This could really smooth out the bumps and let you sit down more comfortably. EddieJ recently added one to his Neo Xtrem and described it like this:
Another amazingly impressive and instantly noticeable mod, is the Cane Creek Thudbuster. The bike feels as though you have just perched yourself on your favourite old armchair. The hardtail sting has definitely gone.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Yes I will consider a Thudbuster. Time will tell. It is really not an issue as the roads are fine 99% of the time but it might be something useful to pimp the bike with ;-)

Today was below freezing most of the way to work but I still made a good time. Only my toes were frozen and that is probably because I use these very thin ski socks.

Today was also a tough love day. I chained the bike outside of our work. No more bringing it in. Time to grow up. LOL. :)

Unless we get rain, I will most likely chain the bike right outside. I want it to be available for a lunch break. We're a small company, the chain lock is a good quality and most of all the bike is insured :). Thanks Markel!
 

Dave

Active Member
Two straight days in the 60's in New York, great for riding. Maybe this warm weather will work its' way up North!
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Thanks Dave. It's supposed to be in the 40's during the mid day but the mornings at the daybreak are still cold.