Hello from Northwest Arkansas

vertigo1

New Member
Region
USA
TL;DR:
  • I'm planning to start commuting by e-bike soon.
  • Waiting a few months for delivery of my Priority Current. (Online order)
  • Already considering another e-bike for my wife. (LBS)
  • Thanks for filling this forum with a wealth of information to empower my independent research!

Getting ready to go back to the office soon after working from home for a little over a year. I live very near a very decent bike path that cuts through the metropolitan area and happens to also have access very near to the office which I work. I have toyed with the idea of biking the 10 mile (each way) route for a few years but had convinced myself it was too impractical to double my commute time.

I have been keeping an eye on e-bikes for a few years now, but always considered them a little out of reach in terms of price for something that I perceived didn't fill any of my needs, but tugging pretty generously at my wants. Well, staying at home for a year has changed my perspective on this somewhat. I have had significantly reduced expenses (and stress) due to not driving a car every day, and now that I am preparing to go back to the office I want to try to hang on to at least some of that benefit even if my commute takes more time, especially considering that time cost is offset further by a little exercise and outdoor therapy that I typically don't make enough time for. I feel that I have found a practical purpose to fill with an e-bike and my previous reluctance is simple due to growing accustomed to commuting in a car over many years. I had considered purchasing a Zero FXS motorcycle about 5 years ago, but safety concerns eventually snuffed out that idea and I resigned myself back to the car commute being my only practical way forward, at least until a few weeks ago when I started weighing the pros and cons regarding a bicycle commute.

I am still telling myself that I expect to double my commute time as I prepare to take it on, planning to wake up earlier, be home later etc. With the way traffic is growing in this area, I would not be surprised to find out that my e-bike commute may very well wind up being much faster. My car commute consists of 90% semi-dense city traffic, 3 stop signs, 15 traffic lights. The bike route I have mapped would consist of 2 traffic lights and a handful of low traffic/good visibility road crossings, the greenway actually passes under the majority of the very busy roads and intersections that I would encounter. From casual observation of this greenway it seems well populated, but far from what I would consider congested. I am going helmet shopping and to borrow an acoustic bicycle this weekend to try out the route and get accustomed to the pattern.

What really pulled my interest into this was a recent review of the VanMoof S3. I was painfully unaware of the explosion of the e-bike market and this led me down a rabbit hole of figuring out what the current state of e-bike technology is. Tech gadgets have always been a major interest of mine, and my exploration into this new (to me) territory did not disappoint. All said, I started out leaning toward a VanMoof S3, really liked the idea of the Specialized Turbo Como when I happened upon it, but after a few weeks of research and consideration (much of that spent lurking in these forums) I decided to go with a Priority Current (Shimano). I know this is against the best advice of dealing with a LBS, of which we have many great shops in my area, but I had really sharpened my sense of the features that I want in an e-bike specific for my needs.

Due to component shortages, the lead time for the bike I ordered is a few months. Priority's policy on pre-ordering also attracted me, I can cancel and get a refund at any time before the bike is shipped, and apparently their customer support is generally regarded as very good. They sell spare belts, tubes and batteries right on the accessories page of their website, and the accessories are sortable by bike which I felt was a nice touch. I have a feeling my journey with e-bikes is just getting started as the wheels have already started to turn motivating me to consider purchasing another for my wife in the near future. My initial gut reaction is leaning towards the Electric Bike Company models with the hub motor and throttle for her since she can't handle much strenuous effort between her MS and the medications she is on to curb progression of the disease. She should be within the range of adjustment for the Current that I ordered to try that one out, but I would really like to take her to some of the local bike shops to see if we can get our bearings for what would work best for her. Since hers would strictly be for amusement, I am not quite as concerned with the maintenance aspects since it would only potentially get use a few times a month at best.

Anyways, just wanted to drop in and introduce myself and my situation and say thanks to this community for all of the valuable insight I have collected from it. Keep up the good work and stay safe out there!

P.S. Any recommendations for what I should wear on my bike rides? I do not have access to a shower at my office, and they do have a dress code, although it is fairly lax. Our weather here is all over the place, often freezing during the winter months but a good mix of mild temperatures throughout most the year. Summer can get pretty hot (humid, mid 90s) for long stretches. Thanks again!
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Congrats Vertigo on your decision for an ebike.
Your commute is perfect for an ebike. As a former bike commuter on a non-powered bike my longest was 9 miles, one way, 3-4 days a week. An ebike would have been perfect, especially a speed ebike!!
Don't worry about arriving to work tired and sweaty. Your ride will be as easy or difficult as you choose, and a whole lot of fun.

A couple safety suggestions since it appears you will be riding in some traffic.
- Get a mirror. Just like driving, it's great to see what is around you. Mirrcyle brands are good, as are many others on the market. Just like driving, once you have a mirror you won't be without one.
- Bright butt-kicking lights, even if you don't ride at night. With so many distracted drivers, especially the ones still texting, it's best to be seen as far away as possible. Your bike may already have lights, if not there are many on the market.

Please post your progress. I'm sure you will get info with your practice ride on the non-powered bike.

And of course a photo of your new ebike!
 

alphacarina

Member
Region
USA
I have a built-in tail light, but I also found another rechargeable tail light on Amazon that has some eye-catching patterns that I am considering for the seatpost or helmet.
If you're going to be riding on public roads with a speed limit greater than 25 MPH, I would buy BOTH! I've been using an Amazon seatpost flashing light since day one and I can recommend it highly

Don
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
More important to high speed commuters is a helmet with a chin guard. I spilled off a pedal bike @ 25 mph in 2017 and broke my chin. Front wheel slipped sideways on some gravel. The secret word for search engines (I tried to find one the previous spring) is "downhill mountain bike racing helmet". I ride a fox rampage, but similar vented chin guard models come from Bell. I don't have trouble with sweating, and I do ride 30 miles in the summer.
 

vertigo1

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks Don! I went and picked up an old pedal mtb of mine from barn storage and grabbed an extra tail light from a local retailer along with a few maintenance items to get the bike road ready and try getting acclimated to the route before my Current arrives. The extra light I got will attach to my helmet pretty easily, and I like the one you linked better than the one I found, so that one is now on my list.

Sorry to hear about your accident @indianajo. When I was out yesterday picking up items to start riding I went ahead and got a helmet from a local bike shop. I talked to the guy there a bit about the helmets (they had several with chin guards) and I told him what my plan was. He recommended the Bontrager Solstice MIPS, and I ended up going with that. There is very little elevation change on my route, and the paths that I will be using are very well traveled, but I could see gravel washing over some areas and causing a hazard after a good rain. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for that danger as I ride, and if I do notice this hazard as common along my route I will definitely be upgrading the helmet! Good to hear that sweat should not be an issue.

As said above, I got my old pedal bike working and took it for a short 2 mile spin around the neighborhood a bit ago just to see how it holds up. It did okay, but pretty much every bit of the bike has seen better days. I am surprised how well the bike is still working even if it is rough. I did tune it up about 5 years ago, but it has sat unused in a barn since then. I replaced the seat before my ride today, picked up a spare chain, a tire patch kit, U lock and a hand pump. The rubber on the shifters is breaking down, but some old work gloves got me around the block well enough. Going to try to put about 20 miles on it around the neighborhood here before I attempt tackling the commute route just to gain some confidence that the old bike can hold up for 10 miles before I set out. That delays my plans to learn the commute route a bit, but I still have quite a bit of time before the Current arrives. The forecast for the next 2 days looks like I should be able to ride a few miles in the mornings before work, so maybe I can hit that goal before next weekend.

While I was at the local bike shop I talked with one of the techs about getting them to inspect my Current after I get it assembled in order to make sure I put it together correctly and to validate the warranty with Priority. He mentioned it would be no problem, and even if I just bring it to them to assemble, the max cost would be $65. Seems reasonable to me, and a bit of savings over the VeloFix option even if I just took it to them to assemble. I like that it gets my foot in the door with a well established LBS, hopefully they will feel the same after they see the bike.

I just used Google Maps to track my (very brief) trip today, any suggestions on apps for that purpose? I will dig around in the forum a bit as well for some suggestions.

I will probably pop back in here to report any updates by next weekend. Thanks everybody for sharing your experiences and encouragement! 🚴‍♂️