My Path to Living (Mostly) Without Cars


Well-Known Member
OP apparently hasn't been here since Aug 14. At which date I was staying out of town at my summer camp, which I support with 60 lb supplies carried weekly from 22 miles away ON MY EBIKE. I'm living the no car life, with a cargo bike I paid $1500 for, designed for San Francisco hills and cargo, with 24 speeds from 1:1 to 4.7:1 . I can pedal 80 lb cargo plus 94 lb bike plus 160 lb me, up 15% grades without stopping. Usually in 32:28, not 32:32. This bike is hard frame, which I use on potholed & rutted roads at average 8 mph. Then on smooth downhills, I hit 35 mph. I run the front tire at 45 psi for a suspension. 94 lb includes full set of tools to fix anything but chain or crank, pump, 2 tubes, battery, motor, frames for battery and long rear loads, 40 oz water, 3 lights, display for garmin car sensor, two panniers, double leg stand.
Then I added $840 of electric drive to the bodaboda to cope with 25 mph headwinds that slow vertical sitting me down to 5 mph over my 30 mile commute home. Too much exercise. When the wind is down, I pedal, it is a geared hub motor and doesn't drag. I need 3.5 hours exercise twice a week, but not 6 hours of 140 bpm due to the climate change. The geared hub motor will start all 330 lb on the 15% grade from a dead stop, without much input from me. It will get up to 6 mph on 15% with no help, but if I hit the 15% with momentum from the previous hill I can roll the top at about 15.
The first $221 hub motor wore out at ~4200 miles, and was replaced in 2 days with another brand costing $500, using the same $610 17.5 AH battery. No compatibility problems since I designed the battery mount myself out of aluminum angle and used industrial insulated flag terminals. Would have been one afternoon conversion if the new controller hadn't required a different mount bracket than the old one.
I hope the OP hasn't had his potentially $12000 bike stolen. My whole bike at $2610 is less than the deductible on my homeowner's insurance. A $24000 car is not in my planning, the check engine light comes on in 10 years even if you only have 24000 miles on it. I view modern car design (computers, sensors, brass or tin connectors) as a huge fraud perpetrated on the elderly that don't commute to work anymore. The Army uses gold connectors for their computer connections in the M1, for example.
On the Rohloff IGH issue, I saw a lot of leakage problems on MTB forum about IGH. Plus 11 speeds, 11 sets of planetary gears whirling around at all times, too much drag. I bought a Sturmey Archer S80 8 speed IGH in 2017 to solve the problem of Shimano 7 speed axles coming unscrewed & dropping the balls, having to be pushed to maintenance base. The SA IGH was 10% slower pedaling averaged over about 10 weeks. I imagine a Rohloff would drag me down unpowered even more. The S80 finally started popping the shifter pawl off every mile, was parked in the garage. Shimano 7 speed rear I went back to for 2 months was replaced by SRAM 8 speed on the yuba bike 1/18, which has been ~5800 miles without trouble. Chain did wear out at 5000 miles.
Have I driven a car? Yes, we went to the Grand Canyon in the wife's Elanta last year. Not doable by bicycle. I had a 68 lb lawnmower engine delivered to my summer property this year by a friend, saving me from renting a U-haul. CG was too high and too far backwards with the motor in the box, although the 68 lb would not have been a problem in the panniers as soda water. I've carried 8 gal water to my summer camp in panniers frequently, since I do not have city water out there.
So I'm living without a car, and without a Reiss & Mueller suspended bike, or a trailer either. I sit upright 3 to 5 hours at a time, and If I pad my wide seat with packing foam, my hips don't pain me. Further experiments scheduled with allegedly soft seats when the warehouse stocks fill up. (Selle royale respiro was a failure. packing foam taped over a Mesinger leather seat with 2 springs works better).
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Well-Known Member
Interesting read, you have obviously done your research. A lot to consider and you have shared a lot of solid information. I hope people that are searching for their first ebike take time and read your post.
I agree, but by looking at the posting history it appears the OP has disappeared. Seemed like a bright guy that got no forum love...


New Member
Sandy Hook
I must confess, I'm glad the OP is no longer here...even though his epic analysis of all thing E-bike, he appears thin-skinned and rejects constructive criticism...not the best traits in a person, in my opinion.


Well-Known Member
i disagree, liked the original post and his well thought and researched bicycle purchase
did not think the post was too long or that he should criticized for it, if it is too long for you stop reading it

all of you telling him to try specialized etc did you not read it, he said he rode all the specialized bikes
to me for what he was going to do with the bike an R&M was a good purchase, they are heavy/expensive but probably well made and reliable

stefan are the roads there in your town/country in really good shape? because the roads here in the US are not and fs comfort might be needed to deal with the bad potholes and rough pavement- especially carrying weight/groceries etc

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Brwinów (PL)
he said he rode all the specialized bikes
He said he read all about Specialized e-bikes. He eventually bought an R&M and I congratulated him.
stefan are the roads there in your town/country in really good shape?
By size, Poland is only as big as, say, New Mexico, only there are 19 times as many Poles as New Mexicans. The country is geographically diversified; there are areas with perfect roads, and other provinces with very bad ones. I rode in many regions of Poland, and am lucky to reside in one with almost perfect roads.

The thread is old; no need to revive it.