Monthly Archives: March 2018

TEARING IT UP HERE, BOSS!


Flies, mosquitoes, gnats, mice, rats, potato bugs, bed bugs, fleas, cockroaches, lice, mites … the list could go on and on. All these belong to the animal kingdom and they are all considered pests of various sorts and degree. Even animals we consider beneficial and good that they exist sometimes do things which we don’t appreciate and bother us. But I am not writing about these sorts of pests today. Rather I am adding a few other words to that list of pests. These are words that are not of the animal kingdom although certainly sometimes an animal can cause one or more of these words to materalize. If it sounds like I am talking in riddles perhaps I have been so I will get to the point. I live in a northern city in the United States. And like most northern cities we have a serious problem with potholes. Like the list of animals which plague man I add potholes to the list. They are one nasty threat which are out to mess up our day and bring destruction upon our “cycles” regardless of what kind we ride or how careful we  try to be to avoid these threats.

Even our paved trails are not exempt from these nasty holes. Holes of any type regardless of the cause can do some very serious damage to our trikes … most particularly tires, innertubes, spokes and rims. Even our frames can crack or bend from the harsh impact. Sometimes we don’t see the holes in time to avoid them. And I find that even more often I see them, but circumstances don’t permit me to avoid hitting them. I have objects on both sides of me which have me “penned in” … unable to steer to one side or the other to avoid them. Sadly most cities do a very poor job “fixing” potholes. Where I live is no exception. Both of my front rims are in bad shape due to hitting so many potholes. And some of those potholes were really bad ones.

Hitting pot holes on a bicycle is more dangerous than it is on a trike, butt that doesn’t mean that a trike can’t wreck also. Here are a couple of bikes that encountered a pothole while riding along on a road. I sure don’t miss riding bicycles. I feel so much safer on a trike not to mention so much more comfortable.

Definitely holes are worse than bumps, but I would have to add bumps to the list of pests too. Probably the most common and worst of the bumps I encounter are the result of tree roots raising the asphalt  or concrete.

These shown above are minor compared to the ones we have on some of our local trails.

And, of course, raised concrete is the worst as it usually means we are hitting sharp raised harsh edges. They too can do some serious damage to our wheels (tires, innertubes, spokes and rims) and more.

In dealing with such threats certainly suspension would be of some help with the emphasis being on “some” as it can’t totally prevent damage from occurring. However, many of us lack suspension so we must deal with this issue the best we can. Balloon type tires can also be helpful as they offer some cushioning effect. Of course, there are trade-offs in any of the choices we have.

The amount of air pressure we run our tires at also comes into play. The higher the pressure the less forgiving the tires are when we hit holes and bumps. Of course, running too low of pressure on a given tire is also a problem as then we lack sufficient protection having air pressure inside offers. Every tire has a range in which they should be maintained … not under inflated and not over inflated. Certainly. FAT tires offer a lot of protection as they are the ultimate balloon tire. I have been running balloon tires on my trike now for several months, but I will soon be switching back to Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. I like the ride and handling of the balloon tires just fine, but in oder to obtain good handling and reasonable speed I have been running them over inflated by 5 to 10 psi and that has no doubt shortened their life. In the past I have always ran the 1.75 width Marathon Plus tires, but this time I ordered the 1.35 width. I have never had that narrow of a tire mounted on my trike so it will be an experience for me. I have seen them installed on other trikes and they look so tiny compared to what I am used to seeing. And going from my 2.15 balloon tires to the 1.35 will really be drastic. And I will be going from a maximum inflation pressure of 50 psi to 100 psi with the Marathon Plus tires. There goes my only form of suspension. But I bet I will be able to ride a little faster. I don’t know though. These Big Ben balloon tires roll really good with the psi I am running in them. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

Be careful out there. Some of those potholes are deep and it is not likely you have a snorkel or scuba diving gear with you much less a ladder. 🙂

We live in an imperfect world and dealing with these pests are a part of it. That is why I titled this TEARING IT UP HERE, BOSS!  We need to stay aleart and do our best to avoid these “nasties”. Hey, regardless of these hazards I plan on doing what I can to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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MY EXPERIENCE WITH E-MOTORS THUS FAR


Some of you know I have had 3 different brands of e-motor conversion kits installed on my trike. I can only speak from my experience with these three motors.

The first was a 350 watt BionX conversion kit. While it worked properly I loved it. Admittedly I didn’t love the price nor the replacement cost for the battery. Also I was not impressed that the largest battery BionX offers is only 11.6aH … only good for about 30 to 35 miles. The motor was a brushless gearless direct drive type which was relatively small yet quite powerful. It had a lot of torque for such a small motor. BionX is a proprietary system which was what I believe caused their downfall. They filed bankruptcy last February 27th. It is all such a shame as they really did have an excellent system. Everything fit and installed normally and easily.

The second hub motor I tried was a Golden Motor Magic Pie Edge. It was large and very heavy (19 pounds). It too was a brushless gearless direct drive type. It had quite a bit of torque, but far more resistance to pedaling with the power off due to the magnets. According to the dealer I bought it from it apparently had a bad controller built into the hub as the voltage from it was too low and the motor would only propel me at 14 mph top speed and that was only for a short time when the battery was fully charged. It ended up down around 12 mph once the battery power started dropping off. The motor was too large in diameter to properly fit in a 20 inch wheel. There was very little room left between the motor and the valve stem so removing the valve core and working with some tools/gauges was impaired and difficult. When I went to install my tire on the rim I found it most challenging and difficult. I had to resort to using tire levers to accomplish it. Once the tire was on the rim it would not easily center up concentric. I had a terrible time trying to get it centered and inflated. I have never had any of these issues with any other rims. When I went to install the wheel in the rear stays I discovered that the axle assembly was too wide and would not go in. (I had previously had 3 different BionX wheels and they all slipped into place quite easily.) I ended up having to spread my rear stays apart in order to get this Golden Motor wheel installed. I read that some of the e-bike wheels are made for a maximum of 7 cogs in the rear cassette. At 7 cogs they are suppose to be 135 mm. If one installs 8, 9 or 10 cogs the width increases and so the wheel won’t fit in a 135 mm space. Again, I didn’t have that problem with the BionX. Lastly, I noticed that the disconnect for the various wiring cables from the axle were far from the rear wheel meaning that when I needed to remove the rear wheel I would have to tear the wiring all apart to get to a place where I could disconnect it. That is ridiculous! It would involve cutting plastic cable ties, removing Velcro wraps, turning my trike over on its side in order to get at this wiring. With BionX and with my 3rd and current motor the disconnects are provided right near the rear wheel. I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to repair a flat tire while out riding. It was a nightmare to work with it in a shop where I had all the tools I might need as well as a means of suspending my trike up in the air off of the floor. Overall I was not impressed with much of anything about this Golden Motor and could not recommend it to anyone.

The third and current hub motor conversion kit I bought and installed is an eZee 350 rpm. As far as I know that is the only identifying information to set it apart from their other motor offering which is a 250 rpm motor. The difference is the 350 rpm is designed for 20 inch wheels while the 250 rpm motors are designed for 26 inch, 700 and similar diameter wheels. The 350 rpm means that it can propel the smaller diameter wheels about the same speed as the 250 rpm motors propel the larger diameter wheels. Unlike the BionX and Golden Motor the eZee motor is geared which means it is suppose to have more torque at low speed but less top speed. That is what I have read. However, my experience is far different. I have found just the opposite to be true. This hub motor lacks the torque the BionX and Golden Motor had, but I have a far higher top speed. The physical size of this eZee hub motor is slightly smaller that the BionX unit. It only weighs about 8.34 pounds so it is much lighter than most hub motors. I am disappointed with its lack of torque for climbing hills. The other motors would “shoot me” up a hill while this eZee motor lacks the ability by itself to climb much of a grade without my pedaling to assist it. Never the less, I am enjoying it immensely and thus far have no regrets about buying it. I would recommend it to others.

I like the fact that I am no longer tied into a proprietary system  like BionX. The battery I have now is a 20aH and it costs about 40% or less than what BionX was charging for their 11.6aH battery. With BionX being in bankruptcy I don’t know what the future holds for BionX customers. Right now they have shut down operations and let their 80 employees go. They are looking for an investor/new ownership. I wish them success as I would hate to see all their many customers left with a hub motor system with no support nor parts to keep them operating. I have a couple of friends who have BionX.  At this point in time I am just glad I returned my BionX unit and got a full refund. I am not faced with this concern like my friends are. Perhaps someone will start rebuilding BionX batteries and selling them … if that is permitted. If only BionX could survive and get away from this proprietary nonsense which got them into this trouble.

WHY i HAVE SLOWED WAY UP ON THIS BLOG


I rather imagine some of the readers of this blog are wondering what all is going on as far as my not posting much on it anymore. I had mentioned previously that I just feel more less drained and in need of getting away from it. That is quite true, but there is another factor which weighs in and all by itself has put the brakes on. My vision has become quite poor and so it is quite difficult for me to do much work at the computer. I had a stroke occur in my only good eye and it has really dealt me a blow. Previously many years ago I had a stroke occur in my left eye which left me legally blind in the left eye. There was no medical treatment for this at that time. A few years later there was  so when it happened to my right eye I have been getting treatment since. That being said, things have not been going well and slowly it has worsened. Spending much time at a computer is hard on good eyes, but it is even harder on bad eyes.

As many of you know I also had a Facebook Group called Tadpole Rider Group. I was more less consumed by it spending most of my life involved with it. It was totally out of control and was really taking its toll on me. I had to make the hard choice to close it. Unfortunately something went very wrong and it didn’t totally get deleted.  I spent many hours painstakingly going thru all that Facebook required to close it only to have some fluke take place and leave it up to be seen (what there is left of it). I can’t do anything about it as I don’t have access to any of it any more. It is just in limbo … stuck right where it is at appearing  just as it does. I have attempted to get Facebook to delete it, but that is a near impossibility … trying to contact Facebook that is. Everything I have tried has been in vain. In short, Facebook is really one screwed up entity.

I still have the desire from time to time to post something more here on this blog, but I find it just too challenging most of the time to even attempt it. I don’t know what the future holds as far as my eyesight. I don’t know if it will get better, stay the same or get worse. There is a posting I want to do right now, but I don’t know if I will be able to. Time will tell. Again, I want to thank all the loyal readers of this blog. I am sorry things have come to this. It has been a drastic life change for me and is something I struggle with to accept and deal with.

At least for now I am still able to ride my trike. Spring arrived yesterday on the calendar anyway. I am hoping the weather shapes up soon and indicates it is aware of it.

Here is a rather poor quality image of my trike with the eZee hub motor conversion kit installed.

I am really enjoying it although I am a bit disappointed with the amount of torque it has. It is a geared type motor which is suppose to be more torquie than direct drive gearless motors. However, it doesn’t seem to have as much torque as the direct drive motors I have had. Never the less I am liking it quite well thus far and have no regrets about buying it as of yet. It is rated at 1000 watts while the BionX motors I had were reated at 350 watts. The first BionX motor I had definitely had more hill climbing ability than this eZee motor has. It would shoot me up a hill just by itself while this motor only assists my pedaling and would do rather poorly on a steep hill or a long incline.

Well, that is my story and I seem to be stuck with it … at least fo rnow.

WE’VE BEEN GOOGLED!


Yes, our local trail system has been Googled.

It seems like it was about 2 years ago our city’s assistant manager of the Greenway System was driving a golf cart around with the infamous Google cameras aboard.

And here is the sign which appears on the back of the golf cart …

Also a man was wearing the back pack camera outfit and walking around with it. Yep, we’ve been Googled. It took a very long time before this effort finally materialized and showed up on Google Maps. Just today I received notice via email that it is available online. Unfortunately the entire trail system was not included and even some of the trails that were only have a mile or so filmed and appearing online. Never the less, it is neat to see this feature available.

Here are some screenshots I captured of the Street View of some of our trails:

Avove: Pufferbelly Trail north of Dupont Rd. This trail upon completion will be about 80 miles long.

It is a rails to trails project.

Below: Pufferbelly Trail south of Dupont Rd.

Below: St. Marys Pathway which  runs alongside of the St. Marys River.

Above: The St. Joe Pathway which follows along the St. Joe River. Here it is going under St. Jow Center Rd.

Below: The St. Joe Pathway as it comes onto the property of a local university it shares the trail with. Here it crosses the river using this bridge and continues along the other side of the river.

Below, My current personal favorite local trail is the Maumee Pathway which follows along the Maumee River. Here it passes under Maplecrest Rd.

Upon Googling “Fort Wayne Rivergreenway Street View” HERE is where Google took me. It is the Maumee Pathway and just happens to be the section I am assigned to as a Greenway Ranger.

Here is a map showing some of the Fort Wayne Trails …

http://fwtrails.org/files/page/FWT005-Trail%20Map%202017-WEB(2).pdf

HERE you can find maps of individual trails around Fort Wayne, IN.

And HERE is an article about  the Google Maps Street View Trekker project.

You may never have the opportunity to come to the Fort Wayne, Indiana area to ride the trail system, but if you do hopefully this information will be helpful. Regardless of where you are at do your best to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’ 

and

ENJOY THE RIDE

THE END OF BIONX?


UPDATE: Good News! BionX has been bought out

of receivership and is back in business!

—————————————————

On February 27th the Canadian hub motor manufacturer BionX filed bankruptcy. In taking this action they did not say anything to their dealers. The overall picture is looking pretty bleak. It is possible that they are attempting to “reorganize” and salvage their business. However, with the problems they have my guess is that this is unlikely. I reckon we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Because BionX chose to design and manufacture their system proprietary and charge way too much for it … especially the replacement batteries … they cooked their own goose. I would think that the only way they could possibly save themselves now would involve changing all this so that they are competitive in the marketplace and attractive to customers. That would be a huge undertaking.

I read that some dealers who are trying to sell BionX items they have in stock at discounted pricing in an attempt to get rid of them before they get stuck with them. It is my understanding that BionX is not selling anything from their website. They probably are not allowed to under the bankruptcy laws. Mind you I know nothing about bankruptcy laws and procedures.

This does not look good for those who have a BionX hub motor system as it is likely that they will not be able to obtain any repair parts or batteries. They will be stuck with a system that is dead in the water leaving them dead alongside of the road or trail. I am so thankful now that I returned my BionX system for a refund.  I have a couple of friends who have BionX installed on their trikes. I feel for them if all this comes to pass.

I have more less painted a gloomy picture for BionX and BionX customers … BUT … hey, who knows … they may pull out of this and survive. I am sure lots of folks would be happy if that happens. The truth is I don’t know what all is going on so anything I am saying here is pure speculation and may turn out altogether different than it is appearing at this time.

Below are some links to websites where you can read about this.

Endless Sphere Forums

BentRider Online Forum

Electric Bike Review

Reddit.com

Forums.MTBR.com

And HERE is the official announcement:

“On February 27, 2018, Grant Thornton Limited was appointed as receiver and manager (in such capacities, the “Receiver”) of the assets, undertakings, and property of Bionx Canada Inc.”

For what it is worth I would like to see BionX stick around as they have a nice product. They do need to do away with the proprietary approach to business however and lower some of their pricing … especially on the replacement batteries.

PEDAL ASSIST … A “WIN-WIN” SITUATION


I went for a ride today on one of our local trails.  I thoroughly enjoyed my ride thanks to the hub motor. What a difference it makes! Some say (and argue) that you don’t get as much exercise with a motor, but I say nonsense. I am fully convinced I get far more exercise using a motor. It encourages me to pedal faster and work harder to maintain the higher speed I find that there is a night and day difference when I ride using a motor to assist me. That is the key … to assist. It is all too easy to let the motor do all the work and there are those who do this. I try to keep pedaling most of the time while I am out riding. One thing I have noticed is that thanks to now having a geared hub motor with no resistance when there is no power going to it rather than a gearless direct drive like I had previously which has considerable resistance my trike really rolls good maintaining a good amount of the speed I obtained with the aid of the motor (or without it for that matter). And that makes it easier and encourages me to keep pedaling trying to maintain that higher speed … far higher than I go without the aid of the motor. I is just a whole lot more enjoybale riding going so much faster than I can go without the motor. In my opinion it is a “win-win” situation. I am loving it.