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electric bike kit

E-Bike Grocery Shopping and Errands

by Electric bike guru on July 15, 2011

First. If you don’t have one already, you will need a luggage rack for your bicycle.

Figure 1 First. If you don’t have one already, you will need a luggage rack for your bicycle

Owning an E-Bike, like a BionX Electric Drive System presents the perfect opportunity to perform errands, stock your refrigerator, save money, and get healthy exercise, all at the same time. Grocery shopping with a regular bike can be inconvenient and awkward; the added weight can slow you down to a crawl and affect the handling of the bike, especially on hilly terrain or heavy traffic. The powerful proportional assist motor of the BionX system can easily handle the extra weight of your weekly grocery shopping, with no degradation of performance, and the faster transit time to and from the supermarket is important to get your perishable items home before the summer heat has a chance to cause any damage.

Get started shopping with your electric bike

First. If you don’t have one already, you will need a luggage rack for your electric bicycle. Rear luggage racks are the most common, but racks are available for the front of your bike as well. Expect to pay $40 – $50 for a sturdy, well-made, light-weight aluminum rack, and make sure to attach it securely. Next, select panniers, or saddlebags that are large enough to carry several bags of groceries. Be sure to specify whether they are going to attach to the front or the rear of your bike, as they must mate to the luggage rack you have installed.

Figure 2 Select panniers, or saddlebags that are large enough to carry several bags of groceries.

Figure 2 Select panniers, or saddlebags that are large enough to carry several bags of groceries.

In the supermarket, self control is essential. If your refrigerator is nearly empty, or you have just returned from a two-month stay at your vacation villa, maybe now is not the time to go shopping with your e-bike. Start with a grocery list, and stick to the list. Remember that liquids add the most weight, and be careful not to buy too many boxed items, which are bulky and take up a lot of space. Once you have checked off the items on your list, you can add impulse and last-minute items to the extent that space allows.

When you are done shopping, think about how you will organize and pack your groceries into your bike bags. The basic rule is to keep the load balanced on your bike by dividing the items into two groups of approximately equal weight. If possible, try to do this before you leave the store. This may be easier if you go through the self-check.

Loading up your ebike

When you get back to your electric bike, load the groceries into each pannier and close it. If you cannot close the panniers, you may have to leave the top open. This is easier if the bag is equipped with a zipper rather than a top flap. If you do have to leave your saddlebag open, try to tie the supermarket bag closed to prevent groceries from bouncing out in the event that you are traveling on a bumpy road.

Figure 4 Organizing Your Groceries

Figure 4 Organizing Your Groceries

Still can’t fit everything on your ebike? Here are two additional tips/tricks you can use.

1) Look for items with unnecessarily bulky packaging, such as breakfast cereal and potato chips. Remember that with some items, like chips, the inside of the bag is mostly air. If you puncture the bag with a small knife or apartment key, it will release the trapped air and allow you to compress the bag (you may be disappointed when you find out how much air you have been buying). Also, if you have “hamburger helper” type mixes, or cereals which are packed in plastic pouches inside a cardboard box, in a pinch, you can take the pouches and leave the cardboard boxes behind.

2) If you are still struggling for space, as a last resort, and only as a last resort, you can put some of the lighter items into a plastic grocery bag, then slide the bag onto the bicycle handlebars through the bag handles. Keep the weight of the bag as light as possible (no liquids!) as the bag will swing on your handlebars as you ride, and the shifting weight will make your bicycle’s steering and handling more difficult and less predictable.

Grocery shopping by bicycle is challenging, but planning ahead and thinking creatively will allow you to use your e-bike to save money and provide healthy exercise while accomplishing a necessary household chore.

Dave Balzer

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The Most Comfortable Electric Bicycle

by Electric bike guru on December 7, 2010

Electric bikes are a hip new trend on the green train these days, and there are dozens of different styles to choose from. There are souped-up electric mountain bikes, compact electric folding bikes, and electric conversion kits that turn ordinary bikes into electric bikes. Many people interested in electric bikes simply want the most comfortable, easy-to-use bicycle they can find. They’re not so concerned with gears, motor watts, or battery voltage. As long as it gives them some assistance and the battery doesn’t die, it will work just fine.

Lately, with long-range Lithium batteries becoming the standard technology for electric bikes, there has been a boom in the number of hybrid electric bikes on the market. Many of these have easy, step-through frames, curved handlebars, and simple pedal-assist technology. Just start pedaling, and the motor kicks in automatically. These “comfort” bikes are great for weekend rides through the countryside, bike paths along the water, or a beachside boardwalk. For long distances, they’re extremely comfortable. These are a few of the best electric comfort bikes on the market right now.

Sanyo Eneloop Electric Bike

The sleek, white step-through frame is easy to recognize, and in less than a year, the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike has established itself as one of the forerunners on the electric bike market. Known for its high-quality Lithium battery technology, Sanyo integrated this into their bike, which can travel an average of 25 miles on a single charge. There is even regenerative braking built-in, so the battery life can be extended more than the average electric bike.

The Sanyo Eneloop has three speeds built into a rear hub gear shifter. This is essentially maintenance-free

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Electric Bike tips: Increase your range per charge

May 12, 2010

So you’ve finally made the leap and purchased an electric bike, but instead of seeing the world, you keep seeing the “Empty” indicator on the battery meter.  How come? Well, a number of factors can influence the range and energy consumption of your eBike.  Like any bike, an eBike encounters a frictional force known as [...]

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