When I sold my car and bought an e-bike 3 years ago I thought all my problems were solved! But it turns out that I don’t want an e-bike. When I explain it to people they never understand, because in theory they seem so great and my reasons seem so silly.
You have to charge the battery
This seems simple. But we have our bikes in the bike room – so charging it means bringing the battery upstairs. And then bringing it back down again. I always forgot because I’d be distracted while locking up & only realize it was dead the next day. I also routinely forgot to bring the battery back downstairs & trekking up 9 flights of stairs to grab it was very unpleasant.
The range is ~30 miles so on long rides I’d have to find a place to charge the battery. Once while camping I forgot my keys & had to drag the entire bike into the bathroom of the campsite in order to charge it.
So heavy. It’s so much extra work to drag the bike around when you’re not using assist, so I always ended up using much more assist than necessary on flat ground to compensate. It added an extra 20 lbs to the bike!
It just didn’t feel right
I didn’t use the bike to its full potential. I didn’t use it as a car replacement like I thought I would when I bought it. Instead, after I sold my car my world shrunk A LOT. I decided that going to far away suburban places to buy bulk toilet paper that we had nowhere to store in our tiny apartment wasn’t something I wanted to do anyway.
We sold her to a family with three young kids. I hope they get more use out of her than we did.
Friday we planned to take the dogs over to Magnuson Park & stop off at Mud Bay in University Village on the way back.
We decided against the dog park with all of the rain since we had just cleaned the house. I’d like to check it out though, so we’ll have to look for a sunnier day.
In the end Mike & I ended up riding over to University Village without the pups. The ride there is mostly downhill & I love that E Stevens Way is a no-passing zone through campus. I love when we can ride next to each other but people can get really nasty about riding two-abreast on the incorrect assumption that it’s easier/faster to pass multiple single-file riders. We bombed down Pend Orielle which was awesome. I love fast downhills. Also racing Mike because I almost always win!
We got to the bike racks in front of the Tiffanys just in time! It started pouring as we were locking up so we took refuge under an awning. We walked around a bit before unlocking & riding over to Mud Bay. It’s not located in the U Village plaza so we rode on the sidewalk of 25th to get there. Of course someone driving an SUV almost plowed into us as we turned up the driveway to the store. It’s a really steep entrance & we both lost momentum & had to hop off & walk up the hill.
As we loaded the 45lb bag of dog food onto my bike it started pouring so we waited for a break in the rain before leaving. I was standing on the right side of Yuba when I put the kickstand down but I should’ve been on the left, where the weight was so I could rest it on my hip. I dropped the bike onto my leg & now I have a lovely welt on my shin.
Mike popped the chain back on & we rode back down the sidewalk to cross 25th at Pend Orielle. We hopped on the trail here & then cut through campus to get back home. Uphill was not as fun. Who would’ve guessed?
It would’ve been much easier to ride with the load if it had been centered or equally weighted. Unfortunately we don’t have any bungee cords right now, otherwise I would’ve strapped it across the rear rack. I could’ve put it in the basket (50lb weigh limit) but steering gets wonky above 35lbs. Oh well, we made it home with only 1 bruise so alls well that ends well!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME SEATTLE? These are not hills. They are MOUNTAINS.
Yesterday I rode to Capitol Hill. I did not want to do this, but alas, my local art store didn’t have the size of glass I needed & I knew Blick would, so off I went. Sidenote: much better location for my wallet than in DC because now I can’t get there without fear of death by heart attack!
I took Yuba because HILLZ. I headed south over University Bridge where I graciously surrendered my right-of-way to a large truck hauling a boat (JK no, they just ran the stop sign) & pulled a box turn at the light to head east on Furhman. Last time I biked to Capitol Hill I took Harvard & it sucked. Furhman was relatively quiet & FLAT but more than one person revved their engine behind me. Why? FOR FUN PROBABLY.
Googlemaps is crazy & directed me to turn up Shelby which I don’t even think is possible to bike up. I think you would just tip backwards & fall to the center of the earths core if you tried it. Seriously. My neck hurt just looking at it. I decided to press on & try to find a hill with less grade. I turned right onto Hamlin to head up the hill & had to use full assist while pedaling as hard as possible. WHO PUT THIS MOUNTAIN HERE?!
After a relatively long break at the top with copious water consumption & much panting (to the consternation of the man setting out his trash can) I turned left on 10th & pressed onward & ever upward. I hopped onto the sidewalk at E Roanoke to push the button & continue on my way up 10th. This is a stupid intersection.
I plodded along using copious amounts of battery power while gasping for air & cursing the tectonic plates that lie underneath this horrible city. I stopped at the top of the hill to catch my breath & suck down ever more water while sweaty profusely & mumbling profanities (but only because I was too out of breath to yell them).
The bike lane ends here but the lane is 12 feet wide so yay for being squeezed in between moving & parked cars! I never feel like I can hold a 12 foot lane. They’re just too wide. No particularly close passes though, most drivers moved partially into the center passing lane to pass.
When 10th turns into Broadway it becomes a bit more narrow so I rode in the lane here until the protected lane starts at E John Street. The lane is nice & wide with plenty of passing space & bike specific traffic signals. Alas, my journey was almost over so I didn’t get to ride in it for too long.
I purchased a few pieces of pre-cut glass as well as an 18 x 24 inch pad of newsprint The smaller glass fit in my basket but I rested the newsprint & the large piece of glass on top & secured it with a bungee. Most people would assume that you can’t bike with large sheets of glass but I do it all the time & I’ve yet (knock on wood) to break any.
Despite feeling nauseous & dizzy and having a SPLITTING headache (riding up mountains will do that to a person) I decided to try to ride through Interlaken Park on my way back because after doing all the work to get up the hill I figured I should get to enjoy it!
I headed back down Broadway & turned off in order to ride on Federal Way which was quiet but also hasn’t been paved in 1,000 years. After bumping along for several long blocks I turned onto E Prospect to head through Volunteer Park. It had started misting by now so I took shelter under a large tree & tried to protect my pad of newsprint from rain so it wouldn’t bubble up. I ripped up the two plastic bags I use for seat covers in an attempt to cover the pad. It worked relatively well but required some re-tucking in throughout the rest of the journey.
Cargo secure, I continued on my way. But being severely directionally challenged I got lost. Googlemaps wanted me to turn onto 19th to get to Interlaken Drive E (which I should have done?) but I was confused about which section was open to cars. I wanted to ride through the whole park & I saw that E Interlaken Boulevard was marked in dark green for protected lane/trail so I was trying to get there.
In the end I walked my bike down the very steep sidewalk to 23rd while squeezing my brakes as hard as possible & gave up, tired of going several steep blocks uphill only to go right back down & up & down & up-up-up.
I got back on my bike & headed down 24th, taking the sidewalk over the Montlake Freeway & the bridge.
I headed up the ramp at the Link station & rode back through campus along Stevens Way. Home at last, we walked over to Udon where I ate the best noodles ever & then took a nap to recover.
Soon to come: a petition to level the city to make it humane & civil.
I purchased my eBoda Boda from The Daily Rider back in January. I had tested out a regular Boda but I’d never ridden an e-bike. At the time I had been bike commuting for about a year and I was frustrated with my current bike. I felt like I was fighting it everyday. I was making excuses for why I couldn’t ride (it’s cold, I’m tired, there’s a hill, I have too much to carry) so it really wasn’t serving me well.
When I saw a twitter post about interest in the eBoda by The Daily Rider I was interested. I read all of the reviews and specs. I tested out the regular Boda. And I sold my car, cashed the check, and headed over to the store to put down my deposit. I wanted a car replacement system, and that is exactly what I got.
When I ordered the bike I only added the bag, basket, and liner. I figured everything else I could add later if I wanted it. Mistake. While you can add them later, it can be costly to order parts & pay for install separately. Even if you plan to install at home the shipping is usually $20/order. I’ve since added: fenders, deflopilator, running boards, a ring, and a soft spot. I plan to add the center kickstand this weekend.
This bike can carry amazing amounts of stuff and handle extremely well
Battery life is good for my needs (short, urban commutes)
All-weather & all surface handling
Disc brakes provide serious stopping power**
Basket liner has a great pocket for my cargo net and plastic rain bags
Human carrying power for carrying real, adult (and tiny) humans around – 220lbs on the rear rack (in addition to rider)
Tons of points to lash cargo straps onto, perfect for carrying weirdly shaped items
Durable frame – I crashed hard sideways and no dents on the frame – basket still fully functional – virtually no damage to the bike
Tires are extremely durable – only 1 flat with 1700 miles and it was a tube issue**
Beautiful to look at – always gets plenty of compliments
Rides fast, like mind blowingly fast down-hill and on flat straight-aways
Surprisingly easy to maneuver despite wide running boards
Ergonomic handlebars leave plenty of space for important items like pretty bells and cup holders
Very comfortable seat that reduces inner thigh chafe
Rack is great for any clip-on bag – I’m currently using a Linus bag
Yuba’s bag is large and can carry an impressive amount of stuff – I loaded in 2 framed 16×20 paintings and another 8×10 with room to spare
Basket can carry up to 50lbs and since it’s frame mounted, the steering is largely unaffected
I like the new center kickstand although it was strange at first, I think I’ve got the hang of it now!
Shifts really easily & I don’t miss the extra gears
Fits on a bus in the front rack!
Front clearance is too short leading me to kick the fender when I make turns
Side kickstand is too low causing the bike to have an extreme tilt – not useful if there’s more than 10 lbs of cargo on board (I like to load the left side, which is also the kickstand side)
Shipping costs for parts are high, and they take quite a while to reach the east coast
Basket liner is a drab color and if fills with water in the rain
Back tire needs special tools to be removed, requiring shop visits for tube replacements (since it’s under the rack)
Front basket limits light placement since the liner is solid and the basket extends out quite far
Heavy – weighing in at 65 lbs it’s not a bike I can carry up/down our (very narrow) stairs
Not a full chain guard – leaving plenty of grease stains while being carried up/down said stairs
Prone to tipping without the “deflopilator” if you have weight in the basket – I load up my basket with groceries (40-50lbs) so this can be an issue
Difficult to start from a stop, especially on a hill due to excessive rear weight (when not using the electric)
Cork grips are really slimy in the rain
Yuba’s bag is too big for my every day, it also doesn’t have enough small pockets for phone/wallet
I love my Yuba. No, she’s not my bike for every ride, but she always gets me where I need to go. She provides that extra umph when I’m feeling tired or hot. She eases my back pain. She’s allowed me to give up my car and still feel like I can get around without relying on others.
**EDIT: Today I took her over to TDR to have them change out the kickstand because our wrench wasn’t the right size. While we were there I asked about the “sticky” brake issue where the rear brake would fail to release without being manually pushed back into place. His first question: “do you keep her outside, there’s A LOT of corrosion. This should be replaced”. Needless to say I’m disappointed, especially since she lives inside at work and home. We put in an order for a new brake cable (it’s a tandem) and I’ll plan on bringing her back in next weekend.
On our way home (in the cold, WINDY rain) I hear a wooshing sound as we approach a red light. Sure enough it’s a flat rear tire. Of course. We didn’t have a patch kit or pump with us so we had to take her into the shop. Luckily Mike was there so he carried her to BicycleSpace while trying not to rip the tire. When we arrived we learned the bad news: the rear tire was really worn and needed to be replaced. That obviously wasn’t going to happen 30 minutes before the shop closed, so he recommended that we order specialty (although non-white) tires for e-bikes meant to be puncture resistant and stand up to the extra battery weight. We opted to stick with the current tires but switch the front and back since the front had plenty of tread left. My plan is to put new tires on her by the first real snow (hopefully January).
While at BicycleSpace we talked to the mechanic about average lifespan on brakes and tires. His recommendation was 1,500-2,000 miles for race bike tires but after 2-3 flats for commuters. She’s at that mileage and has taken 10 months of daily urban abuse, so I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. He also said that it’s probably on track for brake cable replacement too with the extra weight of the cargo bike and the extra stop and go of urban commuting.
I’ve been riding Yube’s hard for 10 months and it’s really starting to show. But as they say: when it rains, it pours. I’ll be making the necessary repairs/upgrades over the next few weeks and months and we’ll get her back to her prime.
Plenty of flower carrying capacity
Camping gear is no match for the cargo capacity
Tires hardy enough for glass covered overpasses and packed gravel trails