Experience is a valuable teacher
Last week I did a ride on a rail trail with my ebike. This trail has a crushed limestone base most of the way. I had ridden this many times years ago and felt that I had a good sense of how I would feel on the ride.
From the beginning I felt very sluggish and turned on the e-assist to help me. I continued to need the assist consistently for miles and I could feel that I needed to rely on the help to keep my usual pace. Looking at my battery power level I noticed that I only had half the battery left after only ten miles. I was seven miles from the turnaround and I was ten miles from the start. I would need to make a new plan for the rest of the ride.
1. Turn off motor assist
2. Shift to easier gears in complete the planned route. One option is always go a shorter distance. Don't worry about my speed or the time.
3. Use power if needed, but been very conservative. I would be doing some pedaling.
4. Turn on the power when I get back to this spot to use what I have left.
The plan worked and I used every bit of the battery.
Lesson 1: There is a learning curve when using an ebike when you want to go long distances. If you are only going for a half hour ride on the local trail or commuting, you would just use whatever power you want and not worry about conservation.
I covered 40 miles. I had to be careful how I use the power. Luckily in this situation I knew the topography and trail conditions ahead of me and this gave me confidence in the plan.
Lesson 2: Check the air pressure in your tires before you go on a ride. I did not do this and I realized that low tire pressure was the main reason for my sluggish ride. A guide may say to inflate tires like this to 25 PSI for riding trails. I was on rail trails and did not have roots, rocks, ruts and holes. The tire sidewalls guided inflation to 35-66 PSI. The next day I had 10 PSI, so no wonder I could not move easily. Use a gauge to check the tire pressure. I cannot gauge this by pushing with my fingers.
Using the ebike gave me an indication of the power that I am needing to keep my pace. I do not think that I would normally use my battery power. I will do the ride again and see how much power I use with more full tires.
Now I will check all tires before I head out on a ride and inflate to the appropriate level for the situation.
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Pacific Coast Highway