16 Mile Towpath commute,is it realistic?

schoe

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2010
48
0
#1
In a couple of years time my work is moving its premises. The new building will be about 15 miles by road but there is a route I can cycle along a canal which is about 16 miles long mainly tarmac and gravel paths but with some grass paths. (Taunton to Bridgwater canal)

I work shifts so sometimes would have to cycle in the pitch black along the path.(with high power bike lights)

Is it realistic to ebike i would probably buy a high spec Kalkhoff, If so how long do you think it would take and do you think it would be safe after dark. (I live in Somerset)

Many thanks.
 

overlander

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 22, 2009
432
0
#2
It really depends on the quality of the path/terrain, if it is not perfect your average speed would go down could take you a very long time. Given excellent lit roads you are talking 1hr 30 mins so poor paths longer. If it is completely dark no lights you will need serious lights, i have a few miles in pitch dark and i had to buy niterider 1400 pro's. You will need at least 1000 lumens which will enable you to pick out the imperfections on the track so no cheap lights i reckon.
 
Feb 5, 2010
36
0
#3
Hi

I did a 40 mile round trip charity cycle ride on a tow path, it was good, all flat. But you are meant to dismount at bridges; if you did it every day you might get complaints if you wizz along at speed.
 

schoe

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2010
48
0
#4
Its often used by cyclists and is very quiet, don't think I would get any complaints, the paths are good 80% gravel and tarmac bit disappointed with the 1hour 30 est though I was hoping for about an hour on a pro connect S type bike :cool:
 

overlander

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 22, 2009
432
0
#5
I can only speak about my commute and give a guess but some of my commute is very hilly so my average speed takes a hammering. The canal will be flat but you know the surface, could you keep > 15 mph on all sections?
 
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fishingpaul

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 24, 2007
870
15
#6
In a couple of years time my work is moving its premises. The new building will be about 15 miles by road but there is a route I can cycle along a canal which is about 16 miles long mainly tarmac and gravel paths but with some grass paths. (Taunton to Bridgwater canal)

I work shifts so sometimes would have to cycle in the pitch black along the path.(with high power bike lights)

Is it realistic to ebike i would probably buy a high spec Kalkhoff, If so how long do you think it would take and do you think it would be safe after dark. (I live in Somerset)

Many thanks.
I would have thought you could easilly maintain 13 mph + most of the time,places where you have to stop and restart is where time is lost,as for being safe after dark,i would not want to be riding a £1700 + bike along a pitch black canal towpath on a regular basis.
 

overlander

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 22, 2009
432
0
#7
We are not trying to put you off but would hate to see you spend >£2K and be disappointed. Every commute is different i include getting into my gear and out of the work as part of my commute time. Like fishingpaul says you will have stops and starts they add to it, maybe in the light nights you could keep the speed up, try and cycle it on an ordinary bike first and that will give you a better idea.
 
Feb 21, 2010
135
0
Doncaster.
#8
10 miles to work takes me an about 45 mins (15mph ave) on a non electric town bike. That's on roads for 95% and footpath 5%. You'll really struggle average over 15mph on anything other than smooth tarmac. I'd say a decent 'off road' speed in the dark is 10mph, so 15 miles would take 1hr 30ish.
 

Dynamic Position

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 28, 2009
306
1
#9
In a couple of years time my work is moving its premises. The new building will be about 15 miles by road but there is a route I can cycle along a canal which is about 16 miles long mainly tarmac and gravel paths but with some grass paths. (Taunton to Bridgwater canal)

I work shifts so sometimes would have to cycle in the pitch black along the path.(with high power bike lights)

Is it realistic to ebike i would probably buy a high spec Kalkhoff, If so how long do you think it would take and do you think it would be safe after dark. (I live in Somerset)

Many thanks.
I would think you could do it quite safely on a ProConnect S in an hour on medium assist. The built in front light is so good you can travel safely at 18mph in pitch black. Normally on the flat the Proconnect S cruises at 20mph on medium assist without much effort on tarmac. The biggest problem arises if the path is icy because path may never get gritted/salted, but normally it is people who are walking dogs with leads off! Other cyclists can be a problem because their bike lights are so poor they are forced to slow down. Standard Panasonic battery is good for 40 miles in summer but mileage is reduced in freezing conditions and lights on. The Proconnect S is probably the best dealer/factory supplied bike there is for night riding.:D Having been voted the e-bike of the year for 2009 and 2010 by Pedelec Forum members its performance must be good.:cool:
 

Old Timer

Esteemed Pedelecer
Dec 5, 2009
1,279
3
#10
In a couple of years time my work is moving its premises. The new building will be about 15 miles by road but there is a route I can cycle along a canal which is about 16 miles long mainly tarmac and gravel paths but with some grass paths. (Taunton to Bridgwater canal)

I work shifts so sometimes would have to cycle in the pitch black along the path.(with high power bike lights)

Is it realistic to ebike i would probably buy a high spec Kalkhoff, If so how long do you think it would take and do you think it would be safe after dark. (I live in Somerset)

Many thanks.
I`d have no hesitation doing the 15 mile by road:confused: you can punch along nicely on the tarmac, why chance your luck alongside a canal?

You are starting to get to a distance where riding in anything but decent weather might become a real chore at times. I think I might consider a no thrills 50cc scooter or moped as they can be had quite cheap nowdays. Even if you used 2 gals of juice a week when you consider the original outlay and the battery replacement cost then money won`t be the problem.
 

Fordulike

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2010
3,394
152
Tyne and Wear
#11
I`d have no hesitation doing the 15 mile by road:confused: you can punch along nicely on the tarmac, why chance your luck alongside a canal?

You are starting to get to a distance where riding in anything but decent weather might become a real chore at times. I think I might consider a no thrills 50cc scooter or moped as they can be had quite cheap nowdays. Even if you used 2 gals of juice a week when you consider the original outlay and the battery replacement cost then money won`t be the problem.
I have to agree with Old Timer on doing the trip by road.
You won't arrive at work in a good frame of mind after travelling along a canal path at night.
I ride along this type of terrain 2-3 times a week in the good weather during the day for fun, and i seriously wouldn't want to be doing a shift at work afterwards.
Riding at night, even with quality lights, takes far more concentration than riding during natural daylight.
Factor in the possibility of scallywags knocking you off the bike and nicking it and it's a no brainer.
Some knobs attempted this a while back, but ran off when Mr. rolling pin came out. Always carry it in my bag, just in case i fancy doing some baking along the way... ahem :D
Why not buy a lumi jacket, normal road lights and ride tarmac all the way.
Even with todays crazy drivers, i reckon it's the better option ;)
 

tillson

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 29, 2008
5,145
325
#12
I wouldn't consider the canal option at all. My commute is 10 miles by road, or about 9 if I use a canal path. The canal route is a miserable experience and if it was my only option, I would not cycle.

Firstly, the Pro Connect isn't suited to this type of surface. The vibration will fatigue you more than the physical effort of riding the bike. Fishermen are a problem too, they like to put their fishing bats across the path causing you to slow or stop at every worm change. Walkers and out of control dogs are a real headache. As someone has already pointed out, ice WILL fetch you off the bike in winter. And then of course, there is the risk of being shot by someone on their break from masturbating over Internet pornography.

The road is the only viable option really, either on something like a Pro Connect S (with a big battery) or if you are cost conscious, on a moped.
 
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overlander

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 22, 2009
432
0
#13
I know the light on the connect is reasonable probably a max of 60 lux, i assume this is measured at the standard 10 metres!! But either way this really would not be suitable for a canal path, i used to do a lot of night riding on my mountain bike. The big problem is picking out the irregular surface finer details you need some serious lighting. On the road, yes i agree 60 lux would be fine, or in more common measurements 600-800 lumens would be more than adequate for a completely dark road. Offroad under changing conditions like a canal route 1400 lux min i reckon so factor in some serious money. You are talking £400 plus to add to your cost.
 

stevebills

Esteemed Pedelecer
Dec 14, 2010
443
2
#14
dont masterbate it makes u go blind and I have my car as backup because I wont ride in snow, rain or hurricane and I would also stick with the roads mate.:D
 

Mussels

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 17, 2008
3,208
2
Crowborough
#15
One of my routes home is the Thames path, I don't do it often as it's longer with a lot of obstacles. If it wasn't longer then I'd do it in preference to the road but I'd have balloon tyres that soak up most of the bumps.
The terrain is varied from smooth tarmac to loose large stones, the stones aren't great but anything else is fine. As it's fairly flat you might find a hub powered bike faster, Wisper or Ezee maybe.
For lights you need more lighting if there are lights nearby, if it's pitch black then it's not so bad. A couple of P7 lights (one wide beam, other narrow) or similar from eBay for about £60 will enable you to go pretty fast, the slow bits will be obstacles and other people or animals.
I don't know the route you're talking about but I don't see why not, it may well be faster than the road.
 

Mussels

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 17, 2008
3,208
2
Crowborough
#16
I know the light on the connect is reasonable probably a max of 60 lux, i assume this is measured at the standard 10 metres!!
I thought torches were usually measured at 1 or two metres, gives a more impressive figure.
 

Pob

Pedelecer
Dec 12, 2010
36
0
Derbyshire
#17
Get a motorbike or scooter. That way you get a bit of the freedom feeling and don't get too stuck in traffic. Cycling that far over a proportion of uneven terrain is going to make your working day long, hard and sweaty.

I have been cycling to work - just 3 and a half miles each way (don't laugh you hardened cyclists :D ) and that is a faff sometimes and I have to get changed as I am sweaty (I try and ride hard where possible to get fitter)

Imagine the time taken to ride and then get changed for work - do your hair, lock up bike etc etc you are looking at adding 3hrs plus to your day.
 

tillson

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 29, 2008
5,145
325
#18
I think that it is just about doable by road. My standard 2008 vintage Pro Connect with an 18 tooth rear sprocket averages 15 mph over some very hilly terrain. That would make your time in the saddle just over an hour each way (less if its mainly flat). If you went for one of the higher power models such as the "S" you should be under the one hour mark.

You are unlikely to save money using an ebike due to the rapid deterioration in the battery's range and the very high cost of replacement. The main benefits will be increased fitness and the pleasant stress free experience of cycling. If either of these are not important to you and you are looking to reduce your travelling costs, a moped or scooter would be the most sensible option. But in any case, stick to the road.
 

overlander

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 22, 2009
432
0
#19
I think the original poster has a lot to think about. I was also disappointed with the limitations of an electric bike at first more my expectations of the bike than the bike itself. When you accept these limitations it is indeed a great way to travel. As for the lights we will have to agree to disagree on that one :p guess it comes down to individuals tolerance. As i say i used to race down hill on my mountain bike and for that hefty lights were needed. Just checked the connect lights and the look like the 40 lux model but this is a meaningless figure without a distance. Like previously mentioned some torches are at a metre but bike lights its normally 10 metres.

Here are two beam shots one with the lights i currently use and the ones on the connect and you can see the difference.

niterider1400 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

connect | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Only letting me add the link cannot embed the pictures any ideas ?
 
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Synthman

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 31, 2010
417
0
Oxford
#20
I wouldn't do the towpath route. I know someone who collided with another cyclist on a towpath, the other guy fell into a bush and was covered in blood, and the guy I knew ended up going in the river, bike and all.

I had a dog try to hitch a ride on my bike recently, had to slow down to a crawl, and it ran in front of me the last second, had to slam the brake on then it tried jumping on. I stroked it and pulled away as soon as it was away from my wheels! Then you get cyclists who insist on pedalling at walking speed and there isn't enough space to pass safely. Prefer the roads.
 

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