Change the brakes from cable to hydraulic, which are basically maintenance free and 100 times better than cable brakes. They don't cost much, but the difference to safety and function is massive.I have just worked three early shifts after 12 days off. Two return trips on the £100 ebike and 40 miles ridden. I took the car to the middle one of my three shifts as it was a very early start time.
With low temperatures and knowing that I do not have a lot of range in hand, I was a little nervous that the battery would last the distance, living in my unheated brick garage, but it did today with high assist used for the majority of the 10 mile journey.
As I ride the £100 Ebike to my early shifts it also gets ridden at generally the coldest point of the day, around four in the morning.
At work it gets recharged in a well heated room so that the battery is both fully charged, warmed, and hopefully balanced before returning home to be recharged in my unheated garage.
The batteries of the £100 ebike and my other Oxygen emate got swapped over a month or two back when my son and I went on an adventurous ride together, me on my Haibike and him on my original Oxygen with the battery from the £100 Ebike in the pannier.
We needed to use the second battery from the £100 Ebike and I just put the other battery in the £100 Ebike when we got home as it was easier and I have never bothered to swap them back.
So the nearly 10 year old battery from the £100 Ebike now powers my son on a six mile journey to work and back. To be honest I don't think there is much difference in performance between the two batteries, I have just been too lazy to swap them back. The one I am now using in the £100 Ebike is a cheap sub £200 one that included a charger that I bought of Ebay and will be three years old in the Spring.
Now I am off again for six days over the New Year, returning to late shifts for which the Haibike will be used to make use of daylight to enjoy my cross country route to work and road ride home.
I need to replace a bashed pedal on the Haibike before then.
Although my bikes are working well, I have an ongoing left knee meniscus tear injury for which I am progressing very slowly through the NHS, understandably so with the Covid situation. and perhaps because of the knee injury my lower back muscles are now starting to go into spasm probably as a result of me favouring my right knee, and my back can be very painful and debilitating.
I have not yet had to take any time off work as the back problem has coincided with my off duty time where I have been able to free it up with a combination of exercises, massage, and muscle relaxing drugs, but I fear it is only a matter of time before these ailments coincides with a pattern of work and requires me to take sick leave.
Riding my bike seems to actually improve rather than exacerbate my knee injury as it strengthens the muscles of the knee in question without irritating the injury, perhaps because the exercise is non load bearing and my knee is never fully straightened.
Unfortunately at work I am sitting down for long stretches of time which just makes a lower back problem worse.
The £100 Ebike is now showing 2,257 miles, so I have now ridden it 1,757 miles.
I still have not replaced the brake pads at the front as I have not quite run out of adjustment at the handlebar, so these original brake pads have lasted very well. Using this bike mainly for commuting on the road I can ride literally miles at a time without needing to apply the brakes, which explains their longevity.
They are simple mechanical disc brakes, that work well, but just don't get applied that much using the bike for commuting as I do.
Good job as the width of the motor in the rear wheel fouls the adjuster so that once you have run out of adjustment at the handlebar you have to take the rear wheel out to get at the adjuster.
Not a great bit of design, but it might be churlish to complain at the money I paid for it!
My other Oxygen Emate of around the same time period has a smaller diameter rear motor that does allow adjustment of the rear brake. Much better.
So apart from about 20 spokes I bought for the rear wheel at 35p each, and some brake pads, yet to be fitted, a saddle of my preference, a new throttle, and a splash of chain oil, I have spent diddly squat on this bike in those very enjoyable 1,757 miles.
The rear wheel seems to have now stabilised with no broken spokes for a long time. I did use about 18 spokes getting to this point though.
The one thing I miss more than anything since I ritired is my ride to and from work. How weird is that?Sub Zero Commuting
Just finished 4 early turn jobs at work, Friday the 5th through to yesterday Monday the 8th.
The weather was zero and sub zero cold on the way into work and pretty cold coming home.
I was lucky to only be on call on Sunday and as I am beginning to expect now, stayed at home. Nice work if you can get it.
I have work colleagues who have been called in from on call at home, but it is thankfully rare.
Before Covid we used to sit at work for the length of our shifts where we had no specific work to do which was not as nice.
The earliest job was the first one Friday when my alarm went off at 03:06 AM.
Part of the great multi year pay deal we got was reducing slightly the time between arriving at work and starting work.
When I ride to work I allow 1hr and 20 minutes from my alarm going off, showering, riding the 10 miles and sorting out myself and the bike at the other end ready to start work.
This is now quite a tight timescale to work to but still doable. You don't get time for tea and a chat, but in a Covid world where reducing contacts reduces risk this might not be a bad thing.
You do get time to make tea to take with you, and fill a thermos with hot water so that you can avoid mess rooms and keep contact to a minimum.
Saturday The alarm went off at 03:31.
Sunday, on call at home, relax with the children, catch up on some sleep, and still being paid, excellent.
Monday, latest potential alarm time of 04:27 but the weather forecast of snow and ice meant I brought it forward a few minutes. I was expecting to maybe take the car or even be snowed in judging by the forecast but when I pocked my head out of my front door, although there had been some snow, it looked OK and turned out to fine on the treated roads but much more care needed on untreated roads.
A friend had put on ice spiker tyres for his bike commute into central London from the suburbs, and thought I was mad to ride in on my Schwalbe Marathon Pluses, but they were fine, and of course they would be until they dumped you on the deck.
Knowing that they are not the best tyres in cold temperatures means you ride accordingly, not infallible protection against an accident, but forewarned is as they say is forearmed.
So three return trips and 60 miles ridden. The winter salt is now reeking havoc with some of the fastenings and the bike in general and when it warms up I will need to give it a good wash.
Both the rides to work, and home again were a great chance to get some exercise and enjoy riding this great bike that I was so lucky to acquire.
In this much colder weather I am now removing the battery when I get home and charging it in the house after it has had chance to warm up and its performance on these very cold journeys into work has improved as a result.
My son using my old Oxygen to commute to his local job in our town, 6 mile round trip, unfortunately fell off on black ice at a junction. He was luckily fine apart from a bit of bruising, but he smashed the 7 speed thumb shift gear change on the handlebar.
He could still use it but it needed replacing.
I bought one of Amazon for £20, after looking elsewhere and was a bit shocked by the price of bike bits at the moment. I guess it is supply and demand.
The 9 speed cassettes for the Haibike I ride that I paid a low of £12.95 delivered for in Jan 19 have risen to £26.05 from the same supplier. I wish I had bought more than the three I did, but two are still to be used so prices may have changed again by the time I need to buy again.
I am considering continuing to work a bit longer than April 21 when I thought I might retire which will mean commuting a bit longer, adding to this story.
I definitely won't be working beyond April 22. A few reasons, but from April 21 I am lucky enough to be in a position to retire whenever I want allowing for my 3 month notice period, so nice to have the choice.