Sep 13, 2009

Night ride at McDowell's Pemberton 09/12/09 - McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Last night Tim, Tom and I did the final night ride of the season, out on Pemberton last night at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. They usually host these rides about once a month, and this was the first on I participated in.

We rolled into the Trailhead Staging Area around 7:30; it had just gotten dark. The lost was about 3/4 full of eager riders. We hit the trail about 8:15 and the 15 mile loop took us about 2 hours.

My new Princeton Tec Switchback 3 headlamp worked really well. I've been using it in the morning for the rides, but this was the first group ride with it, and it was reassuring it had the stamina to keep bright for an extended period of time. It is kinda heavy, and not quite as bright as an HID, it flooded the trail with tons of light. Not bad for $182 shipped to my door (via chainlove).

I've only riden Pemberton twice, and was never really thrilled with the trail, due to the lack of fun hills and sand, but it is pretty neat trail to ride at night. The creatures were out, as I spotted four tarantulas, a little toad, and big phat diamondback rattlesnake.

Here's a thread on MTBR that talks about the ride: Last Night ride at McDowell's Pemberton 09/12/09.

Here's a couple of short vids of the creatures crawling about:

Sep 7, 2009

Ebike (electric bike)

Okay, so I imagine I will be shunned by some in the biking community for getting into my latest venture; an electric bike.

What? an electric bike? Well, I took an ordinary commuter bike, threw a big battery on the back and brushless motor hub up front. It has a solid state (electronic) controller that goes between the battery and the motor, and Cycle Analyst to meter my usage (speed, amp hours used, watts, voltage, etc).

Why in the world would I do this??? Well, I've been taking the bus into work everyday for the past three years, and I usually spend about two hours a day going back and forth. My goal was to get my on way commute on this bike down to under a half hour, and my best time yet is 27 minutes. By going back and for on this bike I just and hour of my life back everyday. Not bad. I'm a rather strong biker, but I don't have shower facilities at work and I'd rather save my legs for the trail instead of the road.

What's it like? It isn't super torqueeee, but it is pretty dang powerful. When I take off from an intersection, I usually start of pedaling (not necessary)and I blow the cars away. On flat ground I've topped out at 34 mph, and the range is around 25 miles.

I spent several weeks researching what I wanted out of a bike on, and purchased my kit from

What do I have wrapped up in this beast? I spent $450 for the bike (REI - Novara Buzz - with chromoly fork and disk brakes), $900 for the 600W BMC electric motor hub and controller w/ thumb throttle, $900 for the 48v 15 ah LiFePO4 battery, and $145 for the Cycle Analyst (stand alone). Sure I coulda got a motorcycle/scooter, but I at the traffic signals I got to the head of the class because I cruise down the bike lane.

Here's video of my project: