Electric Bicycles

Let’s get stripped

Undertaking a mid-mount demands a bit more time and effort, than that for a rear hub conversion. Initially it requires tackling some of the tasks that riders often leave to their local bike shop, because they either lack the tools, expertise, or motivation. This usually includes the removal of the chain, crankset and bottom bracket, front derailleur (and in some cases the rear), and cassette. Already having the necessary tools and having previously performed these tasks I was ready to get stuck in.

There are too many ‘standards’ in bottom brackets and running gear to warrant detailing the tools and steps pertinent to the choice of moutnain bike I made. Suffice it to say that Google is your best friend in this endeavour should you choose to undertake it. There is a veritable plethora of useful tutorials on online, particularly on Youtube, that can guide you through the whole process, to get you started;

Or have the ladies over at REV Electric Cycles guide you through the whole process of fitting a Bafang Mid Drive Unit. They even sell kits that include the fitting in the price.

Having stripped his bike El Presidente has mounted his motor through the bottom bracket.

So that’s probably enough information for tonights post, this is going to be more than a single stubbie job! Join us in the next post as we begin to get in to the harder stuff of running the electrics!

Electric Bicycles

Off the shelf or doing it yourself?

As alluded to in the previous post there can be a perception of not being able to keep up when making the transition from road to mountain biking. There is certainly an element of truth in this thought process as it is a different form of fitness required in mountain-biking as you contend with the obstacles found off-road.

As with almost any market manufacturers have seen a gap and offer solutions in the form of off the shelf e-bikes; many with the prices to make you wince. These bikes are proving so popular that the brand Specialized see a time where ‘naturally aspirated’ mountain bikes will be a thing of the past. Whilst prices of these bikes have begun to reduce, the most cost effective manner to gain electric power can be through the conversion of an existing bike. There is the option to have someone do this for you, obviously there is an extra cost incurred with this option, so the cheapest course of action remains the Do It Yourself kits; particularly where you have an existing bike in the shed!

These kits come in two general flavours; mid mount and hub drive. Where the bike is intended for road or light trail use only the hub drive system is thought to be the best balance, whilst those considering venturing further ‘off piste’ will require the mid mount version. If you want or need more details on the dis/advantages of the various types a quick internet search will soon provide you with a wealth of information. Our esteemed president has completed his research and made his choice, what follows is his story as he converts to e-power.

Choice of stead

In the shed I have a couple of little used, but good quality (end of the 1990s) mountain bikes, both made by GT, one a hard tail and the other Full Suspension (FS). Predictably, I have decided to convert the FS as my first attempt.

GT LTS-1 XR-1000

There is a good write up on the LTS series over on Pinkbike if you want the intimate detail of the bikes. Suffice it to say that the presidents bike is an 18″ 1998 model example of a bikes sold to fulfill a light cross country role. This model is the last to feature a straight seat post and features 100mm of travel. (Is that a comfort seat and seat-post we see added there El Presidente?)

Choice of battery/motor kit

After a bit of research the best value and most popular kit appears to be that made by Bafang. They made two kinds of mid mount, the most common being the BBS02 (now BBS02B) in 250, 500 and 750 w motors; and the made tougher BBSHD 1000w. Since my old mountain bike only has about 100mm travel front and even less on the back, the latter much more expensive option was pointless, however since the price between the least and most powerful BBS02B was minimal, it made sense to go with the 48v 750W. Even in Australia there are numerous retailers offering these, and more, kits. Do your research and choose the right kit for your intended use

Having chosen your stead and your kit the next step is prepare the bike and start fitting the kit. Join us in the next post as the president continues his journey to electrification.

Electric Bicycles

1932: Whilst not the first e-bike this image reveals the concept has bee around for a significant period of time!

Electric bicycles (e-bIkes) are rapidly becoming more mainstream rather than the remit of those with deep pockets. Take a closer look at that suit/skirt wearing individual who flew past you on the morning commute and chances are you will see the signs of an e-bike in their mount. E-Bikes are are attracting more and more people to the activity we love but, more than this, they can extend our life cycling by flattening those hills or opening up terrain we previously stayed away from.

Discussions within the committee on the future of the organisation identified the need to broaden our appeal to veterans, one suggestion was to incorporate Mountain Biking more than we have previously. Mountain biking has as many disciplines as their road cousins, whether it be trundling along a quiet gravel road, challenging yourself on some undulating single track, or hurtling down a hill (the steeper the better)! The images evoked from these descriptions can instill the perception that mountain-biking is a young man’s game or that it is only for those with the legs of Jens Voigt; in short many people will believe they can not ‘keep up’! This is where the aforementioned e-bikes can come in to play!

Many manufacturers now offer a variety of off the shelf e-bikes, from racing road-bikes and commuters to make the trip to work short/quicker. Through to cross-country mountain bikes that flatten hills and downhill thumpers that allow the rider to pedal back up that mountain. The prices on some of these will make your eyes water as you look for the internal combustion engine that you know should be included!

Just as bicycle manufacturers have created a variety of off the shelf solutions, battery electric motor manufacturers are producing different kits that allow conversion of a standard bike to an e-bike. This option is a far more wallet friendly course, particularly for those of us with an unused bike sitting in the shed (road or mountain bike).

Join us over the coming posts as El Presidente takes us on a journey as he converts one of his old mountain bikes to electric power

President’s Update – January 2021

As 2021 gets underway and the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID lock-down approaches, it is appropriate that I report to you about this organisation’s response.
Given many of our riders are on the plus side of the promised three score and ten, and with health challenges, your committee were left with little option but to suspend our operations.
In the now nearly 12 months since then, risk levels may have fluctuated, however at no point has it been safe to contemplate running a full group ride cycling event. Individual riders have continued to get out there, and some of our sub-groups have been able to manage local group outings. Planning however, for when we are able to contemplate an official VetRide event has not ceased, including some preliminary discussion with Bicycle Network, around the possibility of a jointly, veteran and public, commemorative ride, during the Anzac day period. As an example:

Ride Anzac
… and in the morning you will remember them;
as you ride with the spirit of Anzac
As dawn breaks and in the light of the Eternal Flame, your day will start from the Victorian home of commemoration, the Shrine of Melbourne.
Warming up as you head along Birdwood Avenue, the cavalcade of pedal will pass by Simpson and his Donkey, the Memorial to Silence, the Drivers and Wipers Memorial, Edward Honey and Edith Cavell Memorials, before saluting John Monash and the entry to Government House.
After finishing back at the Shrine, you will have the opportunity to ….

In terms of our continuing support for current serving and younger veterans, we have also commenced talks with some of the previous organisers of the Soldier On Cycling group. This was a nationwide group of riders numbering in the hundreds, and I am pleased to report that their approach is much the same as ours, in that they are keen to rejuvenate their activities in unison with VetRide.

To our North our VetRide Queensland group continue to be active and some interstate collaboration is being undertaken as they formulate plans to enlarge their membership. The Federal Member for the Townsville area is a veteran, Phillip Thompson OAM MP and his kind offer of assistance will be relevant, for contact with the military bases in his Townsville area electorate; and beyond.

There are three current serving members on our committee and we rely upon their expertise, with regard to relevant strategic planning for the future. One suggestion has been that we engage more substantially with mountain biking; and with that in mind some investigations have begun into the possibility of an event to be run at Lysterfield Park. I have made initial contact with the Lysterfield District Trail Riders (LDTR), who maintain the many trails there, host events, rides and training etc.

Lysterfield Park contains some natural bush and forest that was the common landscape for much of the Melbourne area before white settlement. Lysterfield Lake was used to supply fresh water to the Mornington Peninsula before the construction of Cardinia Reservoir in 1975. The Park is a significant area for an amazing variety of birdlife – 172 species recorded – attracted by the different types of food and environments provided by the woodlands, forest, lake and grassy open spaces. There are ten trails (see Trailforks) totalling 20km in the park, ranging from 200m to 6.3km they vary from easy to extremely difficult. Track surfaces vary with hardened surface and widely variable and unpredictable natural features and terrain.

Under the rules of Incorporation we are required to hold an Annual General Meeting, which for us would normally have been held at the end of 2020. Because of COVID we have not yet conducted the AGM, however have applied to Consumer Affairs Victoria for an extension, and pursuant to the rules, our Secretary will advise of the date in due course.
In the interim, we await progress upon the roll out of the vaccine and the presumed accompanying safe environment, for the holding of group activities. Until then, please let your committee know of your thoughts, and any suggestions you may have for the future.

Peter Liefman OAM BA LLB
VetRide Incorporated President

Presidents Update

What a year! As 2020 continues to have us spinning our pedals backwards the committee has taken advantage of the lull to develop new initiatives to take VetRide into the future.

In keeping with the intent to spread the VetRide ideal and broaden our footprint, Queensland and Victoria have developed a joint strategy to increase our membership. An initial recruiting focus in the Townsville and Brisbane regions seeks to add to our membership from currently serving ADF personnel.

A direct request to the Federal Member for Herbert, Mr Phillip Thompson OAM MP, has seen an in principle agreement to support our efforts. Phillip is an ex-serving member of the ADF; serving with the 1st Battalion he saw service in East Timor and Afghanistan. Severe injuries from an IED in Afghanistan saw return to Australia and a long road to recovery. Since the move from the Army to civilian life he has worked to champion mental health and suicide prevention. In 2018 he was awarded his OAM for his significant service to the welfare of war veterans.

A further focus on current and recently discharged ADF members has seen the commencement of negotiations with a large group of cyclists from the now disbanded Soldier On Cycling. Despite the many generational differences it is pleasing to see the common ground we share in terms on interest and intent.

Mountain Biking in Australia has been on of the fastest growing sports over the last few years. The committee has discussed how we could support this discipline within VetRide more than we have in the past. There are many challenges in achieving this; not the least of which is the risk of alienating current members through the fear of ‘not keeping up’ or ‘I can’t do that’. The same fears could be present among those coming from MTB to road or gravel.

Another growing area of cycling, not only within a Australia but also worldwide, is the advent of electric bicycles particularly pedelec (PEdal ELEctric Cycle) in the MTB world. Advances in battery technology and decreasing costs means that these bicycles are a viable solution to many of the concerns mentioned above. The uptake of these types of MTB has Specialized predicting that production of conventional mountain bikes will cease in the future.

There are also numerous bolt on kits that can be used to convert those old bicycles we no longer use to a pedelec; of course, having a couple of old GT’s lying around this is what I have done; stay tuned for a further post on how I went about this.

In the mean time stay strong ;there is light at the end of this pandemic tunnel and we are sure to see a return to normalcy – however gradual it may be.

ANZAC Day 2020

Dear VetRide Member / Affiliate,

You are invited to join our ANZAC DAY Live-Stream Event on ANZAC DAY Saturday 25 April 2010 commencing at 12-noon sharp.

The Event will last only 10 minutes but it will include:

– A Welcome Address, Reflection & Prayer led by Cadet Chaplain, VetRide member, and serving Army WO2 Darren Thomas

– A text based ‘Chat Room’ feature which will be active from 11.35am to 12.30pm. 

Weather permitting, Darren is hoping to Live Stream from the Victorian Shrine of Remembrance which, I’m sure you will agree, will add to the solemnity of the occasion.

Feel free to use the ‘Chat Room’ feature to write a “Hello” to your mates that might be participating and share some ANZAC DAY banter. Use ‘Chat’ to tell us what you think about the Event and to ask us any VetRide related questions. Note that ‘Chat’ can be viewed by all participants.

A link to particpate has been distibuted via email; if you have not received it please send an email to the committee requesting an invite.

Upon clicking the weblink, your smartphone/computer web-browser (for example, Explorer, Safari, Firefox or Chrome) should automatically open and take you to the VetRide Zoom Live-Stream Event page. You do not need to download the Zoom App or enter meeting ID or Passwords.

Initially, you will be placed in a Virtual ‘Waiting Room’ from where you will be electronically admitted to the ‘Event’ by the event host. Event admission will be from 11.35am. You should aim to join the Event by no later than 11.50am to be ready for the start.

The Event will be a great opportunity for the VetRide community to connect as one family to mark ANZAC DAY, using technology of the day, at a time when our ANZAC DAY routines and traditions are challenged by the COVID-19 Corona Virus pandemic.

The timing of this Event will allow you to ‘participate’ in the National Dawn Service celebrations (for example, watching the Canberra Ceremony on ABC TV), attend our Virtual Event, and then tuck into an “Isolation BBQ and a Beer’ in the afternoon. How good is that!

You are requested:

2.  Mute your microphones, but switch on your video so that we can all see one another. You will be able to see others, but not talk to others. The idea is that you will hear the official broadcast only. If you switch on your microphone everyone will hear you and you will interrupt the ceremony.

At the end of the short ceremony, the Event will be automatically ended by the Event host.

Troubleshooting

1. Make sure you have a ‘live’/active internet connection for your smartphone or computer

2. If connecting via wifi in you own home make sure you are positioned close to your router/modem (minimise the number of walls in-between)

3. If connecting via smartphone good reception is not as important, but 4G is a minimum.

We hope to see you there.

Best wishes,

Your VetRide Committee

Warburton Vetride Photos

Riders at Noojee

Excellent riding at Warburton. The rain stayed away but it was a little cool for our main supported ride to Nooyee. A tough 103Km ride for many of us including the climbs over the mountain both ways at Powelltown.

We were looked after very well by Tom and Alex in the Perentie lead vehicle, Clive and Ray in the Greensborough RSL Bus and Sag wagon, Les in the Beraldo coffee cart, Simon and Dave from the Warburton Holiday park; and Andrew from Yarra Valley Catering who feed us so well!

Thanks Peter for keeping us on track and getting this event on the road.

Click here to view photos