Author Topic: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike  (Read 636 times)

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Offline PierreR

I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« on: September 03, 2022, 11:35:37 pm »
Hello fellow bicyclists. My name is Pierre, this is my first post here at ACA forums.  The subject is probably a hot button. I am prepared for that.  I am by no means new to bicycling forums and could have posted this elsewhere but here seems the most fitting place for me to post.
There is not much information out there on remote off-road touring on an e bike.  Most of the information involving e bikes center around credit card touring on pavement with most days less than 50 miles. That is all right, but it does not excite me.
A little about me: I am 67, grew up in Northern Michigan I have a dual degree in Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering MTU and I am a master machine builder. I am no stranger to e bikes having designed and built many of them.  So why am I doing this. Simple, I am a master problem solver and doing the GDMBR on an e bike with my criterion chosen is a wicked problem that excites me. I have been working on this trip for the last three years.
The Criterion:
a.)  To do the trip unsupported and without a generator or caching supplies
b.)  Mostly remote necessitating mostly camping options
c.)  Not run out of battery even once.
d.)  Minimal or no hike-a-bike
e.)  Take my dog with me (A 2Kg poodle)
f.)  Do the trip with good dispatch (time frame)
g.) Complete the trip on the original e bike
h.) Do the trip in relative comfort

About that last one.  "Relative comfort" to me means for all practical purposes- preventing high lactic acid buildup in muscles, a lack of severe fatigue and avoid paying high medical deductibles.    It does not mean staying dry, avoiding insects, bears, rain, hot weather, cold weather dust, dirt, lack of showers, bad roads, bad drivers and a whole host of other issues that go along with being out in the elements.

I am to the point in planning a prep where I do believe it is no possible to meet the criterion on a real e bike. I intent to document the trip very well, including charging options along the way
 
I don't know it all and I will very likely be asking some questions on gear, packing and best practices.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2022, 11:42:23 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums! 

You sure have taken on a major ride and a major goal.  I will be most interested in following your journey as (without trying to sound rude) I feel it is probably unlikely you will succeed.  However, with your engineering background and you have actually stated identifiable goals you might be able to do what no one (at least from what I have heard of) has done. 

Best wishes and, again, welcome!

Tailwinds, John

Offline PierreR

Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2022, 11:59:12 pm »
John, I did read the other post from about a year ago and know that you understand the nature of the wicked problem, so I thank you for the encouragement.
I could find no way to solve the problems with any degree of satisfaction until I realized that I could solve them by losing 30 lbs. of body weight.
What most people do not understand is that a bicycle is really a flimsy contraption designed for maximum energy efficiency and not for places to store things or to carry much weight.  Now you hang batteries and electrics on the flimsy contraption, and you just made the problem of space and weight carrying capacity worse.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1676
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2022, 12:41:39 am »
I forgot to mention to keep a very close eye on your dog at all times. 

If it gets lost in the forest or even explores the area around a back country camp without you (but will come back when called), it very well may not survive an encounter with a larger indigenous animal. Plus the 30# weight savings (great idea!) will be partially offset by the dog, its food, carrying platform, etc.  I personally would leave the dog with a trusted friend as I believe it might be better for you and the dog.

Of course, do what you think is best but your goal is already fairly tough.

Offline ray b

Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2022, 11:02:26 am »
I could find no way to solve the problems with any degree of satisfaction until I realized that I could solve them by losing 30 lbs. of body weight.
What most people do not understand is that a bicycle is really a flimsy contraption designed for maximum energy efficiency and not for places to store things or to carry much weight.  Now you hang batteries and electrics on the flimsy contraption, and you just made the problem of space and weight carrying capacity worse.
I like the way you think.
Less body mass solves a lot of problems, but I have to note that for most e-bike riders, it also solves many of the problems that the e-bike serves to address in the first place.
I should note, that unless you are a good trials rider, there are sections you will want to hike with the bike just to avoid mechanical damage. That said, the weight loss will revive knees and your ability to handle those few sections.... Just thinking now about how a battery assist walking up a couple of rock gardens might improve one's mood.

Hope you pull this off. Looking forward to the book.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline PierreR

Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2022, 03:38:10 pm »
I like the way you think.
Less body mass solves a lot of problems, but I have to note that for most e-bike riders, it also solves many of the problems that the e-bike serves to address in the first place.
I should note, that unless you are a good trials rider, there are sections you will want to hike with the bike just to avoid mechanical damage. That said, the weight loss will revive knees and your ability to handle those few sections.... Just thinking now about how a battery assist walking up a couple of rock gardens might improve one's mood.

Hope you pull this off. Looking forward to the book.
For the record, I would like to clarify that I am probably capable at this point of doing the GDMBR on a regular non-e bike. I am not all that motivated by accomplishing personal feats.  I retired at 44 and have accomplished many personal feats and have nothing to prove to myself in that regard.   I am much more interested in paving the way for others who come after me now.  Giving back and helping those who are more compromised.  All of the e bikes that I build are for people who are health compromised in some way.  Cancer patients, type one diabetes, heart disease, overweight, you name it. I have watched people crawl back from the brink.  The one thing about a bike is that they balance themselves if you have the muscle memory to let them do so.  A balance compromised person can experience true dynamic balance and that is often the spark that puts them on the track to great recoveries vs downhill in a chair.

The personal challenge for me is that I have difficulty maintaining a good salt balance.  I do not retain salt as well as other people and can get too low.  The e bike brought me back to the point I can probably ride the GDMBR without the e bike but the fun factor is 10 times higher and no other justification is needed for me other than the fun factor. 

Why me? I am an adventurer and an inventor: I know e bikes inside and out and can repair them in the middle of nowhere. I can ride out if things don't work the way I think they will.  I have the time, the money and the will to document answers to the critical questions everyone wants to know.

Present bike is:
Titanium fat bike frame (Motobecane from Bikes Direct)  HTA of 68.5 Deg as set up. Spacing is 197mm rear, 150mm front, through axles
Drive system is Bafang BBSHD programed legal with a lot of low end steps.  DCP-18 display, watt meter
Drive train is 42 tooth Liekke chain ring,  11-46 Sunrace cassette, 11 speed SRAM GX 126 tooth KMC E bike 11s Chain
Battery bank is four 52 volt batteries in parallel for total of  2,540 watt hours.  Charging is 58.8 Volt charger @ 15 amps
Two Wheel sets 559 X 80mm running 4.8 Maxxis Minion FFB, RFB  622 X 42mm  Tires undecided yet.  Probable hub upgrade.
SRAM Guide four puck hydraulic brakes 203 mm rotor rear, 180mm rotor front. 
Jone's loop bars, Lev 125mm dropper post, Infinity saddle
Axiom rear rack, full 5" fenders, splash guards
Lights 52 volt LED 250 lumens rear 8,000 lumens front, high and low beam.

This bike will do the job but is probably not ideal for the trip. I am looking for excellence not perfection.
At this point I get to trim the weight and the excess items I have been carrying on tours.  E bikes do not give you permission to carry extra junk.  E bikes are still a dang bicycle from that perspective, not a moped or a motorcycle that is meant to carry weight and still handle well.  My current 200lb body weight is too much for the range and durability requirements of this trip on this bike.

In answer to the Hike-a-bike thing.  If I think it's too technical for the remoteness and the safety of me and the dog, I will darn well get off and bump the throttle, hike a bike to get me through it. I am a pragmatist, not an idealist. Those are areas that might well be illegal on an e bike I will very likely be finding a suitable re-route if that is the case. Doing this with any illegality does not serve my intended purpose.

The dog rides in a backpack and total with all dog related items, is under 9 pounds.  I watch the dog closely here. The 4-pound poodle is hawk bait.
Front rack undecided.



« Last Edit: September 05, 2022, 08:18:50 am by PierreR »

Offline Iowagriz

Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2022, 04:34:59 pm »
A photo was recently posted on on of the Tour Divide Facebook groups. It was of a couple doing the route on ebikes, self contained, with large solar panels on trailers. You might be able to track them down to share info.

Edit: not a FB group, but a friend in Ovando. See attached for some potential clues (web site on 2nd photo)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 04:43:30 pm by Iowagriz »

Offline ray b

Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2022, 06:14:42 pm »
Huh.
Those are big panels. The mathemetician in me would' like to see the calculation of how much usable power they generate compared to the amount of power it takes to get them to the top of Indiana Pass.

Note - a bigger dog might help on the uphill sections.... And right, hawk bait, cougar bait, coyote bait..... Pretty sure by now, your dog has seen enough miles to stay close in the mountains.

Depending on your schedule, if you haven't done the GDMBR, you might make the first go without the e-bike - either on your current ride, or, if short on time, motorcycle or car. Take notes, photos, and plot the recharges.

Sounds like you have the background and resources to do the math, do the ride, and as I mentioned, write the book for others to follow. Good luck.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 06:18:11 pm by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline PierreR

Re: I intend to do the GDMBR next summer on an e bike
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2022, 06:27:13 pm »
I am aware of the fact that it can be done with solar panels but easier just to carry a Honda 1000 eu generator at about the same weight and it still has dispatch, meaning, you can stick to a time frame schedule.   For that setup you need trailers for the additional weight and that limits your route.  Sounds like they have lots of time and decided to solve the e bike problem by trading time.