Flying with e-bikes

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by cowman, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Finally decided to give one of these a try a couple months back
    https://www.amazon.com/Speedrid-Electric-Powerful-Removable-Professional/dp/B08DY2RJ6D

    Been playing with it around home, my wife liked it so we bought a second. Of course, I always had an intention of trying to use them on a flying trip instead of renting a car/uber/etc. Finally did that last week.

    I will start off by saying I got dimensions somewhere, not sure if it was the amazon listing or a review or what on the folded size of the bike. When I pulled out my own tape measure I immediately knew they were being overly optimistic... perhaps not taking the width with the pedals into account or measuring length at the farthest point of the round tire. At any rate it wasn't going to be as easy of a fit as I thought. Fortunately I have a Lance....
    IMG_7042.JPG

    I had a to remove the rear seats... they're quick release on this aircraft so not a big deal. They weigh a little over 60# each... so heavy but again I have a Lance so such weight isn't that concerning. One mistake I did make was adding the saddle bags... had to flop them over as you see so the bikes would fold far enough to get the door closed. Don't remember the measurements offhand but something tells me a Cessna 150 owner should not attempt this.

    We took a trip to FL, going to Marko Island then later to Marathon in the keys. In both places we were able to use these bikes as our only transportation. The maiden voyage was a > 6mi trip from the airport to our hotel with baggage.

    IMG_7058-compressed.JPG

    Actually, it was quite easy... even with my flight bag bungee corded to my back and a heavy loaded backpack on me it was no problem to make a 6 mile ride. You just don't have to work hard with the motor and it can do as much as 20mph although using a more efficient assist mode you get more like 13-17mph. Marco Island had decent bike lanes and paths to use. We checked in and wheeled the bikes inside to charge while we hit the beach. That said, we both had at least 75% charge left according to the indicator... clearly on nearly flat paved terrain they have a fair amount of range.

    Aside from a restaurant across from the hotel we liked, we used the bikes to get everywhere. Without a backpack on and in mid-high 80s weather in FL I sweated more standing still than riding. It didn't really hit me how much faster we zip around on these things vs a conventional bike until we started coming up on other bicyclists and zooming by them with our electric assist set on 2(it goes 1-5). Marco Island is a fairly small-ish area that is fairly bike friendly.

    After a few days in Marco we flew to Marathon in the keys and again used the bikes for our only transport. Marathon is a fairly small place, we could easily go from one end to another on one charge.

    So overall...
    Pros:
    Not having to pay to rent a car
    having our ground transport with us all the time without having to arrange in advance
    It adds a fun activity to a trip if you like riding a bike
    No waiting for Uber/lyft or having to park a car

    Cons:
    To fit two of these in one of the biggest piston singles out there I still had to reconfigure seats
    lifting/maneuvering an ungainly heavy objected in/out of the aircraft.
    anxiety of having a pair of $900 bikes in an unfamiliar area and hoping you can find somewhere to park/attach the bike lock and nobody has bolt cutters.
    Advertised range is 20mi, farther if you use more pedaling/less assist. Limits how far you can go
    After running the battery down they pretty much take overnight to charge back up
    Only works in bike friendly places.


    Overall I'm glad we tried it, we'll find some more places to go with them and probably take them to fly-ins.
     
    MIFlyer, Jim K, FormerHangie and 5 others like this.
  2. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    E-bikes are a good idea for places like the Keys, everything is close to the airport. :D

    There are e-bikes out there that are much more compact. The big wheels and tires on yours obviously contribute significantly to their bulk, weight, and rolling resistance. That seems unnecessary and counterintuitive to the electric vehicle philosophy. I guess they're supposed to look cool.
     
  3. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I just bought a folding bike off Amazon, it fits nicely in the luggage bay of my Mooney. I think I'll take it for its inaugural run as soon as it's bag arrives (don't feel like getting oil and grease on my nice airplane interior). No Ebikes for me. Need the exercise to decrease the rate of my increase.
     
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  4. Tspin

    Tspin Pre-Flight

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    What folding bike did you get? Wife and I are interested in something like this. Need to fit two in the baggage compartment of a Cardinal.
     
  5. JustinD

    JustinD Line Up and Wait

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    Awesome! My girlfriend and I have onewheels, that’s usually the transportation I take with me in my bird, it’s good just for local zipping around places and what not if I’m not getting a rental car. Still wind up using Uber or a rental car for any longer of a trip to/from the airport
     
  6. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yes to all of the above but when not aviating I live on a farm with steep hills and a mile+ of gravel road to get to any pavement. In those conditions the big tires are quite nice.
     
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  7. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I was wondering about the big tires too, since I have seen many more compact ebikes; some which look almost like regular bikes. They look so much like regular bikes that sometimes I wonder how someone with a kid on the back is going much faster than me up a hill when they don't seem to be pedaling hard. Then I look closer...
     
  8. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Intrigued. Are there any offerings that would fit two in the back if the rear seats of a Cheroke PA28A were removed?
     
  9. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I bought one called Murtisol. It was the cheapest I could find with an aluminum frame. Kinda long story. Anyway, it was easy to put together and fits just fine in the Mooney. I think it weighs 28 pounds. It isn't the best or brightest, but it works and should get me into town forth airport, which is all I want.
     
  10. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I can get a full size road bike in my PA28. (Extended fuselage, with cargo door). I could easily fit 2 bikes plus luggage with both rear seats removed. I have to remove both wheels and the seatpost for it to fit and a 700c wheel will just clear the door. An couple ebikes should easily fit. The thing to watch would be larger tires on a 700c rim (smaller rim should be OK with fatter tires) and distance from saddle to bottom bracket. I'm 6'2" so that's why the seatpost needs to be removed. It's a bit of an art getting it in, but once you've done it a couple times, it's easy. I've gone to a couple races where I needed spare wheels and pretty complete set of tools, pumps, helmets and other bulky crap and it worked well.
     
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  11. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Do keep in mind that I was referring to putting my bicycle in the luggage bay of the Mooney. Seats stay in.
     
  12. Todd82

    Todd82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    MKY to the hotels on Marco is a good endorsement to anyone who knows the lay of the land down there. That's a pretty good trek. Don't know that I'd like biking that stretch of Collier Blvd between the airport and the bridge though. How did the bikes do on the arch of the Jolley bridge?
     
  13. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Line Up and Wait

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    Some of you guys talk about how it is dangerous to fly with a lithium jump starter pack or phone charger. These E-bikes have the same battery types (unless they are LiFePo4) and the batteries are an order of magnitude larger.

    But I also have been riding an E-bike since before it was cool (15 years) and wish I had the extra money and larger airplane to buy a smaller while to fit in a larger airplane. I still think about getting an e-scooter to fit in the 150, but they are still quite heavy and weight can be an issue.
     
  14. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I fantasize about a pair of Dualtron scooters in the baggage compartment. The idea of carrying a conveyance that is probably MORE dangerous than flying has a certain appeal. :D So far the price has kept me away. https://minimotorsusa.com/collections/frontpage/products/dualtron-storm
     
  15. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah, those weigh 102 pounds each. I am talking even about a pair of scooters that are the bare minimum. Just enough to get 3-4 miles from an airport to the beach or town and 25-25 pounds.
     
  16. WDD

    WDD Cleared for Takeoff

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  17. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Line Up and Wait

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    Yes.. and not even any rougher than the top of most Cessna wings. But I’ll only take off like that on days with light frost to even it out.
     
  18. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    We use these around the airport. Ours came from one of the scooter companies that rent them out though, so they don't fold. They're very strong, fast (15 mph), charge quickly, and the batteries have lasted for years. I'm considering getting a couple to throw in the plane... well, when I get a 182 anyway!

    Electric Scooter
     
  19. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    We were at the Hilton which IIRC was a bit over 6miles from the airport. A lot of the locals were concerned about the roads but really you have a bike lane to yourself pretty much the whole way in. So as long as you stay in your bike lane traffic isn't really a problem(it helps to be desensitized to traffic whizzing by). I'm assuming the Jolley bridge was the really steep one, I do remember having to bump my assist up to full and pedal hard on one bridge but it wasn't bad, we have worse hills back at home. Hills are where you really see the most benefit to the electric assist, lets you pedal up stuff you might otherwise have to walk.

    But if you think that run was good.... on the way out we rode from the hotel to the airport, loaded up the bikes, flew to Marathon, then rode another 3+ miles to our hotel there all without a recharge. Plenty of charge left to go somewhere else after that too.
     
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  20. chartbundle

    chartbundle Pattern Altitude

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    To be fair most 'proper' folding bikes have either folding pedals or removable pedals, MKS is the best known manufacturer for them if you want to retrofit.

    Here's my folding contraption: https://goo.gl/photos/Wvbw3rzjHK8n37Bs8 I've since electrified it with a 'Swytch' kit. which is about the size of the upper handlebar bag. Admittedly if I had all the money in the world I'd get an electric Bike Friday, they do fully custom folding bikes with electric options and a variety of weights and options.
     
  21. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    I would love a pair of these but at $750 per, I could buy a lot of ubers or rental cars.
     
  22. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Or many pairs of shoes.
     
  23. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    How much does the Swytch kit cost?
     
  24. chartbundle

    chartbundle Pattern Altitude

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    Looks like mine was $600. Not sure what they're selling now as they keep going in and out of stock. There are also way more retrofit vendors out there these days.
     
  25. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    These are smaller and lighter. OneWheel.

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Meh. Those have been around forever
    upload_2020-10-21_7-32-31.jpeg
    :)
     
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  27. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The one wheel kind of intrigues me, but I'm allergic to pain. How many bad getoffs until you mastered it?
     
  28. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is of course assuming that either will be available at your destination. I find that this is usually not the case outside of bigger cities. Arriving late in the evening or if plans change last minute makes arrangements even more difficult.

    An electric scooter wouldn't take up the entire baggage compartment and allow us to conveniently cover a few miles, even with a backpack on.
    Legality is in most states an issue, though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  29. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Full size mountain bike fits in the baggage area of a Comanche. Just pop the front wheel off, and since it's quick release, it takes less time than folding/unfolding a bike.
     
  30. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I doubt I could get the wheel through the luggage bay door.
     
  31. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Electric skateboard is less cool than a one-wheel, but gets the job done with less bulk and weight. $350-400 will buy a decent one these days.

    I’ve put 8 miles on my homemade one, and still by my estimate had another 4-6 miles in her. Full charge takes about 3 hours.

    Other than me falling off and damaging the money-maker on my shoulders, I worry about a random fire...should I keep it in the luggage compartment or in passenger area so I can toss the thing out the door...as it torches everything on its way out (including my hand).
     
  32. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    How much does the weight is there to, and how much space is taken up by, the sumo suit that needs to be worn while riding this so that when we fall off we don't break anything?
     
  33. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No no no not me.

    I heard about these in an article by some guy who wanted to learn from scratch to be a professional surfer. He got one and rode it in NYC for 20 miles a day (or whatever) for about a year or two and then went surfing. Very roughly. According to him.

    As I recall he made it into a pro surf circuit but was not a winner.

    There are also these which are I suspect more like single wheel segways with a lot of self balancing built in. Maybe possible for an ordinary person to learn to operate. Many different manufacturers. Many have optional seats.



    Other madder options follow.

    https://minimotorsusa.com/collections/frontpage/products/dualtron-man-ex
    DUALTRON MAN EX+
    This has bicycle geometry.


    SEGWAY DRIFT W1 HOVERSHOES
    Leg geometry.

    https://minimotorsusa.com/products/dualtron-x
    electric scooter 6.7kW - about 10hp