Electric Bikes – Windy Whitby

I am not ashamed to say that one of the main reasons I didn’t use my bike very often was the wind. Didn’t matter which direction I was going, the wind would be in my face. I don’t like invisible resistance. If I can see it, I can usually beat it, but the wind just completely demoralised me! Here in New Zealand, especially in the Wellington area (so people say) we have a fair amount of wind, it is rarely still and we can get some real windy days.

So today is one of the second sort. In fact the whole weekend is gearing up for gale force winds and rain. A great chance to try out the e-bike against our winds. The good news is, if I drop it down just one gear, the wind goes away! Admittedly for commuting I am now usually on the “Medium” power setting, which makes short work of hills and wind anyway, but it’s worth the extra power usage just to laugh at the wind as you feel your cycle helmet lifting off your head as the wind gets underneath it. Bear in mind that the Giant Elwood is a comfort bike, and I usually sit very upright on it, and at 1 metre 83 tall (yes, 6 feet exactly) I make quite a good sail. In fact today, the longest and quite steep hill (Omapere Street, Whitby end) had a tail wind, and it wasn’t until I got to the top that I had to drop too far down the gears. However, riding down the very long downhill of Whitford Brown, where I would normally coast at 50kph, I was pedaling with divine assistance just to keep going against it! The worst part was at the highest point on Warspite Ave, where I was full into the headwind, and it got a bit wobbly (but still fun!).

Talking of power usage, like I said above I am staying on the medium power setting for commuting, it is possible to do most of the trip in low setting, but it is a bit of a drag, as there are significant hills in both directions. Using the medium setting makes for very fast flat sections, and easy starts into the hills, which makes the tougher tops much easier. So I have just done a few days commuting and coffee trips and without realising it I clocked up 53 kilometres on the last charge. The battery indicator was starting to show just one light on the harder climbs, but it still seemed to have enough to get me up the hills.

The odometer is showing 235 kilometres, but I did about 70k before I had to reset the device because of a battery change. So 300 kilometres on, the bike is feeling good, and I am enjoying the freedom it can give me, if I am prepared to brave the weather.

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