My Electric Bicycle – Touring Coast to Coast

24 Jun

Everyone wants to know about the electric bike…

I am probably the first woman to ride an e-bike coast to coast.   I absolutely love the electric bike.  The Pedego Interceptor bike is the most wonderful bicycle I have ever ridden. People ask me why?  Well, most people have never ridden one, so they don’t know what they don’t know.  To shed some light on why the e-bke… there are some details below.


I have been an avid cyclist since age 12 when I rode my brother’s spider bike at Girl Scout Camp for bicycle touring in 1968.  I remember while cycling…this is what “happy” feels like.  This is where I fell in love with cycling.  I love to ride because it makes me happy.  I have bicycle toured all through Europe.  I have done several long tours, the longest from Tampa up the east coast to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  While riding all my life, I have slowly given in to the inevitable – old age.  I have three adult children, and have retired from my job as a school teacher.  As an old lady, the e-bike has breathed new life into my cycling aspirations.  I can keep up with my husband.

The e-bike is a great equalizer, we ride at his pace and he never has to wait for me at the top of the hills or when he has a burst of speed.  I am always there.  We both love it!!  At big rides, I love being the old lady who passes all the racer dudes.  Ha Hah!  We all want to be the fastest, the stronger rider in the group…right?  It is the cheater method to speed.  It is thrills-ville for me.  My husband thinks it is the transportation of the future.  Efficient, fun, and fast.  My husband said “It is the renewable transportation alternative” he thinks the e-bike is fantastic and is just as thrilled as I am.  It is a transportation alternative for people who live in hilly cycling areas (like my home Pittsburgh – in the Allegheny mountains).   What is the carbon footprint?  I will have to find this answer, but I know it is low-maintenance and designed with options like pedal assist and hand throttle – both of which are good for different purposes.

I own many bikes:

  1. 1974 Schwinn Varsity
  2. 1978 Schwinn Paramount (SECOND BEST EVER)
  3. 1979 Schwinn LeTour
  4. 1981 Terry Precision Road Bike
  5. 1984 Nashbar Mountain Bike
  6. 1992 Nishicki Tandem
  7. 1996 Specialized MTB Tandem
  8. 1999 Giant Cruiser
  9. 2009 Powabike 1 & 2 (first e-bikes)
  10. 2011 Crappy e-bike
  11. 2012 Pedego Interceptor – Orange
  12. 2014 Pedego Interceptor – Fluorescent Orange  (BEST EVER)

For the Big Ride Across America, I am set up to carry 3 batteries with me on the bike.  I am averaging about 45 to 60 miles per battery depending on the terrain and mileage.  In all I have only ever used the 3rd battery once for a night time ride while the other two were charging.

The Big Ride Across America - Three Batteries

The Big Ride Across America – Three Batteries

The battery:

  1. Volts:  48
  2. Type:  Lithium Ion
  3. Weight:  about 8 pounds
  4. AMP Hours:
  5. Watt Hours:
  6. Top Speed:  25 (cuts out at 25)
  7. Avg Speed:  13-17  depends on terrain and ride partners
  8. Range:  40 – 60 miles
Nightly Re-charge

Nightly Re-charge

The battery takes a long time to charge when fully discharged – about 8 hours or less.  On this Coast-to-coast bicycle tour, I carry three batteries and have only needed two.   With each day being between 85 – 100 miles, it is important to both my husband and I that we are self-sufficient and try to carry what we will need for the entire day.  We chose Ortlieb waterproof panniers to carry the two extra batteries.

Controler - MPH, Mileage and Mode (pedal assist levels 1-5)

Controller – MPH, Mileage and Mode (pedal assist levels 1-5)

To ride an e-bike requires a certain amount of cycling skill.  The throttle is the easy way to get started on an e-bike it is pretty much like you would imagine.  You pull the throttle and the bike moves forward.  It could be a lot of work to pedal the heavy bike from place to place.  The throttle helps you catch up, gives you a boost up the hill and makes multilevel terrain more tolerable.

The pedal assist setting on the controller is another story.   I have had pedal assist on a previous bike, but never really liked it till now.  I was surprised how much I like the Pedego power-assist setting.  My husband (riding partner) really likes the pedal assist because I can pace him and a steady speed and cut the headwinds with my upright position and create a vacuum behind me for him to ride with ease.  He also can help me control the level of pedal assist between levels 1, 2 and 3 depending on how fast he wants to ride.  Level 1 is about 8 mph (up steep hills), Level 2 is about 14 mph for flats, Level 3 is about 17-18 mph and good for pace-lines and tailwinds.  He sets the pace and lets me know when to pace him at a higher or lower level of assist.  I can pull the front for most of the ride and push a higher speed than we might otherwise ride.  The pedal assist is very steady and wonderful for pulling through a headwind.  It is heavenly!

Motor and Cog set

Pedego Interceptor motor and cog set

The front and back wheels have disk brakes which may get a little squeaky, I keep them clean with an alcohol wipe that helps keep the squeaking to a minimum.  The brakes are very responsive and soft, as we descend some of these mountains.  It has 7 speeds which pretty much meets most of my needs, I guess I would prefer a double chain ring in the front for a greater range but that isn’t an option right now.   I haven’t found a hill I couldn’t climb with the range of gears on hand so I am very satisfied with the components.  I replaced the click shift on the second day of the tour with a Shimano click shifter because I dropped the bike and broke the plastic parts inside the original click-shift component.  I have been cleaning the chain weekly and have had no trouble with the components.

I would like to apologize in advance to all of you cycling “purists” who fight against the e-bike.  I know the hard-core bicycle industry people are having a hard time advancing this type of bike.  Just know that for me, it is the ideal situation to get me back on the road, having lots of fun.  Thanks Pedego for making it possible for me to ride my bicycle across America!

This is me…in control…yay!

My Control Panel

My Control Panel


6 Responses to “My Electric Bicycle – Touring Coast to Coast”

  1. John Anderson June 26, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    I know all about bicycling purists because I have ebikes myself. 25 mph is a good speed. 20 mph is supposed to be the maximum for ebikes but that rule is subject to interpretation and change. Much faster than 25 mph will be significantly higher wind resistance especially with your upright position. Sounds like you are having fun, suffering doesn’t have to be part of bicycle riding any more. How’s the traffic?

    • cyberbikerider June 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Hello John, We are having so much fun! You would not believe how epic the cycling is on these roads. Every day is a thrill. I am definitely loving the riding. The roads have good shoulders and I feel safe on the roads.

  2. Vince Noe July 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Cathy all that matters is you are out on the road having fun, glad the e-bike is working out

  3. DbDavid Boehm May 10, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    interesting article… I wouldnt have thought it possible to tour on an ebike… Im a bike purist and a ‘happy’ purist… keep on biking!

  4. eric September 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    Hello, I am just currious how easy was it to mount your ortlieb bags on the pedego rack?

    • cyberbikerider September 26, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      The Ortlieb bags needed some modification to fit the frame of the Pedego, we had some older panniers around and used the hooks. The bags stayed on the entire trip, with the modifications, they were pretty much permanent. The bags themselves worked great keeping the contents dry. c

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