Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Hills...

So I did decide to use the e-bike for work today. Didn't need much equipment, so the rucksack wasn't too heavy. It was 28c outside though, so I took a clean t shirt with me and showered before I set off. The journey to the local school is a mere mile, but although they're on a level with where I'm setting of from, there's a 375ft valley in between. Obviously getting down is no problem, but well hill is a steep climb. Despite this when I got to the top I took a detour to 'life on wheels', a cycling shop just outside Holywell up a further mile slog. The bike (and I) coped with this climb far easier though. I'd guess, on the step inclines I'm probably only achieving 4-5 mph, yet on the slow gradual inclines, it feels more like 10 mph. Anyhow, I made it, and bought myself a new lid. As I'm hoping to spend more time on the road, it seems like the site thing to do. Even if I did read some research earlier this week to suggest motorist give you less space with one on!


Getting back down to the school wasn't an issue and I've found a route home that is a longer gradual climb, so the bike copes much better, although without the power assistance, it would still be hell on a normal bike.
Getting home, I've got more new toys, a bar, which was very fiddly to fit, that attaches to the handle bars and allows me to spread the gubbins out a bit, and attach my new phone/action cam mount. Also not great but better now I've glued it together better (not to the bike obvs).
Busy day tomorrow, might not get a chance to ride it, hopefully Saturday.

No need from Nancy regarding the thumb throttle, just an update saying 'can you contact me tomorrow', which I think means she's going to contact me tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Ancheer Mountain E-bike - Day 2 - 30 miles

I've had a reply from Anccher about why there is no thumb throttle as advertised. Nancy is looking into it.

I rarely go out on my old mountain bike, about once a month. I live at the top of a steep, steep long hill. So the prospect of ending every journey with either a long hard slog and agony, or, as is more often the case, humiliating defeat, is not an exciting prospect. However today I wanted to stretch the Ancheer's legs and see what it could do.
ancheer.shop e-bike 2018
The Groves River Dee Chester
Last night my eldest daughter and I did 11 miles from just outside Chester near Sandycroft, down to the River Dee and back again. She has a normal mountain bike so, for the most part, I just used the Ancheer as a normal bike. We took it in turns on the way back to have a blast, so I got a real workout, as all 6 ft 1 of me struggled on a 14" bike!
Today however, I was on my own, so I parked up, just south of Talacre and set 'record' on the Komoot App (I prefer this to Strava as it allows for route planning too). Range anxiety is a reality, I guess bikes of the future will have estimated range left, but this measurement would need to be dynamic depending on how much power is being used. Nevertheless, I set off on a main road so used full assist (I didn't want to hold up any traffic). Halfway down the first stretch of road is a bridge, and it was only when I was past it, that I realised this would have been a chore on the old bike, or without assist. I switched between med/high assist wanting to enjoy the top speed the machine can help you deliver. 39 minutes after I set off and I'd completed just over 10 miles and was enjoying a bacon sandwich, latte and a much needed glass of lukewarm water. Not the best service as I also asked about ketchup and although I clearly had my hands full, the assistant (whose hands were empty) simply offered the advice...
'it's over there'.
The bacon sandwich was great though, but the latte (in the sun) was getting hotter, so I drank it before it became unbearable.
Ancheer ebike mountain 2018
Ancheer E-Bike in Talacre
After lunch I noticed a curious look at the machine from a fully fettled old latexed geezer. A situation which obviously called for some showing off. So I put it into launch mode and boom, set off with aplomb. Although I hadn't closed my under saddle storage, so all my stuff came flying out (I think I lost an Allen key but ho hum - pride comes before a fall and all that). Unperturbed I collected my belonging, zipped it up safely and.... did it again for the audience. Byeee!
It really is fun accelerating up to maximum speed in such a short space of time. In reality, that's where you feel the most difference; the kick.
The journey back was a little longer, 47 minutes, although I did stop for a pic (left), and a bit of a breather. Contrary to what people think, or say, these are not machines for lazy people. I really want to get fit and my old bike just doesn't motivate me to get on it. I love cycling, but not as much as I hate pain. In the same way I love fish, but not as much as I hate bones in my food. So I rarely have it, unless it's breadcrumbed and looks like a finger.
All in, I cycled for about an hour and a half with a half hour for lunch. But alas, my day was not over. Earlier this morning, the missus hairdryer exploded. This is as bad as it sounds, her scream woke me up! She therefore needed a new one, and reserved one from an Argos, some (checks google maps) 5.1 miles away.
"I'll go get it" I said.
"Are you sure?" she asked
'I'm not really sure' I thought, but said
"Sure".
So, I got my rucksack on and headed off. Another 10 miles under my belt in around 40 minutes.
"Wow - that was quick" was the satisfying answer I'd been hoping for on my return.

Komoot app
A short journey that would otherwise have added a small amount of wear and tear on the engine of the car, may have cost £2-£3 in fuel, has lost me a few calories and been fun too. But, here's the rub.

The hill at the end of the journey, is no mean feat. It's a long hard slog which is as hard on the motor as it is on my legs and that dynamic range indicator is a series of 4 leds. From 3; under duress it drops down to 1. It moans, and it grumbles and it helps as much as it can, but if it didn't have 21 gears, I'd be getting off and pushing. We drop down to 4th/5th and when we reach the top, we can crank it up to 6 as it levels off, but we're not flying. Short uphill bursts are swept aside with no real issues. So long as the attack speed is good, 10-15 mph can easily be maintained. But a long continuous uphill slog is exactly that. On my own, I stand no chance. With electric power alone, I doubt it would do it, but partnering up, electric and pedal power and me and my mechanic friend can manage it together.

Maybe a more expensive unit with higher voltage or current would be easier?
For now though, this is just fine and all the motivation I need. Two days working lined up, but local. In two minds about whether to use the car or the bike as it's so hot, and I don't want to arrive sweaty!
Watch this space.



Ancheer e-Bike - the Build process.

So yesterday I took delivery of a new toy. Honestly, I thought I'd been scammed. I bought this from ancheer.shop website. Which looks official, but when you dig deeper a number of things ring alarm bells.
Their customer service email ends @gmail.com
Their social media links (google+) goes through to someone call Bo kou!
Their ONLY customer service number is in the US
They're £100 cheaper than Amazon!

Sounds too good to be true right? Yeah, even though I'd bought using Paypal, but my anxiety got the better of my and caused a few of those hot flushes and sleepless nights. But I needn't have worried as twelve days after I ordered it, from the Czech republic.... it arrived. 

Here it is......
Ancheer.shop ancheer mountain e-bike

Overall it took me about an hour to build. The quality is much better than I'd expected. The front forks are adjustable which surprised me, and quite soft, but the recoil feels good. The hardest part was fitting the reflectors. I felt there was too much attached to the seat pole, so I nicked a reflector off an older bike which I could attach to the frame. Overall though, it has to be said that the assembly was pretty easy. I did have a problem fitting the handlebars to the stem, two of the bolts 'caught' and needed screwing in with force. But they're in now, I just doubt adjustment will be able to be made without replacing the top bracket (forgive me, I don't know the technical term). I didn't think the rear light worked as nothing was happening and there didn't appear to be a tab to be removed, but using the multi screwdriver on flathead allows you to prise the case apart and remove the battery tab. The lights are a nice touch even though they're cheap, they feel like a nice free gift. 

What was disappointing however was the discovery that there was no thumb throttle. Now I think that it might only be legal to have pedal assist now in the UK, or the EU. But I'm not 100% sure, and the website does state that this bike comes with a throttle. So in reality.... it should do. But alas, it does not, which is disappointing. I have emailed the company to see what their response is as it ought to be clear on the website. 

Nevertheless, when the bike was fully assembled. I was really happy with the overall appearance. The battery showed as fully charged by the time I'd finished (I think it was when it arrived) and I was ready to roll. The first blast up the road (obviously on max power) was one I'll remember for a while. Like the feeling you get when you first manage to ride a 2 wheeler. I literally flew up the road, up to 15 mph max in seconds.
The reason for getting this is to reintroduce the fun into cycling. Living at the top of a hill means coming home, is not fun. So I cycled to the bottom of the hill, and back up again. It's not easy as some people would have to believe, but you're never going slow enough, or it's never to painful to justify stopping. You won't fly up hill, unless you've got a good speed to start off with, but maintaining speed, still takes a lot of effort. 

Great fun. Now.... where to first to test it?

Ancheer 208 mountain bike


I didn't use the instructions..... (?)

Ancheer 2018 user manual

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

More important than technical support...

I'm curently sat in a classroom looking at a Mac that has 15 minutes before it's finished downloading it's updates. After it's finished it'll need to reboot and install the updates, then I'll need to figure out a way to back up the old iPads, create a new blueprint, and add some new apps to them, based on several teachers feedback. Using a piece of software that was written a decade ago, that currently has 1.5 in iTunes. The computer has already been going for over half an hour, and that's after I'd hooked up the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, which weren't happy about their master leaving them while it was off for repair.
It's not rocket science, but it could frustrate a number of different people, especially considering the process isn't really obvious, indeed, I've found a help site via Google that should help me avoid erasing all of the iPads and losing all the network's settings, which is my main concern. Anything else is resolvable, but enrolling devices on a schools network is level 2 wizardry.
In all honesty, I could teach a teacher to do this, some would be able to do it anyway, but even with the knowledge, it's still ridiculously slow and complicated.
In the past month I've delighted a department who find themselves filling out the same report several times a day. By creating a simple form that produces reports for them. That and this have lead me to a conclusion about what I really do.
Whilst what I offer in terms of updating iPads, looking at wise investments, researching emailing, it's dawned on me that the real value is time.
Without me, the school would be able to get this working again. But the lack of a working keyboard might stump them longer than I, what they really get from me being here, is time, time to forget about it, and rest assured that it will be resolved, in due course.
Time, that for teachers, children and heads in today's modern Britain is so, so precious. Time to be teachers.

Simple laptop buying advice.