E-bike across Canada for $10

Justin Lemire-Elmore E-bike

[Justin Lemire-Elmore] spent one month riding his electric bike across Canada last summer. He made the journey from Vancouver to Halifax in 30 days using a mere $10 worth of electricity to recharge his bike. He put together a rather bizarre looking semi-recumbent bicycle to hold all of his gear. The motor controller, charge controller, battery packs, and lighting system were all his own design. He has a captivating 2 hour presentation embedded below in which he describes all the problems he had with his equipment during the trip as well as all the great experiences the journey offered.

Comments

  1. awam says:

    The lifecycle cost of the bike including the cost of the bike and batteries would be more than the gasoline required to drive the same route.

  2. dokein says:

    @awam: perhaps, but would it be more than the lifecycle cost of the car including the car, maintenance, insurance, gasoline, and taxes required to drive the same route?

  3. anon says:

    or he could just use an arduino.

  4. jk says:

    does it run linux?

  5. ofc says:

    >”does it run linux?”
    Only CrunchBang

  6. DivePeak says:

    @anon – “or he could just use an arduino.”

    Surely there’s an arduino in the regen controller???

  7. Regional.Transient says:

    Why not make a recumbent bike/trike with windshield, use two regenerative motors (trike two rear motors), N810 uses Maemo Linux has GPS, WiFi, 7 hrs of use between charges and can be used for calculation of distance, speed, approx. power use, blogging (steal WiFi from libraries are these improvements? What is your battery sit-up again? Did you pedal the full distance?

  8. Regional.Transient says:

    Need something cheap and fast to get out of town.

  9. Wolf says:

    2 Hours well spent. I don’t know how much utility I’d get out of an ebike, but this vids got me thinking about cobbling one together just for the hell of it.

  10. wingphil says:

    600 watt hours is 2160000 joules or about 516000 calories. What the hell is he eating?

  11. Jeff says:

    @wingphil probably including the motor in that one…

  12. pete says:

    @wingphil:
    516000 calories: That’s why this little “k” is in front of the “cal” on your food packings

  13. wingphil says:

    @pete aha you are correct. 516000 calories or 516 Calories (with a big C).

  14. wingphil says:

    annoying, this website converts everything to lowercase! :)

  15. draeath says:

    Yes, it is annoying. Despite it being an easy fix (just removing a single line in the .css include) it has yet to be done.

  16. zero says:

    It adds character.

  17. AS says:

    If by “character” you mean it makes it look like a [6 year old] wrote it?

  18. strider_mt2k says:

    it adds lower case character, but yes.

  19. Skitchin says:

    halifax!? hope he stopped by sunnyvale trailer park and said hi to the trailer park boys!

  20. farthead says:

    Bike built from junk laying around = cool.
    I agree a windscreen or at least a wind bubble on the front would have made a big difference in his efficiency at speeds above 15mph.

    Too bad he used junk tires and designed it poorly (Great job for a first timer though) he needed to be far lower to get more energy from his pedaling, plus where he is sitting really screws up the balance of the bike. he needed to frame stretch it instead of sitting above the rear wheel.

    Yes I know what I am talking about I have built several bikes, all recumbent. His efficiency is low for what it could have been.

  21. Mastro Gippo says:

    I’m an ebiker, and guys, go for it! building your own is a piece of cake (for the average hackaday reader) with kits on ebay, and the satisfaction is big, also you don’t pay taxes and insurance and it’s a great experience, and you can go anywhere for almost 0$!

    “Surely there’s an arduino in the regen controller???”
    no, he made a custom controller wit a PIC! :) Take this, atmel fanboys!

  22. Mike says:

    Justin’s controller firmware was quite innovative: it included both sensor and sensorless modes. If the hall effect sensors were providing bad data the controller would switch to measuring the back EMF from the motor in order to maintain the correct phase speed to the motor. Hall effect sensor failures (along with failures in the path between the sensors and the controller) are a common failure point in the inexpensive hub motors used in most e-bikes.

  23. deoryp says:

    what’s with the bike-across-canada + 2 hour videos?? maybe there was a college course in canada that hyped this.

    alright, i want to do it too… watch for my 4 hour video of my trip in the coming months.

  24. Mike says:

    Justin was asked to present at the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association meeting. It’s a mix of the technical and the travelogue, leaning heavily on the travelogue side of things. It’s a nice bit of americana-north, with some of the interesting characters he runs across in his travels.

    Justin’s a pretty unassuming guy, there was no hype or publicity leading up to his trip, he just decided to take off and started blogging about his journey last year on Endless Sphere. The thread grew quite a following, and at the end of his trip the forum members surprised him with a new longtail bike back home. The bike he used was displayed in a museum exhibit about elctric vehicles recently.

  25. ted says:

    Did he ever say what wattage hub motor he was using?

    too bad he didnt highlight the more technical discussions (and projects) with the other e-bike builders he met up with – but I suppose they have to keep their secrets too.

    I agree with “farthead”, a bunch of the weight was right on or even behind the rear wheel, which if it werent for the forward battery packs, would have made for some squirley wheelies in high winds or high speed.

    Was the “remote” steering 1:1 to the front handlebars? (why did he even leave the front handlebars on?)

    Good video, good job traveling 7000km – AND camping for 2 months (or nearly)

    cheers.

  26. Mike says:

    Justin used a direct linkage from the front to rear handlebars, so I’d call that 1:1 on the steering front. He left the front handlebars on so he could change modes and put the bike’s saddle back in the seat post and ride upright. I think he wound up using it in that style for a portion of his journey.

    Justin had problems with the weight concentration on the rear wheel; over the course of his trip he destroying a few wheels and was stranded looking for replacements at times.

    He started out with a ~500w goldenmotor on his test run on vancouver island, but it disintegrated. He then switched to a higher wattage chrystalyte in the 5000 series, which a lot of e-bike users have fed 1kW into for extended periods without overheating problems.

  27. Kmilo says:

    Awesome,In my country Colombia; the gasoline price is growing and growing. Could you send me additional info about your bike, thanks!

  28. Regional.Transient says:

    I could do this without much effort, if only I could leave those Beautiful Vancouver Girls/Women. Take me back to Vancouver, B.C.

  29. goat says:

    in case n one noticed
    the bike in questin is an xtracycle
    http://www.xtracycle.com

    and therefor.. despite stiing behinf the normal seat location he is still infront of the rear wheel
    at least as much or more than on a normal bike

    l do agreee that semi recumbant is a silly thing to d
    go big or go home….

    l ride a long bike of the home made variety
    http://www.ridingthespine.com/Journey/category/journey/chupacabra

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