Dan Connolly's tinkering lab notebook

One Year with an E-bike

I wasn't sure how long it would last when I replaced my car with an ebike. After a year, I have not once wished I had my own car.

When one of my kids moved out last spring, I gave him my car, a 2006 Infinity G35X. Shopping for a replacement was a depressing prospect. I had gotten a great deal on that G35 in 2019 (paid about $5k, including $1.5k in repairs), and I had little hope of finding another deal like that, especially with the impact of the pandemic on car prices.

Retail used-vehicle prices now average $26,510.

With new car prices averaging $49K, I started to think I might as well get a Tesla. But as I looked closer, I realized they're not so good for the planet after all.

Walk, bike or take the train for the lowest footprint -- Our World in Data

With several e-bike models around $1,000, I figured I could hire a car when I need one and still save a lot.

Heybike Ranger

I like the fat tire style. I picked a Heybike Ranger Electric Bike (from amazon).

Heybike Ranger fat-tire e-bike, assembled

Assembly took about an hour, with a few frustrations here and there as the instructions and video didn't exactly match what came in the box.

Riding to shops and restaurants

Feeling the wind and sun as I ride to nearby shops and such really is exhilarating.

Full disclosure:

  • Mine wasn't the only car in the house. I still have access to my wife's car when she is not using it.
  • I work from home, so commuting is not an issue.

I have some of the usual accessories:

  • Via Velo Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock - the U-Lock is a pretty secure option, except that sometimes I don't bother. Plus, it rattles when I ride. So I'm considering one of the motion-activated alarms.
  • Lamicall Bike Phone Holder - Google Maps has pretty good bike directions.
  • ROCKBROS Bike Trunk Bag - I tried a couple different kinds of panniers and even a milk crate. But they get in the way when I'm just trying to get from here to there, and getting them on and off is a bother. So this bag is just right: I keep it on all the time, but I only unfold the panniers when I need them for groceries or the like.


Lifting the 70lb bike is a bit of a challenge, but folding is especially useful if I bike one way and get a ride the other; it even fits in the back of a Prius! Heybike stock photo of folding the bike into a car

Brakes: squeaky or mushy

The brakes squeaked when I first got it. I found an adjustment to address that, but it made the brakes so mushy I could hardly stop. So I live with a bit of squeak.

Speed: 25mph

Ok, so it only goes that fast downhill. But even uphill, going 15mph+ without pedaling hard sure is nice :)

The top speed is fast enough that my eyes water. So rather than one of the bike helmets we've had in the garage for decades, I now use a VICTGOAL Bike Helmet with Detachable Magnetic Goggles. Bonus: works as sunglasses too.

Cold weather riding

Going that fast does make it feel colder. But with the right gear, even riding below freezing is not bad. LINGSFIRE Bike Handlebar Mittens are cozy.

mittens for cold

I haven't tried it in the rain, much.


I don't know what the range is. My trips are typically a mile or two. I averaged 7.7miles per week over the year. I think my longest trip was about 5 miles each way. It was to music practice, with my guitar on my back :)