Electric cars are becoming a more and more common sight on Kunming's roads. You can easily tell them by their green registration plates. Just this morning, JD spotted 6 Teslas on our trip to school, plus there are a lot of Chinese-brand e-cars too. I would say 10% of Kunming's cars are electric these days, and 90% of the bikes, too. Hopefully this will help reduce the pollution, both fuel and noise.
I've recently been struggling a bit to make it to work and back so, last weekend, it was time to change the batteries on my e-bike. They start to degrade after a year or so but, at just £50 a set, it's still pretty cheap travel.
My front wheel also felt a little wobbly of late, so I got that checked next door at the repair shop. That turned out to be the ball bearings (£3 including labour!). And now I'm good to go!
My e-bike clocked up 15,000 km yesterday. Quite some distance. It has needed a few sets of batteries in that time plus a new front fork and brakes. But otherwise it's been a very reliable workhorse, getting JD to school and back every day, myself to work and then more demanding trips up mountain paths and forest tracks. Impressive machine.
A few weeks ago, I got the batteries on my e-bike changed, as the original ones were starting to degrade. After a few days, we rang the mechanic and said that the new batteries were not charging properly. He laid the blame on my charger which looked a bit broken and so I bought a new one last week. The problem continued however and I've only been getting about 25km range from the new batteries (the old ones I'd discarded could manage 35km), So today, Ava and I went to the workshop where we'd bought the new batteries. They said we'd have to contact the battery manufacturers! No way! Ava went into angry mode at that and, after 5 minutes, they agreed to test the batteries themselves straightaway. Sure enough, two of the five were faulty and they agreed to replace them all under guarantee. So now I need to see if I can get the promised 50-60km per charge from them.
I finally found a place that sells helmets the other day. Nobody in Kunming seems to wear them on bikes or e-bikes, so not many helmet shops exist! I bought one for me and another for JD. He seems to enjoy wearing his (claims he's Fireman Sam) but, with the sweltering weather we're having recently, it's proving impossible to get him into leathers and boots! Our "rainy season" has once again failed to materialise and our running water was cut off again today. Something of a summer tradition for our neighbourhood!
This is now my way of getting to work every weekend. My new little e-bike can do 60kmh and zips past traffic jams and through closed off alleyways like there's no tomorrow! Ava bought it for me last week, nominally as a half-birthday present (...plus main birthday and Christmas!). The gaffer tape is to put would-be thieves off trying to steal it, as are the TWO wheel clamp locks and built in lock and alarm. E-bike theft is a huge problem in Kunming and barely a month goes by when you don't hear of a friend or colleague having had one stolen. It means I can scoot to work in ten minutes instead of the normal 30-40 minutes by bus and I don't have to walk up the 200+ steps of our neighbourhood to get to our flat. I may be putting on weight rather soon!
Past blog entries