My e-bike had a bit of an overhaul yesterday. Six new batteries, three new locks, a new seat, plus checks on tires, brakes and suspension. Not bad for a total of £75.
The batteries have a year-long guarantee so, barring accidents, that should be enough to see out my remaining time in China. I've had the e-bike nearly 8 years, using it almost every day. It's lasted very well.
A seat and battery
Bike on bike action
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.
Getting my bearings
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!
I often see this e-bike livery in Kunming.
I wonder if they realise they are advertising
"Jesus Christ the Son of God"?
Bikes and bags
A fairly common sight here - an e-bike carrying a huge load of ...something! This one was dumped in the middle of the street while the driver ran back to pick up another huge bag that had fallen off the bag. Oh, how the cars hooted!!
More e-bike upset at the weekend when JD and I hit a pothole and the rear tyre exploded! Fortunately we were pushing distance from a repair shop and, for the equivalent of £15, the mechanic quickly replaced the broken tyre and also the ageing back brakes. JD loved watching it all.
The E ological
In a country where religion is largely frowned on, it's
really odd to see so many e-bikes with this on their sides.
Clocks and tracks
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.
No crashing and no splashing
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!
Happy Half-birthday to me
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!
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
Past blog entries