My VEB Cafe thread. (1st Year Recap: post #83)

just wanted to say congrats on the progress on all fronts! it was entertaining to read everything and see a complete turnaround. unfortunately parts fail at this stage of the game but it sounds like Vintage is taking care of that.

oh also, scars are badges of honors!
just wanted to say congrats on the progress on all fronts! it was entertaining to read everything and see a complete turnaround. unfortunately parts fail at this stage of the game but it sounds like Vintage is taking care of that.
oh also, scars are badges of honors!

Thanks, @drewberz! Yes, VEB has done right by me all along.
And I didn't really end up with a scar anywhere from the fall in December -- but I do still have a small patch of discoloration on my leg, where the impact/swelling was. I'll count that as a badge ;)
Another update and a surprise…
Finally, after 25 days without a bike ride, I took the Café out for a 24 mile trek Saturday; first time since the new bottom bracket and new controller was just recently installed.
The guys at VEB had told me that the new controller had revised programming in it that smooths out the differences between the five assist levels… It does indeed; my old level four and five felt like a superhero was pushing the bike, and they were quite a noticeable “bolt“ up from level 3… Now, each change in levels continues to add more power, but there’s not the sort of colossal jump from 3 to 4 to 5.

But more surprisingly, level one now contributes more assist than it used to…
I’m not crazy about this, because I had come to the point after a year of riding where I stayed almost exclusively in level one and was happy with the amount of effort I had to put in on my regular rides, and the heart rates that I would hit in level one when I wanted to exercise. (Basically, I considered level one as just enough power output to negate much of the bikes extra weight, but not overcome all of it, and bring the riding experience to something like a traditional, moderate weight pedal bike…) Now with the added boost in level one, it’s far more effortless on my rides than before…

I will probably be their first-ever customer to call and ask, “How do I turn down the power output of level one?”
How is the new BB? You mentioned your new controller had Bluetooth, can you change power settings using a phone app or laptop/notebook?
Yeah, they mentioned there was bluetooth (I assume it is in the new controller) -- I've written to them to ask if there's a way to lower the power output on Level 1; should hear back in a few days -- but I suspect/fear that they won't want to do it "remotely" (such as tell me how to use the LCD screen to get into config menus, or give me an app they use (I'm speculating) for shop-floor configuration, etc... The LCD screen is super basic - has no menu option of any kind... but I accidentally hit some magic combination of the 3 operation buttons once, and a set of configuration-type numbers came up...
We'll see. I really hope they'll help me lower the power output -- A) I want to return to my accustomed / predictable level of exercise / heart rate from before, and B) I don't want to burn through battery charges that much faster (as this new beefed-up Level 1 does, compared to before!)
Update - The guys at VEB confirmed that my new controller came with programming that gave Level 1 a higher power output than before... Old Level 1 was 12% and the new controller Level 1 was preset to 20%.
If I were riding solely for leisure, I'd probably love that 20% setting! It really was seductive -- but I just couldn't get my heart rate up where I wanted, on my 'exercise-focused' rides...

They agreed to walk me through the process to revise my Level 1 -- I took it down to about 12.5%, and now my legs feel like I remember, back on my familiar hills under the "old level 1"!
Took the day off for my birthday today, not knowing what I’d do... at a weekly coffee gathering with some other cyclists, they suggested I ride my age. I opted for km, but then realized I could probably just squeak out miles, too... a tick over 4 hrs of riding, spread out between 6:30am and 4pm, but I got it done!


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A belated update to my Cafe thread (I missed posting here for a year-end 2019 recap, and also missed posting here last week, to celebrate my 2-year-anniversary of purchasing the ebike, March 2)...

After my birthday post (above) -- I managed to ride another 841 miles to close out 2019... Not too stellar, mid-August to Dec. 31!
But I began dating in early November, and wow, I really let that new development slash my biking time... Nov + Dec combined produced a paltry 83 miles! -- my monthly average for Jan - Oct was 321 miles/month for comparison. Amazing what you can (more easily) do with your own free time when you are single! ;)

I suppose the one silver lining from such a big drop in riding, is reduced wear and tear on the bike... Nonetheless, I did have a maintenance item arise after August's posting, finally replacing the original chain in Oct. 2019. It had accumulated 6,343 miles and was just starting to show some signs of stretch.

I ended 2019 with 3,296 miles biked on the Cafe for that year. In comparison, my 9 months of bike ownership during 2018 racked up 4,032 miles.
(A very minor contributor to accumulating fewer Cafe miles during 2019, was the reintroduction of a pedal bike in August -- I managed about 170 miles on that bike by year's end.)
From purchase 3/2/18 to 12/31/19, I hit 7,328 miles on the Cafe. From purchase to my 2-year-anniversary; 7,495 Cafe miles.

Counting the pedal bike (which I pull out for rides a couple times a month) I appear to be on track this month to hit 8,000 total biked miles since the ebike purchase 3/2/18.
Well... I missed hitting 8,000 total biked miles as of 3/31, by 21 miles. (That measure is both the ebike + Bianchi pedal bike miles -- tracked since the March 2, 2018 delivery of my ebike; the Bianchi came into play a year+ later, July 31, 2019.) Fortunately, I cleared 8,000 in the first week of April, so now I'm tracking for the 10,000 mile mark. Only now for the first time, do I wish I'd had Strava that whole time -- so I could see my elevation gain ;)

My recent rides however, are shorter distance overall compared to a year ago -- my riding partner isn't on a great bike to begin with, and is only gradually building up stamina and comfort for distance. So we average about 14 miles on each outing, whereas I was probably averaging about 20 alone, a year ago... All of which means the 10,000 mile mark will take longer than anticipated... (Going into last summer, I felt reasonably sure I could just hit 10k by my ebike's 2nd anniversary.) I may need to start working in more solo rides to boost my numbers... But then again -- this is a purely arbitrary milestone I'm tracking against, so -- there's no real rush!

Speaking of purely arbitrary milestones -- I'm also in the midst of a silly miles-per-charge experiment... seeing how far I can ebike on a single battery charge. I've made 14 rides since my last full charge (March 15th) and those rides total 190 miles; the battery gauge still shows 3 bars remaining, with bike at rest (out of 5 on the gauge) -- though I think finally, during my ride yesterday it dipped briefly to 2 bars remaining, while using L1...
This ridiculous figure is only because I'm choosing to ride the ebike in Level 0 (no assist) as much as possible, only calling on assist (and largely Level 1 of 5, whenever I do) for the inclines I don't want to tackle under leg power alone. Probably when the gauge gets to 2 bars remaining (with bike at at a stop) and 1 bar remaining (when assist is in active use) -- I'll do a recharge. So I suspect I'll total between 250 - 300 total miles this way, on the single full charge from March.
Two days ago marked the 3rd anniversary of receiving my ebike... My last post on this thread was 11 months back, and I realized I should recap 2020 here in my "diary" of life with my VEB Cafe.

What a difference a year makes - when it is 2020... Yikes! I only managed 877 miles on the Cafe in all of 2020... (Plus about 350 more on my pedal Bianchi.)
Certainly, I allowed my then-brand-new dating relationship to carve into my free time (the free time I'd typically spend biking for fun). I seemed to also shy away from commuting to the office during winter Nov-2019-to-Feb-2020 season, managing just 318 miles in that 4-month window -- more time was being allotted to cuddling up! By comparison, the prior winter season of 2018-2019, I'd biked 4 times as far.

Then of course, Covid. Spring 2020 saw a big uptick in my miles (at least, compared to the paltry winter miles) as it was a great outdoor activity as serious lockdown started. But mid-March brought 100% telework and no more office commute for me, which had been a significant driver of my overall biked miles, it turns out. Summer heat made it easier (without that commute requirement) to just blow off biking for leisure. Something about working from home all day, stuck in my den, just sapped my interest in getting on a bike when my workday ended -- when in fact, it would have been the best thing to do... I've learned my power of laziness, when unchecked, is a serious beast! By fall 2020, as temperatures were dropping again, it was increasingly too easy to be lazy about biking.

{Edit: Also conducted 2 experiments in how many miles I could go between battery charges, by routinely using as little assist as possible on rides (while not actually eliminating all assist.) Apr-May I managed a 234 mile streak before recharging, and May-Jul another 189 mile streak before recharging.}

The new relationship played out and ended during late winter 2020 -- but then in the depths of winter's cold, even newly single, I couldn't motivate to go bike in the cold without the commute as a reason.

Happily, I made my first ride of 2021 at the end of February, when a freak 60-degree day materialized. (The ebike had last been ridden just before Thanksgiving about 90 days earlier; the Bianchi has not been out since summer 2020.) Another mild day yesterday, which triggered my 2nd ride of the 2021, as a bike anniversary ride.
Realizing I first began my biking journey in March (of 2018), I'm pushing myself to "reset" now with March of 2021, and build back up to some consistent biking. Alas, so much of the great weight loss I achieved over the first 2 years of my biking -- itself a major goal I'd used as justification for buying the ebike -- was largely undone during 2020... ugh! Back to square one or two, for that!

2021: Onward, upward (for the miles) and downward (for the pounds)!
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