I’ve spent quite a bit of time modifying my Aurora e-bike since I got it last summer. Why so long? Other projects, calamities, shipping of parts, bad weather trimming back evaluation rides, and unsuccessful mods trimming back evaluation rides and requiring respite. But I think I’ve finally got it nailed, and I’m doing what I hope will be the final-final-final testing. General interest in the result should be pretty limited, since the stock Aurora, properly optioned, can take care of 95% or more of the people who would buy it. A few people replace the mountain bike handlebars with cruiser bars, and that’s pretty much all they need. The stock seat’s quite decent, for what it is.
What I’ve been doing in concert is to build a dedicated Evelo Aurora Pack Mule page, which outlines what the features were that made me choose this brand and model for the starting point, and why. And what type of service the e-bike has been pressed into service to do (and why). And a complete list of parts and mods, complete with explanations and links. Oh, the things I do for the two readers who will at least make a token effort to start sawing their way down that page! And oh, my pity for them!
Thing is, that page has been squirming all around, successfully slithering away from the “Publish” button, because of trying to keep up with the ever-changing bike. The page just never really settled down enough to publish and then await running changes. Most all my photos are out of date. When you’re nitpicking your way through multiple seats, handlebars, and both handlebar and seat stems, one thing starts affecting another as to how they work in combination.
So how does Amazon figure into this, you ask? Well, it did, but now it doesn’t, see. Bloggers love to set up an associate’s account with Amazon, and rake in the pennies as people click on their links to this and that product. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time because I’m old and it seems cool and big-time. I dreamt of telling people, “Now I are a Amazon Assosee-ate!” But, my “home” mailing/residence in Illinois scotched that. The Illinois
loonisl legislature, goaded by Target, other Big Box stores and a small retailer’s association, enacted an Internet sales tax law, and Amazon backed out of registering Illinois associates so that they would not legally have a taxable presence in that state. Illinois listened to the lobbyists promising untold tax revenues, and predictably got what other similar states had already gotten: numerous small Internet-based businesses moving one state away, decreased sales tax revenues, and decreased income taxes from all those shafted Amazon associates residing in the state. Some of the larger ones had to move out if they wanted to keep eating. I guess I need not go off on why Illinois is endlessly bouncing against bankruptcy, I mean aside from graft, misuse and embezzlement. At least they’re exploring new avenues beyond the same old staples. Not to brag, but I suspect Illinois leads the count in states whose governors served prison time immediately following their service to their constituents.
To save legislators from having to repeal the law and so admit stupidity, the judicial arm was thoughtful enough to declare the legislation unconstitutional and against existing Federal laws prohibiting it. That allowed Amazon to resume operations. I signed up last summer and started building links to my Aurora Mods page. But, no publish = no links = no clicks = no associate account for long. They dropped me. No biggie. I was ready to sign up again recently since the page is almost done, but then I realized something, and faced a moral dilemma of sorts.
I realized that I’d be sending my readers to various Amazon suppliers which, in many cases, I’d never used and could not personally vouch for. And I recalled the simple fact that Amazon is often not the lowest-cost retailer (it is sometimes the highest by far), refuses to accept returns on many items, and offers no shipping choices as to carrier. That’s selected for you by automated software. Some vendors on Amazon stink, and many seem to be simply moonlighting from their day job to forward your order to the manufacturer, to drop-ship to you. Camping in a place with no local mail street delivery, and no address to accept a “last mile” FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost? The Post Office will often refuse those if they are addressed to General Delivery for pickup. Who is the carrier and what is their shipping method? Unless stated otherwise, it is usually these two non-solutions, because of lower costs. Amazon reserves the shipping method choice for itself. MSRP is not unusual because of manufacturer insistence, but I’ve seen over double MSRP there! I’ve seen prices double once an item runs low in stock. Needless to say, I don’t always check Amazon first.
Have you ever recommended a great place to a friend or acquaintance, and then found that their experience was disastrous? It’s humiliating, in a way. It’s like the shop has potentially betrayed your trust, depending on what actually happened. Well, I realized that I’d be recommending to you some Amazon links that I was happy with, some that I didn’t know from Adam, and some where I knew I could actually get it cheaper and faster from a reputable firm with a solid track record. But I’d be sending you to Amazon instead, because I could get money for doing just that. It’s commonly done.
And maybe that would be okay with you, because in your world, Amazon is the cheapest and fastest. Well, that’s not necessarily the case with the parts I’ve used in my modifications, nor many other things I’ve ordered on the Internet. So, I’m revising the links to go to the sources easiest to order from, and at a low or the lowest price mixed with proven good customer service, stocking, and shipping practices. They are who I deal with for that type of part. And when it is an Amazon link, it’s an above-board recommendation without the potential taint of cash as my incentive to recommend them. I won’t get any, because I’m not associated with them. I get that most people will shrug, take Amazon as the default, and be happy to cause the Big A to sprinkle a few pennies someone’s way. But Amazon is too big, disparate, and variable for me to give a blanket endorsement to. See, for better or worse, these days I very rarely give a damn what others think of me, but I do care very much what I think of me. I’m the only one who has to live with myself. So to me in my little world, wholehearted links to Amazon can be a fine thing, and very helpful. Sometimes they are the best or only viable source! But being an Amazon whore is not for me. Recommending for money when I know damn well there’s a better, less expensive source out there for a part or item that I’m pleased with is not going to happen.
Same with that part or item I’m pleased with. As so many find out the hard way (me included), when you drop below a certain threshold of quality for certain categories of things, it no longer matters what the price is, even if they are paying you to take it off their hands. This is especially true for Chinese-made products. Sometimes great, and often not worth kicking into the sewer. I describe, specify or link to what has proven itself to me as a great value, and is still serving well. There may be a particular brand or model that I have no reservations about because I’ve used it, or a friend or relative has abused his or hers without a problem. I might let you Google it, or I might provide a link, if I can recall where I got it from.
Again, none of my links will earn me anything – with the exception of Evelo e-bikes. I’m now a card-carrying Evelo “Ambassor”, proudly goose-stepping along with head held high. I get a referral fee if someone ultimately buys an Evelo e-bike using one of my links on this blog. Or rather I would, if someone actually did, someday. That’ll be awhile, realistically. Quite a while. I’m not promoting Strolling Amok, because I’m not intending it to become an “income stream that makes money while you sleep!!” It’s not some kind of RV Community blog, either. It’s just a personal “Let the kids that know Grampy’s trailer isn’t burning in the ditch…yet” blog, gone bad.
And that’s okay, because at this point, with or without a referral fee, I’d be breathlessly hyping Evelo e-bikes, regardless. I really have been pounding my Aurora hard, and just kind of leaving it out to dry rot. I pity it. It gets no TLC, and no pampering. I’ve been waiting for the “Uh-oh, I think I killed it,” since early last October. The fact that it still works like Day One is a continual surprise to me – like every single time I climb on and light up the controls, in camp or at the store. Bikes are not like cars. They can get finicky real fast, and begin some pretty bad behaviors that put them out of service. The American Southwest is a bit of a disaster area for bicycles, unless you reside in a major city. Nine months of urban apartment living for a bike is a cakewalk. Out where I am, it’s death to anything requiring clean, lubricated anything in order to work right. Even dry lubes heralded to “not attract dust” can’t do anything to repel it, either. One system after another gets the sniffles, and the next thing you know, your bike is something to lean the folding lawnmower handle against. Not so, this. I’m stoked.