The cost of this is annoying, no two ways about it. Seems unfair to have a major expense before I've even really gone anywhere. But it's fixed, and it could have been a whole lot worse.
How to prevent this in future? There's a simple device called a "Rid-a-rat" which is a small strobe light in a box with a magnet. You clip its leads onto the battery, and it sits there pretty much forever. The guys at Buck's say it works. Let's hope so! Details here.
And about the e-bike: I've hemmed and hawed about what would make sense. I'm ordering a bike from e-joe. It's a full-size bike, not a folding bike. It has a step-through frame so my back will be happier. And it was a big range, more than twice the other options. It's kind of a retro cruiser looking thing:
It just begs for a wicker basket on those handle bars, huh? It'll require a rack on the Hyundai and the RV to carry around, but the same hitch-mounted rack can be used on both. Since the bike I'm getting is a 2013 model, I save enough so that the cost of the bike plus racks is less than the folding bikes I was focussed on at first.
The battery is that metal thing which is mounted behind the seat tube. It weighs about 30 pounds; the entire bike weighs just over 50 pounds. So if I take the battery off to charge it, the bike is really light to heft on and off the rack. Review of the bike here.
And so it goes. I'm itchy. Time to go somewhere.