Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ride the Lightning

It has been an eventful month for transportation for me. Coming home from the last autocross, the climate control system couldn't keep the interior of the car below 80 degrees F, and that's only gotten less tolerable as the temperature insists on staying in that range. Turns out the car took a rock through an A/C condenser, and needed a replacement. At least that part is cheaper than a radiator, and the Toyota RAV4 loaner I had proved convenient over the past week.

Test run to the neighborhood mailbox
I finally did get an electric bike solution. It involved having most of a bike built up at one shop, the motor installed at a second, a pit stop at a third shop due to problems with the rear wheel, back to the first shop for some adjustments and finally a trip to a fourth shop for an actual fitting appointment. I took the full week of the 4th off from work, which is a good thing, given the number of trips involved there. In the end, I'm happy with the final result. At some point, I'll get better pictures of it.

The motor package I wound up with is the Bafang BBS02 kit. While not as smooth a solution as a number of the others I've tried, it makes up for that in power. Hooked up to a bike trailer with 70 pounds of kids in tow, it still climbs the hills in our neighborhood at about 15mph just using the throttle. The battery meter is a little wonky. Seems like it shows 60%+ charge for a long time, then falls off quickly. I haven't tried pushing it to see it actually run out, since if it happens on my commute, there'd be a lot of uphill pedaling.

Moira returning a book she borrowed the day before.
Inaugural weekend bike ride with celebrity guest

Moira would prefer to ride the Trail-a-Bike, but Davis seems to enjoy being able to come along on bike rides. Good thing, since it's his only option right now.

Waiting for the Interurban Dad to finish taking pictures so we can have lunch
The first real ride we took was up to Wallingford via Fremont so that Moira could take a book back to a neighborhood children's library after borrowing one the day before when we were there for the Wallingford Family Parade. After we found that, it was back to Fremont. I didn't have a bike lock when we set out on this trip, so our options for where to have lunch were limited to places we could walk to from my office. Blue Moon Burgers is quite close, has a gluten free bun, and a large enough kid's burger that they could split it.  This may wind up being a regular stop when I'm on my own. We're probably two weeks away from our first ride with Ellis, so I'll find out then what the regular routine is.

Trying to maneuver around with a bike trailer seems even tougher than dealing with a car trailer. I suspect that's because the confines tend to be more cramped and I'm also trying to hold up the bike, and possibly trying to hold open a gate as well. On the plus side, I can pick up any individual piece if I have to, unlike with a car.

Speaking of cars, it's a week until I head out to Packwood for two days of autocrossing. While the car was in the shop, it got software updates to both the rear wheel steering and the suspension. I have no idea what effect those will have, but there's a bit of concern around what happens once I've gotten used to the car. Having the throttle mapping reset was really the nail in the coffin on the last once, since getting the car through the break-in period is a bit of a pain, especially after you've gotten used to not having to make sure you're gentle with the throttle all the time. I suspect the suspension and steering adjustments won't be nearly as dramatic as that was. I suppose it comes with the territory, though. If I wanted a Turbo that couldn't possibly do that to me, there's always this one.

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