today was awesome.
it was the first real trip out on dotdot to test out the battery range and just how long it would actually take for me to get back to the heart of the countryside. i started from burton upon trent train station after dropping my daughter back with mum. putting my headphones on and firing up nike+ to track the route (it’s the only one that will post into path at the moment) i set off towards moira and the YHA.
with the bike having a supposed twenty four mile range i had high hopes that i would at least be able to easily make it there and back knowing that the route is about fourteen miles there and back from the location i was heading for. as it turned out, i was not really watching my mileage but i’ll get on to that a little later on.
the first thing to note about the bike is that the power assistance is really quite smooth and after a half a second lag the motor kicks in and seems to lay down power additional to your pedalling, it’s natural to be pedalling on a bike so you tend to still go through the motions even thou you are being pushed forward by the motor in the wheel. i found myself just pulling the throttle in places thou taking in the sights around me.
i did find myself sometimes pedalling faster and hitting the highest gearing i could and realising that motor would always be more powerful than me but i guess that is because i left it on high quite a lot, i’m sure i would have gotten more power and range out of it if left on low or medium settings. the bike seemed incredibly solid throughout the ride however.
taking the usual route i would if i was driving (about six and half miles) the inclines and the hill areas that would normally put me off doing this on a normal bike seemed to just vanish by with my music playing. admittedly the bike does slow down quite a bit when going on anything that’s not flat but it’s better than sweating. in the straights i was buzzing along and the ability to take breaks and not pedal do bring a big smile to your face.
thirty minutes later i was onsite at the YHA speaking to someone from the caravan and camping club and taking in the familiar surroundings. the site is situated behind the YHA – a hostel for families wanting to stay in the heart of the national forest and go walking. literally right next door is waterside of conkers and the proposed site of the ark project. i’m currently not holding on to the illusion that funding will happen anytime soon – so i’ve had to pivot my thinking about at least being in the national forest to give me more time with ella in general and clarity about my blogging.
on the way back i decided to take a different route back just basically forgetting all about the bike being electric and assisted – you start to take it for granted that power will be there so i totally forgot about the additional power helping me around the roads and bringing me up to linton lake. i have never been around it before so that was a nice treat and it really was a great place to get away from it all to clear out the mind.
on the way back i cut down mushroom lane from linton and saw a site with wooden lodges on the right hand side and a track to a national forest park trail that i have never seen before. i never took it but it looks like it might cut out a lot of the road route that i had been taken. i was constantly surprised on the way home of things that i would not have seen if i was rushing by in a car. it felt good to be in the open air singing away to my songs.
the trip back in places seemed like it was taking ages and listening to the nike+ gps lady telling me the length of time i was stopping in more places for longer bits of time and looking down it was showing that all my running around was totalling up to about nine miles on the trip back. i had no idea and just as i was getting into burton the power died completely – turning the unit on and off and adjusting the power output down to low gave me some juice but it was pretty much gone as i was heading over the burton viaduct.
this was the first real test and charge of the battery and the manual says you have to charge it a few times and in a certain way to get the optimal out of the battery. the only real concern for me at this moment is the battery unit and how long that will last. i was really pleased because i’m guessing we probably did about 17 miles on a full charge which is not bad for a four hour charge of the unit.
sticking to the fast route i’m certain i could get there and back and to my friends in nottingham easily and i’m going to start looking at solar units for charging up an additional battery. i’m quite interested in the idea of an additional battery that is on a slow trickle charge from the sun at the caravan location that i can swap out when i get there for buzzing around the local area.
in my mind i already feel like i have started down this route and need to maintain the target regardless if it’s not the original target i had. having some relatively eco transport sorted out is a plus and considering some static accommodation nearby to the actual spot should help massively to keep my forward motion going. next phase is to get my caravan and camping membership sorted out after my quick discussion with the super friendly staff yesterday. it was a lovely day to take a ride out.