Posted by: emilybybike | August 10, 2010

Don’t forget to charge the batteries

A key component of the “e-bike” is the “e” (and no, the “e” on this “e-bike” isn’t for Emily). I awoke this morning and went about my typical routine, getting all my things packed and ready to pedal to work, however, given some rather hectic and unusual circumstances of the weekend and past few days, my mind was a little more scattered than normal to say the least. Most mornings, I will plug the battery on my bike in about 15-20 minutes before I leave, to make sure that I have enough charge to get me to and from work (about 28 miles round-trip), however, after I did that this morning and went about my business, I noticed that the bike was still charging (if it’s fully charged, a light on the charger turns to green), curious, I switched the electronic assist on, and to my dismay, the battery wasn’t even half-way charged. Big oh-dear moment. Big. Typically, as soon as I get home in the evening from work, I will plug the battery in so to be sure I am charged and ready to go the next day, however, as stated, with a weekend of racing and some other issues to deal with, re-charging my bike had manged to slip my mind.

So there I stood, all ready to ride, and a bike, that while rideable, may not have been the best choice to ride. Now, I can ride my bike without the pedal assist, as the pedal assist doesn’t drive the bike, just gives some extra zip in your pedal stroke. However, the catch-22 here is, the mechanisms which give my bike its zip, also make the bike weigh at least 40lbs, then throw on an additional 10lbs of commuting gear (work clothes, lock, lunch etc…) and you have a bike that weighs in at a minimum 50lbs, which I would then have to pedal (no assist) 28-miles round trip, and my trip isn’t exactly flat. And by my calculations and what battery it normally takes me to ride to and from work, well, I’d be pedaling with no assist just about the time I reached one of the bigger hills on Beach Drive. Then throw in the fact that it was 77 degrees before 7am and it’s definitely no bueno. No bueno to say the least.

My options now? A) Change out of bike clothes, run to metro station, pay now near $10 to ride metro to work; B) Change out of bike clothes, get in car, scrounge for quarters and drive to work; C) Swap out shoes, jam commuting gear into tiny messenger bag and take my road bike to work, praying I don’t get too nasty and sweaty in the August heat of DC; D) Ride to work without using pedal assist on the commuter, estimating a much longer commute and a much sweattier Emily when I arrive at the office

With time ticking, and my perhaps (crazy) determination, I went with option C, and rode to work on a little lighter bike. A little more sketchy on the bumpy path than my trusty commuter bike, but with my road bike being a little lighter weight, I was still able to make the commute to work in about the same time as I do when I ride my e-bike, and not horribly nasty even with the soaring temperatures.

My ride for today …

Lesson learned for sure – always, always always, check the batteries on your e-bike the night before, especially when you know you need it to get to work. But this also brings up a new challenge I want to try before the year is up – ride my commuter bike to and from work, without using the pedal assist…but not until it cools off!

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