The forecast looked a little sketchy for today, but when I woke up at 6 it wasn’t raining (we did get a sprinkling overnight) and KELO’s Live Doppler HD scan showed the stormy stuff had moved on to the east, so it looks like I didn’t drag my bike up from the basement for nothing after all. I thought sure that just the act of getting it ready would surely give rise to morning rain, but Murphy must not have been paying attention last night!
The bike had hung in the basement all winter, pretty much ignored, untouched & unused, so I spent a little time cleaning some of last year’s accumulated dust & grease from it before heading out this morning. Checked the air in the tires and briefly checked the electric motor wiring. Tires looked good, wheels were still acceptably true, but the thing is such a mutt… I really need to do something with the odd-colored front fork. And the handlebars look about as dorky as could be. But no time for that now. Another project for the list.
The batteries had sat pretty much ignored & unused all winter, so I plugged them in for a charge last night as well (that must not have attracted Murphy’s attention either). This morning the ready light on the charger was glowing green, so it was as ready as it would ever be. I remembered again my failed attempt at making a somewhat more convenient attaching plate for the batteries, & thought briefly about how to get by for a few more rides; rubber shock straps to the rescue. One over the top to hold the box down and keep the handle from flopping, and another across the back to keep the front notch in the rack crossbar. No problem!
The ride was pretty uneventful. Didn’t meet a soul on the trail until I got past the Bailey Street underpass; two guys on foot, then another guy on a bike a short time later, then a woman out for a run on Westport Ave. north of the UPS depot. And no goose attacks at all (in fact, the only goose I saw was on the water near the zoo. Phew!)
I had a decent tailwind most of the way (wind out of the SE, gusting to about 30 mph) so I made pretty good time, and I’m sure that helped maximize my battery life as well. By the time I got to Benson Rd. and heading up the hill on the home stretch (work stretch?) the batteries started dropping power. That makes me worry about the ride home, as I’ll be bucking a headwind the whole way back. I suppose it’ll be time to replace/upgrade the batteries sometime soon. The SLA batteries are ok for a powered bike, but they are so heavy. I bought about the minimum size to get me to work, and anything bigger would add a considerable amount of weight. I would so love to upgrade to some Lithium Ion batteries. They are expensive though… Some day.
The ride made me think about the Sioux Falls Ride To Work events of years past, so I did some checking to see when this year’s event would be. It looks like it might not be happening at all. The banner at the website hasn’t changed since last year, and there hasn’t been much added to the site at all. Nothing at all mentioned about it at the MinusCar Project, the FAB website, the Spoke-n-Sport site, or Harlan’s Bike & Tour site. Not that I really need to have someone feed me free pancakes, but it’s a nice chance to see who else is riding and see some old acquaintances. I guess there is still a month or so until the traditional time to have the event, but I would think that if it were happening, the organizers would be getting the word out by now…