All bets are off. I’m going with the standard commute, no alterations. I left the house at 7:30, stopped at the bank to deposit my paycheck, and still arrived at 8:20. Almost exactly the same time it takes on the bike. The ELF is clearly faster on the uphill climbs but I have to go slower on the trail and sidewalks to keep from causing problems with pedestrians and bikes. I also have to get off the ELF at the bottom of the hill on Old Columbia Pike to hold the barrier back while pushing the ELF through. I’ve got this down to only a few minute delay, but it’s still a delay. Maybe I’ll remember the rope to pull it back permanently tomorrow.
The ride in this morning was lovely. Not many people on the trail so I went pretty fast there and drove up Brookville Road without anyone too hot on my tail. The high point of the ride was when I pulled up the to intersection of Lockwood and New Hampshire Ave. There was a car in the turn lane to my right and the lady driving it rolled her window down and said “Thanks for the inspiration”. She also said “you just made my day”, which made my day. I think she wants to get an ELF or at least start riding her bike to work. If that’s the case, I’ve done more than just take myself off the gas grid, I’ve inspired others to do the same.
At lunch I let Gene take the ELF for a spin around the parking lot. He came back winded, which is pretty funny, considering he doesn’t ride a bike much. Andy keeps ribbing me about the ELF getting run over in the parking lot which is also pretty funny since he’s the one that was driving too fast in the parking lot yesterday and we had a bit of a scare. After Gene’s test ride, I drove the ELF over to the Panera on Tech Road and parked on the sidewalk right in front of the store. Several people stopped by and asked about it right away. After I got my lunch and was getting ready to hop in and go, a man came running up to me with a concerned look on his face. I thought he was about to yell at me for parking on the sidewalk (although I wasn’t blocking anything since I was between two poles). Instead, he was excited to see the ELF and said “I’m going to put this on my Vine. Nobody will believe it.” He took my picture and then a few more pics as I drove off. Nice.
When I got back to the office I decided to let the sun recharge the battery from the short trip to lunch. I sure wish I could get more information about the charge level. The Organic Transit guys say they will need to add some hardware to the controller to support the blue tooth interface for this. In the meantime, I wonder if there is another way to measure the charge level. I’ve got to ask them the question a different way.
The drive home went pretty smoothly. I noticed that the metal barrier left temporary indentations in my hand after I went through. Also, when I apply the brakes at high speed, it’s pulling to the left. Sometimes the right brake makes a loud rumbling screech. Tomorrow is Thursday and City Bikes on Connecticut is open late on Thursdays so I’ll probably stop by and ask them how to adjust the brakes.
I’m still not too happy about having to drop one of the front wheels onto the road at 29 and Southwood. However, I did that again today rather than driving over the hill to avoid it. It wasn’t too bad and it doesn’t seem to be scraping the bottom. There were lots of runners and a good many bikers on the Georgetown Branch today so I had to take it easy for much of that ride. I was able to open up on one of the longer stretches though and that helped me get home in under an hour.
When I arrived the driveway was full of cars so I had to park it on the neighbor’s apron while I moved cars. One of my neighbors came by and said she thought it was cool. My neighbor across the street said she was hoping I’d put a trailer or jump seat on it so I could drive people around. She said I could sell tickets and just retire on that. What an interesting idea…