Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rainy week rides

This week was unusually rainy for this time of year. The ELF was fantastic to ride in during several rainy rides mostly to work and, as I've said before, I really can't tell that it's raining until  I notice raindrops accumulating on the windshield.  

I've added a piece of aluminum foil over the second battery bay to keep it from filling with water but there haven't been any rides in a true downpour to test if it can handle the volume.  

The trails are pretty messy and the ELF keeps getting dirty from them so I've had to spend a few evenings or mornings wiping down the various surfaces. Mostly it's getting spray behind the doors and a little on the panel behind the seat. And of course, the back window gets a bunch of spray from the back wheel.  I've been able to let the rain wash away the bulk of the dirt after I got home and then just wiped away what's left in the morning. 

I've tied a tarp to the fence and covered the back of the ELF to keep the exposed part of the back wheel and chain dry.  
One morning when I arrived at work the forecast showed big rain storms so I put a large plastic garbage bag over the back wheel.  That day it rained really hard about an hour before my ride home so the mesh seat was a little wet when I sat down.  But the back wheel was nice and dry. 

Someone cut the ropes holding back the barriers on old Columbia pike so I had to bring more rope on Tuesday to tie them back again. I guess I need to get more rope and just plan to carry it just in case  

As usual lots of people yelling "nice bike" and one guy in a truck stopped when I pulled over to make an adjustment so he could write down the information. He seemed very excited. 

I've tried riding up the hill on route 29 between Lockwood and Southwood several times. The ELF does about 25 for the downhill part and then keeps about 20 the rest of the way up the hill. It's not too bad since the cars have two other lanes to pass me and the speed limit is 40 on that stretch of road. I still prefer the sidewalk but its definitely faster driving on the road. 

I've also tried riding down Sligo Creek Road from Dennis to Forest Glen which is a nice smooth piece of road mostly a gradual downhill grade. It's marked 25 so the ELF can keep up with traffic no problem. But once again, even though its slower, I prefer the trail since I can pedal through that section and get more exercise. 

I need to do some general maintenance this weekend. Tightening the brake cables an checking the gear cables and checking the tire pressure and replacing the overhead rear view mirror and tightening the seat screws and back hatch screws. 

I figured out that the best way to access the front wheels is to prop it up on something by pushing on the body above the front of the door so it goes up on two wheels. 

The range anxiety is completely gone since I've had no dead battery even on days when I left the headlights on for most of the ride. I've also been able to pedal more now that the clipless pedals are securely attached to my shoes. 

On the other hand the solar panel has proved effective on sunny days. I left it charging from 8:30 to 4:00 one day (including a quick jaunt over to the panera for lunch) and the battery finished charging on the office power in less than 30 minutes.   Next week I'm going to let it charge until I leave at 5:30 and then we will really find out if its charged!  My wife also bought a killawatt meter for measuring the power use on her leaf and I'm going to use it after one of my rides next week to see what the charger uses. 



  1. Does the ELF charge while peddling, regardless of the solar getting rays? I live an area of Southeast Alaska that often is clouded in.

    1. No, peddling does not charge the battery. Only the solar panel or plugging the charger into a wall socket will charge the battery.

  2. Does the ELF charge from peddling? I live in an area of Southeast Alaska that is often cover in fog, clouds...etc. Thanks!

  3. Hey Howard!

    The makers of the Perspex plastic caution against using blue tarps in direct contact with the windscreens as they can chemically react and cause damage over time. Just a friendly heads up from OT!


    1. Thanks, Alix. I really need to invest in a more permanent solution. In the meantime, I'll avoid the blue tarp. It's pretty ugly anyway so I won't miss it.

  4. FYI when the battery does go low the lights stop working. It also shuts off with no warning, no slow dow just no more power. I got the 2 battery option so I can just change the connection to the 2nd battery .

    Also to legally be a bicycle it can't go over 20 mph on it's own. The motor is also limited to 750 watts and your set. We have lots of Sunny days and little rain here in the greater Phoenix area so the ELF is great all the time. Jim