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9.16.2015

800 miles in 35 days. What I have learned from ELF .

800 miles in 35 days. What I have learned from ELF .

* my opportunity is to add power, not to speed the ELF with my legs
* I carry my own weight and let ELF carry his. that is, under most circumstances I can deliver about 1.5 amps per hour and I use about 2 amps per hour from the battery on long distances
* ELF will easily flip if I am not careful
* if you are insured against theft (Veloinsurance) and you are not locked you are not insured
* using my legs like pistons seems to work best for me
* the faster I go on battery the less energy I can contribute per mile lowering the battery range
* I can get seven or even 10 miles per amp except where there are many hills and there I can drop to as low as 2 miles per amp or less.
* at 63 with stage 4 cancer I can contribute 1.5 amps, 75 watts, per hour
* regarding reliability and maintenance the vehicle is a sophisticated three wheeled bike, not a car. align your expectations accordingly.
* 'Solar fusion bike car' is my best phraseology so far for grasping this vehicle
* very few bicycle repair operations will touch the elf because it takes up too much of their floor space, or is too large to get through their door. but some can. Find out.
* this is an extremely sane way to commute around Washington DC proper
* shallow pumping of the brake flashes oncoming traffic from the rear greatly increasing safety in highway situations. Pumping so shallow of course that you don't actually activate the brake itself
* I often feel much more comfortable with additional flashing lights on the rear of the vehicle in highway situations to alert fast oncoming traffic from the rear to a slow moving vehicle
* pulling a second solar panel on a trailer for my cross country trip is wonderful more than doubling my energy generation
* after caulking around the solar panel ELF no longer leaks in the rain
* despite numerous rain storms rarely have I wanted doors. Sometimes I use my rain suit
* due to the necessary vehicle weight the nuVinci gearing gives me an additional 5 or 10% range over traditional gears I am sure
* a no slip  shelf liner helps keep my butt in place
* a full graphics wrap of the elf cost around 1000 bucks applied
* chaining the handlebar in a sharp left or a sharp right turn with a lock is almost always sufficient security even in the city for me, and it is quick and easy to put in place or for me to remove
* the folks in Durham are very nice, very competent, and like a very large informal bicycle shop. Set your expectations  accordingly and you will be happy, as am I.
* I have found some pockets where the culture is extremely hostile to bicycles like Fredericksburg Virginia.
* I've been very glad to have a can of tire repair slime
* as an extensive rider I'm glad to now have cycle analyst
* even without cycle analyst I can judge the battery charge with a multimeter measuring the voltage, 54 volts roughly full, 45 volts empty, rather linear in between
* for security reasons in a city I am glad to have a large trunk that can be closed
* favoring long range without wall-recharging, as I do, the vehicle is an seven to nine miles per hour vehicle except on extreme flat where it may be 10 to 11 miles per hour at my level of strength and technique.
* running errands all around Washington DC the elf is plenty fast enough, has plenty of range, speed being limited by the horrible potholes
* elf is often too wide for bike lanes. one needs to be willing to ride in a main lane often. it is not for the faint of heart.
* Google Maps: on cross country trips I generally lie and say I am a car selecting the option for no tolls, no highway. often I do not want to be away from where I can plug in, where otherwise the selection for bicycling would place me
* if I plug in for an hour, then unplug from the battery to check the charge level with a volt meter, unless I unplugged from the wall for several minutes, the charging does not resume. no problem, now that I know
* for me the elf is like the early Wright brothers planes. In some respects a joke. The beginning of a new future which sadly is coming too slowly to save creation.
* I have profound respect and affection for this vehicle. I think it is an important invention
* the vehicle is quite stable at 35 or 40 miles per hour, speeding down hill, watch for crosswinds. However, very unstable if not toed-in 3 degrees (?) in the front.
* the front is very light and can easily be flipped by even a low speed bump under one wheel or the other or a fast turn. Just keep that in mind and you will be fine
* I find the front cargo tray extremely useful
* you need a bike shop that will happily work on your vehicle or you need to learn to do it yourself. It is not a car. It is a high-tech tricycle
* I wish Organic transit would put up a very serious support site up with well done, way longer than 1 minute, videos on how to maintain and repair the vehicle.
* Organic transit should publish a list of required tools and possibly assemble into a kit and sell the same, as they once did.
* I have found ELF very sturdy and reliable
* I have learned that my technique makes an enormous difference to how much power, and range, I can inject. where I place my feet on the pedals, where I adjust my seat. I wish I had studied articles on cycling technique earlier. I'm glad I finally did, and do.
* I am happiest with very very fast cadence until I achieve speed of 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 miles per hour... and then slower cadence to maintain that speed.
* on steep hills or any breaking from higher speed I think that pumping my brakes may produce less wear on the system.
* Runtastic Pro is the best Android app I have found. Many useful features. For most or all of the cycling apps I have found that they understate distance traveled by about 13%, oddly.  Google Maps seems correct as does the cycle analyst.

note: all serious questions and comments and or suggestions on the above would be welcome.  http:Start-Loving.blogspot.com

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