There has been a lot of mainland smoke over Tasmania recently. As you know, Colin and I plan to ride in Victoria in March and the fires are still very busy. So I hopped on the Internet and investigated types of anti-pollution masks available for cyclists.
The next day I loaded up YouTube to watch the latest VLOG from Itchy Boots (a Dutch woman riding a Royal Enfield currently zig zagging through Chile and Argentina on her way to Alaska) and what was the first ad? One for anti-pollution masks for sports use. Google knows what you want! Google pressures you to buy!! Be aware Google, I have paid my dues for watching YouTube by watching your ad. We are all square – except for that disquiet flowing from knowing Google is ‘watching’ me.
While on topic – why don’t the tennis players wear anti-pollution sports masks during the lead-up matches to the Australian Open? OK, they would probably be unpleasant to wear in 40+°C heat but they would all be lumbered with the same kit and their lungs would be protected from the shitty Melbourne air (full of bushfire smoke). Collapsing on court, coughing you guts up doesn’t win matches.
I have been playing around with the panniers trying to work out an improved way to organise the camping equipment. I start out with “kitchen” items in one and “in-tent” stuff in another. Neither fill a whole pannier and other stuff of the “Miscellaneous” category gets added on a “does it fit here?” basis. After a couple of weeks of touring they become two panniers of mixed goods – best fit at time of loading and, during early morning loading, I am not at my best. This system is OK but sometimes it’s nice to know exactly where to find something.
This time I have the tent c/w poles and pegs, chair and flysheet for the trike all using the underseat space by hanging off the seat frame. The two extra water bottle holders also hang off the seat and manage to do so with everything else fitting. This is making a bit of extra space in the panniers. I also culled a bit of kit that seems to be duplicated. After a trial load of the panniers I was wondering what I would be putting in the Rack Bag when Colin SMSd – a ride? So we rode a 44k ride almost to Bracknell and then across to Cressy, me with a ¾ loaded Bluey.
I had already covered 62k with this battery charge, so adding 44k meant 106k would be ridden on the single charge. I left the panniers and other stuff attached. I was determined to check what the battery can do and see if anything fell off. I went slowly up the first hills along Wilmore’s Lane and checked the battery level indicator at the top. All good. After that I didn’t worry too much, just plugged along using PA 3, 4 and 5 as appropriate to balance my speed with Colin. On a couple of hills I pushed it up to 6 just to see if I could empty the battery. No I couldn’t and I am hoping Colin wasn’t too miffed at being left behind.
The normal views of the Western Tiers were not available because the air was filled with more smoke from Victoria. Not too bad to ride in but visibility was definitely down. Apart from that it was a pleasant 25°C, little wind (hence the smoke staying put) and light traffic.
As we closed in on Cressy it was obvious we would be passing the Rustic Bakery around lunchtime. So a couple of phone calls are made arranging for Sue and Jeanette to meet us there for lunch. An unexpected and very pleasant social session ensued.
The traffic remained light so we elected to ride back to Longford along Cressy Road. All was well until a group of guys drove past seemingly trying to outdo each other as to how close to the old blokes on trikes they could get. I must look into the fitting of a decent, loud horn. First thing, how to run a 12v horn off a 36v battery. Maybe electronics genius John of Longford can wire up an appropriate circuit board.
The luggage all stayed in place and only squeaked a bit. It’s still there today as I am still trying different things and it will probably stay in place as we want tackle another S36O later in the week. A bit of training before we tackle Longford to Hobart starting on the 31st Jan.
On Thursday I fell to wondering just how much further the battery could take me on a single charge. So, still with the ¾ load of camping equipment, I set off up the hills of Wilmore’s Lane once more. I intended to go maybe 10ks out and 10 back to see how it went.
It went well. So well I extended the ride out to Bishopsbourne. I didn’t use high pedal assist levels as I didn’t think the battery would be able to deliver at that level for the extended ride. Using economic settings it did get me to Bishopsbourne and back with power still remaining. So I rode down to the South Esk to see exactly where the controller would cut out.
The day had been cloudy, little wind and warmish. As I rode down through the park to the boat ramp on the South Esk, a change came through. Sudden winds, darker clouds, spots of rain and a distinct coldness in the air.
I took a hasty picture and then high-tailed it for home. I upped the power to climb out from the boat ramp and left it on 6 to dash through the growing rainstorm. Suddenly the bike felt odd. Juddery. What was happening? The power draw was causing the controller to cut the power when we hit the lower limit of battery usage. It then recovered, supplied power again and then hit the cut-off again! OK, I now know what happens. And it happens around the 31-32 volt mark depending on how much power you are asking the controller draw.
A great test. Ran out of power 2 kilometers from home. It did have to be in the rain though! All things considered, including the mix of economic riding, the loading up of the trike and some carefree use of higher levels of pedal assist, I am happy with the ability of the power assist set-up to co-exist with my riding style. 106 plus say 29 kilometers makes a ride distance of 135 kilometers on the one charge. That’s not too dusty.