Electric bike triumphs and travails
Rode my bike to jury duty last Wednesday. It was pouring rain and the winds were gusting into the 50s. I had my trailer hitched up because I was hauling a laptop, magazines, and a battery charger with me. I don’t think I could have done this without the electric motor.
However, at one point, a gust — accelerated by the venturi effect of two skyscrapers — stopped me cold. I jumped off and cowered in a nook where I found another guy hiding with the remains of his umbrella. I managed to drag, not ride, my bike the last block in a veritable deluge.
Upon reaching the municipal building, my next challenge was to get my batteries past the security check without them calling out the bomb squad. Being slammed to the floor and cuffed is not my idea of a good time (not that there is anything wrong with that). I decided to leave the batteries with the bike. I came back later and explained on my way out that I would be bringing bike batteries in and that they would have wires and stuff hanging off them. They watched me like a hawk but let me through on the assumption that something that looked just like a bomb couldn’t possibly be one. To be honest, I was a little worried that the x-ray machine might light off the lithium batteries. Wouldn’t that have been great?
Jury duty was a bust. I’ve been told that engineers are the first ones lawyers cross off the lists, because they can be such a pain in the ass. Not a problem — I spent my time commenting on the Grist blog, where I’m appreciated.
These nano-phosphate batteries are so superior to the lead acids they replaced, I can hardly contain myself. I used two of my four to get downtown, and they were recharged within an hour. The ride home was fast and effortless. Things are happening in the battery world, just as one would predict given enough economic incentive. The free market is a powerful force, but it has to be given direction — it can just as easily consume biodiversity as it can spawn things like the Prius and these batteries.