Author Topic: Long Beach and back, 165.5 miles.  (Read 765 times)


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Long Beach and back, 165.5 miles.
« on: June 10, 2015, 05:16:26 PM »
The plan was to join a local sport bike group for a ride starting in Santa Monica, riding along the coast and ending in Long Beach.  I was then going to meet a guy in Long Beach to look at a Triumph ST to replace my aging and too small Honda VF500F.  The catch was the group was meeting Saturday morning at 9:30 and 50 miles from my home, creating some logistical considerations if I wanted to start the ride with a full battery.

Some overly conservative calculations concluded that 4 hours would provide more than sufficient time for travel and recharging back to full.  I planed to leave the house at 5 AM to make sure that I actually got out of the house by 5:30, it would be morning after all.  I was patching servers over the weekend so I ended up not getting to bed until midnight, clearly a flaw in my planning.

When 4 AM rolled around, I was awake but knew I was too tired.  My wife poked me and asked if I was awake, I said yes.  She poked me again (she is very helpful like that) and asked if I was going to get up and go on my ride.  I clearly responded "No dear, I am feeling too tired and don't think I should go on the group ride today."  According to my wife, what I actually said was closer to "gggrmmmppp knjhlksl tthpttmm Not Going mmmgt llhhhsl!" and promptly fell back asleep.  In any case, message conveyed.

This gave me a chance to get some more sleep, then spend the morning with my wife.  She needed to leave by 11 AM to get to work, so I decided to leave at the same time to head for Long Beach.  I packed up my laptop so I could do so work during my charging stops and headed out.

Since I had plenty of time to get to Long Beach, I opted for a leisurely ride through the Santa Monica mountains.  I arrived at the Malibu Country Mart (which has 3 charging stations) at 53% State of Charge (SoC) with 40 miles on the trip meter.  I plugged in my bike next to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and spend a few minutes talking to people about the bike, then the next hour enjoying my coffee while getting some work done.  One hour and 19 minutes later, I was on my way with a 91% SoC.

Next stop, Hermosa Beach Pier for lunch.  I had researched the location based on the group ride, so knew of a couple of charging stations in that area.  Traffic was pretty heavy, particularly down Lincoln Blvd.  It was really nice to be on a motorcycle allowing me to filter to the front at stop lights, then enjoy the next 2 or 3 blocks traffic free until I caught up to the next batch of cars.  The 2 charging stations on the street near the pier were occupied, but one was open a block or so away at City Hall.  Having used 26% of my battery to get the 29 miles, I would later calculate a maximum range of almost 112 miles in those conditions.  A traffic cop saw me pull in and came over to chat, having never seen or heard of an electric motorcycle before.  I had a message from the guy I was meeting about the triumph, he was ready for me to come by earlier than he expected.  I had planned on getting lunch by the pier, but 13 minutes of charging later, I was up to 72% and on my way again.  I had gotten the address, texted my wife the location, got it programmed into my phone.

I am still getting used to using my phone as a GPS, so it keep wanting to take me on the freeway, I finally gave in as I really did not know where the GPS was taking me.  I should have spent more time getting an overview of where I was going.  I was thinking of down town Long Beach, but the GPS was going a different way and really wanted me to use the freeway.  I saw the Triumph and liked the bike so I made an offer, there are some details to work out so I don't know if my offer will be accepted or not yet.  I had 46% SoC so decided I could make it to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica for dinner and a bit of charging before I went home.

When I got the the parking structure, there was an attendant pulling tickets for people to get them through faster as it was backed up into the street.  He waived me into the motorcycle parking area, but did not give me a ticket.  I got off the bike and told him I needed to charge, he said there were some on the other side of the wall.  I found an open one on the next level up.  The bike was now showing 17% SoC with 115 miles on the trip meter for the day.  I checked on the bike after I had dinner at it was at 50% SoC after 70 minutes of charging, then went to find coffee and a WiFi signal.

I had gotten a bit distracted doing some work so by the time I got back the the bike, it had been charging for 3 hours and 16 minutes and was now fully charged.  I had not been in a hurry as my wife was at work and I was not expecting to be charged for parking.  Surprise, parking for motorcycles was NOT free.  When I did not get a ticket from the attendant, I expected to pull around the arm as is done at LAX.  This arm would have been difficult to get around so I pushed the tell the attendant I was on a motorcycle.  Apparently this did not matter.  I explained the situation and told him what time I entered so $4 popped up on the display, I put in my credit card and went away slightly more educated.

Traffic was pretty calm by this time 9:30 so I just went the speed limit which was 45 for a bit, then 50, and finally 55 for the majority of the trip home.  It was largely uneventful and I arrived home with 165.5 miles on the trip meter with a 34% SoC.

I had not utilized 2 of the 3 charging locations before, but had a backup plan in case things did not work out.  I did not find the actual trip stressful at all which was largely due to not having many time constraints.  I was surprised at how much interest others had in the bike that day, few seem to take much notice in the area I live, but I had people asking me about the bike every time I stopped as well as a couple of people stopped next to me at lights.

In conclusion, I had gone 165.5 miles and used the equivalent of 200% of my batteries capacity.  I had spent a total of 4 hours 48 minutes charging, though I would have been comfortable heading for home with an hour less charging at my last stop.  The range I calculated seems pretty consistent with the numbers published by Brammo.  Temperature was in the high 60's when I left, mid 70's during the day, and 60 degree's when I arrived at home.  It seems the Brammo is pretty well balanced charging wise.  The slower you go, the more time you spend on the bike and less time charging, but it still takes the about the same amount of time overall.  This is assuming that L2 charge stations are plentiful and easily accessible.  A more powerful on board charger would tip the balance towards riding faster.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 05:35:14 PM by Chocula »