Friday, November 20, 2009
Replies to Scootin' in the Rain
I am going to Florida next week, and I am wondering how the TravelScoot will do in the rain. Of course I am wondering how I will do in the rain, perched on my Scoot seat, but I think I can keep myself fairly covered.
In particular, I am thinking about the connection between battery and motor, and if I need to cover anything. Also, I have two Lithium Ion Batteries, and I keep them velcro'd together so I can swap off if I run out of juice on the go. Should I be covering the wires that aren't in use?
I know that stopping distance won't be the same, for some of the same reasons that is true in a car (wet wheels reduce traction). And going uphill might be a little more dicey as well. I can probably make those adjustments.
I have also selected one of my old bath towels to keep on hand in the trunk of my car so that when the car is wet, and I am leaning forward to put the main body of the scooter in or out of the trunk, I am not leaning on a wet car.
So please, tell me your stories, your solutions, your innovations, and let's hope I also have a few un-rainy days to go along with the 80 degree weather so I can make my way into the ocean.
Advice for Lynn Ellen
I have actually had a lot of experience using the scoot in the rain and so far it has been uneventful. Often I use an umbrella while driving and this works out fine. I am, however, extremely well-coordinated. I don't think this is a choice for everyone. I have also found that the battery doesn't get very wet. If you are like me and larger than average your body should protect the battery somewhat. It has been my intention to try to create a sort of cover for the battery, not a cover like the SLA, but just something that can wrap around the lithium ion battery and also help secure it to the scoot and protect it from getting scraped. That is another story, though.
Since I commute to work on my scoot I have been out in the rain a lot. I'll let you know how it does in the snow - that I am worried about. Anyway, when it is raining I carry a can of compressed air and some paper towels with me. The can of air is great for blowing the water away from the battery, brakes, tires and just about anywhere on the scoot where it collects. It is great for lots of other uses, too. I have driven through leaves that were wet and sticky and have even had some mud on the Scoot. You don't want to know what you find on the sidewalks of New York City. I don't think that I have scooted over anything that used to be alive!! In New York the air is pretty dirty so I usually use the canned air to get rid of dirt that collects in the nooks and crannies. I always dry the battery and wet areas on the scoot as soon as I can.
Now - the REAL rain issue - the BRAKES!! Even on a flat surface the effectiveness of the brakes is greatly diminished when they are wet. You have to be very careful. I usually go at a slower speed (I am proud to say that I love speed!) Sometimes when it is wet I ride with one foot on the pavement. This will give you some control and help you stop. If you only have flat areas to deal with that is not as much a problem. I regularly ride up and down ramps to the ferry and many of the cut-outs in Manhattan are very steep. Wet or dry when I ride up the ramps I always lean forward. A couple of weekends ago while visiting my son in Washington DC I was not as careful as usual and ended up doing a 360 over the back of my scooter. Ouch!! That still hurts.
Experience is the best teacher as to how comfortable you will be when riding in the rain. If you can, practice in a familiar area when it is raining. That will help you gain confidence in how you need to handle your scoot in the rain. The most important thing is to be as careful as you can and don't take any chances. That is what I do very day, not just in the rain.
Sounds like Rhonda found out about unbrellas like I did. Here in Atlanta it rains frequently. I actually can use an unbrella in one hand while driving with the other. It is not easy, but I don't want VroomVroom and my eletronics (mp3, phone, etc) to get soaked. Here's some of the things I've learned about unbrellas. DON'T scoot like you normally would! I'm serious. Slow down to window shopping speed where there's a lot of sparklies - you know, a bare crawl - otherwise the wind will catch it and pop it backwards - many times until you get the hang of it. (Meanwhile you are stil getting soaked, so what was the point of the whole thing?) To make sure that you and the motor/battery are covered, you need a large one. That only magnifies the problem.
OK, now that I've told you all that, the truth is that it has to be really, really pouring for me to break out the unbrella now. Sprinkles don't seem to do any harm. I usually put my briefcase in a plastic bag and put it under the seat. For the most part that seems to protect the battery, and the seat (and what's on the seat) gives added protection. Sometimes it's to the advantage to have a well rounded bottom.
I have tried to make a poncho for just the motor/battery. The thing to take into account with this is that the wheel rolls down and back up towards the motor. Yep, it gets the motor wet anyway, but the battery stays dry. Back to the drawing board. . . . .
I can tell you what "not to do". I strongly recommend passing on the urge to use an umbrella while scooting in the rain . . . and I really wish someone had gotten a picture, or a video.
Rhonda, I'm thinking there's a story to be told here. Are you going to share with us? I'm sure Lynn Ellen wants to know what to avoid. :-)
Let's just say that it was "less than a graceful moment". I would have gotten less wet if I had just gunned the throttle and not tried the umbrella. As long as I crawled along, it was fine, but every time I increased my speed, the umbrella would blow out of my hand. I eventually just gave up. I'm sure it was fun to watch.
Wow, Lynn Ellen -- you're really racking up those frequent flier miles! I welcome any tips you care to share on flying with the 'Scoot.
I asked Hardy about 'Scootin' in the rain recently, and he said the motor must not get wet. He also said to avoid puddles.
We didn't go into the detail you request here; maybe Hardy will see this post & reply?
I'm wondering if wearing a poncho that covers me and the motor would do the job, at least in a gentle rain?
Oh, by the way, last night, I ORDERED MY TRAVELSCOOT -- WOOHOO!