DC residents: Is this plan crazy? *update* No it's not

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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MattyCiii   100 kW

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DC residents: Is this plan crazy? *update* No it's not

Post by MattyCiii » Feb 06 2013 7:22pm

I have a 3 day work trip to the Coast Guard operations System Center in Martinsburg, WV. I'll be flying into and out of Dulles.

I have a non-motorized folding bike that - if disassembled will fit in a large hard side suit case. I'm tempted to fly down with that bike, assemble it, ditch the suitcase (either at a bike shop nearby, or at a hotel I have ties to), and ride to Martinsburg. About half the distance is on the Washington Old Dominion trail - a paved former rail bed now multi-use path. Here's the route: http://goo.gl/maps/6HyuT

I have no problem biking 50 miles in 20*f conditions. Snow would be a problem, but I could always punt at the last minute, leave the bike and rent a car.

So my question is - Should I seek psychological counseling?
Last edited by MattyCiii on Feb 15 2013 5:55pm, edited 1 time in total.
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.

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gestalt   10 kW

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by gestalt » Feb 06 2013 8:05pm

DO IT!!!

the trails out there are awesome, just make sure you have a saddle that works well with your taint region. any time I've had problems with longer trips have been because my saddle started to feel like hot iron.
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MattyCiii   100 kW

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by MattyCiii » Feb 06 2013 9:59pm

Yeah well if my a$$ can survive the desolate flat planks of JFK Junior High Cafetorium, it can deal with 50 miles of rail trail on a hard bike saddle...
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by dogman dan » Feb 07 2013 6:05am

Might look into if there is a place you could rent a bike? That trail is very nice. I walked a bit of it a few years back, and kept thinking my sister was an idiot for not having a bike since she lived right by it. But she thinks opening a pack of cancer sticks is exercise.

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by Lebowski » Feb 07 2013 6:14am

get some spiked tires and it should be fun ! I can recommend the Nokian brand.

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by ebent » Feb 07 2013 6:26am

My nephew lives there too and like Dogman, I can't talk the kid into something I think he'd like. I think it is the spinach syndrome. I hate it. Have you tried? no. But I know I won't like it. The kid needs a few couch sessions. I would rather rent a bike than deal with the difficult logistics. And I'd want choices. I would hate to bring it and can't use it. I would call several bike shops to find and reserve a good bike. While you are at it pump the bike shops for info on desired trails etc. After that go and have a few couch session just for the fun of it.
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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by outbackhack » Feb 07 2013 9:39am

Getting from Dulles to the W&OD is definitely going to be your biggest challenge, that area has mostly non-existent shoulders and fast heavy traffic. Might be worth finding alternative transportation to get closer to the bike trail and save the stress. Other than that it sounds like a great plan.

Let me know if I can help, I live about 15 minutes from the airport and drive by it every day that I don't cycle to work so I'm pretty familiar with the area. Depending on when you're flying in I might even already be passing by the airport and could give you a lift closer to the trail.

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by Dauntless » Feb 07 2013 9:51am

Don't know the trail, hard for me to know what to think. But are you really sure this FOLDING BIKE is what they had in mind when they said it's less than 5 hours? What happens if you suddenly realize this isn't working? In an area I'm guessing you're not so familiar with.
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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by melodious » Feb 07 2013 10:12am

I'm on the same latitude as DC. It's not supposed to be snow nor ice these next few days. Rain on Friday with temps in the 40s. Whatever snow we got the past few weeks has melted away, even in shadowed areas. I'd say go for it :!:
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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by dnmun » Feb 07 2013 10:19am

too much risk. maybe if you had support there, in case you had a flat or the bike was damaged by the luggage handlers and failed on you halfway. too much can go wrong.

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by jag » Feb 07 2013 10:59am

MattyCiii wrote:I have a 3 day work trip to the Coast Guard operations System Center in Martinsburg, WV. I'll be flying into and out of Dulles.

I have a non-motorized folding bike that - if disassembled will fit in a large hard side suit case. I'm tempted to fly down with that bike, assemble it, ditch the suitcase (either at a bike shop nearby, or at a hotel I have ties to), and ride to Martinsburg. About half the distance is on the Washington Old Dominion trail - a paved former rail bed now multi-use path. Here's the route: http://goo.gl/maps/6HyuT

I have no problem biking 50 miles in 20*f conditions. Snow would be a problem, but I could always punt at the last minute, leave the bike and rent a car.

So my question is - Should I seek psychological counseling?
Absolutely do it!

When your packed bike arrives at the luggage belt, choose a prominent space in the arrivals area and assemble the bike there. Guaranteed you will get a lot of lookers. Teach them something!! When I've done the same I'd had no trouble with officials. (People assembling and biking out of airports is probably such a rare occasion that the rulemakers have not made a rule against it yet)

Get the phone number of local ES members willing to lend you a hand if you get into trouble of some kind.

I lived in the DC area 14 years ago.
You can make it a round trip if you cycle up the Washington Old Dominion trail, then on the way back take the canal path along the Potomac river between Harpers Ferry and the Potomac Falls, which are also close to Dulles. The Potomac river (technically the Chesapeake & Ohio canal - but it runs right next to the river) path is paved near Washington, but hard packed dirt around Harpers ferry, so you will have a bit of both. Check current conditions with locals. Route map: http://goo.gl/maps/pbtm0

Potomac Falls is a national monument. On a weekend you can see kayakers daring the plunge over the falls. If you are into whitewater that's one of the worlds premier spots.
Shenandoah staircase at Harpers Ferry is another whitewater spot (class 2-3), but water levels may be low now.
There are nice bike/hike trails, lots of preserved history and a museum in Harpers ferry.

Martin (Now in Edmonton, AB Canada -- Biking and kayaking a lot chillier here)

MattyCiii   100 kW

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by MattyCiii » Feb 07 2013 2:51pm

Thanks all.. Great thoughts.
dnmun wrote:too much risk. maybe if you had support there, in case you had a flat or the bike was damaged by the luggage handlers and failed on you halfway. too much can go wrong.
Very good point. I have a friend flying in for the same meeting & have him standing by as basically my sag wagon. We just need to coordinate flights.

If I BYO bike, I'll have spare tubes, wrench and tire levers. BYO bike has some advantages over renting: I know the feel of the bike - very important. The panniers and trunk bag actually fit in the suit case, so I have storage for tube, tools & my work clothes.

Also I didn't mention this originally, but I've flown with this bike before. Nothing this ambitious mind you - it has never been part of the transportation plan (again getting back to dnmun's point about risk). While I can fiz a flat on a bike trail, I'm out of luck if the airline loses my bag.

I called A-1 Cycling who has a shop a mile from Dulles. They said they'd have no problem with me leaving my suitcase there while I'm in West Virginia. He also gave me the name of a company that does rentals, and will deliver. Given I'l have to carry a non-trivial amount of gear for winter riding, renting a bike might be the best option indeed.
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by Cresh » Feb 07 2013 3:23pm

I live directly on the W&OD, I commute into DC every day! Definitely go for it, the trail is beautiful out there west of Dulles.

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by ebent » Feb 08 2013 1:41am

If money is tight, bring your bike. If money is not an issue, and a decent bike can be rented, I like rented. Especially if I have business to conduct. If my folder gave me a problem at the worst time it could interfere with my business stuff. A rental from a reliable source should come to the rescue and save the day. I'd find out in advance if they would provide support. This way most risks are covered.

A folder with a motor is another issue. I guess it is hard to rent powered bikes.
2005 catrike pocket trike, sold 2013
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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by motomech » Feb 08 2013 1:57am

I'm down here in Panama working for another month, otherwise, I would meet you at the airport with a couple of Ebikes in my van.
Maybe next time.
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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by dnmun » Feb 08 2013 3:45am

i have seen people ask on craigslist if they can rent a bike short term from someone here in town when they fly in from the right side. i guess they figured people looking in the bike section of CL would be a good place to look to rent a bike. people look there when they are thinking of selling as well as watching for another bike, so maybe that guy did find someone to rent him a bike.

in my case someone could catch the bus at the airport, 3 miles on 82nd avenue to division street then catch the bus down divison, 4 miles down division on the #4 bus, get off at the corner of my street, walk 1 driveway up, and pick up a bike from me, ride it for the time they are in town, i could sag them to the airport or they can catch the MAX train, boom, no cars involved. except for my sag service.

with the mobile communications happening already and friends networks like on facebook or something like 'Warm Showers', something like this would work and people could be sharing transportation at the end without the super expense of rentals.

MattyCiii   100 kW

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Re: DC area residents: Is this plan crazy?

Post by MattyCiii » Feb 15 2013 5:54pm

I have secured a bike rental with a small business (http://www.getoutandgo.biz). I love to patronize small businesses, seems almost like a moral obligation. Anyway, they'll hook me up with a bike for the week for $100. They are picking me up at the airport, and bringing me to their home to get the bike (benefits me greatly). At that point I have a very short residential street path to the Washington & Old Dominion path. Works out great!

I plan to bring my helmet cam, and to write about the whole experience. I'll have to get my lardazz in gear, I've had the luxury of electric power so long I've grown soft.
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.

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