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Home. Chemistry. And Batteries

June 30th, 2021

I am happily back home after my trip, which is nice – dog at my feet, typing away on Universe and generally relaxed before a long weekend reflecting and reading. Child number 4 (in order of age) is taking a 10th grade science course this summer in order to skip forward (her choice, and a good one too). I am usually pretty good with helping out in science and such, but sadly this is not to be at this point. I have, it would seem, forgotten pretty much everything I ever learned about chemistry, valence, things like that. Physics I can do, chemistry, unfortunately not. I do remember that I took chemistry in high school but it turns out that the multi-decade gap is too much for this brain. Fortunately, it gives me the ideal excuse to learn it all over again, which I have to admit is a welcome break from knowing the stuff I do teach and write about all the time. It’s almost like picking up a new book for the first time – an excited feeling of learning things. Onwards and upwards. Or, as in Roger Sloan’s excellent “Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore”, Festina Lente. I’ll do book reviews somewhere and somewhen on this site. Speaking of chemistry as I was, the bike (the electric one from Zero Motorcycles, whose picture is above) surpassed expectations yesterday - one charge (and that free – thanks to Paul’s Bistro in Oxford Station, which also has great food…) got me from 1000 Islands to home, the last leg of which was 130km and left me with 25% of the battery unused. It’s a 13KWh lithium ion (see, chemistry!) battery and I seem to have found its sweet spot - off highways at around 80-85 km/h, which is a lovely speed for moving through the countryside – as I said in a previous post, I am done going places fast anyway. By my calculations, I’m able to get around 170 km out of a ‘tank’, and that’s excellent. Charging takes around 80 minutes after that to full, but trust me, after 170 km non-stop, getting out of the saddle for an hour or so and having a cuppa whilst waiting is lovely (remember, fast is out). Excellent fun, minimal damage to the environment, quiet and very very cheap – I mean, what other means of transport other than walking can you go 270 km for the grand total of $0.00? (Okay, if I counted the charge to fill it up when I got back home, $1.00) The future, as some people are fond of saying, is now.

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