Last weekend, Spring was finally pushing its way through, so we decided to go for a bicycle ride. It was perfect cycling weather, the sun was shining and it was warm without being too hot. Our only problem is the roads here in NJ are currently in an atrocious condition. Between the potholes – which are incredibly bad this year, they are so deep and just huge – and the pieces of broken tarmac, twigs, branches, rocks, nails, left over salt and who knows what else at the sides of the roads, cycling around here is just not a viable option. With the roads being out of the question, we decided to go to Dukes Farm here in NJ, which is great for cycling around, but then the question was, how do we transport the bicycles?
In the past (2009) we had carried our bicycles on our MINI E, then the ActiveE and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but never on the Tesla Roadster – oh no that is never happening! We’ve never tried with the BMW i3 as it is made entirely from fragile glass on the back, I’m rather concerned that the slightest knock and thats it, we’d have a pool of glass on the ground.
That leaves the Smart Electric Drive – could it handle two bicycles? How on earth would we attach the cycle carrier to the back of a, basically, plastic car? Lets see, shall we…
First though, my sidekick routed around the garage to locate the cycle carrier, we haven’t been out for a while and so it had ended up tucked away behind snow blowers and other random stuff. Our cycle carrier is made by Schwim and is designed to be strapped to the back of a typical tailgate. The cycle carrier was finally located and it was presented to the car. After what seemed like forever and including lots of standing back and looking and then turning the cycle carrier this way and that and then holding it up towards the car and then nearly standing on his head (umm, not really, but it sounded funny!!), my sidekick finally had the cycle carrier attached to the back of the Smart ED – I’m still a little unsure how but it was time to test it out. One bicycle loaded and… it’s still on the back of the car, will it hold the second one too? Apparently so. With both bicycles securely attached we stood back and looked at the car, wondering if it would tip over backwards! Ah, no that apparently was just me, and I should have more faith and not be silly thinking the bicycles would tip the car over backwards. Well, you never know do you? It could happen!
With the bicycles securely tied on, we set off on our journey. It was about 20 minutes away and on back roads so plenty of options to go slowly if needed. For some reason I kept leaning forwards in the car as if subconsciously that would somehow help – I’ve no idea! We stopped after a few minutes to just check everything was still okay and all was – the cycles hardly moved around at all- they were very well secured. The Smart Electric Drive didn’t flinch, it made no difference to the way the car handled at all and it didn’t even use anymore power either.
Arriving at our destination, the car park looked full to overflowing, on the first bright and warm Sunday, everyone was looking for that elusive parking space. At Dukes Farm they have five spaces set aside for Electric Vehicles and Hybrid Vehicles, not surprisingly apart from one Toyota Prius, the rest of the spaces were taken by non EV’s. There was a van, a Jeep, a People Carrier and some other nondescript car – not one was a hybrid of any kind and certainly no electrics there. So frustrating, it appears that no-one does anything to stop non-electrics or hybrids from parking there – ugh. They also have two Electric Vehicle Charging spots which are signposted very clearly. There was a Nissan LEAF charging so we decided to take the other spot and charge up while we were cycling. We were only going to be about an hour so that would charge up the car and then we could move allowing for anyone else that might need to charge.
With the bikes off the car and the Smart ED charging up, we set off for a cycle around Dukes Farm navigating around the pedestrians. Once in the park, the space opens up and we could cycle off without worrying about colliding with anyone. After a lovely cycle around we headed back to the car park, loaded up the cycles and unplugged the car. The charge had cost us $0.61 – that wasn’t bad at all.
The return journey was also uneventful and we retuned home without issue. Phew!!
The Smart Electric Drive maybe small but it’s also extremely versatile. Whether it be carrying 12 bags of salt, two bicycles or a weeks worth of shopping – it can do it all! It really is the little Electric Car that can – or it will at least, give it a go!