2016 ElMoto 4Corners - Sacramento to San Fran
Today was a day of test riding the latest in electric motorcycles! Riding from Sacramento, CA to San Francisco, CA was easy with one stop in Vacaville, CA. Vacaville has had multiple charging stations since I first visited in 2013 after riding my 2012 Zero S across the country. (See Kick Gas the movie at https://vimeo.com/169002549)
I arrived in San Francisco only to learn that my first of two test rides for the day was in a different location! Yikes! Fortunately Alta Motors was flexible and I was able to ride.
The first test ride was on the Alta Redshift SM (SuperMoto). I met Jon and Evan at the Alta Motors factory and went on a whirlwind of a test ride. The Redshift is a lightweight bike with great acceleration and high performance parts. There are 4 throttle maps that vary the power delivery and the regenerative braking. Needless to say, I spent most of the ride using the highest power setting.
After the Alta Motors test ride I met up with my friend Michael for lunch, then went to the brand new Energica Galleria to test ride the Eva. Apparently I am the first person to take a test ride at the Energica Galleria, which ended up being an important factor. At 3:30pm my guide, Davide, and I immediately headed for Alice's Restaurant which is a famous biker stop in the mountains just south of San Fran.
We split lanes through traffic that was nearly at a stop at first, then at highway speeds later. I wasn't used to this, and don't ride like that on my own, but I didn't want to lose him so I kept up. (I probably should have ridden normally, but got caught up in the moment.) We rode through the mountains and it was a blast! The Energica Eva is quite a bike. It has plenty of acceleration, has a more comfortable seating position than the Ego, and has CCS charging built in. That came in very handy!
We rode to a CCS charging station south of San Francisco, charged up, then rode to Alices, had some dinner, then started riding back. Here's where it got dicey. I let my guide know that my charge was running low at about 20%, but we kept pushing to another charging spot. The Eva ran out of juice at 0% and I coasted to a halt on the side of the highway. We were 1.5 miles from the charging station.
I've been riding electric motorcycles a long time and have never run out of charge before. But I have 1 trick up my sleeve and I was hopeful it would work. It did! I turned the bike off and on again, which allowed me to ride for a few hundred meters. Then I did the same thing several more times until I finally pulled into the charging station. Whew!
We got back to the Galleria at 9:30pm. That's right, this was a 6-hour marathon test ride! It was certainly fun riding the Eva and Ego, but 6 hours is a bit much. After that I was rather exhausted.
So I went swing dancing! Thursday nights are the regular dance in San Francisco at the 9:20 Club. I saw some good friends, met some fun new people, and had a great "out-of-towners" jam. Thanks San Fran!
While in San Francisco, I took a day to visit the Zero factory in Santa Cruz and had a spectacular day there. The Zero team is very professional and we did a Facebook Live event, took a tour and got a couple of things taken care of on my bike (new mirrors!). Had lunch with the CEO, Richard Walker, and a few others including Terry Hershner. It was a great day and I look forward to seeing what Zero is coming out with next year!
Video: Riding from Sacramento to San Francisco, Alta Redshift SM test ride, Energica Eva test ride.