Happy retireaversary to me

Not celebrating the occasion in the way I'd hoped... | 8/4/2020

It was a year ago today that I officially stopped being a working stiff.

In reality I'd become a member of the leisure class a couple of weeks before, as I'd saved up some annual leave: but Monday 8 April 2019 was the first day of me never having to go to work again.




And Man! I had such plans for celebrating my anniversary.

I was going to be on holiday somewhere, obviously - I'd already booked a week at Fort William, as a jumping-off spot for all sorts of photographic adventures, I was sure - and if all had gone to plan in other regards, I'd have been more or less ready to take ownership of a shiny new Zero DS electric motorbike.

Or, if I turn out not to be tall enough for a 32" seat height, a Zero S - which is hardly a consolation prize. In my mind's eye the DS makes more sense for the kind of riding I imagine I'll be doing - I have this idea that I'll be able to waft stealthily up narrow, sketchy Northumbrian forest gravel tracks to find and photograph Goshawks that cars can't get to, for example - but the probability is that I'll be on normal roads pretty much all the time, so off-road capabilities are unlikely to be a deal-breaker.

Especially if my fishing club gets round to sorting out the worst of the pot-holes in the track to my favourite club pond.

Besides - I think it fair to say that the S is a better-looking thing than the DS...

Anyway: in short, I was really going to mark the occasion of my retirement.

Obviously, none of this has come to pass. 

I'm particularly disappointed about the motorbike, I admit. I don't drive, so this would - finally - have been the end of public transport for me, and it would introduce a freedom of choice denied to anyone who lives by bus and train timetables.

I do "patient" pretty well, though. It will happen.

Now, it's true to say that electric motorbikes - and EVs in general - are well-known (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for generating range anxiety.

In fact, charge time is the (non) issue: petrol-engined vehicles can run out of juice just like EVs: it's just that they can refill more quickly - at the moment.

As a case in point: it takes something like 9 hours to charge a Zero's battery from flat using the mains, into the built-in charger.

Well, that's no good, is it?

Isn't it?

Well it certainly wouldn't be an issue for me, as the idea of charging overnight is just the job for most of my intended usage; and the - conservative - 112 mile "combined" range of the version I want (the 14.4kWh battery model) will still comfortably get me anywhere I'd want to go, with room to spare.

It's also much more than enough range to get me to and from local fishing club waters, photographic opportunities, rides out, and so on.

Range anxiety is purely a matter of perception and perspective.

True, a Zero would not be the ideal bike for a tour of the backwaters of Europe - but I'll never do that anyway.

(Mind you, I recently saw a YouTube video of a lady biker who did just that: the beauty of an electric bike being that even if there isn't a petrol station for many miles around, most places have mains electricity nowadays, and - people the world over being generally far kinder and more accepting than shitbag Right wing agenda-driven vested interests give them credit for - she was able to charge overnight simply by explaining what she was doing, and asking nicely.)

For the things I want to do though, it's perfect.

On top of which, I plan to get a Charge Tank fitted, cutting charging time - using the more powerful public EV charging stations that are becoming ubiquitous - down to around an hour or less.

Nobody with any sense waits until the battery is flat to charge it up, anyway.

That brings more distant destinations within range - Aviemore would be doable with two charging stops - and at around 250 miles from Reeder Towers I'd surely want to stop a couple of times anyway. 

Or maybe Ardrossan ferry terminal (and on to the isle of Arran) with a single stop?

Zero motorbikes are pretty spendy, but I can tolerate the price of entry. Besides, it's offset to a worthwhile degree by the fact that running a Zero costs about 2p per mile in electricity; and maintenance involves little more than keeping the tyres pumped up (this graphic illustrating all the things you don't have to worry about if you own a Zero), so the up-front price will eventually be offset by savings over time.

In theory..!


This doesn't actually bother me one way or another, but it's something to bear in mind.

Lucky me, then: I've got lots to look forward to when Covid-19 is behind us, and - I don't deny - it helps to have this much light at the end of my own personal tunnel.

So now I'm hoping to have this done by my birthday, in the middle of August.

What a 60th birthday present that would be...

Categories: Personal