Monday, July 26, 2010

Drafting the Logging Truck

To keep on the same topic of the last couple post I wanted to share my fastest commute to work on the electric bike the other day. I made it within 3 minutes of the normal time on my RC51 gas motorcycle. I'm not counting it, so its in red text on the chart, due to technically braking laws by riding with a 1-2 second following distance behind a semi truck instead of the 3 seconds that I think is supposed to be the safe following distance. On my way to work, I pull up to the main 55 mph speed limit road that I travel for 10 or so miles and I see a big logging truck on its way. Since I had just finished the 65 mph wind resistance test the weekend before, I decided to try drafting the truck to see how it would go. Now by drafting I don't mean Lance Armstrong style, practically kissing the bumper of the truck. By drafting I mean I was at the closest one car length following distance and would go back and forth down to two car distances, or 20-40 foot, 1-2 car, or 1-2 seconds was my best estimates of my drafting distance. It was pretty amazing feeling the difference of throttle required, it was more like I use to go 40 mph. We were cruising at 60 mph the whole way. After I turned off to arterial roads I had so much more power I road as aggressive as I could, taking off at each light and pushing the speed limits on all the roads, throttled through a yellow light and I still made it to work having more energy than I could get used on the bike (2 bars left). From this I imagined maybe some day in the future when there is an electric car lane where all the electric cars use the computer technology that exist today to have all the computers driver the cars with a 1 foot following distance and they could drive using less energy and at faster speeds than ever before... Or I will just see how long I can follow semi truck with 1-2 second following distance until I get a CHP ticket... maybe one day I'll draft trucks on I-5 and see how many miles I can get the bike to go that way.

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