s those school gates slam shut and yet another holiday begins a question dawns upon all parents, where do you go with the kids in tow? In times past, holidays were simple affairs, with late nights spent sipping cocktails in plazas the world over. Kids, for a time at least, shatter those dreams and so with a heavy heart I closed Expedia and sought a more eco (and child friendly) vacation closer to home. Yes, the dreaded staycation was upon us.
I had not tried another long range trip since our fateful Boxing day journey and it felt that we needed to get back out on the road, be brave and renew our faith in the electric car project. Carpe tonitrua if you will, (that’s seize the thunder, as electricity wasn’t around in Roman times). So a holiday to the bastion of overpriced food and verrucae that is Center Parcs was booked.
Our chosen holiday meant that I needed to buy and fit a bike rack onto the Leaf, alongside personally buying and fitting on a bike. All of which felt complicated, chiefly as the Leaf is a hatchback with slightly peculiar dimensions and a large spoiler that makes finding a rack that fits quite a challenge. Luckily, the benefit of being in only the midpoint of an adoption curve is that the early adopters have already figured out answers to questions you’ve only just begun to ponder. After some judicious eBaying I was the proud owner of a second-hand Saris Bones 3 bike rack and no earthly idea how to attach it to the car! It looked like a half dissected metallic octopus, with metal hooks, rubber stoppers and four blade-like contraptions for holding the actual bikes.
After a few hours analysing videos and pictures from forums I managed to attach the rack and the bikes to the car, however, my confidence in it staying attached was not high. It appeared to put a lot of pressure on the rear spoiler and if that broke, the bikes would soon follow. Fully loaded with family, luggage and bikes we finally hit the road. As we moved from town to A-roads I watched the rack move and whilst I am no expert on bike racks, I assume movement is bad and dramatic movement worse. Speaking of the dramatic, I had no idea how much extra drag a bike rack causes and our miles per kWh plummeted providing us with that oh-so familiar feeling of range anxiety that began to creep in.
Fortunately, our first charging helped allay our concerns, the Ecotricity charger was unable to connect to the network and so was on free charge meaning we could push past the default 80% session limitation. A slightly longer charge also gave me ample opportunity to rethink how to fit the rack. With the helpful hand of my wife we further tightened the straps to a degree where the extra weight of the bikes would fall onto the lower bumper, whilst making decent contact with the rear window.
We hit the road at 95% charge and managed to drive the rest of the way with no incidents, although the aforementioned extra drag meant we arrived at our destination with less than 20% remaining charge. However, Center Parcs has invested in a number of 7kW charging posts supplied by PodPoint that ensured we were in good shape for the return journey.
A long distance drive with no drama, who knew such a thing was possible?