Off with the bubble wrap! On with the Body Protector + OneWheel!
It was high time to rip off that ugly damn bubble wrap. It was an OK short term solution, but if I had to do it over, I would have gone with the Body Protector from the beginning. There were a couple spots where my ad-hoc protection didn't do the job. But what the hell, it's fairly unscathed considering how many times it got dumped on the pavement!
I'm practicing starting and stopping. I'm jealous of watching experienced riders just step on and step off their wheels casually. Up til now, my mounts have been more of a push-off-hop-on-wobble-for-a-few-feet affair. Now I start with the left foot on the pedal and put my right foot next to the right pedal. I can apply some forward pressure and balance with the left and calmly bring up the right. Also, if I need to move my right foot, I can balance again on the left and skooch my foot into better spot. All that still needs work though.
Same with the stops. I'm now able to balance at really low speeds, so I can come to a stop and step off the wheel without reaching out to grab it. I'm getting there. For the first time, I charged the battery to 100% and left it on the charger for an additional five hours to let it balance the cells (I hope that's enough time). But I didn't want to leave it at 100% so I took it out after the thunderstorms, at 9pm and rode it for an hour. I went ten miles messing around on twisty, fun bike paths accelerating and decelerating the whole time. And only managed to get the battery down to 93%. The range on these things! Amazing. I'm up to 96 KS miles now.
I got the OneWheel so my daughter could come out and ride with me. I thought it would be less intimidating and easier for her to learn. (eWheels are great but you have to be up for a challenge with the steep'ish learning curve.) We both learned to balance on it and ride after 10-15 minutes. I could have gotten the Pint for her, as she's a sixteen year old, 120 pound bean pole. But I couldn't have ridden it, it's range is 6-8 miles which means the fun's over after 30 minutes, they are slower and the Pints are backordered from here to eternity and beyond. One guy on the OW forum ordered his in March, and is expected to receive it in July. And if we are being honest, I also wanted to try the OneWheel and the Pint wouldn't work for me.
Previously I downplayed the OneWheel because it was pricey, slow and had limited range compared to a similarly priced eWheel--which is accurate if you're just looking at a spec sheet. But the truth is the OneWheel is a blast to ride. The big fat comfortable tire handles road hazards just fine. Cruising down the sidewalk at 25kph feels fast. It's much more maneuverable than a skateboard--you can take very sharp turns, or even spin around with a twist of the hips. There are roads that would vibrate your feet off with the polyurethane wheels of a skateboard that the OneWheel just glides over. The build quality of the board is excellent, and the app is in a different league than any of the eWheel apps. On the inclines (I can't call them hills) the OneWheel seemed to have good power even with my 120kg of weight on it. I rode it for about half an hour (two wobbly "I just learned how to ride this thing" miles) and only used about 14% of the battery, so the stated range of 12-18 miles seems doable.
There are a couple things you don't get from videos and photos. For one, the wheel itself is bigger and areas where you place your feet are smaller. As you can see in the photo, my (size 14) feet barely fit on there. Also, the OW is perpetually dirty after a ride. That big, soft tire picks up gravel, leaves, twigs or any other debris and plasters it to the underside of the board or the fender or it stays on the wheel itself. I rode my KS18xl in the exact same conditions, and it was no more dirty than when I left the house. I might carry around a stiff brush with me next time to clean off the OW before I put it in the car after a ride. An advantage of the OneWheel is that it stands by itself. No need to lean it up against something, when you stop, you just leave it wherever it is. But the downside is, you can't trolley it anywhere. And at 27 pounds, it's not exactly "light" to carry around.
So which is better, a OneWheel or an electric wheel? It's kind of like asking, what's better a sports-car or a Jeep? They are both fun and different. It depends on what riding experience you want. And there is no reason you have to pick just one! A OneWheel could work for short commutes or just having a stress relieving jaunt after work. But if you're a speed demon or want to go for long rides, then you should go with a powerful eWheel. As @Jimmy Chang pointed out, the facing forward stance of an eWheel is more comfortable on long rides than the sideways, "twist to face forward" stance of the OneWheel. But the skateboard feel of the OneWheel is also nostalgic if you've ridden skateboards as a kid.
If you twisted my arm and said I could only have one or the other. I'd still pick the eWheel because I like it on so many levels. It's not just the speed and the range. It's like an electric scooter where you've taken away the handlebars, the front wheel and the spot where you stand--how is that even possible? When you're out riding it, people will stop you and demand to know what it is and how it works. When you explain it to them, they still don't quite believe it.