What is a velomobile?

velomobile

A velomobile, or bicycle car, is a human-powered vehicle (HPV) enclosed for aerodynamic advantage and protection from weather and collisions. Nearly all velomobiles are single-passenger vehicles. They are derived from recumbent bicycles and tricycles, with the addition of a full fairing (aerodynamic shell).

What is a Velomobile?

The Quest is a a true hand built, international vehicle. The body, actually called a faring, is built in Romania. It’s fiberglass monocoque construction, also available in carbon fiber. Then the body was shipped to Holland, where the Quest Velomobile originated, for some fitting of components. Then the Quest went to Toronto Canada, where Bluevelo completed and then shipped to me in a box. The box was 10 feet long, 45 inches tall and 36 inches wide. I’m in the process of recycling it.

When I ride it people pace me in cars, take pictures and movies out car windows with their IPhone and do all kinds of other crazy things. That’s part of the reason I put the lettering on the side so people can get more information here.

The Quest has lights, turn signals, brake lights and emergency flashers, just like a car. I’ve ridden over 50 MPH on the downhills around Poway. Other owners report downhill speeds up to 85 mph. They’re not so fast going uphill, though. That’s when I depend upon the low gearing to get me up the other side. I find the aerodynamics work to my advantage, even going up hill.

It weighs 35Kg, or about 77 pounds, before I put anything in it. It has storage capacity on-board, so I can use it for all kinds of activities, including grocery shopping, bicycle camping and touring. I intend to use it mostly for commuting to and from work. That’s about a 32 mile round trip. I hope to work up to doing that 5 days a week. I’ll be reducing my carbon footprint, getting healthy exercise and having fun doing it.

Velomobile riders like to call ourselves velonauts. Here are some pictures of various types of velomobiles that were in Los Osos for the Left Coast Velomobile Gathering (LCVMG).

My Quest Velomobile

My Quest Velomobile

Three little velos

Two Quests and a Velocity Velo.

Go-one Evo with Bionix electric assist.

Go-one Evo with Bionix electric assist.

The famous Alleweder velomobile goes back to the late 80′s.

The famous Alleweder velomobile goes back to the late 80′s.

Milan GT

Milan GT

Two homebuilt, coroplast velomobiles

Here are two homebuilt, coroplast velomobiles built over standard trikes. They hold their own with the commercially produced velomobiles. Good entry level Velo for someone has more time than money and is handy.

So you can see Velomobiles come in various shapes and are made from various materials. They are very fast downhill, not so fast uphill. They are built all over the world, but are especially popular in Europe where roads are narrow, parking is limited and bicycling is a primary form of personal transportation. Because they are enclosed, they can be ridden nearly year round, depending upon road conditions. Snow is one impediment that is a challenge for velomobiles.

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