I wanna ride a velomobile

13 12 2009

I saw my first velomobile on the streets of Wellington on Friday evening. They are very, very cool.

2 youtube links follow:

Here are 4 mangoes being ridden on a Dutch rural cycleway.

This guy from Ohio has built his own and added an electric motor

There’s a company in Toronto called  BlueVelo that will sell you a velomobile with an e-kit that has regenerative braking and a 500W motor, street legal as a bicycle in Canada (not NZ or Australia though) for a cool CDN$8000.

The future is going to have the 1930s art deco vision of the future after all. And I reckon one of these enclosed recumbents could also float as a boat. George Jetson thinking caps on everybody.

I’m quite enamored to the Wisper Sports Pedal Electric bikes. I definitely see the use of pedal electrics as part of the getting more people on bikes equation, along with better bike infrastructure. But maybe the all-weather aspect of an enclosed velomobile is the way to go in a town with dud weather like Wellington. If only they were cheaper. They are definitely faster than a normal bike. 40km/hr on flat terrain without the electric assist. Maybe with electric assist they can go 50 or 60 km/hr and have turn signals and brake lights and headlights (and radios) like cars, but still at their heart be bicycles. Even under electric power these things have the equivalent mileage of greater than 1000 mpg. So they don’t cost the Earth or $60 a week in petrol. If they are fully lockable they’d maybe not be stolen and if they have a roll bar behind the head, they’d be quite safe too. Yet they would still be legal bicycles (with only a small increase in the power allowed from 300W to 500W).

Stuff your hybrid cars and their 1200kg+ bodies. The future involves electric assist velomobiles.

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5 responses

13 12 2009
David Hembrow

Hi, it’s my video of the four Sinner Mangos that you feature in your post. I am one of a small team who build them in Groningen, and of course I use one myself for my commute and for leisure rides like the one you featured.

The Sinner Mango already has turning lights and brake lights, and speakers for radio or MP3 player are a quite common addition.

My commute is a 60 km round trip, and it normally takes 50 – 55 minutes each way. It once took just over 47 minutes when I was really in a hurry.

40 km/h is quite easy to reach on the flat. It’s a result of being much more aerodynamic than an unfaired bicycle. As a result, a 250 W motor (the legal limit for electric assist in the Netherlands) is sufficient to push the Mango to about that speed. However, 25 km/h is the legal limit for electric assist bicycles here, so this instead translates into greater efficiency: a much longer range with the same battery capacity vs. a normal electric bike. Motors can be fitted at the time of production.

The Netherlands has the largest number of velomobiles of any country. A lot of mass rides are organised, and in a few days we’ll again have the oliebollentocht ride.

There are many stories about the Mango on my blog, including racing, touring and commuting.

BTW, we export… At least one Mango is already in NZ.

16 12 2009
Patrick

Hi, would you consider adding links to our national and local cycling advocacy groups?
Cycling Advocates’ Network http://www.can.org.nz
Cycle Aware Wellington http://www.caw.org.nz
Kapiti Cycling Inc. http://can.org.nz/kapiti

These people – mainly volunteers – work hard and need as much support as we can muster.
Thanks
Patrick

12 02 2010
How fast will you go on a velomobile? « Wellington Region Cycleways

[...] why I wanna ride a velomobile. Those buggers are [...]

26 10 2013
Aaron Bell

I am looking at making some here in Palmerston North getting old bikes and using parts then fibre glassing a body

26 10 2013
Matthew

Good luck Aaron. I hope to see your super-velomobile on the Palmy streets.

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