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  1. #1
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    I think that I need a velomobile...

    I have a 6 mi roundtrip through low traffic areas. My only real excuse for not riding everyday is rain and extreme cold (I will ride above freezing) during the dead of winter.

    I know that if I was hardcore these to issues would be non-issues. But I am not hardcore. I ride in my work clothes and treat my bike as a car.... get on and go...

    On bad weather days, if I could take an enclosed bike to keep me relatively dry or keep the really cold wind off me, I would never really need a car.

    Anyone know how to achieve this goal without spending $5,000 to import something?

  2. #2
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    Make your own! It's easier said than done, but it saves money. You can buy a recumbent trike for $2000 or so, then build some kind of shell out of coroplast, zotefoam, fiberglass, carbon fiber and kevlar, fabric, whatever. If you just want weather protection and not speed, the easiest and cheapest option is probably a Wizwheelz Terratrike ($1000 for a 3-speed) with a Velokit (another $1000). Look here:

    velokit.com
    wizwheelz.com

    Finding a used trike that the Velokit would fit could save a lot of money off that $2000.

    I bought an $1800 Catrike Trail, and I'm putting the finishing touches on a fabric and fiberglass-pole shell. (Just in time for summer--good timing on my part.) It's basically a dome tent on a trike, but it's not a dome, and it's a head-out design. I bought a cheap dome tent and a used tent for $35, plus a few more dollars for PVC and velcro. Then I did a lot of sewing. Someday I'll upgrade to zotefoam or fiberglass to get an aerodynamic advantage as well as weather protection. If you build it yourself, there are lots of options. Just use Google.

  3. #3
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    Velomobiles are wicked cool. Check out this one.
    Owner/operator of Fredkenstein™ I
    http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/289...r613833gj7.gif
    You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead -- just play with this -- if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world -- and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded -- we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever in peace. Thank you very much -- Bill Hicks

  4. #4
    Senior Member swwhite's Avatar
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    I have a 6.3-mile trip (8 on the way home if I take the "back way"), I also ride in my work clothes (but I am in a casual office), and I have gone in the pouring rain and temperatures down to 15 (F) below.

    When I started riding my bike to work about six years ago, I did not have that capability, but, to keep my motivation up, I made it a game to develop it. My model was that James Bond movie where James Bond infiltrates some sort of fancy part by arriving in scuba gear, and then pulls off his dry suit revealing a tuxedo.

    So, if you find just the right mixture of clothing for you personally, you could ride a bike in just about anything nature could throw at you. You would have to be patient and experiment, because everyone is different.

    As I recall, first I took on the rain, because it can rain in summer and summer is prime riding time. I hit some dead ends, but what I use now is $50 of rain pants and jacket from the LBS, a helmet cover from another LBS, Sealskinz gloves from REI, and "waterproof" hiking boots from Payless (the "waterproof" part either has degraded over time or was an exaggeration to begin with). For carrying stuff I use the Ortlieb waterproof backpack.

    The point is, I tried some other stuff that didn't work so well, I finally hit a setup that did work, and now I can ride in the rain and remain fairly comfortable.

    If I had $5000, I too would love to have a velomobile, but I'm not going to see one of those in this lifetime.
    Riding in search of the simple life.

  5. #5
    Senior Member swwhite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
    Velomobiles are wicked cool. Check out this one.
    If you think that's cool, have a look at

    http://www.aerorider.com/
    Riding in search of the simple life.

  6. #6
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swwhite View Post
    If you think that's cool, have a look at

    http://www.aerorider.com/
    Swwwweeeeettttttt!
    Owner/operator of Fredkenstein™ I
    http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/289...r613833gj7.gif
    You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead -- just play with this -- if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world -- and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded -- we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever in peace. Thank you very much -- Bill Hicks

  7. #7
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    An Aerorider is definitely on my short list of "must-haves".

  8. #8
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    I've looked at the Velomobiles, but always wonder how hot you get using one. Even on 40 degree days I arrive at work with a layer of sweat. If I have to stop part way and change a tire or wait for a light I'm usually dripping wet from the lack of breeze in a matter of seconds. With a shell around me I can only imagine how hot I would get without the breeze for the entire ride. The only days I'm at a comfortable temperature when I arrive are the cool days with heavy rain.

    I certainly wouldn't use one above 50 degrees. Even with rain.

    Also don't you need windshield wipers?

    I guess to my mind it seems like alot less hassle to find a way to keep your work clothes dry. But again I sweat so much I wouldn't think of biking more than 100 yards in my work clothes.

    On the other hand I do have recumbent envy. The dudes I see using these always look so comfortable as they scream by me on the flat stretches. But I'm not sure I'd use a fairing on one, again I need a breeze I think.

  9. #9
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    Yes, the best solution is for me to stop whining.

    However, I found the secret to avoid sweating in mild temperatures - ride slow. A causal spin gets you there a little slower and much more presentable.

    I often wondered about a recumbent with a fairing + a little rain gear.

    When my commute was 50 mi R/T, I resigned myself to biking clothes and washing in a sink at work. Now, it would actually be a whole lot easier to take the car than to change to ride the bike.

    Thanks for the ideas.

  10. #10
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    While not a velomobile, this TerraTrike Commuter is pretty sweet. Just add a fairing and you've got close to a velomobile.
    Owner/operator of Fredkenstein™ I
    http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/289...r613833gj7.gif
    You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead -- just play with this -- if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world -- and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded -- we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever in peace. Thank you very much -- Bill Hicks

  11. #11
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    I already have the trike, now trying to get approval from SWMBO for this: http://www.ice.hpv.co.uk/trikes/acce...s.htm#borealis

  12. #12
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    You should talk to the folks in the Bent Rider Online Velomobile Forum.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  13. #13
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  14. #14
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    My preference for versatility is a normal upright bicycle. I've done the recumbent thing, and it's great, but for year-round car-free commuting, you can't beat the old school. Here are the advantages:

    Better bang for the buck.
    Easy to haul up/down stairs.
    Fits on bus racks, and fits in train cars better.
    Can maneuver on/off road quickly.
    Lighter.
    Time-tested design.
    Possibly better handling in snow.

    If you want protection from the elements, experiment with clothing.

    But if you do buy a velomobile, let us know how you like it. We all would like to know how the other half lives.





    (There will be plenty of recumbent/HPV fans to dispute my personal preference, and I salute them all!)
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 05-01-08 at 08:54 PM.
    No worries

  15. #15
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    http://www.velomobileusa.com/

    I'm building one! Here is copy of my post last year. On Bent Rider Online Velomobile Forum.

    Hello everyone,
    After waiting forever for David Eggleston at Velomobile USA to ship my kit, I decided to fly down to Midland,TX to give David a hand on making the parts for my kit. It was a blast. For some five days we made parts and peddled Velomobiles back and forth about four miles each way from David's home to his workshop. I was impressed by the care and dedication on David's part in putting together a quality Velomobile.

    Also his partner, Mr. Davis, builds and repairs airplanes for a full-time job. In the link to my trip photos you will see two full-size airplanes that his father designed and built. The single place (single seater) amazingly weighs only 175 lbs. It is powerd by a 20HP Briggs and Stratton lawn mower motor and goes 180 MPH to boot.

    There are also some photos of an alignment tool that David was going to send me a drawing of. The last photo in the bunch was a group ride the morning that I flew back home. David was kind enough to lend me his Rans Rocket for this ride. David and his wife rode the tandem. Hope you enjoy the photos. I learned a lot in those few days: how to build Velomobiles and some of the basic working properties of aircraft aluminum.

    http://s98.photobucket.com/albums/l2...%20Velomobile/

    Ciao,
    Timothy

  16. #16
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    If you ride around in one of those shell-type bikes, people in cars are going to think you are riding around in a car. Somebody is going to purposefully hit you thinking it would be funny.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  17. #17
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    If you ride around in one of those shell-type bikes, people in cars are going to think you are riding around in a car. Somebody is going to purposefully hit you thinking it would be funny.
    I'm not following. How many people do you know who have intentionally hit another car?

  18. #18
    n00b-sauce
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    Yeah, I mean I've thought of intentionally hitting someone with a car, a nudge at most. But I'd never DO it.

    Those velomobiles look awesome. I hope someone chimes in about the heat. It looks sweltering. :\
    I like to ride bikes. I miss living in the city though, where it was all a bike's ride away. City dwellers: appreciate it. :D

  19. #19
    This town needs an enema.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WriteABike View Post
    Make your own! It's easier said than done, but it saves money. You can buy a recumbent trike for $2000 or so, then build some kind of shell out of coroplast, zotefoam, fiberglass, carbon fiber and kevlar, fabric, whatever. If you just want weather protection and not speed, the easiest and cheapest option is probably a Wizwheelz Terratrike ($1000 for a 3-speed) with a Velokit (another $1000). Look here:

    velokit.com
    wizwheelz.com

    Finding a used trike that the Velokit would fit could save a lot of money off that $2000.

    I bought an $1800 Catrike Trail, and I'm putting the finishing touches on a fabric and fiberglass-pole shell. (Just in time for summer--good timing on my part.) It's basically a dome tent on a trike, but it's not a dome, and it's a head-out design. I bought a cheap dome tent and a used tent for $35, plus a few more dollars for PVC and velcro. Then I did a lot of sewing. Someday I'll upgrade to zotefoam or fiberglass to get an aerodynamic advantage as well as weather protection. If you build it yourself, there are lots of options. Just use Google.
    Pictures please???

  20. #20
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    I'm not following. How many people do you know who have intentionally hit another car?

    Come on people. Look at how incredibly dorky that velomobile is and tell me that you don't think some punk high school teenagers aren't going to try to nudge you off the road. You would get all sorts of things thrown at you if you rode that bike thing.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  21. #21
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    It would be fun to try one but I think it might create as many problems as it solves.

    - Where do you park it?
    - How fun is it to haul all that extra aluminum + canopy up a hill?
    - How's the ventilation?
    - Windshield wipers/defogger?

    For a fraction of the cost you could get some really nice foul and cold weather gear that can come in handy off the bike too. I have a set of packable rainproof pants and jacket that I throw in the messenger bag when there's a possibility of rain. If it's going to be warm anyway, on the way home I might just say f**k it and just get wet. Who cares? As for the way in, just leave a towel at work and bring some extra clothes on those mornings when it's raining. Even with the rain gear I get damp. I leave my work shoes at work so that's a non-issue.

    Dealing with cold is a matter of dressing in layers: Wicking base layer (long underwear), warm thermal layer (like a fleece pullover), wind proof outer layer (shell). I'm more comfortable with less clothes riding a bike in the winter than I would be in a car.


    Riding in bad weather is 50% clothing+gear and 50% attitude.

  22. #22
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Well you could save a whole lot of money and invest in some good waterproof and windproof outer layers...

  23. #23
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    Come on people. Look at how incredibly dorky that velomobile is and tell me that you don't think some punk high school teenagers aren't going to try to nudge you off the road. You would get all sorts of things thrown at you if you rode that bike thing.
    That's a real strawman there complete with stereotypes. No reason to believe that it would be any more likely to get harassed than a regular bike. You might even get some more thumbs up than a regular bike.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  24. #24
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    I agree with Artkansas. You'd would almost have the opposite problem: people stopping you asking "What is that?" Not that that would be an entirely bad thing, but it would make your commute a lot longer.
    Owner/operator of Fredkenstein™ I
    http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/289...r613833gj7.gif
    You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead -- just play with this -- if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world -- and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded -- we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever in peace. Thank you very much -- Bill Hicks

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    OK I get that not everyone gets a thill out of seeing how low they can go. My lowest temp this year was 2F with -26 windchill, but seriously, you could easily ride in temp in 20F and above with very little equipment. You will warm up in minutes once you start to ride.

    I did recently see a picture of the Velokit coveres. I didn't see how they helped much other than to keep your hair dry. Wet legs and wet body are what is a problem, and the cover only seemed to protect the head and upper torso. My hair will dry just fine on its own... its the wet cloths I don't want to get soaking wet. You can easily pull a set of rain pants over dress pants and put a rain coat over your daily cloths. I did that the 1st half year of my commuting. In The Netherlands, Denmark and other European/Scandanaian countries where up to 40% of the populous uses bikes in part of their commute, they get LOTS of rain year round. I don't recall seeing anyone melt there, and they tend to commute wearing work cloths.

    Here is what you'd need to be reasonably well prepared for the rain:
    Lets see ride in rain prep:
    Rain Coat $40 (for cheap) or about $100 (for fancy)
    Rain Pants $40
    Rain Cover for Helmet $20
    Wear an old pair of shoes and leave the good onces at your office $0
    Bring a dry pair of sox $0

    That means it would cost about $100 to be fully prepped to ride in rain for a bit. Two items I have not yet added to my supply list are shoe covers and rain resistant gloves. Both would be nice and I'll get them sometime in the near future, but they are not absolutely essential.

    For Winter riding:
    Put on a light sweater or a fleece cover of sort (just don't have it be cotton, it will get damp, yuck) - find one in your closet $0
    Wear a shell, you could use the same rain coat as above $0
    Rain pants and a wind barrier use the same as above $0
    Wear a pair of comfy winter boots, and leave your good shoes at work $0 (I do this car or bike commuting)
    Beanie cap for under helmet $20
    Old pair of Ski gloves to keep your hands warm $0 find some laying around the house.
    So you spend an additional $20 to commute in Winter.

    Why go through losts of effort to change a bike, I have seen lots of Dutch people with the Windshield, that does look like it helps keep the driving rain off your front a bit, and is SUPER nice for your child if you have one of the handle bar mounted kids seats, but I think is overkill for most. If it snows enough or there is enough wind I will leave the bike at home and take a car, but that has been pretty rare this past Winter.

    Happy riding,
    André

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