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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-27-08, 08:25 PM   #1
cycleric
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Pimp my velomobile, sell my automobile

Reta, the Renewable Energy Transportation Alternative, has
developed into a full-fledged velo car to allow for the sale of
my motor car. Her newest upgrades include an opening Lexan
canopy treated with Rain-X, polyester velcro-on body sock sides,
and a light bar with headlamps and turn signals.



I rode it with just the sock panels last night and pushed my top speed
up to 31.5 MPH, maybe a 1 MPH improvement. Today I tried riding under
the canopy with my "doors" closed and the inside temperature was about
15 degrees warmer than the outside air. I actually had to open my "windows"
because it was getting so warm! (by pulling the top line of velcro off) I have
the battery plugged into a trickle charger at the moment, so I haven't been
able to try lighting up the night yet.

This project has consumed me for the past few days and still I'm not finished
with her yet. Next I need some bubble mirrors, and maybe an integrated brake
light. Then I think some yellow wheel discs would look really slick. So would a
tailfin. More ideas, anyone? or have I gone too far already? Probably half the
people who see me already think I'm insane.

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Old 03-27-08, 08:34 PM   #2
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More pics!
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Old 03-27-08, 08:53 PM   #3
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I love it! I so want one of those.
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Old 03-27-08, 09:04 PM   #4
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more pics, a bit smaller...

many angles...
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Old 03-27-08, 09:15 PM   #5
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Smaller photos, but more of them would be very nice!

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Old 03-27-08, 11:15 PM   #6
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I'm sure it would be totally great for a long trip on a flat highway somewhere, but I have a feeling it wouldn't be too practical for a trip to the grocery store...
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Old 03-28-08, 03:17 AM   #7
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Wow. I've been wondering about the practicality of velomobiles as replacements for vehicles - I want to build my own velomobile one day, but I have no idea where/how I'd park it, etc. I've never seen a recumbent rider here, so I'm not sure how other road users would take to a velomobile. Keep us updated!
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Old 03-28-08, 04:29 AM   #8
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If I saw that on the road, I'd call the airforce, UFO ( Unidentified Fullfaired Object).
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Old 03-28-08, 12:25 PM   #9
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Very Interesting. More smaller photos and details. Is that a Bacchetta Giro 20 under all of that streamlining?
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Old 03-28-08, 04:32 PM   #10
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How fast can you go with that setup, anyway?
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Old 03-28-08, 05:42 PM   #11
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As requested, more pictures of a smaller nature:

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg

http://www.deviantart.com/download/8...y_DJ_Erock.jpg
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Old 03-28-08, 05:50 PM   #12
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Er- I meant to do that like this:








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Old 03-28-08, 06:19 PM   #13
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As far as getting groceries, I can get quite a bit in the trunk alone, which is everything behind the seat and above the horizontal tape line. If I need a big load with dog food for Annie and maybe some kitty litter too I can hook up my 5' BAW trailer. The post your bike move/bike haul thread

The bike is not a Bacchetta, but an ActionBent Jetstream II USS. They're pretty cheap, as far as recumbents go.

As mentioned in the initial post, my highest velocity on flat ground is 31.5 MPH. (with front fairing on and sides stretched to the tailbox, no lid or light bar.) Going downhill I have been up to 44.6 MPH. (that was with front and rear fairings, but before there were sides.)

I got to try the mirrors today, while riding with other cyclists, and visibility to the rear was quite good, but not at great distance, especially if there's a lot of vibration going on. I discovered the turn signals were ineffective because I hadn't charged the battery enough. I have a manual trickle charger that plugs into an outlet and does not shut off when the battery is full, so I'm getting used to how long I should leave it charging.
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Old 03-29-08, 04:59 AM   #14
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That is a neat contraption to be sure. What are you thoughts from a practicality standpoint? Many of us have wondered about the practical use of HPV velomachines. They look cool. They look fast. How does it pan out in real world application?
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Old 03-30-08, 11:53 AM   #15
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How does it pan out in real world application?
My biggest concern so far has been leaving early enough to get to a specific place at a specific time. My house is 8 miles from uptown Athens, which usually takes about a half-hour to ride. The travelling time can vary quite a bit depending on the winds, traffic, elevation differences, mechanical issues, my effort level, etc, so I need to get used to leaving an hour early or more if there is an important thing to be on time for. Being extra early is fine because I almost always carry something I can entertain myself with while waiting, like a drawing book, harmonica, yo-yo, or a hackey sack.

As for all the other aspects of practicality, I don't have too many problems. I feel safe on highways and streets, especially when I know I am well-lit and very audible when I need to be. I highly recommend the Air Zound refillable air horn, that thing has saved me from situations that could've been harmful and it's very nice to have a response for those careless drivers who pass dangerously. I have few problems being able to carry what I need, instead I tend to carry more than I really have use for. There's always the drag of not being able to take passenger with you somewhere, which I have tried by using my trailer as a ricksaw, though it wasn't at all easy unless on a flat or downhill route. Maintenance is another minor issue. I know how to fix most everything on my bike, but it sometimes requires specific parts. The seat I replaced with an upgraded one from the manufacturer, small hassle because I had to partially deconstruct the tailbox. Also, the wheels are metric so I have difficulty finding tires and tubes at the bike shops.

Psychologically is where I think most of the benefit of riding a velomobile and being car-free lies. Not just for my sake, but for everyone's. The more these types of vehicles are used, seen, heard, or talked about, the more integrated into our society they become. Since it is one of my goals to help our civilization live in more practical ways, the use of a velocar is very fulfilling.
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Old 03-30-08, 02:40 PM   #16
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Sweetness!!!
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Old 03-30-08, 08:58 PM   #17
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That looks interesting. Take some action photographs too.

I really like the idea of velomobiles. I've seen them on www.Bentrideronline.com. They are too expensive in the US at this time.

When I owned an unfaired Wizwheelz tricycle I was slower on it than a conventional bicycle or two wheel recumbent. Having an enclosed two wheel recumbent would seem to be better for speed. Crosswinds would seem to make one dangerous in traffic. How does your Jetstream handle crosswinds?

There is a guy who sells kits to enclose tadpole trikes. They look good and they make the trikes a little faster. The price for one is around $1000.00.
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Old 03-31-08, 09:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
If I saw that on the road, I'd call the airforce, UFO ( Unidentified Fullfaired Object).
Many people call mine 'unidentified rolling object' or 'torpedo out of water' Neat photos- at first I only saw the rack, windshield wiper, and headlight. Interesting! Then: whoa- that's a car behind the velomobile!!! Another "duh" Monday for me!!

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Old 03-31-08, 09:19 AM   #19
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Unidentified Rolling Object! Lookin' good!

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Old 04-01-08, 06:26 AM   #20
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Crosswinds would seem to make one dangerous in traffic. How does your Jetstream handle crosswinds?
Only extreme gusts that change direction quickly are a threat. The idea with the fabric sides was to have something thick enough that air flows across the surface nicely from front to back, while at the same time it is permeable enough to let air through when it comes directly at the fabric from the side. The polyester I chose can be seen through when held up to a light, and performs just like I hoped it would in windy conditions. generally, Wind gusts of 20-30 MPH won't affect my line more than a foot or two. Almost never have I been driven uncontrallably off the road or into it. There was one occasion when I encountered 45 MPH winds as I reached the highway and decided to turn around and go home.
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Old 04-01-08, 09:45 AM   #21
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How is the side visibility with that? It looks like it'd be a bit hairy in traffic for that reason.
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Old 04-01-08, 10:35 AM   #22
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I had a machine like that in the 80's. Fine in the spring and fall. I got overheated in the summer or had to remove the shell. In the winter (Denver) the windows froze over in seconds. Rode it from Vegas to LA to SF and north on freeways and such. People kept stopping to take pictures.
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Old 04-01-08, 12:43 PM   #23
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How is the side visibility with that?
If you are referring to how well I can see out to the sides, the answer is pretty well. My eye level is above the fabric line unless I am really slouching. If you are asking how well I can be seen from the sides The answer is excellent at daytime and fair at night. There are relective stripes that wrap around the fairing and a blip of reflective tape at the top corner of the trunk's side, but maybe I could stand to have more shiny on the side of the body somewhere.
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Old 04-01-08, 03:21 PM   #24
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some action photographs too.
This is a nice action shot I took when using the trailer: I linked it because when I use the source files from deviantart here they are too big to fit in a screen.

http://dj-erock.deviantart.com/art/B...ctive-79770440

Other neat bike art and photos populate my deviantart galleries, especially these ones:

http://dj-erock.deviantart.com/galle...ure-of-Cycling

http://dj-erock.deviantart.com/galle...es-Bikes-Bikes

http://dj-erock.deviantart.com/galle...Bikes-Bikes--2

As well there are comics on the virtues of cycling!

http://dj-erock.deviantart.com/gallery/#Cyclotopia-1

http://dj-erock.deviantart.com/gallery/#Cyclotopia-2

Apologies for excessive plugging. I'll stop now.

I'll need the help of a friend to get any better action shots.

Last edited by cycleric; 04-01-08 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 04-01-08, 04:44 PM   #25
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I'd be happy to help but Athens, OH is a long way from Lafayette, IN. I'd even help with multiple camera video.

If you're ever near Lafayette, though, let me know and we'll do a production.
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