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Velomobile for touring?

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Velomobile for touring?

Old 01-24-06, 01:08 PM
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Tank Rider
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Isn't it a fantastic idea? I can think of a couple of advantages:
  • Weatherproof
    • If it's raining, no problem. You can still cycle in the rain. In fact, you can sit out the rain and just take a nap.
    • No fenders to worry about. You're in one.
    • If it's cold, not too much a problem. The closed structure will keep cold air out and warm air in. Very long distance (10,000km) winter touring possible.
    • If it's windy, probably not a problem.
  • Aerodynamic
    • The speed record for human power is about 100Kph (flat) on a velomobile.
    • No head winds to blast your face.
    • I have heard that if you can cruise at 25Kph you can easily cruise at 35Kph. This possibly increase your range from 100km/day to 130km/day. Either shortening your trip, or expanding your coverage.
  • Doubles as tent.
    • No need to set up, pull down, or dry the tent everyday!
    • Save weight on it. But not much (~2kg).
    • Save money on it. This is hard to determine. Anywhere from $200-$1000?
    • Save space on it. 7 tuna can worth?
  • Dogs. Nuff said.
  • Cargo space. While the velomobiles I've seen doesn't look like it as much space as a fully loaded touring bike, one built specifically for touring can remedy that. Little additional wind (panniers) and surface (trailer) drag to worry about.
  • 3 wheels.
    • Although balancing on a bike is a second nature, it is nice to stop, relax, and remain in the cockpit without worrying about a 40kg vehicle sliding off between your legs.
    • Snack seated. Anywhere, anytime.
    • Never fall. I've never heard of people falling from a touring bike but it can happen. Besides, now that winter touring is possible, the only problem cycling on ice is grip.
  • Larger surface area
    • Put solar power on top for extra power for your cell, laptop, palm top, camera, GPS system...
    • Advertising space so someone can pay for your trip!
    • More options to mount your (video) camera. No offence but recording with a nice car in action is always nicer than on a bike. It has to do with reflections and stability.
  • Dashboard.
    • While you can put things on your handlebar, mostly the handlebar bag will make that impossible. In a velomobile you have enough space and support to put your cell, palmtop, and maybe chargers for your camera battery.
    • Customize this to dock on your dashboard. Power it with hub generator and solar. Use it as a speedometer, and possibly link it with GPS to tell you exactly where you are. Maybe you can wire up a thermometer to tell you the outside temperature as well. Then log all this and when Wi-Max is detected, will prompt you to upload all data to your blog, which while you cycling you've been writing and taking pictures, and telling it which picture should be published. Since it's dockable, you can take it into a library as well.
  • Effective locking.
    • Stealing a velomobile is probably as hard as stealing a motorcycle. Most likely harder than stealing a bicycle. In fact, probably harder than stealing a motorcycle since the cockpit is (if done correctly) inaccessible.
    • Your other possessions can remain inside the bodywork. Although it's rare to hear people talking about their tent/sleeping bag/water bottle stolen from a normal touring bike, this will further up the security.
  • Safety.
    • Not sure if it's going to help in a crash. It does absorb impact, but a cracked fibreglass may stick right into your heart.
    • Anyway, you won't be needing a helmet. A plus; no hair styling to worry about. No accumulation of sweat in pads and hair. Easier maintenance.
  • Comfort.
    • It's riding a recumbent. No saddle or (gasp) Brooks.
    • Isolation from the environment. Now I know that's why people cycle when you're cycling, but consider the 5 senses:
      • You can still see a lot in a properly designed mobile.
      • When cycling all you hear are winds anyway. If you can hear something louder than that, you can hear it inside the velomobile.
      • The only thing you can feel are winds, rain drops and snow; the last two of which you rarely want to (otherwise, you won't need a rain jacket).
      • Taste. Ha! This is a big plus. No bug fly-ins!
      • Smell. No mobile is a vacuum. You can still smell inside.
    • Shock absorbers. Some come with it.
    • If you forego a sunroof, you can reduce the amount of sunscreen used (especially the face and neck!)
  • Possibly lower maintenance if the drivetrain is shielded.
  • Visibility.
    • You can probably paint the whole thing in reflector.
    • Signal lights are cool.
    • People don't just see you, they stare at you!
But I can think of a couple of disadvantages:
  1. "Keeps warm air in". Exactly. Greenhouse. In the summer, you'll be oven toasted.
  2. Cost. These babies start at $5,000.
  3. Crosswinds. It has a larger surface area and reacts more strongly to them.
  4. Agility. You cannot carry it on your back to wade through a creek, lean it against a wall outside Papa John's Pizza, make a U-turn in 2m radius, jump up a curb, store it in your hotel room, take it into a heavily forested area..
  5. Makes touring too easy. With all the comfort mentioned above, why "cycle"-tour? Why not just get a car, and a green one at that?
  6. Size.
    • You are going to take the full lane. Even in a well-sized shoulder, you're going to eat into the lane. VC-ers cheer.
    • You cannot air transport the thing. Maybe not even rail transport.
  7. Harder to maintain.
    • Not sure about this, but all the parts that came with it may not be standard bike gear, such as McPherson struts (!) and smaller tyres.
    • Speaking of tyres, how do you fix a flat? Do you need a jack?
    • With all the fairing, it might make parts hard to access.
  8. Too unique. Attracts admirers... and thieves.
  9. Need to carry thicker clothes instead of sleeping bag in cold nights because the center split between the legs may make using a sleeping bag impossible.
  10. Weight. Starts at 30kg. Add your own weight (72kg), and your gear (20kg), and you'll be looking at pushing a 122kg (244lb) cart up a 12% hill. Either you have VERY low gears or you push it up from the back. Second option possibly impossible. How do you steer from outside?
And I offer some counterarguments:
  1. Most models have openable windows and vents. Not as cooling as no fairing at all, but maybe it's enough.
  2. Oh yeah. Not going to argue with cost. Ok... I'll try. No tent but that's it. Oh wait, maybe "you can sleep in a parking lot without having the police come over to question you." Maybe "hey dood, where did you get this cool... thing?" Easier lodging = lower cost.
  3. The fact that it has a lower profile and 3 wheels may make it more stable.
  4. Such agility may not be too important because when touring you'll be visiting small cities more often than large ones. It can be treated as a motorbike without incurring too much cost (parking fees). Wading through a creek... hmm. It's too dangerous with a bike anyway.
  5. You still have to use your muscles to power the vehicle. It isn't much easier. Besides, with greater range, you can see more in the same period of time. And seeing far is what touring is about!
  6. Fine. Full lane is safer anyway. Pull over if you're too slow. And with greater range, you don't need rail transport! No arguments against air.
  7. Pending info from velomobile constructors/owners.
  8. Neutralized by "better lock" advantage.
  9. Blanket?
And for the last point, I'd like to bring in a witness... pseudoscience. I'm not good in physics, maybe Danno or Kirke can help here.

A stock 520 weighs 11.5kg. Add front rack and panniers, you get 13kg. Let's make the velomobile 33kg. Although it weighs 2.5x more, you have to consider the total working weight, which is 105 for 520 and 125kg for velo. Now it only weighs 19% more. Now I'll throw in some random number. The ratio of increasing effort to increasing weight on a vehicle on wheels, accounting only bearing, rolling resistance and tyre-road friction on flat terrain (let's call this drag A), is 1% for every 1% weight increased. That is, if you add 1kg more onto a 520, it will take you 99km instead of 100km in the day. Since velo package weighs 19% more, we'll say it's 20% more effort to get through drag A.

Now, take a typical long distance tour, cross USA, and the most efficient direction, west to east. This way, you'll start off with lots of hills, and gradually move into flatter terrain. Your legs take the most punishment in the beginning, having to climb hills on something that is 20% more effort to climb on. Let's say (again pulling numbers out of my ass) 5% grade takes 10% more effort, and 15% grade 40%. Let's say the average climbing grade in the beginning is 10%, descending in the same rate after the peak, and finally flat for 4 times the distance. We'll make effort to climb 10% something high, like 30%. We also need to know how much more effort is required for every percentage of weight increase when pulling it up a grade. So let's just some everything up to assume that 20% more effort on drag (A) translates to 40% more effort to climb in a velo.

Velo looks very bad so far. But we have something Velo shines on - aerodynamic efficiency. Since our cyclist is going from west to east, she'll expect nice tailwinds most of the time. The average winds are 15kph SW (depending on where it is), which makes 11Kph W effective (15 x cos(45)). However, from my experience for every 3 days of tailwinds, we can expect 2 days of headwinds. At 11Kph, on a usual cruise speed of 25Kph, a headwind slows me to 21Kph but propels me to 32Kph as tailwind. Assuming a velo is 40% more efficient, with the same effort headwind slows her to 31Kph ((21-25)/25 * (1-.4) * 35) but propels her to 47Kph ((1 + (32-25)/25) * 35 = 45; add 2 just for fun) as tailwind. During the 5 days she cycled 6 hours on tailwind days and 3 hours on headwind days (she hates headwinds), covering 768km. On a velo, she would've covered 1032km. That makes the Velo 34% better at winds than a conventional bike, on flat terrain.

And, the descent. Assuming a similar 12% grade, she'll cycle up to 28Kph, but on a velo it reaches 39Kph (28/25 * 35). Here we see that velo is 39% more efficient on descents.

Finally, we'll add this all up. Ms. Tourist sets out on a journey that has 6 parts: 1 ascent, 1 descent, 4 flat. There are no winds during the ascent/descent stage, 11Kph average and using the 3 tailwind/2 headwind model on flat. We add some time weight in here to make it 2 : 0.8 : 4, the rational being you're half your usual speed climbing 12% grade. This ratio translates to 1 month climbing, 2 weeks descending, and 2 months on flat. So, velo:normal bike will be:

((1-0.4 [climb effort] ) ^ 2) * (1.39 [descent efficiency] ^ 0.8) * (1.34 [flat efficiency] ^ 4)
= 1.29

That is, it's actually 29% more efficient to cycle on a velo given the above sets of conditions. Plotted on a graph, you will see this:



where the red area is 29% larger than the green.

OK, at this point I want to say the above could be complete garbage. There is no consideration that some grades are 20%, which could make velos completely immobile, unless we have a 18-13, making its "effort ratio" infinitely more. Or that some days tailwinds will blow you behind at 50Kph, blahblahblah. There are huge fluctuations in all the above measurements, and I tried to generalized them very roughly. An accurate analysis would take groups of mechanical engineers, cartographers and meteorological experts, and most important of all, an actual velo, to complete the study. This is just a discussion on what I've considered when weighing the velo against 520. In that, performance wise, the velo isn't worse than a bike while touring. Which makes point 10 of "disadvantages" weaker, if not eradicated, given that you do a terrain I described. You may completely avoid this debacle, and still decide on a velo, based on the advantages I listed.

Lunch time

Last edited by Tank Rider; 01-25-06 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 01-24-06, 01:26 PM
  #2  
Matthew A Brown
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omg



Can we have that in haiku form?
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Old 01-24-06, 01:45 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Matthew A Brown
omg



Can we have that in haiku form?
Sure.

On the Internet, I found Velo.
I wrote.
Get a velo, dangnabbit

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Old 01-24-06, 02:19 PM
  #4  
jharte
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Nice pic. And you were saying..........?
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Old 01-25-06, 05:59 PM
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It's a good idea, but first of all it's too expensive, and secondly, it's very problematic when it comes to one-lane roads with no shoulder whatsoever. There'll be nowhere to pull over if you're too slow, and the cars cannot overtake you either.
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Old 01-26-06, 12:27 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Tank Rider
Sure.

On the Internet, I found Velo.
I wrote.
Get a velo, dangnabbit

...thanks for the chuckle...
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Old 01-26-06, 05:03 PM
  #7  
SteveFox
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well, i think pretty much every one of the points that you covered can be done just as well or better on a bike, but it does have some good things about it. i think it would be ideal for city and town travel...now if we can convince ford and gm and chev to start selling these, or get entire cities to sponsor something like like so everyone in town has one, it would work. it is a little pricey though. it would work very for some people though. now if everyone had one, it would be perfect. haha its kind of like the flintstones lol.

steve
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Old 01-26-06, 05:17 PM
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I don't know if I would want to sleep in it or not. Doesn't look too comfortable to me.
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Old 01-27-06, 12:12 AM
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Some more Disadvantages for touring:

a) One time you are run off the road, it's going to have some damage to the body. And everyone gets run off the road at one time or another while touring.

b) Considsation on the inside will probably be a factor. Especially when it rains. Either from the rain itself or your sweat.

c) Blind spots??

d) Getting it repaired. Especially if the fiberglass frame gets damaged. I bet it would also take a good time of time to repair the frame.

e) Are sounds from the outside muffled in that thing? Having clear sounds is important to safety when riding a bike on the road.

f) harassment by local law enforcement on if they are legal or should be licensed because they have no idea what that thing is.

g) Having to scrape frost off of it in cold nights.
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Old 04-12-19, 05:11 AM
  #10  
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has anyone made a velomobile you can actually sleep in it comfortably? for extended touring...
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Old 04-12-19, 06:19 AM
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Hello
Yellow
Velo
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Old 04-12-19, 07:04 AM
  #12  
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Walking dead.
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Old 04-12-19, 09:36 AM
  #13  
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Fwiw,

Last years Trans America trail self supported race - tour was won by a velomobile rider..

but it was nor so long as to be able to sleep In He still had to figure that out every night...


(How you going to get it across an ocean your 12+ foot long pedal powered Airstream ?)






...

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-12-19 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 04-12-19, 11:32 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Tank Rider View Post
Sure.

On the Internet, I found Velo.
I wrote.
Get a velo, dangnabbit
Not the haiku meter scheme of:

Five syllables first,
Followed by seven second,
Finishing with five.

On the internet
I found Velo. I wrote get
a Velo, dagnab.

*almost*

Last edited by thumpism; 04-12-19 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 04-12-19, 11:52 AM
  #15  
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It's not quite Easter--/--Close enough for hand grenades--/-- Zombie thread arise!
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Old 04-12-19, 12:39 PM
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I figure this guy is probably still resting up from that typing marathon back in 2006........

at least 2 or 3 times that Ive done a week long supported tour, a guy with a velomobile has participated. This was the only time that I have seen one in person, and have climbed past him on hills, and listened to him whistle past me both on downhills and on straights.

they certainly are pretty fricken cool machines, and really damn fast, but no matter Mr Longform typer wrote, they would have all kinds of issues for touring.

but again, they are really really neat, and rather fascinating to see in person, cuz lets face it, they are exceedingly rare.

If had all the money in the world, I would have one, along with a fatbike and a Pennyfarthing. (at least I have ridden a Pennyfarthing)
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Old 04-13-19, 09:56 AM
  #17  
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Nice zombie thread.
If I had a long trail or safe road system close by that could facilitate a velo I would consider trying one for fun. The creative side can think of all sorts of applications such as solar. But I wouldn't ride one on a busy road without worrying about getting smoked.
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Old 04-13-19, 12:50 PM
  #18  
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Interesting question.

If one looks at some of the recumbents, then one might be able to sleep sitting in the seat, especially with the right headrest, but it wouldn't necessarily be comfortable.


https://www.icetrikes.co/

An interesting option might be to build one's velomobile like a pop-up camper, or perhaps like a slide-out camper.

So, one could expand one side to an extra 2' x 7' side compartment (either on the ground, or an off the ground cot with a stabilizer). So, essentially the bike would instantly convert into a tent.
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Old 04-13-19, 02:34 PM
  #19  
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Damn it.. now I want a fat trike.

From that website a link to a pretty inspirational interview:

https://vimeo.com/218753640?from=outro-embed
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Old 04-13-19, 11:07 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
....An interesting option might be to build one's velomobile like a pop-up camper, or perhaps like a slide-out camper.....
something like this???
https://www.wired.com/images_blogs/g...21-660x438.jpg
http://media.treehugger.com/assets/i...ike-camper.png
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Old 04-13-19, 11:27 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
something like this???

Not quite as I had imagined. I was thinking more of a traditional velomobile shape,



But, hinge one side so that it would fold out and create a canopy to the side of the bike.
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Old 04-14-19, 12:32 AM
  #22  
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Best zombie thread I've seen.

I have slept on my recumbent, albeit just a short nap, whilst leaning against a bridge support waiting out a rainstorm. The seat is fine but the legs want to flop over one way or the other. I think eventually I'd want to roll over and sleep on my side, which would be problematic. I just don't think a velo makes a very good tent/cot combo.

I think a velo makes a fine touring machine (theoretically), but I'm all about sleeping in post office lobbies and 24-hour laundromats.

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Old 04-14-19, 04:48 PM
  #23  
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USA's first velomobile stocking bike shop (according to Bentrideronline): Bicycle Evolution, Plano, Texas

https://www.facebook.com/bicycle.evo...llas/?ref=py_c


Have many models.
They'll set up test rides for you
If visit arranged.
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Old 04-14-19, 05:02 PM
  #24  
CliffordK
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Cars have had steering columns that would move out of the way for quite some time.

Perhaps the key would be to design a crankset and drivetrain that could be released, so that the area around one's feet would be completely open.

Oh... the possibilities.

Front wheel drive?



Oh, yeah, the tent is up on top.

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Old 04-15-19, 04:05 PM
  #25  
Renato GF Naso
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Hi!! I would like to build one, on the base of a 2x1 m loading platform bicycle-trailer for my trip from Basle, BS (Basel Stadt), Switzerland, to Jinan, Shandong, P.R.C.; do you have any tips? Thanks.
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