When we built our first Treadmill Bike back in 2004, it was done mostly for kicks and giggles. I never anticipated all the media attention it would receive. This morning, I was quite excited to learn that an enterprising inventor from the Netherlands is taking the concept a step further with an Electric Assist Treadmill Bike.
Here’s a video of Bruin Bergmeester’s bike in action!
The Bicycle Forest received an early Christmas gift this year. Mark and Ray from Bluevelo lent us a Quest velomobile. And what is a velomobile you ask? A velomobile is a human powered vehicle, generally a trike, with an aerodynamic shell for comfort, weather protection and luggage space. We had a great time riding this velomobile. The aerodynamic fairing cut through the wind like a buttered dolphin.
Another freaky aspect of the fairing is that it obscures everything else that’s going on underneath there. People don’t necessarily notice that your legs are moving, so they wonder if the velomobile is powered by some kind of motor. But no, this one is all human powered.
As you pedal, a chain drives the 26” wheel in the back. Manoeuvring is handled by the two 20” wheels in the front. Both front wheels have drum brakes for quick stopping. All three wheels are mounted to a suspension mechanism that makes for a really comfortable ride.
The shell on this velomobile is fibreglass. Our complete Quest model weighs about 35kg which feels really light, yet there’s a carbon fibre shell option that’s even lighter, bringing the total weight to less than 30kg.
There’s a little panel of switches in the cockpit that control head and tail lights as well as left and right turn signals.
The top of the cockpit is open allowing for good visibility. However, for greater aerodynamics and weather protection, you can throw on the foam skirt that seals things up even more.
Bluevelo is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They sell velomobiles from all over the world. And in some cases, as with the Quest, they oversee the fabrication of the machines for the North American market.
I am thankful for the opportunity to try velomobiling and hope to see more of these fun bikes on the road soon.