Building the Case for Velomobiles

Hello, and welcome to the first blog post of VeloLiving.com.  Its the first page too, so if you’re reading this, you’ve found the very very beginning.

Orange WAW velomobile

The beautiful WAW velomobile. Photo source: http://bikefixblog.blogspot.com/

For some time now I’ve been obsessed with velomobiles.  To be honest, I don’t like the name velomobiles – I think its a mouthful.  But velomobiles themselves are cool.  They’re sleek, beautiful, and comfortable, but above all, velomobiles are really really fast.  Some are pure “human powered vehicles” (HPV), which many enthusiasts prefer.  But velomobiles are naturally heavier and at a disadvantage to similar bicycles when going up hills.  They are built for recreation and sport, or for bicycle-commuters who have flat commutes.  But I live at the bottom of a valley, and the only way to anywhere is straight up, so the type I’m interested in is the power-assisted velomobile, specifically the electric velo.

A yellow Go-One velomobile with the canopy open

The ultra-comfortable Go-One velomobile. Photo source: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/01/70026

Friends and family are interested in the idea of velomobiles, but often roll their eyes when they hear the price.  One problem is there is a tendency to think as them only as bicycles because they have the mechanics of a bicycle and are indeed treated as a bicycle for legal purposes in most jurisdictions.  Then it simply becomes a very expensive bicycle (“toy”) in their minds, rather than a viable substitute for a second car.  But an electric-assisted velomobile is so much more than a bicycle, and most importantly it addresses the biggest short-comings of a bicycle for a commuter (rain, sweat, and time) without losing the benefits that makes bicycle commuting attractive in the first place (financial savings, health benefits, and environmental impact).

So, my first project is to prove the relative value of an electric-assisted velomobile to myself as an all-around more effective means of getting to work.  I would love to get as much feedback from the velomobile community, and the broader cycling community as well.

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