Velomobile… What’s that?
Many people ask again: “Velo… what?”, but actually every bicycle is a velomobile. However, it is only in recent years that the term velomobile has become established as a counterpoint to the automobile and describes a very specific type of bicycle: the fully faired recumbent.
The velomobile is driven by the power of the pilot (but there are also possibilities for electric assistance). Because the weight is carried by the wheels, the bicycle is much more effective than any other form of transportation. Only birds achieve similarly good results in gliding flight. If you don’t believe it, you should run a marathon once and then cover the same distance by bike – what was more strenuous?
Now comes what has been called a velomobile in recent years, and adds another dimension of efficiency: never before has it been possible for humans to achieve such great performance with so little effort. This is made possible by low air resistance, a relatively low weight, an effective power transmission as well as low rolling resistance and bearing friction. The main focus is on the low air resistance of the aerodynamically shaped carcass, which not only keeps wind and weather away from the rider, but also provides essential protection against injury in the event of an accident.
Through continuous development, new materials and research, the weight of the velomobile has been reduced over the years, while the protection of the occupants has been increased. Similar techniques and materials are used as in Formula 1!
Less weight also means that less power must be put into the drive! You can therefore drive longer distances. Start in the morning in Ottersberg, lunch in Cuxhaven, in the afternoon back after coffee and cake = over 250km in one day – comfortable. Daily stages of 300 km are also no problem, on so-called Brevets there are sometimes much more.
But velomobiles also offer a number of other advantages in everyday life. Since most velomobiles are tricycles, they are inherently stable and slipping, for example in winter, does not cause a fall. The weather protection of the bodywork also makes them suitable vehicles for year-round use. Even in freezing cold, a pleasant temperature is quickly created in the small interior when the ventilation is closed. The high strength of the bodies made of carbon fiber fabric offers very good protection in case of accidents. Due to the low weight of the velomobiles including their passengers, velomobiles only have a very low risk of accidents, the yielding and smooth surface almost completely protects other people involved in an accident from the risk of injury. Special aramid inserts protect you even from sharp-edged cracks. Aramid is also used in bulletproof vests!
A velomobile can also be the ideal vehicle for a cycling holiday. Inside the velomobile there is room for your luggage and, if necessary, you can even spend the night in the vehicle if the storm is too strong to build up a tent. At the same time, a velomobile is the ideal vehicle for making contacts: a velomobilist does not come as someone trying to find hosts, usually it is the other way around, the hosts want to have the velomobilist as a guest.
Why haven’t velomobiles been widely accepted for a long time?
There are several reasons for this: On the one hand, velomobiles, in their perfection, are in the highest price category that the bicycle world has to offer and only slowly are financings in the bicycle sector becoming established, as has been the case in the automotive sector for years. On the other hand, no professional marketing of velomobiles has yet been established. The classic bicycle trade often feels overwhelmed by the maintenance and adjustment of modern gears and brakes, and is even more afraid of new technology, possibly even with three wheels, where the track has to be adjusted. Accordingly, the attitude is: “I don’t know it, I don’t do it”. A good bicycle mechanic can repair a tire on a velomobile just as well as on a classic bicycle, and a bicycle chain remains a bicycle chain in a velomobile, but for that, the head must also be able to learn new things. As a result of the low density of suitable workshops for velomobiles, many potential buyers are also afraid to buy a vehicle where they will have difficulty getting help in case of damage.
As one of the first we want to be such a workshop here in Ottersberg. Here you can get the necessary spare parts and also quick help with smaller damages or breakdowns. We have a small stock with the most common spare parts, but for larger damages or even accident repairs we have to pass…