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Steve's Velomobile Project

April 30 News

About three weeks ago the orange velomoible suffered a small accident. While heading home just as it was getting dark I was cruising along the highway shoulder at about 35 kph when I suddenly spotted what looked like a cement block on the shoulder. I just managed to just miss it with the front wheel and thought it would pass between the back wheels. No luck, I ran over it and received a very large jolt. At this point I thought I was about to walk home or call for assitance. I was figuring on at least a pinch flat/bent rim or damage to the vechile. Nothing really changed as I was about to roll to a stop and I continued on home. What happened was the suspension took up as much of the shock as it could and then transferred the rest of the load to the velomobile shell and structural beam. The composite material in the corner between the beam and the floor suffered some damage. In light of this test I have now added a hinge which should spread the load in this vulnerable area. Have been abusing it reglaurly on the three railway tracks I cross every day with no effect. A couple of days after the block incident I spotted what I think I hit in the ditch. It was a chuck of asphalt about 5" square and 15" long.

I had taken out the electric assist a few days before and was enjoying the bit less resistance on the flat just loafing along when a roadie passed me. I must have been dozing as he was a ways away before I thought of drafting. I easily caught up and then had a comfortable pull till the next light. Only when we stopped at the light did I realize how hard he was working. I guess the Aurora is a bit faster than I thought.


March 12, News

Have been using the velomobile the last few days with electric assist. One of our first customers wanted to try it with electric assist so he came by on Friday and installed the hub motor, batteries and controller. We were going to try it first with the smaller motor but that didn't work out as there was a problem with the rim the motor was installed in. The result is that the larger motor, 750W was installed with a 48V battery pack. The velomobile set up this way is a real rocket leaving cars behind when accelerating from a stop. I checked the speed on the flats without pedalling and it easily maintained 50 kph. Hills with this setup really do not exist. To say the least this is a bit excessive. One big negative is the weight of the system. While I could ride uphill without using the assist the extra mass is really noticeable. I estimate that this reduced my normal slow uphill speed about 20%. Another negative is that the motor has a fair bit of drag, so much so that I would probably opt not the have it as it takes away from the cycling experience. Using it today I used the assist to maintain a steady speed around 32kph which is the legal limit for electric assist. Without the assit my trip today might have been a half hour longer than the two hours it took. Most of the extra time would have come from going up the hills slower. I will use it a bit longer and then try the setup with the smaller motor and see how it compares. I have briely ridden a trike with the BionX system(front hub motor on a delta) and really liked it. This was a short test so a longer one using the velomobile might be quite interesting.