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Steve's Velomobile Project
On the Road, December 27
I now have about 100 km on the prototype. I think I am really going to like the finished version of the velomobile as even the prototype is an improvemnt over just the trike or my Vison recumbent. Speed on the flat is probably equal or a bit faster than the Vision with a front fairing and a bit of a tailbox. Not bad considering the added wheel on the road and a bit of extra weight. Downhill speed seems to max out around 65 km on my hill just coasting. I am sure faster is possible if the trike was geared a little higher. It is a bit chilly at this speed when the temparture is around freezing!! Also noticeable is the extra speed when riding in rolling terrain as it carries further up the next hill than it would without the fairing. Riding in the rain is a big improvement as I only got a little damp but with a removeable/optional/windshied/head fairing with good ventilation would make it completely enjoyable. Had fog this morning with both sides of my glasses being a mess and yesterday in the rain similiar results so the cover may help a lot. There will be some more changes to make. The rain cover works quite well but needs to fit a bit better. The mirrors need to be repositioned a bit to get rid of a blind spot and make them more usefull to shorter cyclists. A vent inlet needs to be added to the nose which will also house the headlights. Perhaps vents will also be required in the sides of the body. Next week should see some modifications to the plug and the steering being added to the monoque version. Progress may slow for a while as there may soon be enough snow on the local mountains to go boarding.
We have finally got the lights up and running. Here are some pictures;
Running/signal light in daylight with rear light
Signal lights and temporary mount for halogen headlight
Front running/turn lights in the dark picture taken with no flash.
Now that we have the lights working we need to simplify their installation. The lights will ultimately end up being flush with the outside of the fairing with the wires for the lights in the laminate itself. This should be easy to do as in the past we have built composite parts with heating wires in the laminate. For night time riding I have also installed a Rear Dopppler DX from BLT Light Systems in the wheel well facing back. This light with it simple plastic lens is very visible. You notice it well before you can tell what it attached to.
Update December 12, 2004
Have just finished bonding the rear axles to the bottom half of the velomobile and installing the head tube and adding the front fork. The composite spring system seems to work but will need to wait until the steering assembly is installed and the chain drive system is funtional before any real testing can be done. The pictures show the top half temporarily clamped to the bottom. The top half is removeable for any servicing/adjustment work the mechanical bits might need. The bottom bracket is moveable to accomodate different sizes. The top and bottom bolt together so removal or replacement should only take 5 to 10 minutes.
Side view without the gull wing door cut out. Top and bottom temporarily clamped togeather with vicegrips.
Top/front view showing the recently fabricated rain cover.
I should be testing the raincover this week as rain is predicted and we have almost finished adding the LED running lights/turnsignals to the prototype fitted onto the Kettweisel trike. Once this is done I will be comfortable riding in traffic as I willl be able to signal turns. The turn signal consist of 10 yellow LEDs inside a amber cover which are quite visible in daylight and really stand out at night. The amber lights will be on all the time and when used as turns signals will flash alternating front and back with the other side staying on. The lighting system will also have a 20 LED brake light fitted to the back. I plan on using a 10 and a 20 watt halogen lights for headlights. I have been using BLT Light Systems Super Doppler DX and Rear Doppler DX on my Vision and am considering adding them to the velomobile as redundent lighting system as they are small, light and quite visible. It would not be much extra work to create recesses they would fit in. I'll add some pictures when all the lights are up and running.