No matter what the weather, lawyer Ray Mickevicius rides right across town in his yellow velomobile, or enclosed recumbent bicycle. According to the Star, it is "a ground-hugging, three-wheeled horizontal bicycle, sheathed in fibreglass. About three metres long, it looks like a miniature race car, but it's powered by pedalling. It has a steering bar, 27 gears, turn signals, lights and a speedometer."
I so want this Versatile "a Rohloff hub, turn signals, horn, lights, SA drum brakes, full suspension, Flevobike soft top (not shown) and adjustable mesh seat" for $10,350, used
The Star notes concerns about safety:
To be stable, three-wheeled vehicles need to be close to the ground, otherwise they'll flip. But by being close to the ground, they're also less visible, says Kelly Londry, an Ann Arbor, Mich., engineer who has designed velomobiles and consults for American bicycle manufacturers. "The cars can't see you," he says. "It's small and low to ground and it's more likely an accident will occur and if it does, it will lose."
"Alleweder kits (3x8 Dual Drive) for a remarkable $3,795"
Although it weighs a lot more than a regular bike, the aerodynamics compensate:
"It's all about the wind," Mickevicius says. As cyclists know, they use more energy when bucking a head wind. When cycling at speeds greater than 25 km/h, 90 per cent of a rider's energy goes to overcome wind resistance. "A well designed human-powered vehicle can cut aerodynamic drag by 80 per cent, reducing rider effort by a massive 70 per cent," the Ultimate Bicycle Book reports.
"You don't have the benefit of aerodynamics until you go at least 15 to 20 km/h, then the air flows nice and neatly around you," says Steve Schleicher, who designs and builds velomobiles out of his kayak manufacturing shop in Maple Ridge, B.C. (Treehugger here) "That's the most important benefit." ::The Star and ::BlueVelo