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Special Bikes Show

Velomobile How to ride a velomobile

Before you go:
Check tire pressure
Lights and flags mounted and tested
Check for loose parts/tighten screws etc.
Chainline, check chain rollers for resistance, oil chain if necessary.

For newbies:
Go slowly the first 2-3 weeks before you know how to handle the velomobile.
There has been some few severe accidents and even death caused by wrong handling the first day using the velomobile...

Pay attention to handling in bends, take it easy, and don't go crazy in downhill the first week.
NB: Velomobiles can sometimes wobble, especially if you are to quick on the steering, and at
adjustments. too much weight/luggage behind rider can also cause steering problems.
Heavy luggage in the nose is not recommended, the velomobile will tend to under steer.

Velomobil er
            den mest energieffektive transportmåten
Velomobile is Formular1 with pedal power.

How fast is a velomobile?
Normally 30-50 km/h on flat road. A velomobile is faster downhill and on
flat compared to an unfaired upright bicycle. Uphill a bit slower due to
higher weight and no help from the aerodynamics. A streamlined tree
wheel velomobile will go about 52 km/h at 250 watts on the pedals.
A velomobile is normally 40-60% faster than an upright bicycle.

A velomobile will give you good protection, there will be some space for
deformation in front and tail, and the body itself is pretty strong. It is
important to be visible in the traffic by using lights and reflexes all year
around, a flag in the car drivers sight line and strong colours on
the velomobile.

Velomobile in winter with spike tires.

Use high kadens (90) the first months, to build up speed and to develop new muscles. Pedaling a velomobile is like in between running and biking, and after about 1000 km you will have developed strenght to manage your velomobile. Many riders are unpatient and a bit disappointed with their velomobile the first weeks, because they expect to fly like a rocket.
The secret with the velomobile is to utilize the velocity in the vehicle, accellerate on flat before uphills, to keep the speed. Downhill you can help the gravity a bit to gain more speed, but don't use too much power, remember you need it for the uphills.

When you start the uphills, keep high kadens to maintain speed, and gear down as the speed goes down. Many newbies choose too high gears and loose momentum. Be patient before you reach the top of the hill. You will soon gain speed on the next dowhnhill. Most of early velomobile owners gets too tired in the uphills, and loose the average speed on the journey.

Long commuting with lots of luggage will give you plenty of velocity and speed in the downhills. You can easily follow traffic in 60 km/h or more. Be careful not to overheat your brakes. Keep distance to other vehicles.

Placement in lanes:
Use a FULL car lane when you are in a road. Stay in the middle of the lane. You will be more visible for cars coming up, and there are less chance to be squeezed out on the shoulder of the road. It will be easy to overtake you if you go slowly, otherwise there are no purpose in overtaking. Cars will give you space, and they are often careful when they pass you. Trucks and buses has a better overview, so there are little chance to be hit by them. A flag and strong colors will help the visibility. The flag antenna can have red LED stripes for better visibility.
Our new velomobiles have blinkers that will make it more safe to change lanes when you ride with the race hood on. Otherwise, use hands to give signs, and place the velomobile in the lane to show where you intend to turn. Slow changes of position will give other persons in the traffic time to plan their driving. Sudden manouvers will scare the others, and give velomobiles a bad reputation.

Speed in bends
It is possible to fall over with a velomobile, very often it's sudden manouvers that are the cause (drivers fault). Controlled bends in reasonable speeds (follow normal speed signs for cars) will be safe. NB: There are differeneces in manouverability between slics and wider tires.
Slics are tending towards wobbling more often than wider tires, but they are also quicker and more precise in the response. It's recommended to use Schwalbe Marathon Plus on the front wheels the first months, and later you can try slicks, like Scwalbe Durano or Kojak.

Wobbling is caused by to big movements on the steering/sudden adjustments. In high speeds, it can cause the velomobile to fall over. If wobbling happens, be careful to hold the steering rods loosely and let the wobbling come to an end. DONT try to adjust back with big movements, the wobbling will get worse!

If you build up a cue with cars in a uphill, just stop on the shoulder and let the cue pass.
Try to find a place to stop with good overview, not in a bend etc. Some car drivers are afraid of passing you, if you see a good place for overtaking, just go a bit closer to the side of the road to signal they can pass.

Mixed traffic on bike lanes or side walks
If you need to pass a bicycle in a bike lane, be careful with passing distance. If there are no cars, use the car lane when passing. Side walks is not recomended for velomobiles, you will loose the average speed, and too many start/stop will get you tired.

Camping and long trips
Velomobiles can be used for camping and long commuting, if you carry about 25kg luggage,
you can keep 25-30 km/h average speed. With trailer and low speed biking with kids,
11 km/h and velomobile alone with trailer 16 km/h.

Climbing 10-18% in Måbødalen, Norway

You can get pretty much luggage in a velomobile if you make small soft packages.
Heavy stuff lowest, behind the seat, lighter items on top.