Brecht Vandeputte sent me this photo of a WAW 045 velomobile racing a Dodge Viper. OK, it probably wasn’t a real race, but it is still a pretty cool image of a slick looking velomobile. For those of you not familiar with the WAW, it is a Belgian 3-wheeled velomobile with a Kevlar body. It is designed to be fast, but it also includes ample luggage space so that it can be used for commuting and errands (or touring). You can read more, and see the BeWAW, which was recently introduced at the Spezi fair in Germersheim, Germany, at Fietser.be. Also, be sure to take a look at Brecht’s Picasa galleries for many more shots of interesting velomobile designs.
On the subject of velomobiles, Goblin Motors is a company that makes power assisted velomobiles as well as fairings and covers to fit standard recumbent bikes and trikes. Tying into my last post, I want to point out a question that Goblin Motors president Jeff Bales asked then UCI president Hein Verbruggen in a 1997 interview:
“Why doesn’t the UCI allow for classes of recumbent cyclists? The UCI is obviously interested in speed and racing… recumbents are the fastest bikes in the world. What’s the deal? Are UCI board members stockholders of major “conventional” bike manufacturers that fear their investments would be threatened if recumbents gained the popularity they deserve? I’ve never seen a “conventional” bicycle that could beat my recumbent in a race on the street or in a velodrome. “Conventional” bikes are antiques compared to recumbent technology. Isn’t the UCI also interested in progress?”
As someone who owns and rides conventional upright bikes, I would hesitate to call them antiques. I would certainly never challenge someone in a full fairing recumbent to a race on the velodrome, but I think there are plenty of situations on the road where an upright bike still has an advantage (mainly climbing). I won’t venture too much into that subject, but I do think it was an interesting question to ask the UCI president. You can read Mr. Verbruggen’s response if you scroll down a bit on the Goblin Motors website.
Those of you who are interested in velomobile racing, and more specifically electric assist velomobile racing, should check out the link that Duncan left in response to my last post. The event news page has details about the ePower Challenge, which will take place on May 22-24th at Portland International Raceway.
In keeping with the recumbent theme of this post, I will pass along a few more links that have recently come to my attention.
Treehugger recently posted the Flevobike Green Machine, a design that won the Eurobike Award 2007. They point out that the Green Machine, which features a fully enclosed drivetrain, is now available in the US as well.
Finally, I will pass along a video sent to me by Steven Dorda, a recent graduate of Mechanical Engineering from Concordia University in Montreal Canada. He recently completed a team design project, a shape changing recumbent bicycle called the Altercycle. You can see the prototype, which has multiple riding positions, in action in a video on this page. Some of you might remember another upright/recumbent convertible design from the Bicycle Design commuter bike competition a few months ago. There were other entries along those lines as well; that reminds me that I still need to get more of entries those posted.