As you know, I like to share student designs from time to time. Joseph Campbell is a recent design graduate whose senior thesis project “dealt with bicycles and how they do not fit into Americas current grid”. As someone who has cycled for transportation for many years, I don’t completely agree with that statement, but I do see his point. There is much more that can be done both with infrastructure and with various types of pedal powered vehicle designs that can open human powered transportation options up to a larger segment of the population. I won’t discuss the inadequacies of our current transportation system in this post. Instead, I will share Joseph’s thoughts about the velomobile that he designed in his own words:
“As a frequent bicycle rider I quickly realized that bicycles don’t work well with other vehicles. The problem that I found was that bicycles do not fit into Americas current transport grid. The roads were built for cars, trucks and buses but not bicycles. We try to fix this by adding bike lanes but in reality I feel this is only putting a bandage on the grid (unless they are separated lanes). This is where the concept of redesigning a velomobile came from. Currently most velomobiles are small, very aerodynamic, and European based. This concept sets to challenge that idea, questioning what if we make larger, more agile, have it mass-produced and blend into the Urban/Suburban environment.
The overall size is comparable to a small car at about 9′ x 4-3/4′ x 4′. This was done to improve visibility and blend in with other vehicles in the transportation grid. Its construction consists of a steel tubular frame with replaceable ABS panels. This was done to solve the issue of a damaged fiberglass monocoque. The suspension is a unique design with torsion springs inside pivot points of the control arms. This was intended to allow greater stability in turning by allowing the vehicle to lean into the corner. The rear drive system is also unique. Because it is such a long body shifting would become unresponsive using such a long stretch of chain. The derailleur was moved to the pivot of the rear swing arm and is set up much like a bottom bracket w/ suspension on a mountain bike. Instead of having pedals and a crank the cassette and belt drive pulley are attached.
This concept is the “standard” version based on a velomobile. Future planned improvements to this model include electric assist, all wheel drive, a removable “truck bed” body, internally geared swing arm w/ reverse, head/ tail lights and a solar film wrap.”