Monday, December 26, 2011

Yet more musing on new velomobile

I did a bit more on my mock up to figure out the smallest size I could make it to fit me.

Here you can see the seat angle which is now pretty much about normal for a velomobile.  Well maybe a bit less that normal.   My shoulders just fit under the curved wood strip which is about as low as you can make shell.  I will need to add bumps for my knees and feet.  The nose still needs lots of improvement  which will happen as it develops.  I thought of making a CAD model with the measurements from the mock up but decided against it.  I prefer working with the actual shape as you can see and feel the shape develop and make changes.  Sometimes the shape just doesn't look right so I like to let it sit and just contemplate how to make it right.  A comfortable chair can be a valuable design tool at this stage.  I will build the basic shape and then use some pour foam to further refine shape.  The not so fun part of doing it this way is that making the second side match the first is quite tedious and seems to take forever.  This is where the CAD and CNC model has an advantage.  You just mirror the first side and the CNC machining has them come out exactly the same.  Even when doing this I am always tempted to further refine the shape as the computer model never seems to be exactly what you intended.    Most of the material in the mock up so far is left overs from converting the barn into a workshop. 

A top view where you can see how much the wheels cant in.  It looks pretty skinny so far.  The challenge will be in making the wheel wells so there is an acceptably turning radius and just enough room so I just clear them without touching.  Some careful shaping of the wheel well around where the wheels go when turned should get the clearance I am looking for.  They will end up looking a bit different from what found in current velomobiles.  There is also the possibility of being able to build the velo with different amounts of ground clearance using the same mould.   Not entirely sure if this will work but it is worth a try.  With this idea in mind I have decreased ground clearance to 8-9 cm. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More musing on new velomobile

I built a quick mockup of the new concept.  One thing that became obvious sitting on it and observing the space required for pedaling is that the derailleur post and front derailleur stick up into your sight line with the seat very reclined.

 In the picture you can sort of see the recline of the seat.  It's about what the ultra marathon riders are using for their seats and about the angle I need to be at to sort of fit in the WAW.  I'll also try it with the seat in a more upright position.   If you have bumps for your knees and feet vision to the front and sides can be quite good as most the shell would now be a few inches lower than normal.  One big disadvantage of this approch is that you may need a couple of sizes of tops for different sized folks.  I am not too worried about this as I am making it to fit me.  Making a different top would make sense if there was enough demand.
The sawhorses with the foam clamped to them were to check shoulder width.  It's now 51.5 cm which just fits me but I will make in a couple of cm wider so I don't touch all the time.   Right now my base pattern is a bit too short in the front to get a nice nose shape.  I may have to extend it 10-15 cm.  If I do this I will shorten the tail by the same amount so the total length stays at 280 cm.  Even with this change the back end will be very aerodynamic.  There may have to be a bit of a bump for my shoulders.   Maximum width on the base is 71 cm with a track width of 78 cm.  Next step will be to mock up the wheels and imagine what the shape may end up being. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughts on a new fast velomobile

The most sales of velombiles seem to be to folks who want to ride fast. This is not suprising as early adopters would mostly be serious cyclists and one of the primary reasons for considering a velomobile would be to go faster. What I am thinking of is something along the lines of a Milan/WAW/Evo K. It would have to have very good speed potential and still carry just enough gear to go touring. 

As for overall size it would similiar to the WAW.  With a shorter nose and a  longer pointer tail.  I would also have a bit more room for my feet, knees and shoulders. I am 6'2" and have size ten and half feet so I don't quite fit the WAW.  I could modify the WAW by putting in bumps for my knees and shoulders but it just seems wrong to do this to such a nice machine. Better that it eventually goes to some one who fits it properly. It should be possible to have a smaller frontal area than the Quest and still have enough room for gear.  From the bit I have ridden the WAW there is quite a bit to be said for its great cornering ability.  This comes about by its wider stance and front wheels that are canted in quite a bit.  Having you sit right on the floor helps too. 

It is very tempting to go with open wheel wells to decrease the turning raduis and make servicing the front wheels, brakes and suspension simplier.  Open wheel wells can be quite efficient provided that the wheels are nicely faired into the body with very little space around the tires.  The Evo K seems to verify that open wheel wells can be quite quick.  The best way to get this result may be to build the shell without the wheel wells and then glue them in afterwards.  Once the wheels are installed cut the opening to just fit around the tire. You could even adjust the size of the opening with an add on flat panel if you used bigger tires in winter and then switched to faster ones for summer time riding.  The big advantage is in how I would fabricate the bottom half as it is quite a simple part to vaccum bag or infuse without having to work around the wheel wells. Making the wheel well as a separate unit would also simplify making this part.  The risk of not having successful parts would be reduced. When you are vaccuum bagging or infusing you either get very good parts or junk you have to throw away.  What happens if you loose vaccuum at a critical point is  the part expands about 30% and fills with air.

My preference is for a head out velo but design it so a racing hood could be added for speed freaks.  I prefer the slightly bigger head opening so you can see inside the velo when riding with the roof on. The size I have on the Borealis seems about right.  This with a small foam cover for use in the most inclement conditions might be the best all round compromise.  The head  opening should be just large enough so you can crawl out of it if necessary. The size of the door section  should be large enough to make getting in and out easy.  Rather than go with a hinged door one that just lifts on and off is worth trying.  If it could just snap in place that may be ideal.  It should also sit on a substantial foam gasket so it doesn't rattle.  If it was just long enough so it could be made in different sizes depending on the height needed to clear your knees  you would have the option of customising the size of the velomobile a bit.  If you did the same with the section where your feet are with a removeable cover you would would gain easy access to the front derailleur, headlight and a bit more usefull storage space in front of the wheel wells.

Suspension on all three wheels.  While I would like to develop my concept for a carbon/basalt fiber spring front suspension it will most likey have the standard front suspension as found in other velos.  The time and effort to develop this is hard to justify when makes a very good unit.  Rear suspension should be an air shock  so the rider can personalize it to suit them.  The rear swing arm is best if not single sided so you have the option of using a Rohloff or rear hub motor.  Structurally  the double sided swing arm should be easier to implement.  If the rear swing arm can be pulled out of the bottom of the shell so changing the rear tire would be the same as on a normal trike.  One would have a removeable cover over this opening to clean up the air flow and keep everything clean. 

Ground clearance of around 10 to 12 cm.   Some cars are in this range for ground clearnace.  This will make it a very practical vehicle as it will handle most roads with ease.  Just the occassional speed bump that causes cars problems too may be an issue. 

Reverse gear would still be with at least one foot hole open. The mould would have  bumps for both feet so you then have the option of adding reverse or not.

Seat could be made easily removeable to make gear storage and cleaning the velombile easier.  If you can take the seat with you it would make the velmobile unrideable. 

This would be a monocoque structure with all the bike parts fitted to it.  There would be no separate frame except for the rear swing arm and a carbon front boom assembly.  Constuction would be out of kevlar and carbon fiber with some honeycomb or foam cores where necessary.  To get the most performance out of these materials the parts would be vacuum bagged or infused.  We have been looking into an epoxy resin system that seems safer to use than previous offerings.  It has very high elongation which would help to build a very tough shell.  There is a epoxy clear cost option that could add a very minimum of weight or even a paint that can be sprayed in the mould that would be lots lighter than gel coat.  In a few months there is an epoxy gelcoat coming from this manufacturer that can be bent into a one inch radius without cracking.  With any of these options spider cracks common in gel coat would no longer occur.   Target weight of less than 25 kg.  Cost is unknown at this point but it would be very competitve. Chances of this happening soon are quite low.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Projects

New Borealis
Now that I almost have my new shop operational what I would like to do is rebuild the moulds for the Borealis V2 so it has all the changes I made when doing the V3.  The real problem with this is that there are a limited number of Sprint NT(narrow track) frames available.  ICE still has enough of these frames left to make this redesign worthwhile.  Once these frames are used up I would convert the tooling to accept a frame replacement we would build into the composite parts. 

To make this more attractive the pricing on this velomobile is very reasonable at $C 6,800 for the shell and the trike outfitted with suspension on all three wheels and drum brakes.  This price is only available until the frames for the Sprint NT are used up.  The final product would be very practical everyday velomobile similiar in preformance to a Strada or Mango.  It would not be avialable until Spring 2012 as it will take some time to rework the moulds.  We would only go ahead with this if there was sufficient interest.

Scorpion FS as a Velomobile

Now that the Borealis V3 is done I have been looking at the Scorpion FS trike as a basis for a velombile using the same shell.  I would have to modify the shell a fair bit to make it work.  The wheel wells would move foward a bit as the seat to front wheels distance is quite different between the Scorpion and the Sprint.  We would also have to devise a new mounting system. There may be some other issues that come up but they can be addressed when they do.  This combination would make a great velomobile not quite as fast as the quicker ones but very practical for extending your riding season.  We have a couple of folks already interested but would need a few more to make this come about.  This should be very attractive to those who already own a Scorpion FS as you would get  the benefits of a velomobile for less than half the cost of a regular velomobile.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Local Election

We have a local Municipal election coming up on November 19th.  This will be a very important election for our town as it will set the tone for either rampant sprawl or a more liveable place.  Only about 25% of the electorate comes out and votes for the level of goverment that has the most influence over your life.  The municipal council consists of a Mayor and six Councillors who are elected at large.  For your vote to have the most impact only vote for those candidates who you are happy with.  You do not have to vote for all the positions available. It is better not to vote for a candidate who you are unsure about if this means they end up having more votes than the ones you are sure about.  If you are concerned about cycling and liveable community issues, here as some recommendations for council, partially based of a questionnaire, past performance and personal experience.  If you want to go through the questionnaire you can find it at

Most Recommended:

Alex Pope
Carley O'Rourke
Christian Cowley
Kiersten Duncan
Corisa Bell
Craig Speirs (incumbent)


Peter Tam
Randy Goos
Graeme Ross
John Mackenzie
Sandy MacDougal
Dana Lang

Not Recommended

Claus Andrup
Cheryl Ashlie(incumbent)
Judy Dueck(incumbent)
Mike Morden(incumbent)
Al Hogarht (incumbent)
Jacques Blackstone 
Wendy Cook
Graham Mowatt
Ken Stewart
Elizabeth Taylor
Grover Telford
Robert Masse

Here's a couple of things I wrote a while back:

"Please spend my tax dollars on cycling infrastructure.  When I moved my business to Maple Ridge cycling here was better than what it is now.  With growth, traffic volume has grown, choking the roads with cars, turning a reasonable cycling experience into a more stressful activity.  I ride part of the 123 bike route and also use the bike lanes on 240th Street to get to work.  This is one of the better parts of my day.  To make this town a more liveable place there should be more accommodation for walking and cycling.  One way to ensure this is to start funding cycling infrastructure in a meaningful way.  Perhaps five dollars per capita would a reasonable goal."

"There is a very vocal segment of folks who are advocating for more local shopping.  While I can agree with more local shopping it should not be at the expense of green space.  When I moved here 28 years ago I understood that I would have to travel some distance to shop and that was one of the things that I liked about the place.  It seems that new comers didn't properly understand what was here when they moved.  Cheap houses lured them here and now they want Maple Ridge to become Burnaby.  If I wanted to live in Burnaby I could have moved there long ago."

"It seems long time residents are subsidising new homes.  To get to the new housing you need to drive on the roads paid for by long term residents and use existing infrastructure to service the new homes.  Al Hogarht has stated that new houses only pay about 25% of their costs, business and older housing pays for the rest.  As a business owner I find it difficult to deal with the very increasing taxes--never mind as a long term resident."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Signal Lights

We are working on some new signal lights.  The first set is now installed in the next Borealis V3.  Here are a couple of pictures of them being made.

First I cast a layer of casting resin on a sheet of glass and laid a light layer of glass onto it. Once this had set I added the lights on top and bonded them in place with another layer of glass as you can see in the photo above. 

Here are the lights ready to install in the shell.  All four of them together weigh in at just less than 30 grams.  They consist of three 2 watt LEDs in each light.  They do get quite hot so that is the reason for the extra metal bit they are bolted to.  It acts as an additional heat shink and allows air to circulate around the LEDs.  I originally considered just casting them in resin but they get a bit too hot for that as their temparture gets close to the HTD point of the resin.  If they get too hot they will have short service life.  This all seems quite a bit of trouble compared to just bonding in an off the shelf LED as is found on most velos.  The reason is that I don't consider these other lights adequate in all circumstances. They are not very visible in full sunlight.  These new lights are hard to look at from less than about 10 feet and are very visible even in full sunlight.  Another advanatage is that with a bit of extra work they can be mounted flush on the shell.  They draw the same amount of power that our present turn signal lights with 18 LEDs in them use.  Here is how they look once bonded in the shell with a bit more resin added to make them flush.

The better way to do it would be to make a mould so you cast the light with a little spigot sticking out that would fit through the hole in the shell.  Then you mask around the sticking out part and carefull sand it off to match the shape of the shell.  Sand to 1000 or even 2000 grit and polish.  Once you had done a few you could probably get the sanding and polishing down to five minutes or so.  This would also allow fitting to almost any velo. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Riding to Quadra Island

A few weeks ago I tried to ride from Maple Ridge to Quadra Island in one day.  I am eventually moving there and taking the velomobile part of the business along too.  The route I picked out is about 260 km.  This is just a bit further than the furthest I have ridden in a day before.  The plan was to get up early so I could catch the ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point on Vancouver Island.  This ferry runs every two and a half hours with the first one being at 5:15.  I was planning on catching the 7:45 as this should leave enough time to ride to Quadra Island before it got completely dark. I also needed to make it to Campbell River early enough to catch the last ferry to Quadra Island.

 I set off around 4 am riding for the first while in the dark.  I was making good time and would have been half an hour early for the ferry when I had a mechanical problem about 45 minutes ride from the ferry.  Luckily I was able to get  replacement parts thanks to Brock at Cambie Cycles and was back on my way but missed the next two ferry sailings.  Now it looked like there was no chance of making it to Campbell River before dark.  Luckily I had a backup plan to stay with friends who were house sitting a place about 100 km from Duke Point. 

I managed to find the bike route through Naniamo but lost it about 2/3 of the way through town.  As I was riding along a busy 4 lane road I passed a guy riding on the sidewalk who looked like a regular commuter. We were going slightly uphill as the time but we were close in speed.  He passed me and was just creeping way but looked back a few times so I was a bit motivated to catch him.  I eventually passed him as it flattened out a bit and then he caught a ride on the back of a truck by grapping the handrail on the back edge of the truck. I had almost caught him again when he turned off to a shopping mall.  The look on his face when he looked back was priceless as he was at least 200 meters ahead with the truck trick and thought he had left me behind. I was hoping to catch him and congratulate him on the move with the truck.  I was feeling pretty good at the time considering that I had everything I would take for self supported touring along except for the tent and cooking gear.  

After Naniamo you have no choice but to ride the Island Highway which has a good shoulder most places until you can turn off onto Northwest Bay Road.  This avoids some climbing to get to Parksville and gets you to the old highway along the coast .   I rode along this until Qualicum Bay where I turned uphill with the knowledge that a meal was waiting for me.  The last 4 or so km were the toughest riding I had done for a few years.  It was steeply uphill and slow going with the extra weight I was carrying. I ended up stopping a few times and riding with no shoe (too lazy to stop and change shoes) on my right foot as it was quite sore.  Seems I can only ride 80 km before having to change to walking shoes rather than the clipless cycling shoes.  I much prefer to be clipped in as you can pull back some which is especially helpful when climbing.  I had the same issue on ROAM where I rode half the day in cycling shoes and the other half in walking shoes.  Needless to say the meal that night was right and the company good.  About eight and half hours of riding with some short breaks while riding.

The next morning I set out fairly early with the goal of reaching home around lunch time.  About a hour and a half into the ride I stopped for coffee at a small farm market and ended up buying some cherries and plums.  About 25 km from the ferry I started to look for some place that had ice cream. I passed a mini golf center and noticed it had an Island Farms ice cream sign out so I stopped, turned around and went back.  It was a worthwhile stop as I had a chocolate mocha milk shake made with chocolate milk--highly recommended!!!  Just as I was leaving after the milkshake I was stopped by a fellow in a pickup truck.  It turned out to be one of my employees from over twenty years ago.  We had a good chat and agreed to get together again later that weekend.  He also stopped on his way back for a milkshake as I recommended  and agreed that it was worth stoppinh for.  At Willow Point I noticed the ferry crossing back to Campbell River and thought I had missed that one for sure as I was still 10 plus km from the ferry.  But I rolled up to the ticket booth in Campell River, paid the fare and rolled right onto the ferry.  I was kind of hoping for a bit longer rest before tackling the ride up and  across the island. the ferry ride is only about 10 minutes.  The last kilometer of the ride is very pleasant as its all downhill.  All in all a good ride with about 5.5 hours of riding with a couple of longish breaks.

I think this ride is possible for me in one day.  It would help to start out with a good nights's sleep and not have any mechanical problems.  Maybe the option of riding to Horseshoe Bay instead of Tsawwassen might be better as it takes quite a while to ride back to Naniamo from Duke Point.  Passing thruogh Vancouver should be pretty easy early in the morning even if it means riding a few more hills.  I'll try this next time for a change of scenery.  Also having an empty velo(lighter) would help especially at the end of the day when you are tired.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Misc Observations on ROAM

It was a great experience.  Glad that I was able to take part in the first few days.  It has given me a new perspective on what's possible in a velomobile.

Velomobiles seem to attract a very interesting set of folks.  This reminds me of the early days of white water kayak paddling and then later on the early sea kayaking crowd.   It would have been great to do the whole ride and get to know them better. 

Saw some velomobiles that I had not seen before.  The Evo R is simply a spectacular velo.  Light and fast.  I really enjoyed looking over the craftsmanship that went into building it.  It's expensive but the builder has put his heart and soul into it.  The graphite rear swing arm must have taken a few days if not a week to make.  The Milan is great in its own way.  It's very fast and looks much better in person than on the internet.  Markus assembled it from a kit where he added all the bike parts to the shell.  His pride of ownership is very high.  He suffered a lot from the collision that occurred.  Luckily the damage was cosmetic and he could continue his ride.  Another very interesting machine was the Pterovelo.  Lots of thought and effort went into building this enclosed velo.  Frans did a very nice job of the build.  Every time he passed me he just disappeared off into the distance.  The Pterovelo is quick and it demonstrates that there is more than one way to build a fast, efficient machine.  I am very curious to see how this one evolves.  It would be marvellous if it could be made to work for my wet, cold, maritime climate.

There were some electric assist velos on the ride too.  About day three I found out that Merrill in the Alleweder had electric assist.  He always passed me in the last part of each day's ride.  I was faster on any downhill but he was quicker otherwise.  He would  just creep away if it was early in the day so slowly that you were tempted to up your tempo.  I managed not to get sucked in.  Aaron in his Quest also had electric assist which was quite useful to him when his feet started giving him trouble.  He could take some of the load off his feet by using the assist.  Apparently Aaron was the only Quest that Joerg couldn't easily pass as Aaron used his assist to keep up.  Taylor and Patrick also had electric assist.  I was a bit suprised at how well the electric assists worked even on long day at over 200 km.  It really became a matter to how you used them so you had juice in the battery when you really needed it.  The first couple of days were a learning cuvre for some with electric assist.  Electric assist made it possible for Patrick to take part in the ride.  While I have tried electric assist, I have a hard time putting up with the extra weight on the flats. It just doesn't feel like a proper bike.  However, this attitude may change with my move to Quadra Island where the riding is all up and down and definitely not velomobile friendly terrain.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day Five ROAM

Today I had a new perspective on velomobiles from the car driver's viewpoint.  I was riding in Craig and Vicky's van still feeling the effects of getting too hot the day before. First and most important observation is that velomobiles are very visible.  If you have a bright coloured velomobile you are more visible on the road than most cars.  Also seeing the person riding the velo, at least in the head out versions makes a more personal connection than you can get in an automobile.

After watching some riders from the van I noticed that some of them bob around a bit.  Much to my chagrin I found out that I bob around a lot when I ride.  I knew that I bob around some when I am not paying much attention to my pedaling but apparently I am really bad.  At the beginning of day four I was stretching while riding along and bobbing a lot and Bram asked me if I was alright.  I must be wasting some energy doing this.  I now have something to work on while riding.   Here we are at a brief rest stop just before the event described below.

We also had one of those silly things that happens once in a while.  Joseph ended up with a bit of gravel rash on his elbow. As he was getting into his nice new Quest it tipped over.  It was sitting on a slope beside the road and when he got in his centre of gravity was a bit high and it tipped. A few of us saw it happening but we weren't close enough to stop it.  His velo has some small scratches that should be easy to buff out.  I have had a similiar experience with the velo tipping over and landing on top of me.  I was on a little bit of a slope and getting out.  As I was getting out I caught my foot on the edge of the cockpit which made me fall down on the ground with the velo slowly turning over on me.  Luckily there was no one around to witness my clumsiness!  I was quite tired at the time but I am now more careful with slopes.

 Ready to ride once again.

Riding up Lolo pass looked like hot work. Everyone who made it to the top  felt good about their accomplishment. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Four ROAM

A short and a bit flatter ride coming up today.  Had a very light breakfast at camp and then headed out.  A while into the ride, Steve on his F40 caught up with me and we rode along together for a ways.  The F40 is about velomobile speed on the flats, a bit slower on the downhills and quicker on the uphills even when he's carrying his camping gear.  He manages to fit it all inside the body sock in panniers--total weight of his camping gear about 8 lbs.   

First stop was in Orofino at about 80 km into the ride.  Found a perfect stop for food.  It was a buffet-- what else could a cyclist ask for!!  Had two plates full of food in about half an hour.  Carried on riding shortly after the food, next stop Kooskia to pick up food for breakfast the following day.  Was feeling pretty good riding along the river and then stopped to take a picture of a place that sells flower and plants.

Nick waited in the shade while I rode back a bit to take the shot.  I was in the sun and not moving and it was suddenly very hot.  Carried on to Kooskia and hung out in the restaurant trying to cool off. While waiting to enter the restuarant there was a velomobile accident just front of us.  Marcus was slowing down to join us and Jorg at that moment looked over and didn't quite have time to stop and hit the Milan about  a foot from the back end.  The collision dented in the side of the Milan and cracked the laminate in a couple of spots.  The dent popped out and the Milan remains useable for the rest of the trip.  Marcus had a hard time dealing with it as his pride of ownership is very high.  He assembled the Milan from a kit with all the composite work done. After we had to leave the restaurant I stayed in the shade on their patio but still felt overheated.  Decided to carry on to the campsite but the first stop was a dip in the river a few km outside of town.  Spent about half hour swiming and laying in the water and started to feel better. Carried on to the campsite and immediately headed to the river for another soak.  Felt better afterwards but decided not to ride the next day.  Even though I was disappointed not to ride, it was the right descision.  The next day I got an entirely different prespective on ROAM from a SAG vehicle.  Stats for the day:  about 170 km (105 miles) and 2470 metres (8,103ft) of climbing.

Day Three ROAM

Left camp quite early today as it will be a long day.  Some climbing to do with a steep descent at the end.  A bit worried about the distance not wanting to do the downhill bit at the end in the dark. 

First picture of the day looking east.

Two other early risers heading east into Washington State

Entering Washington State

Today's ride should be about 240 km long with the first stop in Walla Walla for some food.  Very glad to be off I84 and looking foward to arriving at the first place to eat. 

Ended up riding with Nick in the Go One as we are about the same speed.  Actually he's a bit faster at least on the uphill bits but likes my pace.  He was riding with some Quests and Mangos but they dropped him on a climb and we rode together from there on for a while.  Just before Walla Walla we caught up with the group that passed us as they had a flat. A couple other Quests came by at this time too and we all ended up entering town together.  We rode into town and spotted some other velos parked in front of an eatery.  First rule for food, look for velomobiles in front of the place, second rule look for bikes parked, third rule ask local cyclists where is a good place to eat.  Needless to say we parked and went in.  It took a while to get inside as we stood around answering some questions.  Once inside I order eggs benedict.  They were excellent, the best food on the trip.  So if you are in Walla Walla this is a highly recommended stop, Olive MarketPlace & Cafe at  21 East Main Street.  After this stop we were back on Highway 12 with the next stop being Dayton.  There was a fair climb up before heading down to Dayton.  It got very hot on the way up but once at the top there was a steep descent where I did use the brakes to slow down a few times.  I ended up dropping the Go One on the descent but Nick caught me up before Dayton.  
The stop in Dayton

After Dayton more climbing but not as steep until after Pomeroy.  When I finally got to Pomeroy I needed a rest before the final push to the top of the pass.  Luckily the grocery store was still open.   As I pull in behind the gas station there were  already eight or ten velos parked there.  I guess I wasn't the only one needing a break.  After a rest we all headed off with only another 15 miles to go to the top.  When I got to the final clmb I was feeling quite energized so I picked up the pace a bit and just made it to the top as the sun touched the horizon as you can see from the picture.

I hopped out and ran across the highway to snap the photo just as another rider was passing.  After a brief stop at the top, checking the tires and setting up the door to the max open position to act as a bit of a brake I was off.  It was quite steep and I braked often to keep speed in check.  I am pretty sure we got to over 80 kph.  The door being held open some was quite effective in helping control speed but even better it allows lots of air in to cool this overheated rider. 

 I was almost getting chilly and then I would hit a pocket of hot air and suddenly be warm again.  Hard to believe that we rode in those temperatures.  After the steepest part of the descent Marcus in his Milan flew by and was soon almost out of sight.  His rear lights are exceptionally bright, so much so that they may be too bright.  Even looking at them from a km away when he braked  reduced my night vision a bit.  The last half of the descent was in the dark.  I lost the two riders in front of me when I could no longer distingsh them in the distance from the traffic and car lights.  Thinking I had made a wrong turn I doubled back and discovered that I hadn't.  I searched around town a bit for the others and ended up riding back on the sidewalk on a one way street in downtown.  While doing this a truck stoopped to look at the velo and I asked for directions to the campsite and some place that would be open for food.  I rode across the bridge again to the suggested restaurant and found it was just closing.  However they did give me a large lemonade for free.  I drank about half of it right away and then headed off to find the campsite.  Once on the right track I went to drink some more and realized that it had tipped over. I guess I will have to wash the inside of the velo once I get back home.   Finally arrived at the campsite ate some of  food I had onboard and when to bed.  Long day probably about 250 km with a couple of good climbs.     

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Two ROAM

This is the first long day of ROAM.  It is also further than I have previously ridden on any single day.  My plan is to ride carefully to conserve energy for the next day which will be even harder.  I also want to sure to drink enough water as it is scheduled to be hot.  So far  in our summer we have only had a handfull of days that were even warm.  Upstairs in the shop it sometimes gets to the temperatures we have today.  It normally takes me a week or so to adjust to these temperatures but then I am not working as hard as I do riding a velomobile for 10 hours or so in a day. 

Navigating should be much easier today as there are only two detours and if I make a mistake I can always just figure out a way to get to the campsite at the end of the day.  Started out early and was soon riding by myself.  I almost stopped for a "second" breakfast in the first detour at Hood River.  This would have been a disaster as I would have ended up behind all the other riders and  have taken time out of the day for me to cover the distance at a reasonable pace.   I did stop a little while later at a Subway and picked up a small sub and some chocolate milk.  A bunch of other riders passed while I was there but they didn't see me as I was on the other side of the street.  I rode on a short ways and they were all pulled up at a coffee shop.  I sat in my velo and ate half my sub and had some milk while they got coffee.  We had a few folks come by and talk with us while sitting there.  We had been on the TV news the previous night so lots of folks were curious about us.  This is about as close as I want to be to being famous!!!   Velomobiles already attact lots of attention and I would prefer to remain somewhat more anonymous.  I did end up adding a few extra km and some extra climbing to the day when I made a wrong turn.  Ended up with a nice view of the valley.  At the next detour I was on the right track and asked a local man who flagged me down and was sent down the wrong road.  At the top of the hill Tom was stopped and pulled us over to redirect us to the right route.  Tom being there was a good thing as I may well have missed the next turn and ridden a few extra km before realizing my error.  This saved trying to get through some construction on the freeway.

Just after getting back onto the freeway after Hood River I was riding with Joseph, Nina and two other Quests.  I was feeling pretty good at this point and stayed with them for a while.  I decided after a while that their pace was a little high for me and let them get away.  I watched as they pulled away with the sun glinting off their velomobiles.  On the next uphill you could see them all in a row all looking quite yellow in the reflected light like a bunch of ducklings  along side the road.  This is probably the image I will remember best from the trip. 

At the stop in the afternoon when I arrived Joseph and Nina were resting in the shade.  They directed us to a restaurant across the street.  When we went in the temperature was 93 on the bank sign and when we came out it was 98.  This wasn't quite the hottest it got during the day.  It was really warm riding that afternoon!!

After this stop I continued on riding a bit slowly when I heard a beep beep behind me.  It was Joseph closing in fast and wanting to pass.  I moved over and let him by.  Luckily at this monent there wasn't much junk on the shoulder and two velos fit side by side without  riding on the rumble strip. Joseph was soon out of sight but I was now riding a bit faster with a slight downhill grade and a tailwind.  I hate tailwinds, especially on this day.  For the rest of the day on I-84 I was in top gear cruising along at 45-50 kph in virtually dead air.  I was very much looking foward to getting off the freeway.  I had had enough of lots of traffic and the danger of getting a flat from the tire debris on the shoulder.  The last few miles before turning off on 730 the freeway was newly paved.  Very smooth and very fast without a rumble strip.  Delightful to ride on but a bit scary as the lanes weren't yet marked and you could easily edge out into traffic.  After turning off on 730 I met up with Nick and John and we stopped at Irrigon for dinner.  This was necessary as there was no food at the campsite.  We also stopped at the grocery store in Umatilla for food for breakfast the next day.  Rode the last few km with the lights on, arriving at camp after dark. 

Here's the link to he route,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More on Day One ROAM

The highlight of the day was an escorted trip down the freeway with no cars.  It was really neat to be riding the freeway with no cars in sight.  Thank you, Oregon Depatment of Transport.  The reason for this was that there is a short section of tunnel with no shoulders on the freeway.  ROAM and  another large organized ride were to pass through the tunnel at similiar times and they were worried about our safety.  Here are a couple of shots of what it looked like. 

In the first picture you can see the EVO R overtaking me.  I'll have more to say about this velo in a later post. 

The Pub parking strip in Cascade Locks

The last bit of the ride I zoomed into camp.  Knowing the end was near and feeling good I pushed it a bit.  However riding back to town for dinner I noticed the effect of this and the days riding. On the way to town I spotted a fruit stand on the side of the road and stopped to ask where there was a good place to eat.  The fellow wasn't sure where but recommended the burger joint.  I bought some cherries from him and continued into town.  All this without getting out of the velomobile.  First drive thru fruit stand I have been to.  In town I met Joseph and Nina waiting at the burger joint.  They were worried about leaving their velos at the Pub as it looked like you couldn't keep an eye on them while in the Pub as there were a butch of motorbikes parked out front.  I went to check it out and returned suggesting we go there as you could park the velos around the side and keep an eye on them if you sat at the corner window.  Joseph headed over and by then some of the motorbikes had left so he could park out front.  We go inside and lots of our group were already there having gotten  car rides into town. By the time we came out velomobiles had completely displaced the motorbikes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

First day of ROAM

We were finally on the road headed to Portland by about 10:30.  When we got to the US border the wait to get across was about an hour.  So by the time we arrived in Portland it was very late in the afternoon just in time the hear the last bit of the volunteers meeting and attend the riders meeting at 7:00.  On the drive to Portland Aaron remarked that it seemed like a long drive and that we would have to cover half that distance every day riding.  This realization made me wonder what I had gotten into. 

Upon arrival at the Days Inn we were greeted by the biggest display of velomobiles in front the the Motel I had ever seen.  That night we put almost all the velos in the conference room in the motel.  There were too many to fit so some were left in the hallway.  The picture is actully the next morning with folks getting ready to ride.

Here is the start of the ride just leaving the parking lot to head out on the road.  It felt good to finally be underway as I have trouble just waiting around.

Here we are at the official send off spot at the fountain.  Once again I can hardly wait to get going.  It was fun talking to folks but I was still eager to go.

We are leaving downtown Portland. 

The route was a bit complicated -- the last person to make a turn had to wait before the turn for those following to show them the route.  This didn't happen a few times and some folks got lost.  It happened to me too but luckily I had ridden this stretch at the Left Coast Velomobile Gathering and was helped out by a local cyclist who guided us back on route.  The Springwater Corridor is a rail trail and quite nice to ride along.  It has quite a few intersections with the road network.  It was not uncommon for motorists to stop and get out of their cars to wave us through while stopping other traffic.  A good day was had by all. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Off to ROAM

Heading off to Portland this morning to join in the first bit of the ride across America.  They are riding from Portland  to Washington DC in month.  For more info check out  It should be lots of fun to be able to ride with a whole bunch of other velomobiles.  I will also get to see some models that I haven't seen before. 

I will pick up Aaron and his Quest and expect to arrive in Portland late in the afternoon.  I haven't been riding much so I expect to be pretty slow compared to the other folks.  If I succeed in making it to Missoula with using the SAG wagon it will be the furtherest I have ridden in a day and the furthest I have ridden in two day back to back and the furtherest for five days.  My motto will be "slow but steady", making sure I ride at my pace. 

Cycling and Pedestrian Overpass

Two weeks ago on a rainy Saturday I rode over to the official opening of the Tynehead Perimeter Trail Opening, From the picture you can tell it was wet as I had the roof on the whole time.

 I almost didn't get out except there was some cake to go with the opening and a burger after.  Here's another photo of the bridge across the freeway.

This highway cuts diagionaly through the Fraser valley dividing it in two with realtively few places for cyclists to cross it.  I once rode out to Abbotsford to a kayak event and it ended up being 70 km instead of about 40 km I anticipated as I had to ride out of my way to cross this freeway.  A couple of deadends also added to the distance.

The trail around Tynehead Park is marvelious.  Five kilometers of very smooth payment and no cars to worry about.  Mind you should be carefull around pedestrians and slower cyclists.  This is one of the bigger green spaces in Surrey and will offer a nice change from riding with cars especialy when the greenways connecting it are all finished.  For more info on all this go to this  map for a map of the routes.

Cockpit Stiffener

A photo of the cockpit stiffener ribs being installed.  The stiffener is actually a "C" section part that is made in a mould, demoulded, trimmed, sanded and then bonded to the shell.  So far I have been using three layers of graphite for the rib and it is plenty stiff enough.  Just two layers may not be stiff enough as you can feel it give when you grap it to get in or out.   The addition of the stiffener has changed how I get in and out.  The procedure is now to stand on the seat use your arms to support some weight and slide into the seat.  Once sitting down just clip in and pedal off while latching the door in place.  There is plenty of room to do this with the door open and out of the way.  This is the only real practical way to get in with the central steering.  Before I would stand on the ground with my feet through the footholes and then sit down by doing a deep knee bend.  The advantage of this was that if you couldn't put weight on your arms you could still get in and out.  With the central steering  the handle bar is somewhat it the way so the new method is simpler.  I can be in and riding off in three or  four seconds if I clip in nicely.  Not quite as quick as an upright bike but lots quicker than most other velomobiles.  Another advantage of the new way is that I can now close off  one foothole and reduce the size of the other.  I can't see completely closing off both as you would lose the reverse gear.  It is sometimes still useful to be able to back up to squeeze through tight spots. 

I also checked the turning radius of the V3 the other day and can do a 180 turn in just slightly over four meters.  So a turn radius of 2 meters which is really excellent for a velomobile. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Back on Two Wheels and Clipping In

I have been riding my two wheel Vison recumbent when I am up on Quadra Island.  Its a completely different experince from the Borealis.  It's taking some getting used to being on two wheels again.  I have pedals that are a platform on one side and spd on the other.  For my first ride I clipped in and road off without incident.  I rode for about 10 km and then decided to take a short cut on a trail.  When I first turned on the trail I thought about unclipping but the trail seemed pretty good so I didn't.  Well not more than 5 minutes later I am laying in the bush clipped in.  A sharp turn and some roots across the trial did me in.  This may be a gentle message to get an upright bike for this sort of thing!! You think I would learn from this but on the next ride I again ended up on the ground again.  This time it was just forgetting to unclip when I was going too slow and shifting on a hill.  I was pretty casual about it not paying particular attention and just fell over onto the payment.  I prefer the bush its softer.  This would never happen on three wheels.  I have noticed that I am more relaxed in the velomobile not having to worry about unclipping in time.  While I am just as comfortable sitting on the Vision or the Borealis all things being equal I'll take the Borealis.  I must admit that the Vision is still an nice bike in spite of being 15+ years old.

On a ride earlier this year I noticed that I was through the intersecftion(from a dead stop) before the roadies had clipped in.  By the time they caught up I was already at about 20 kph.  The hard part in the velomobile is the slower acceleration  from the low-mid twenties to cruising speed.  Its OK do do a few of these stop and starts on a ride but if you have very many it cuts into your average speed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Canada Day Ride

The BC Randonners Cycling Club, have a Populaire every July 1.  It starts in Fort Langley and heads out the Fraser valley to Vedder Crossing and is as many kilometres long as Canada in old. So this year it was 144 km. 
These couple of pictures were taken climbing Straiton Hill.  You end up climbing about 190 meters in around 3 km.  I now have a routine where I eat a sandwich on the way up.  This time it was acually a sandwich and a half.  Lots of folks passed me that I had passed earlier on. 

The route has a couple of km of flat terrain at the start of the ride and then it's uphill and some rollers but mostly up until you get down onto the Sumas flats.  From just after the uphills started I was riding with two women and we kept passing one another as the terrian favored them or a velomobile.  This must have happened a dozen times.  Once it flatten out a bit I was riding by myself until just before the last bit of the descent onto Sumas flats.  From here to just a short way up Straiton hill I passed some but they all(and more) passed me on the hill.  After the hill there was a very steep descent to the first contol station.  At the control station Aaron riding a Quest caught up with me.  We rode together for a little bit and then he took off.  I rode a steady pace and didn't get sucked into riding faster as I had on a couple of previous rides. As a result I was able to finish the ride comfortably and felt pretty good the next day.   The next section to the next control is only about 20 km and its quite flat.  This bit went by quite quickly.  The section after this ends up at the third control point at Birchwood Dairy. Needless to say I stopped for an ice cream cone.  In previous years the last 45 km seemd the toughest as I did a poor job of pacing myself.  This year this part was fun too.  It has a long straight section with some hills.  Mostly I was keeping up, being passed on the uphills, flying by on the downhills and catching up on the flats.  This continued until there was just a bit too much up and most folks I had been riding with disappeared in front of me.  The last 10 or so km were quite fun as it is mostly gently down so I could fly along without much effort.  I suspect that I would have been faster overall on my highracer but I wouldn't have had as much fun. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pictures of the V3

This is in front of  the new coffee shop in Pitt Meadows.  It is on the banks of  the Fraser River very close to a multi use trail.   Unfortunately there is nothing like this in my town where you can sit outside and enjoy the view without a busy street in front of you.  Its about 15 km from the house or work. 
My Borealis V3 parked where we had a picknik lunch.
The door opened on the vent blocks so the air conditioning is operational.

A close up view of how much the door is held open. 


This is one of the favorite times of year for me.  Here's a picture of why

On one of my last rides I managed to buy some fresh local strawberries.  There isn't a much better way to end a ride than with fresh strawberries and ice cream.  It took some doing to find the strawberries as the first stand I stopped at did not have any yet.  The next place as sold out till the next morning and the local larger grocery store didn't have any.  The local produce seller, my last restore did have some.  Normally at time of year the local strawberries are already finished.  This year has been very cool and wet so with no sign of summer being here yet.  I heard that this is the longest wait for summer to start of 50 years.    I was getting tried and needed a short rest before climbing the hill to home so I stopped again and picked up some beer. 

Last year when I picked up strawberries I left the box open and they were half gone before I got home. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

V3 Mould Finished

I have finally finished changing the V3 mould and can now get serious about building the first one for sale. 

It took quite a while to sand the changed area so it matched the rest of the mould well.  I also had to work on some kayak orders which slowed  the process down.  I was also a bit discouraged when this side didn't work out as well as the first side.  The first side just needed some careful sanding and it was done. I had to refill the second side three or four times before it was even close.  The area altered is the different coloured spot on the mould. 

Car Driver Behaviour

Went for a bit longer ride last Sunday.  I think I have confirmed my suspicion that the best way to annoy car drivers is to ride at a speed that is a bit less than the speed limit but close to their speed.  This seems particularly true when it's a spot where they have a hard time to pass you safely.  We have two roads in Maple Ridge that I try not to ride very often as there is a lot of car traffic on them as it one of only three routes going east-west.  I stopped riding along Old Dewdney Trunk an year or so ago when I was passed without proper care.  It is a narrow, two lane road without shoulders,  a deep water filled ditch on one side and a barbed wire farm fence on the other with power poles near the edge of the road.  I was heading east, nearing a right angle corner when a pickup truck passed me forcing the on coming car to veer far to the right near the ditch.  I saw the situation developing and moved as far to the right as I could and braked  to let the truck in.  The truck was by me when I looked and saw the driver in the oncoming car.  He had big eyes and a rather pale look on his face.  I recognise this look from white water paddling where the paddler is much less than comfortable with the situation they are in. In fact, they have suffered a good scare and just barely survived.   The road I was on Sunday is part of this same route but a bit further east.  It's also narrow but only has shallow ditches on either side with power poles on one side.  I had just ridden along the previously mentioned section so I could use the washroom at a park along the road there.  As I was leaving the park a couple of roadies rode by.  I decided to see if I could catch them but they made it through the next traffic light and I had to wait.  At the next light I caught up and realized I was riding much faster that they were so I just stayed on the same road as it's the flatest route to where I was going.  I was riding along at about 40 kph with a bit of oncoming traffic when first one car and then a second passed me having become impatient sitting behind me.  Both times they probably should not have passed as there wasn't really enough space to do so safely.  By the way, the speed limit there is 50 kph but most folks drive at 60 kph  or more.  Less than a km from where I was passed there is a short bike lane where they could have safely gone by.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What does this have to do with velomobile?

The picture shows an old wheelbarrow that seems very much unrelated to anything to do with velomobiles.  It is an essential piece of equipment for my new shop in which to build velomobiles.  I am in the process of repurposing the barn at our new home into a storage facility/shop by removing the dirt floor and then replacing it with a concrete slab.  The plan is to store all our moulds and machinery in the barn while we build a new shop to work in.  The only negative so far is that Quadra Island in not too velomobile friendly being quite hilly.  There is some velomobile friendly terrain on Vancouver Island which is only a 10 minute ferry ride away.  The grocery store, post office and licquor store and  closer than they are now with more rolling terrain than the one big hill on the way home we have now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

V2 Improvements

Some of the improvements on the V3 are going to be incorporated into the V2.  The new signal controller is much simpler and more robust.  It now uses relays for the signal lights and has mostly soldered connections.  The running lights can be left on or they can be turned off to conserve power as the lights come on instantly when you restore power.  Before the chip in the control module had to boot up first and this took a few seconds.  The wheel fairings developed for the V3 will fit the V2.  The bulkhead and rear fender for the V3 will also work in the V2 as they are a lighter and better way of attaching the rear of the trike to the fairing.  The new rear fender from the V3 will require some modification to the V2 mould so it will take some time to implement.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I finallly got to try out some magnets that have been gathering dust on my workbench at home for a few months.  Instead of using the velcro I used some magnets to do the job.   Suprise surprise they work.

In fact just the one large magnet will hold the deflector in place at 80 kph.  I added the smaller magents just in case the large one didn't quite do the job.  My source for the magnets is here,42363,42348&ap=1.

I am using the 3/4" size for the larger one and 1/2" for the smaller ones.  I have a magnet glued on to the deflector and another one glued  to underside of the door.  I will try and see if three of the small magnets have enough holding power.  If they do the next step would be to use steel washers on the underside of the door rather than more magnets and see if that still works.   The really neat part is that the deflector just jumps into place when you get it is close to the right spot.  The door looks lots better without the Velcro stuck to it. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

V3 one last Tweak

I decided to make one last improvemnt on the V3 before starting on the first order.  In the picture you can see the black line drawn inside the wheel well. 

I will change the shape of the mould so the  line is now the outside of the shape.  This will reduce the area exposed to airflow behind the wheel a bit. 

Here you can see the mould cut away waiting for the new shape to be inserted.  Once the new shape is held in place I will rebuild the mould over it.  Then comes the tricky part of matching it to the existing mould.  Mostly its a lot of tedious delicate sanding. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Borealis V3 Progress

I have been riding the Borealis V3 for some time now.  This first one was built using carbon/vectran hybrid material for the outside layer and kevlar as the inside layer.  It ended up a bit heavier than I had hoped but its quite robust.  It will be able to survive lots of abuse.  With suspension all round it is still under 80 pounds.

This one has front suspension.  I would keep the front suspension but if you were going for the lightest weight possible I would get rid of it.  If you have the choice of having suspension on the rear wheel or the front wheels for comfort choose the rear wheel.  While the front suspension gives you some good feed back for cornering the rear helps the velomobile be more comfortable and quiter.    I have a WAW to compare to which has front and not rear suspension.  The crom-moldy frame of the QNT trike in my V2 soaks up some bumps so this may not be a completely fair comparison. 

Some of the improvements on the V3 are going to be incoporated into the V2.  The new signal controller is much simplier and more robust.  It now uses relays for the signal lights and has mostly soldered connections.  The running lights can be left on  or they can be turned off to conserve power as the lights come on instanly when you restore power.  Before the chip in the contol module had to boot up first and this took a few seconds.  The wheel fairings developed for the V3 will fit the V2.  The bulkhead and rear fender for the V3 will also work in the V2 as they are a lighter and better way of attaching the rear of the trike to the fairing. 

 I can now finally see how the finished product will be.  Once the new rear fender is done we will be able to take orders.

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Rear Fender for V3

The first fender ended up being a bit too small.  I was tring to maximize the amount of storage space and guessed a little wrong when measuring.  The second fender had the same problem but it was almost just right.  While it just worked for my weight around 75 kg when we tried it with our 100 kg tester we had some rubbing on bumps and hard cornering.  I now have the third version installed and will test it this weekend.

If this one works out we will be building a new mould and constructing the fender in two halves.  The procedure will be to hand laminate each side then clamp the moulds together and finish laminating the join area.  I have given up trying to make this part by vacuum bagging or infusion as the extra cost is hard to justify.  Most of the extra cost is in the time required to make the part.  The additional effort would be justified if you needed to save 100 g or so.

Tried it out this weekend and it still needs a small change.  The wheel can still touch the fender but you have to corner hard.  I will put some fill on the pattern to add a bit more room inside the fender.  After taking the back end off the velo I can remove the fender, cut some of it way and relaminate this part of the fender on the changed pattern and then try it out again.

Discovery Ride

The local cycling advocacy group has started to host rides around the community.  This was the first time we did this and everyone enjoyed the experience.  It is pretty rare to see another recumbent  locally never mind a trike.  For a longer account of the ride go to
There were a couple of spots where I had to get out of the velombile and we lifted it over obstructions.  I would not normally have ridden through these two spots as there were more direct and more velo friendly choices that go to same places.  The difference being that you are now on busier streets.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Front Wheel Fairing

I have been working on making a fairing to close in the space around the front wheels. 

There is some masking tape along the edge of the fairing just so you have contrast between the black tire and the black carbon fairing.  There is now about a 3-5 mm gap in front of the front wheels.  This is a considerable improvement over before.  The big plus for these is that you could have separate sets of fairings if you run skinny tire or fat ones and still be very aero.  I am sure its a small improvement but they all count.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lid for Rain

Here's an early prototype of the lid to close off the head opening.  This would go a long way to making being caught in another spring shower more acceptable.  I could have the cover beside me in the velo and deploy it while riding.  This would be quicker to do rather than stopping to put on the Flevobike roof.  From the weather forecast I may be able to try it out tomorrow morning.  The lid was an experiment using a new material called Innegra that didn't quite work out as well as hoped. If it is a good solution I'll make another cover that matches the velo better.     

Speed and Weight

Mark brought his Borealis up to us to fit the V2 top to it.  The goal in doing this was to make the velo a bit speedier and lighter.  We built the new top in carbon and kevlar.  When we were done  we weighed his velo it was 72 pounds.  He had weighed it at the Sea Otter Gourment Velomobile Gathering and it was 81 pounds.  To be truely comparable to that wight he may still end up adding a pound or two for the battery and lights. We were quite successful in reducing the weight.  There is still more potential for weight reduction if we replace the bottom of the shell which is a glass laminate with one of carbon and kevlar.   I estimate that we could further reduce the weight by 3-5 pounds.  Mark has a custom QNT inside his Borealis with 451 rims and skinny tires. On smooth pavement this combination is quicker than the 406 Marathon Racers I use on mine.  The 451 rims fit with a bit of room to spare in the front wheel wells.  The mould for the composite wheel covers is just barely large enough for the covers to work on this size rim.  If we made up new wheel covers we could save another half a pound. 
Mark  has made some modications to go a bit faster.  He has added a pointed nose to the front that is bolted and taped in place so it can easily be added or removed.  The heel cutouts in the floor are partially closed off with a lexan sheet.  There is also a wind deflector to divert the airflow around your head.  On his previous top he also had a canopy that goes between the wind deflector and the bump behind your head that cleans up the airflow a bit more.  With this configuration he was the fastest velo in a roll down test at the Sea Otter Velomobile Gathering.  Mark and I changed the lexan sheet that partially closed off the heel cutouts to a carbon sheet.  He now has a very small cutout in the sheet his heels pass through when pedalling.  For the future this sheet could have a bump in it for your heels rather than the hole further improving the speed potential.  I would still keep the hole in the right side as this is handy to still have reverse. 

Mark and I did a couple of short tests with and without the new nose.  Mark needs to do some  controlled roll down tests before I am convinced that it is an improvement.  I was about the same speed with and without it on the section of highway that I normally ride home on.  With the V1 top, wind deflector and nose I was  29.5-30 mph while with the V2 top, wind deflctor and nose I was 31.5 mph.  Both Mark and I agree that the new top is faster.  I think most of the gain was from lowering the frontal area.  Cleaning up the airflow around your head is the single biggest speed improvement available.