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.