Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The return of the velomobile

Photo by: Evan Leeson

Getting around in a crowded city isn't always easy. The traffic jams, the long transit commutes or the desperate search for parking seem to be the only choices for those not lucky enough to live near their workplaces. Cycling to work is a wonderful solution, but it can be challenging in cold or rainy climates (such as Vancouver or Seattle).

Photo by: albularider via Flickr

Velomobiles are the answer. These vehicles are, to put it simply, covered bicycles. Velomobiles have been around since the 30s. Their design is more aerodynamic then that of the bicycle, and often requires less energy to propel. In fact, because velomobiles are in many ways similar to bicycles, they were initially used in bicycle races, but were banned due to the advantages that a velomobile provides (even when compared to a racing bicycle).

Velomobile raceVelomobile raceThe Pedelux CyclecarThe Pedelux Cyclecar

Of course, the velomobile would also infuse exercise into the daily routine. Considering the dangers of the sedentary lifestyle of most office-working urbanites, this is a must. Preventing obesity, diabetes and heart disease on your way to work is efficient and great for your physique.

We're not all athletes, and that should also be remembered. Many velomobiles now come with the option of a small (usually electric) motor to assist in travelling uphill. The motor is there when you need help, and ensures that you conquer hills and difficult segments of the commute at a consistent and comfortable speed.

An upright velomobile modelAn upright velomobile vehicle by VeloMetro a velomobile in the city Recumbent-style velomobile in the city. Photo by livewombat via Flickr

Velomobiles are slowly gaining ground and becoming more popular. There are many varied models, both recumbent and upright. For more information, you can read more about velomobiles, and about other eco-friendly ways to get around the city.