Here are two velomobiles riding home from work after dark. I think this is in Holland where they sure have nice cycling infrastructure.

Looks like they are ENJOYING THE RIDE. Let’s all do the same.

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recently came across an article about velomobiles which I found very interesting and well written so I am sharing a link to it HERE.

Here is the article’s opening paragraph:

Recumbent bikes with bodywork evoke a curious effect. They look as fast as a racing car or a jet fighter, but of course, they’re not. Nevertheless, thanks to the recumbent position, the minimal weight and the outstanding aerodynamics, pedaling a “velomobile” requires three to four times less energy than pedaling a normal bicycle.

The one thing I saw throughout the article which always bothers me when I come across it is their referring to a trike as a bike. That is like calling a truck a car … something very misleading and confusing. It is not at all “savvy”. I realize that there are velomobiles which are bikes (two wheels), but most are trikes (three wheels). Anyway, the article covers a lot of aspects of velomobiles and is informative.


Every time I see this picture it reminds me of sitting in a jet fighter looking forward thru the windshield. I bet the jet fighter cockpit is a lot more comfortable to ride inside of than a velomobile though.


Yes, once again I was having a little fun with photo editing. This is probably as close as I will ever get to looking thru the windshield of a velomobile … at least from the inside looking out. 😉

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Sunrider velomobiles are a product of the Netherlands. Yes, the Dutch are known for cycling including velomobiles and, in fact, has the distinction of having a city known to be the most bicycle friendly city per capita in the entirety of the world. Groningen, Netherlands – around 50% of the population of Groningen commutes on bicycles every day.

sunrider2 velomobile 2

But I am talking about velomobiles and the Sunrider is a nifty looking machine. It is perhaps the interior of these I am most impressed with. In this video below the builder explains and displays various aspects of the design and manufacture of his product.

Wheels : 4
Length: 270 cm
Width: 80 cm
Height: 110 cm
Speed: 45 km/h
Electric motor: 350 Watt
Weight: ±65 kg

For more information …

Here is what Sunrider says concerning their product:

“The Sunrider is a velomobile: a single seated, covered recumbent tricycle. Best it is used together with a electric pedal asist. The lightweight body provides high protection and comfort for all those wet and windy days. Because of the excellent aerodynamics of this spectacular vehicle you often ride faster than normal (race) bikes. Driving a velomobile is a unique experience, after one ride in a velomobile you won´t go back!

The design is dynamic and functional at the same time. Large space for driver and luggage, great view of the road and easy to use. The two air intakes on the side of the hood keep the Sunrider well ventilated. The large opening hood makes boarding or storing luggage easy. The Sunrider has a turning radius of 10 metres and is very manouverable in everyday traffic. It has the Rohloff 14 gears hub and a rooftop.

The Sunrider has a very nice and sleek finished interior. The adjustable bucket seat will provide sufficient support and a very pleasant and comfortable ride. The chain is almost completely embodied in the frame, so no more dirty pants! The very simple joystick operation in the Sunrider makes it a very nice and tight steering velomobile. Control elements such as gears, brakes and a parking brake, lights, horn and indicator lights are always within reach and easy to operate.

The Sunrider is a fully self-supporting frame of fiberglass reinforced polyester. This frame constitutes a large portion of the interior of the Sunrider. The balanced composite construction is virtually maintenance free and provides excellent stability for the vehicle.

Safety and comfort of the Sunrider was our main objective. The dimensions of the Sunrider were chosen to be well visible in heavy traffic, while the limited width allows it to be ridden also on the cycling lanes. The Sunrider comes standard with full suspension and two powerful 90 mm drumbrakes at the front wheels. For good visibility, the Sunrider has front and rear lights. Side mirrors give the rider  a clear view all around.”

Just a note from me … they state 10 meters as the turning diameter as if that should be impressive. Hey, that is nearly 33 feet. I have to admit that I am very impressed, but not in the positive sense. That is a humongous turning diameter. My tadpole trike turns in about a 14 foot diameter. There is no way such a vehicle could negotiate the turns on many bike trails. We have some turns on our local trails some brands of tadpole trikes can’t negotiate.

In the Netherlands this vehicle is considered a moped and requires a moped licence or a driver’s licence to legally ride it. Here in the U.S. mopeds do not require licensing although I think they should as far too many inexperienced operators are involved in numerous wrecks resulting in serious injuries and deaths.

The Sunrider can be purchased with or without electric motor assist. Their electric motor assist is known as “Human Electric Hybrid”.

exploded view

sunrider velomobile inside body

On thing I have not figured out is “how do you back this up?” since the interior is entirely enclosed. I assume the electric motor assist offers a means of backup, but I am puzzled over the non motorized version. I tried to find the answer to this online, but had no success.

By the way, the non motorized version weighs a hefty 99+ pounds so it would be challenging pedaling it uphill. So the Sunrider velomobile is sharp looking, but very heavy. That is not surprising with all that interior body added to it. The motorized version weighs over 143 pounds. Sounds a clear cut case of “battery don’t fail me now” as pedaling that weight around would get your attention.

I stumbled across this which might be of interest to some. It is a Frequently Asked Questions about velomobiles.

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God’s Word declares:  “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Another way of stating this is that history repeats itself. (BTW, that includes “global warming”.) We have a tendency to think that our modern day tadpole trikes are a relatively new innovation, but the truth is they have been around for a very long time. Now I am not talking about thousands of years, but they do go back about 140 years or so … 1875 to the best of my knowledge and understanding. I can’t post a picture of it here for fear of being sued so HERE is a link to a website where you can see it.

1928 velocar

Velocars have been around for a long time also and they still exist today. The one pictured above is from 1928.

1945 Mochet velocar

One of the very earliest was made in France by a man and his son. Their family name was Mochet. Slowly their product evolved from pedal power to small gas engine powered. The engine was 125cc which meant that no driver’s license was required to operate one. For a very long time there was no reverse gear, but eventually one was added. Much of the early history of this company and their product was during the Great Depression when money was scarce and life was difficult. Eventually they offered a model with a 175cc engine which required a driver’s license. They started producing commercial vehicles and went exclusively with those before closing the factory in 1958. Prior to closing Mochet produced 30 to 40 vehicles a month. Toward the end they produced a 750cc engine vehicle. Their demise occurred when the law was changed reducing the engine size from 125 cc down to 50 cc for no licensing required. They had produced vehicles for 24 years before shutting down. And it all started out as pedal power. I wonder what would have happened if they would have just remained all pedal power instead of motorizing them.

There is a well written and informative article found HERE about this company and their products. Here is an excerpt of the article:

“The pedals were connected by chains to an intermediate drive shaft located under the seats. From there, two chains with different gear ratios drove the rear axle. The gears were selected with a small lever under the driver’s seat that connected to an interesting clutch system. Mochet kept making improvements, adding a third gear and then a separate chain that was permanently engaged. It turned on a freewheel whenever one of the other gears was engaged, and acted as first gear when the lever was positioned in neutral.

People Powered – Velocars, Microcars, the Wars & the Mochets
As bicycles at the time got more gears, so did velocars finally getting up to 5 in 1940. The rear wheel hubs had unusual drum brakes with the shoes and linings on the outside of the drum. When you squeezed the brake handle, the brakes squeezed the drum. The Velocars were quite popular, believe it or not. They weren’t built by the thousands by any means, but people used them on holiday, to go to work, or to the store. You could get one with a little pickup-like box on the back to use as a delivery vehicle.”

velocar green


pedals inside

Velocars have had the form of tadpole, delta and quad. Some have had handlebars while others have had automotive type steering wheels. Some have had full bodies while others had only partial bodies.

1932 Mochet velocar

There were even 2 wheeled models. Here is one.

2 wheeled velocar

And here is a guy who made a modern day quad …

And here is another modern day one …

Lastly here is one I think you will enjoy watching …

Yes, tadpole trikes have been around for awhile, but that is not to say that they haven’t been greatly improved since their early days. Even the enclosed trikes are greatly improved over the early ones. Compare these two:

small quad

Ginzvelo right rear view

Yep, we have come a long way, baby!

It is great to know that thru the many years man has been able to …


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Another velomobile is trying to make it to market. The Ginzvelo it an interesting design.

Ginzvelo left front view 2

That large opening in the front, for instance … ah, air! That would help reduce the riding in a greenhouse/sauna effect so common in most velomobiles. That large opening would certainly help, but I would still want large air vents up around the canopy and I don’t see any. And in the cold weather I would think that large opening in the front would allow too much cold air in.

It uses the ICE Adventure trike. This is classified as a Human Electric Hybrid (HED) and, of course, is also classified as a bicycle as far as where it can be ridden and parked. At the time of this posting the Ginzvelo is in a kickstarter program.

GinzVelo Features:
Chassis: ICE Adventure
Electric Drive: E-BikeKit 500w Brushless Hub Motor
Battery: ALLCELL 48V 20 Ah
Max Speed (electric only): 20 MPH
Max Speed (human only): 30 MPH+
Range (electric only): 75-100 miles
Range (Human only): unlimited
Storage Capacity: 2 cubic feet
Lights: All LED Headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals

If I understand correctly at present during the kickstarter campaign there are two options currently being offered as far as “models”:

Sparten model for $3900 includes: The Atrix Shell, Headlights, Tailights, Turn Signals, Storage Net and free shipping to the lower 48 states. (note: does not include the trike, electric motor or battery)

Ginzvelo model for $6900 includes: A complete Ginzvelo with the Atrix body, ICE Adventure chassis, Headlights, Tail lights, Turn signals, 500watt E-Bikes kit, 20 AH Allcell battery, storage net and included shipping to the lower 48 states. After the kickstarter program ends the price is expected to go up to just under $10,000.

Ginzvelo left side

It has a 500 watt motor in the rear wheel hub. Using this size motor instead of the larger 750 watt does help to extend the distance one can travel on a single battery charge.

One thing I really like about it is how simple and easy it is to get in and out of. Most velomobiles are rather challenging and would be too difficult and unsafe for many people to even attempt to get in and out of.

Ginzvelo getting in

Ginzvelo open shell

This velomobile weighs only 85 pounds … not bad considering all that one sees which is extra beyond what a basic tadpole trike weighs. The monstrous HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS 26 with electric motor pedal assist weighs just over 68 pounds … twice what my Catrike Trail weighs. And it is just a plain tadpole trike, not a velomobile. So 85 pounds is pretty light considering it has the velomobile body on it.

Ginzvelo 1

The use of an ICE trike would not be my choice as I don’t care for the indirect steering (doesn’t turn sharp enough) nor the seat (too small). I would have much rather they offer it using a Catrike which has direct steering and a larger seat. I have ridden with ICE trikes and often they could not make the turns I made with ease. They had to stop and back up, go forward, stop, back up, go forward … just to get around the turn we were making. That is ridiculous! There is no excuse for such engineering design.

Ginzvelo right rear view

Ginzvelo reports that the velomobile has no suspension. If suspension is desired it must be ordered from ICE for an additional cost ($600 for rear suspension & $1200 for full suspension). One can buy a brand new car for the kind of money we talking here.

Ginzvelo 2

For an additional $200 the Ginzvelo can be outfitted with blue and green gel paint that glow in the dark to increase visibility at night. [Also looks really cool] Other more unique aesthetics are considered carefully on a case by case basis for marketing purposes.

Ginzvelo 3

Notice in the picture below that the opening in the front is missing. According to the question and answer page on their website it has been changed in the current design. All the air flow comes in from under the body. It still exits the same out the back behind the rider’s head.

Ginzvelo 4

Who knows, maybe someday we will see lots of velomobiles running around instead of so many cars. They are kinda cute!

Update (2/4/2016) — I just checked their WEBSITE and saw that they are selling their product now.

GinzVelo Atrix [BACKLOG 65 DAYS]

$9,000.00 – $12,000.00

A complete Ginzvelo with the Atrix body, ICE Adventure chassis, Headlights, Tail lights, Turn signals, Drive System, 20 AH battery, storage net and included shipping to the lower 48!



Velomobiles are an interesting animal. Some are quite streamilined and slick looking. They look like they could fly if they had wings or compete with the fastest of race cars. Of course neither is true. But don’t underestimate them. There truly is somthing to that slick looking design.

velomobile trisled

The view from the pilot seat might even look like your are looking out of the cockpit of a jet fighter plane.

oceancycle velomobile for ICE cockpitt view looking forward

view from cockpit of velomobile

Did you know it takes 3.5 times more physical effort to ride a bicycle than it does a velomobile? So while a well conditioned bicyclist may be able to ride at 25 mph someone of the same physical ability can pedal a velomobile along at 30 plus mph. Keep in mind that this is dispite the fact that the velomobile weighs far more than a bicycle.

HERE is a list of velomobiles which have been made in the world.

Here are a couple of intersting informative articles on velomobiles to read:

Another factor is that they offer a degree of personal protection not found on a bicycle or even a tadpole trike. This one was hit by an SUV. Obviously it is a bit messed up but that is not true of the pilot.

smashed by suv at 20 mph

According to what I have read the top maximum speed of a velomobile obtainable on level ground is about 50 mph. That’s pretty impressive.

This velomobile is said to be capable of going about 80 mph.

velomobile - sleek fast looking 3

I would say that that is definitely putting the pedal(s) to the metal!

velomobile - sleek fast looking 2

So I can’t help but wonder what we will see in the future in the realm of velomobiles. Buck Rogers, move over!

velomoble space rocket

I find velomobiles interesting and intriguing, but persoanlly they don’t appeal to me other than the fact that they would be nice in inclement weather. I like being out in the open with the air fully on me as I ride along. But hey, if piloting one of these slick looking vehicles is your cup of tea … go for it. With or without a “shell” hopefully we can all …


I can’t leave this subject without having some fun. Here is proof that these things are fast …

velomobile wins


Hey, I worked long and hard to deceive you!


ROAM velomobiles

Below is one of the articles I wrote and is posted on Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum blog back when I wrote articles for it. Steve Greene was kind and gracious in giving his permission for me to post the articles here on my own blog. In doing so I have added the images.

Velomobiles have been covered on this blog before so I am not trying to go over old ground.  I am sure some Trike Asylum readers were aware that last year a whole bunch of velomobiles undertook quite an adventure peddling from the West Coast (Oregon) to Washington, D.C. in what was called ROAM.

ROAM logo

They came thru Fort Wayne, IN where I live.

ROAM Chicago to Ft. Wayne route

A local man, John Dorrill who is a friend of mine and fellow Greenway Ranger, interviewed and video taped  riders as they rolled into Johnny Appleseed Park to the campgrounds where they were camping for the night.  I was there as well.  Below is his video.  It doesn’t sell me on velomobiles but it is interesting.  When I saw these riders crawl out of their vehicles soak and wet like they had been in swimming with all their clothes on (seriously) it didn’t take long for me to think … nope, this isn’t for me!   I get hot and sweaty enough sitting out in the open air.  Anyway, I think John did a very good job shooting this video and interviewing the riders.

Here is his description which accompanies the video:

The first episode in my new series about all things related to human powered vehicles including velomobiles, bikes, trikes, peddle boat and anything that requires human propulsion. This episode is about the Roll Over America {ROAM} riders that started in Oregon and went to DC.
Special thanks to Access Fort Wayne for making this possible.