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Challenger Velomobile

Challenger Velomobile

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Oliebollentocht 2009 - part 1 Largest meeting of velomobiles in the world

The Times Cities fit for cycling

This is why Holland is so far ahead at promoting cycling with fantastic cycleways and bikes having priority over cars. In order to get a dramatic shift in encouraging commuters away from their cars, we need cycleways like those in Groningen, Holland. AND Velomobiles to provide protection from our weather. The Challenger Velomobile would do well in Holland as offers full weather protection. Wouldn't be a bad idea for  http://oceancycle.co.uk/ to start marketing over there? I wonder how many http://www.icetrikes.co/ are sold in Holland?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Bricks and Bread by umkokolo at Garmin Connect - Details

The Times Cities fit for cycling
Bricks and Bread by umkokolo at Garmin Connect - Details

Used the Challenger for a 71 mile round trip to attend sustainability workshop at http://www.bricksandbread.com in rush hour traffic both ways. Managed to keep up with XJS Jaguar from Henley to Wokingham (9 miles) as caught up with him at every traffic lights.

Constant stop start in traffic took toll on battery as ran out of power 3 miles from venue. Return took different route and plenty of battery left. Swapped some homemade bullace jam in return for recharging battery.

Going by car might have saved 1/2 to 3/4 hr each way.......maybe???

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Upgrades

The Times Cities fit for cycling

Having new led lights installed and some minor body modifications by Marcin at Ocean Cycles. Definitely needed better lighting for the rural downhills. Also bought new 75 tooth front chain ring to improve high speed gearing. Will update on how all this works....


Gearing

The 75 tooth chainring, which I managed to source from Germany via ebay, greatly improves cruising speed performance even with the 14-28 tooth freewheel. Can now maintain 25-30 mph on the flat. My overall average speed for the round trip to Henley and back (20 miles) has now increased from 17 mph to 21mph. I now plan to replace the 5 speed 14-28 freewheel with a 7 speed 11-32 which should improve things further.

I've kept the middle and granny gear as this comes in handy when the battery fails. This happened at the bottom of Woodcote Hill and I simply moved the chain over to the granny gear by hand. Worked just about ok but the chain does drag along the road so wouldn't be able to go far but at least it got me out of trouble. Enough to get me to site where I could recharge the battery for the return journey.


Lights

Marcin at Ocean Cycle also fitted new 5W LED spotlights and new battery pack. I got a bit of internal glare so sealed around the lights with tape as a temporary measure. Have ordered some aluminium tape used to stick multi-foil insulation and will use this as a more permanent fix. Lights are great now and can at least see ahead on the fast down hills on unlit roads. Might have to adjust the beams as some car drivers are flashing me, presumably because the lights are too bright. I've now added a solar charger for the lighting battery pack but may need to get a bigger battery as only lasts a few hours which is no good in winter.


Livery

The Challenger is made in the UK so added some badges to the rear and to the bottom of each of the "front wings" with Rover badges also off ebay.
Purely decorative I know but I think we need to emphasize that this is British engineering and design at its best. Since Marcin at Ocean Cycle, up to now has only sold to the export market, I think it important for the future branding.



On the Road


I'm now managing about 60 miles a week and will now have to step up a few gears to do my planned 5,000 miles per year. Another goal is to lose enough weight to compensate for the LiFePO3 battery which stands at 12kg...................

Coming up.............. velomobile versus public transport versus car versus motorbike challenge. A return trip from Wallingford to Oxford, stopping off at Didcot along the way. We want to highlight and compare the velomobile to other forms of transport so watch this space.......