Reason #1 - Aerodynamics
Why does a cyclist on a racing bike work so hard to maintain a low, compact riding position? The answer is, of course, that he or she is trying to achieve the most aerodynamic position possible. The amount of energy you expend fighting air resistance increases exponentially with speed and a cyclist has a limited amount of power to work with. If you want to travel faster for the same amount of energy, then you need to decrease your air resistance and become more aerodynamic. How does a velomobile compare to your average, or even a typical racing bike when it comes to aerodynamics? Consider the following numbers:
Standard bike Racing bike Quest
Power required to
travel 30 km/h 271 Watts 137 Watts 79 Watts
Speed on flat road
100 Watts 20.5 km/h 27 km/h 34 km/h
Speed on flat road
250 Watts 29 km/h 37.5 km/h 50 km/h
Speed on 5% uphill
150 Watts 9.7 km/h 11.6 km/h 9 km/h
Speed on 2% downhill
100 Watts 29.5 km/h 38.5 km/h 63.8 km/h
Source: Van de Walle, F., The velomobile as a vehicle for more sustainable transportation
The aerodynamic advantage provided by a velomobile allows you to (i) travel at the same speed as on your upright bike while expending much less energy; or (ii) travel much faster than on your upright bike for the same energy output. Also remember that, because you can pack your tent/bags/etc. inside the fairing with a velomobile, your aerodynamic profile doesn't change when you're loaded for touring.
Reason #2 - Comfort
Most of us are aware of the discomfort you experience when you spend a lot of time sitting on your typical bike seat. Aside from the pain in your butt, their is the strain on your neck, back and arms to contend with. Consider the seating position in a velomobile in comparison. You weight is spread evenly over your back and bottom, as it would be on a comfortable chair at home. A long distance ride is no longer a test of your ability to withstand pain. As long as your legs can keep spinning the pedals, the rest of your body can relax and enjoy the ride.
Reason #3 - Weather protection
Nothing like a cold rainy morning to put a damper on your weekend ride or morning bike commute. But imagine what it would be like if you didn't need to worry about the wind and rain. A velomobile provides you with protection from the elements and allows you to extend your riding season far beyond what would be comfortable on your standard bike.
Reason #4 - It's just so much fun
This one's a bit more difficult to explain unless you've actually ridden a velomobile, so I think that the best thing we can do is gather up and provide you with links to a few of our favorite videos. Here are a couple. Stay tuned for more.......