Monday, June 25, 2007

Possible shin fracture, and a velomobile review

First, the bad news: I may be out 6-8 weeks with a fractured tibia (the shin bone) after my unfortunate run-in last week with a parking lot barricade. X-rays are pending. This will take me to the beginning of August before I can start training for the September 30 marathon. If my shin turns out just to be bruised, then I can start to run sooner. The record attempt in up in the air.

Now the good news: Dianne and I went out on our velomobile test drive yesterday morning with Ray from Bluevelo. I drove the Belgian-made WAW and Dianne pedalled the Versatile, produced in the Netherlands. I also had a chance to take the Versatile for a spin, but Dianne was too short to fit into the WAW.

The WAW has a very low profile. You're practically sitting on the ground. Its light weight allows for quick accelerations and the steering - levers at your side connected directly to the two wheels in the front - are extremely responsive. I got the WAW up to 50 km/h and even when I stopped pedalling it just kept cruising at 49 km/h until I put on the brakes. This machine is great for speed, but could be awkward for city commuting.

I tried out the Versatile along a very bumpy road and its double suspension performed admirably. It's quite a bit heavier than the WAW, but I still got it up to 47 km/h. It had fully enclosed chain, very easy handling, an internal hub that lets you shift gears even at a stop and fun things like turn signals and a horn.

Both of these machines rocked. It's hard to describe just how fun these things are to drive. And the sight of Dianne cruising along next to me in the Versatile had me grinning ear-to-ear.

Ray has a Mango (a lighter velo than the Versatile) coming in soon. It looks like this will be the vehicle of choice for us. It's too bad these "cars of the future" are in such limited production, because they have so many advantages, not the least of which being ... they're massively fun!