Saturday 28 May 2011

Too much time on YouTube.

I bought a new bike at the end of last summer and since then I have been cycling everywhere. I am faster, fitter, cheaper and have more fun than even on the excellent Vienna public transport (where I met my fiancée). Bicycles are certainly a much superior method of transport in the center of towns than the dominant car. This maybe explains why you get so much aggression and frustration vented at you by car drivers who constantly try to kill you. The cycle lane design means you can then pass that aggression on by venting it at pedestrians who I presume walk nervously along until they get to the safety of their car.

Being a bit of a geek and spending far too much time on youtube I have come across Velomobiles. These aerodynamic recumbent bikes are just so cool. Fit an electric motor and you have a far more sustainable motorized transport vehicle without the need to go to war in order to secure access to the last remaining oil reserves.

It is interesting to read that the racing bikes of today are very much the same as the bikes of the 1930s. Materials have changed but the basic design has not. One of the reasons for this is due to recumbent bikes getting banned as soon as they started to break records. An aerodynamic shell on a recumbent bike makes the thing a real efficient fast machine that can easily keep up with town traffic speeds. It is a shame that the sport of cycling did not embrace recumbent bikes but instead protected the status quo and self interests effectively killing all development of this concept. Luckily there are guys with beards out there so the development has continued but not at the same level of cars. However the focus of development in the car industry at the moment seems to be to make them bigger and bigger so that in a crash the other guy is dead.

So what is my point and what does this have to do with Moths? Well we (the IMCA) will decide on the banning of solid wing sails soon. Do we want to help the world investigate efficient transport systems or protect our existing investment?

I am trying to decide if I should build a new Moth, Wing sail or Velomobile next winter. However I will probably just spend in on youtube.


Fred said...

very, very cool! Thanks for the ride...

Karl said...

Doug: Thanks for wasting hours of my life. Those things are cool! But they are WAAAY too heavy! The Glyde from Australia weighs 40lb before the fairing, and 80lb with, and costs $16k AUD! A whole fairing should weigh maybe 20lb, not 40! Lots of room for improvement. But very cool. Back to the Plexusphere now.

Doug Culnane said...

Hi Karl,

I did not waste hours of your life you choose to waste them. There must be not much to do in the Plexusphere.


Karl said...

Of course I chose to "waste" them - enjoyed every minute. I have to say I did not know much about velomobiles before your post. There isn't even that much on YouTube about them, which means they are somehow more obscure than Moths, which I did not think possible for a bicycle (trike). Anyway I find I am only good in the garage for four hours at a stretch, and we don't have a TV. So Velomobiles were a welcome distraction. There is a cool one of a Mango going around Brisbane (I think) also.

Doug Culnane said...

The Mango is about 30kgs I think and seams quite cool but I know very little about them too. They have suspension and electronics etc.. which I guess piles on the weight.

So what is the Plexusphere?

Karl said...

Perhaps the SL version of this one is the bees knees:

There is a vid of it passing a Mango downhill at 111 kph. The Mango is going 101 apparently.

The Plexusphere is a very expensive, smelly place where boats are glued together, sometimes on video.