It's taken me a few days (okay almost a week) to write about this, but better late than never, right?
Last Wednesday, the Roll Over America cross-country velomobile tour paused in Vienna for snacks and lemonade on their final leg into DC. The group left Portland, OR, on July 29, and arrived in Washington on August 24th, averaging 125 miles a day.
So what's a velomobile? It's a human powered recumbent tricycle, with a "fairing" or shell which completely or almost completely encloses both rider and machine. Combining lightweight construction and high quality components with an aerodynamic shell produces a remarkably efficient vehicle capable of great speed.
The point of the ride was to raise awareness of alternative forms of transportation, specifically the bicycle. With fuel costs inevitably rising, concerns about our environment and climate change being discussed everywhere, and traffic congestion growing worse by the day, all manner of alternatives are going to be debated and explored. The folks who rode ROAM feel strongly that the bike is an important part of the picture, and their cross-country tour was meant to make folks think about it. I have to imagine the sight of these sleek, unusual vehicles zooming across America prompted some thought.
I've seen a few velomobiles before, mostly at trade shows, but never have I been surrounded by a large group of them. Nor have I ever been amongst so many riders and fans of them before. They are pretty remarkable machines, ranging pretty widely in complexity and expense. Some were truly custom, one of a kind vehicles, while others were production models, most notably the Quest from BlueVelo. The riders were a genial bunch, and clearly have enjoyed themselves riding across the US. None of them looked at all ragged or tired from their travels, which at 125 miles a day is pretty remarkable.
Check out my Flickr album here:
And also follow these links below for more info: