Thursday, 27 September 2012

Commuting by Velomobile

I've been feeling pretty anxious about taking the VM into Glasgow at rush hour and have been collecting reasons why it might not be wise, but decided last night to bite the bullet and ride in to work...
Didn't feel too good about it this morning, but fronted up (with a short panic when I couldn't find my suit carrier) & hell I'm glad I did...
Whilst VM's have many uses, dense urban environments are probably not at the top of the list, especially at rush hour!  But this is prob the best commuting bike I've used:  huge luggage capacity (I've never been able to take a suit carrier on a bike before and was also carrying my Timbuk2 bag, 2 pairs of shoes (don't ask), a huge d-lock with cable addition and a waterproof.  I prob could have taken more, but would have had to pack carefully.  Certainly better than the 7 litres of space I have on the Fujin!  The other thing is that you worry less about weight when the bike weighs nearly 30kg: what's another 5-10kg?  I bought a mini d-lock for the Fujin to reduce weight 'cos I worry about these things on a light bike.  I bought an extra big one for the VM.  Add in the amazing being-visible-ness and this is pretty close to perfect....  Oh & the speed, can't forget the speed...

I have commuted this route a fair amount on both the trike and the Fujin.  The route is rolling for the first half, then a big hill (down hill on the way in, up on the way home), then some dense traffic and big lumps.  Going in today was the fastest I've ever done it, despite being the least fit I've been on this commute.  Home was a different ball park: the hill slowed me somewhat.  I was still faster than the trike's fastest time & not too far from the Fujin's.  This is compared to being fitter on the other machines and filtering on them (I refused to today: I didn't want to get into advanced manoeuvres whilst still familiarising myself with the machine), so there was a time penalty in both.

Traffic behaves differently around the VM compared to both upright and 'bent bikes.  Not worryingly so, but worth noting.  Dual mirrors are great though.  Cyclists were odd though.  The road cyclist who decided to race me was a pain since he sat in a blind spot (I have three for a bike: behind and to the left, directly behind and behind and to the right; each are very small, but big enough to accommodate a road bike).  I had no idea which of these he was in until he decided to overtake.  (If you decide to race a VM, you can feel terribly proud of yourself if you overtake a very out of shape rider going uphill by paralysing them in a dangerous position since they can't see you and don't want to move in or out in case they hit you and can't accelerate 'cos they are checking mirrors and windows to try to see where you are.  Good thing neither of us got injured, but you got past me for 30m, so it was prob worth it, right?  & can you overtake on the right next time?  You know, like in the Highway Code?)  When the road went down, the VM came into its own though...

I wanted the Milan as a distance bike, but it's a really good commuter too.
*best commute ever*


  1. Can you get someone to follow you and take pics of the commute? Awesome.

  2. Here is a vid of my commute (possibly a bit diffrent though being open road rather than dense urban and only 2 traffic lights