What a fantastic time we are living in. This is an era where incredible technology and modern philosophies about energy conservation and pollution free transportation are working together to make the seemingly impossible possible. For those who embrace an active and healthy lifestyle, are concerned with the welfare of our planet, and like to go really fast I present to you the sport of Human-Electric Hybrid Velomobiling.
I have recently had the pleasure of acquiring the first production e-Hornet Velomobile from Bluevelo and it has literally been a life changing experience. This compact electric assist vehicle has in most situations replaced both my car and my road bike to become my primary means of both transportation and sport riding. Commuting 10.9kms to work used to take me 14 minutes by car. My e-Hornet commute is instead a 25 minute petroleum and emission free experience with the added bonus of an awesome feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment. Heading to work is mildly uphill and seeing as I don’t want to sweat much I tend to go fairly heavy on the throttle of the Power in Motion electric motor. Keeping true to my personal philosophy of “human-electric hybrid velomobiling” I pedal along with the motor at a comfortable cruising pace to both conserve on the output of the battery and get my blood flowing. Even though I could easily go the distance at a governed speed of 32kph without so much as a turn of the pedals I have vowed to never ride the Hornet in that manner.
I find cars are very respectful of my space and feed me endless smiles and thumbs up as they pass. I’ve gotten very accustomed to riding in harmony with in town traffic as my assist motor affords me very quick acceleration from traffic light to traffic light. Getting back on topic my commute home is a very different animal from my ride to work. No longer concerned with my body temperature or energy conservation, sometimes I chose to forget the motor altogether and speed home aux natural so to speak. Other times I’m feeling all about the speed so I pedal gently with the motor during the inclines and under acceleration and really put the hammer down on the downhills or with any tailwind. Most my ride home is spent in excess of 40 and even 50kph in these cases. The feeling of exhilaration when you throttle off and propel yourself beyond the limiter of the motor is completely indescribable. I’m going to loosely define this style of high speed, short distance riding as “Sprint Hybrid Velomobiling”. The mission is to complete a relatively short distance at the highest speed possible in a vehicle still classified as a legal bicycle with no concern for battery power conservation.
Their is another breed of HEHV (human-electric hybrid velomobile) rider who is concerned less with maximum short distance speed but instead is using these incredible vehicles to efficiently complete long distances at average speeds that are untouchable by road bikes or non-electric assist velos. For now I will refer to this riding style as “Endurance Hybrid Velomobiling”. By combining the rider’s own strength and endurance with an electric assist, the door is opened for riding in any conditions including very hilly terrain and even massive climbs. As always what goes up must come down and nothing descends faster than a velo leading to unheard of average riding speeds. There are a few great places to read about actual experiences of endurance hybrid velomobiling. Please take the time to check out this link to a post about a rider’s 30 mile commute in mountainous terrain. (click) It’s a great piece about how a rider in an electric assist Quest Velomobile balances his own endurance with battery conservation to complete a tremendously difficult ride.
I will continue to follow and report on the evolution of this great new sport as more people join the hybrid velomobile community. Please contact me with your own stories and videos and together we will work to increase the awareness of alternative energy transportation that really works. Thanks.