back to index journal

Homepage Products Contacts Us




May 2009

I now have over 1000 km on my experimental Borealis with the experimantal light weight kevlar laminate. It is standing up quite well with just a couple of spots needing more reinforcing. Our normal kevlar laminate is already reinforced in these spots. It has suffered some damage that is not related to riding. While at a meeting it looks as ifsomeome sat or fell on the nose of the Borealis. They managed to push the nose in almost even with the join line between the top and bottom sections. There are a couple of large cracks just behind the front signal/running lights and damage on the stiffening return the door closes on. Had this happened to a glass part it would have been completely broken and in need of immediate repair. I may eventually fix the damage and have the top half of the Borealis painted a bright yellow. My other choice is to make a new front section as this is one of the advantages of making the velomobile in pieces. Here is a picture of the damage, the reflective tape strips cover the cracks.

One very noteable thing is that this colour is not as vivsble as old yellow one. One day I was riding without the flag and a car turning right pulled out directly in front of me while I was doing about 35 kph. Luckily I saw the situation developing and was already as far left in my lane as possible as stopping to avoid a collison would not have been possible. I think the person driving, even though she looked right at me, was only looking for a car and I didn't register. She stopped at the traffic light 50 meters away well short of the light and seemed a bit shook up. I was tempted to get out and have a chat but restrained myself. Instead I just pulled into the space she had left and slowly cleared the intersection when the light changed.

Tim and I went to the Left Coast Velomobile Gathering held in conjunction with the Human Power Challenge in Portland. Its a great event that I can highly recommend. On Saturday we rode to downtown Portland to the Rose Festival--a very nice ride about 40 km long along fairly quite streets and on MUPs. The velomobiles got lots of attention when we stopped. Sunday was a longer ride about 65 km to downtown then along the old rail grades with a bit of time on the road in bike lanes and back along the Columbia River on either a MUP along the river or the road. The rides were very scenic and pleasant. I also go to compare the Borealis to the Quests that were along on the ride. While I expected the Quest to be faster I was suprised to find that we were about the same speed. I think the Quest will be quicker at speeds over 40 kpm just because it has a less frontal area. I did a lap around the race track and then just coasted the last third. It is quite amasing how well you coast on a smooth flat surface. Craig, Dave and I did a lap around the race track and then compared coasting speed from about 30 kph. Dave who had the rain cover on his Quest coasted at the same speed as the Borealis while Craig who had no cover on lost speed a bit faster. Not a very scientific test but a rough indication that the Borealis speed is close to a Quest. Anyway, here are a few pictures:

The velomobiles at the event: Team, Quest(3), Velo kit, Aurora, Borealis(3), WAW(2), Homebuilt on a Speed

Mulituse Path on the way downtown

Lunch stop on Sunday

A the fountain downtown


For more pictures check out the photes on Bentrideronline

Here is a shot of Borealis #13 ready for the truck to pick it up and take it to the airport.

The dimensions of the box are 162cm by 102cm by 62cm

Assembling the Borealis

The first parts to assemble are the two front bottom pieces.It is helpfull to have some vise grips or other quick acting clamps avaialble to help with assembly. Here is a picture of the first two parts going together. Note that the bolts have the heads on the left side and the nuts on the right side.

Mount the bar that hold the hedlight


The next step is to add the back bottom section to the front section. They are held together with 10-24 truss head bolts. The bolt goes in with the washer and the nylock nut on the inside.

The step after this is to bolt the front attachment bracket in place.

Wrap the provided pieces of velcro around the crossmember, at 10cm and 19cm from the center of the frame on the right side and 8.5 cm and 19 cm on the left side. After this is done place the trike inside the shell. You will need to remove the front wheels to do this. Slide the crossmember under the front attachment bracket. The rack crosstree should fit it the holes on the rear attachment bracket. You may have to adjust the trike lenght to made it fit properly. Now attach the trike to the front attachment bracket with the hose clamps.

Now attach the inner rear fender with zip ties.

Before attaching the rear fender install the strap assembly to the swing arm. First roll up the Velrco that normally holds the swing arm up when you lift the back on the trike. If you don't plan on taking the trike out of the shell in the future you can remove this whole part. Now thread the red strap in place as per picture.

the whole harness installed;

Here are the steps to tread the straps onto the rack crosstree.


The rear fender attaches with three bolts that go inside the rear wheel well opening and screw into plastic blocks bonde to the shell. the fender also attaches at the rear attachment braces with the bolt having the head on the inside of the rear attachemnt brace. If the nut is on the inside there will not be adequate clearance for the chain or the swing arm.


Now bolt the back and front top sections on. The rear section has a fabirc storage shelf and stiffening bar that is bolted in place with some straps. The bolt first goes through the flanges, then the strap, then the aluminium bar and finally the nut. Strap placement in the rear section is as follows