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July 19 News
Been riding with the door propped open with the foam blocks a fair bit when its warm. It seems to slow me down just a bit but when I tried to measure it with the GPS to quanitify it, the results were inconclusive. I suspect that the maximum speed loss at about 30 kph might be a half to one kph. A more controlled roll down test might give some better results.
Presenting working on makng up the covers for the rear vents to keep the rain out. Should have them done next week. Finished making the jig to help with glueing the beam into the bottom shell.
Had a setback on the lights. We have made up a reflector for the LEDs but got the shape wrong as at certain angles to the sun the reflection of the sun off the reflector made the LEDs impossible to see. We were testing a front turn signal to admire our handiwork and see how it would fit in the nose of the velomobile when were were blinded by the relection. It was just a fluke that we noticed it as the angles have to be just right for this to happen.
July 15 News
Bear 1--- Velomobile 0, while riding home today I had to stop just after coming around a corner and wait for a black bear to cross the road. He slowly ambled out of the bush on one side and then into the bush on the other side and did not even notice me. I stayed about 30 meters away. I have seen this bear cross the road once before only I was going the other way doing about 50 kph as its downhill and needed to brake fairly hard as you close up the distance fairly quickly at this speed.
July 11 Update
The last few days I have been riding thinking of ways to hold the door slightly open for some added ventilation. I first just tried an H shaped piece of foam which fit on the door and the sill it closes on, just lifting the bottom of the door up. It fell out in short order. Then I just held it open a bit by hand but this got tiresome quite quickly. Revisited the foam idea by placing three small blocks with hook velcro attached on to the loop velcro that the door closes on. It works really well, keeps the door from rubbing on the body, opens it about the right amount, is light weight and simple. Just this bit open still allows the use of the mirrors.
The vent blocks in place, the white on the door is the loop velcro
The three blocks in storage for when they are needed, also the GPS held on a foam wedge so it is visible.
Thinking of adding an easily removable rain/sunroof. Have been caught a couple of times in sudden showers. Noted that on hot sunny days my face got quite warm by being in the sun even with the very good airflow around it. The roof should collaspe into a small package that can be stored in the velomobile and should be able to be put up while sitting in the velomobile. Have mocked up a couple of ideas but they need a bit more work to be useful.
June 30 Update
Used the velmobile a bit now with the modifications to the suspension. Everything is working about as it should but had a failure in one of the hose clamps holding the spacer block in place between the axle and the spring. A small redesign of the block should lessen the load on the hose clamp. A better method of holding the block to the axle would also help. Will be making a small mould for this part for the red velomobile so that it can be bolted in place allowing more adjustment than we have now.
Have been riding while its been hot lately. Had some all time high temperature records for the date broken a few days ago. Just prior to this I added a front air intake duct and cut some holes in the back of the shell to let air flow out. At first I thougth this made just a tiny bit of difference to getting a reasonable riding temparture. For first test, when I left the shop the temperature was over 30C. It was a very warm ride home but just managable. Two mornings latter I left for work earlier than usual when it was still fairly cool, sort of a more usual temperature and was really cold zipping down the hill. Quite a change with the added airflow so I will need to make provison for closing off the openings. To increase the airflow I also experimented with cutting holes in the front bulkead before adding the front duct. These worked well enough except for the hotest days. I would probably only need them from June to September for our climate. A simple cover can be held in place with velcro for the rest of the year.
Finally enclosed the drivetrain from the road. The covers are held on with velcro which holds them in place quite well but they are still easy to remove without using tools. Also using the loop part of the velcro as the weather stripping aroud the door. It is more durable than the foam strips used before.
A couple of other bits added are a wheel disc and a rain cover/lid for the opening. A simple lock added to the rain cover would secure the velomobile a bit if you latch the door closed first. To open the door there is only a small finger hole that is not too obvious. Without the cover lots of folks look inside to see what it is. The picture shows the lid, wheel disc and rear vent holes. I will eventually make some covers for the rear vents that prevent rain from getting it. The rear signal lights will move foward a bit to make room for the rear vent and to make the velo look wider with the lights on. Just checked out the new LEDs we have which are a big improvement over the prevoius ones. Will have some pictures of these once thay are installed in the red velo.
This picture shows the door completely open. I have riden it with the door in this position and it provides the most ventilation but would need to add a mirror to the inside of the door so you can see traffic behind you. You can also see the front and rear vents.
Here is a bit better view of the front vent with the door just a bit open. The door open this much provides a suprising amount of ventilation and the mirrors can still be used. I have only riden it a bit like this while holding it open. Some method to hold it in this position would solve the venting issue at low speeds. At 6-8 kph on steep hills the door completely open works best but after about 10kph just opening the door a bit works well. After about 15kph the vents with the door closed are adequate.