Michael Rogan

As a teenager 25 years ago I read an article on one of the first meeting s for HPV's .I saw ,these guys doing 80 kmph which I thought was pretty impressive .At the time I was riding what was loosely termed as a "ten speed racer".(these days a very cheap road bike would be similar).

I knew 80kmph was out of my reach but I also realised air resistance was a fairly tangible obstacle, any kind of headwind reduced my pace to a crawl and the severe crosswinds created by passing semi trailers and quarry trucks seemed destined to rapidly shorten my lifetime. Right then and there I decided these hpv guys had the right idea and that's the direction I need to be going .At the time my grandfather was an aircraft engineer so off I went to seek some advice and so we conceived an idea.

Originally I was looking at making a two wheeled fully faired bike like the ones I'd seen in the article but my grandfather suggested well while two wheels are good they won't prevent the bike from being blown sideways .So the bike was redrawn and became a trike. Years went by and I built many many trikes and many fairings making lots of mistakes along the way. But I did learn to test my designs through roll down testing and racing I gradually learnt that air doesn't always behave as you would expect it to so you must test test test.

About 15 years ago I met up with Don Elliot, a composites expert and a man with a good eye for aerodynamics. He built some fairings which were far superior to anything I had previously tested. Racing proved the point but racing does not encompass all the aspects required in an everyday vehicle and so there the latest challenge began.

A few years ago the possibility came up of doing research and development work for Greenspeed and I jumped at the chance of producing a velomobile. The position at Greenspeed also gave me a quite lengthy commute of 60km each way which meant an opportunity to get some good experience commuting by velomobile. Traveling half of this distance with two different faired trikes on a mixture of bike paths and roads has been very useful and brought to light some things which are not readily apparent but are very important for a practical velomobile.

From this experience I think a velomobile should be a fast lightweight vehicle as per racing but it must be quiet, have good maneuverability, stability and excellent braking ability. It should incorporate good ventilation, and versatility to make it usable in a wide variety of conditions. It must be pleasant to ride, feel safe and comfortable and have a useful load capacity. As a result all these features are incorporated into projectVM whilst still maintaining the keep it simple approach which has served so well in previous Greenspeed models.



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