Wow what a year 2012 has turned out to be. A long chain of events have lead me to posting about my latest vehicle building project, but it might be useful to detail some of what got me here in the first place and then show you all what this is about.
Last March I started to have seizures, a lot of seizures, after spending a week and change in a couple of hospitals, getting my head examined by an army of doctors and machines that go "bing", and spending way too much time passed out and choking on my own tongue I was diagnosed with a disorder that will probably prevent me from driving a motor vehicle for the rest of my days. This was a bit of a bummer, let me tell you, since I'd just spent the last four years building a very modified 1983 VW diesel Vanagon intending to take it on a very long overland voyage.
So, in between seizures and a whole host of other symptoms I was as very sad for a while. Add to this that I could no longer do my job and wow, I felt more or less FUBARed for a couple of months. As time went on, however, the seizures and other symptoms started to abate a little. What a relief! My wife had by then picked up the mantel of income generation and I took on as many child rearing duties as I could manage (we have a 20 month old boy). However, I'm seem more or less compelled to "go somewhere" if at all possible. Somewhere in the back of my addled skull there is a bug that pushes me out the door.
I originally got involved in building overland vehicles (started with a Subaru way back in the early 90's) because of experiences I had bicycle touring. And hey, if you don't mind going a little slower you can go places on a bike that you might never be able to reach in an internal combustion vehicle. Ok, I'll grant you that you end up roughing it quite a bit more than you might in a fancy camper, but that's no longer an option for me. So, by late spring early summer I was spending spare time building, or tuning bikes in a joint effort to a) stave off boredom and b) maintain my mobility. I rebuilt my 1972 steal frame and tuned that up first, this was followed by a completely new build of a long bike (affectionately known as the mule, pictured below with a Burley d'lite trailer, my son and about 180 lbs of groceries ... I kid you not).
Since then I've taken the mule out on a number of over nighters and plan on doing more with it since its geared to crawl over just about anything and with that length and clearance and big cushy tires I can get my ***** seriously out, away and even lost. But those are both different builds from the one I'd like to talk about here (stay tuned there will be threads posted).
Ok, by the beginning of June I became convinced that I needed to build a recumbent velomobile (most of you are now saying "WTH is a 'velomobile'".) We live in a very small Colorado mountain town at what many would consider an extreme elevation. It gets cold here in the winter (regularly -40ºF in the early morning) and riding even a slow standard frame bike can be a chilling experience. Plus, since I first rode something like this vehicle I've always wanted one. Basically, these are "popular" in places like northern Europe because its cold there and because they're extremely fast (compared to other human powered transport modes). After spending my nights shopping around I decided to buy a vehicle from a Dutch company (Alligt) because this offered me the most freedom in what I might like to do with it. Also, most of these vehicles are made with an epoxy matrix (fiberglass or carbon fiber) and the Alleweder is made with aluminum. Epoxy matrix layups are great for paved use, but when you rattle them over jeep trails they tend to break, often catastrophically.
So my Alleweder arrived by late June and since then I've been cramming build time in between my family duties in order to get this done before the autumn comes on. In addition, I've also been building a small business intending to manufacture Human Powered Overland Transport (HPOT) starting with a licensed version of the Alligt Alleweder KV4 known as the Hinterland Scout.
So without further adieu here are some photos of my build. As of today I've more or less finished the skinning of the first Scout. Currently, I'm working out a few kinks and soon paint will go on. Parts and modifications to the original design are noted below. On flat ground with an average human input (~75 watts) the Scout should be able to achieve about 40 KPH (~25 MPH, about a 60% increase in efficiency compared to a standard touring bike). The Scout will have about 18 cm (~8 in) of clearance and most people should be able to lift the whole thing up and over pretty easily as necessary. Single track should be possible as well.
Right Front Wheel Well looking down
64 Tooth Chain Ring (sheesh that seems big)
Rear Drive Carriage with SRAM II 27 Dual Drive
Primary Support Truss before Skin
Hinterland Scout about 90% complete
- 3 cm front lift
- Awesome Adventure Paint
- Enhanced Lighting System
- PV Solar System
- Completely Sealed and weather tight (it may even float)
- Internal Panniers
- Cushioned Cockpit Coaming
- External Panniers
- Windshield and Bimini
- Navigation System
- Rolling Tool Set
- Integrated Water Stowage
- Steal Lower Nose Support Beams (improves rigidity)