Why this website

Why am I creating a website presenting alternative transportation solutions and projects?

Let me answer this question with a little story. On June 23rd 2018, my family and some friends went to the Konschtfestival, an Art Festival in Lellingen/Luxembourg. Just before we left, we saw something amazing rolling down the hill. I noticed a writing on the side: velomobiel.nl. As soon as the vehicle was out of sight, I grabbed my smartphone and visited the website. So I found out what it was: a velomobile! (Who would have guessed…) Velomobiles are recumbent cycles with a fairing, usually they are mainly on three wheels, but they also exist on two wheels (mainly for races and speed records) and on four wheels. The fact that they are fully enclosed allows them to be all year around bicycles! Well, almost all year depending on which climate you’re located.

A red Quest and a yellow Orca.

Following this discovery, I got myself into the subject and did some research. Besides velomobiles I discovered other concepts of HPV’s short for human powered vehicles. They almost all answer the following questions:

  • Why would you carry a ton (a.k.a. car) to transport one person?
  • Why not use the free and always present source of power which are your muscles?

And that’s the purpose of this website: present human powered vehicles with different configurations. One, two, three, four seats, with or without electric assist, some even move without pedaling. Some are in production since approximately 40 years, others are at the stage of the prototype.

Interested to find out more? Take a seat and enjoy the ride!

Why an electric assist?

Most electric assists allow to select a certain percentage of assist, which means you can choose between, for example, 50% to 300% assistance. At 300% assist, the motor will return three times the force you put into the pedal. In most countries, electric assists have a legal restriction and cut off at 25 kilometers per hour.

While a bike has only a frame, other human powered vehicles have a fairing surrounding them, and increasing the total weight. On flat terrain and in light slopes you barely notice a difference, but climbing a hill is a lot more difficult.

This being said, here are the main reasons to chose an electric assist on a hpv:

  • If you live in a hilly area like I do, you will greatly appreciate the additional power supplied by the motor to get up the hill.
  • Lacking strength or endurance is another reason to use an electric assist, specially when you start exercising after a long pause. After a while of cycling you will be able to use a lower percentage of assistance, which will liberate electric energy for other uses.
  • I’m pretty sure the highest amounts of car runs are done to get to work. None will want to arrive sweaty at work, or to shower once arrived. An electric assist will actually allow you to pedal to work without getting exhausted, this means you’re ready to work straight away.
  • An electric assist will also allow you to cycle faster than usual. Imagine you can cycle at 25 kph, with the same effort you usually use 15 kph pace!
  • The fact that you increase your speed will save you time. Since I have a kid, I am time-bound: I can leave work at 11:30 and I have to be at the school bus’s stop at 12:10. Having an one kilometer long and 8% steep hill on my way home, I’m thankful for the time that the electric assist helps me save getting up the hill.