Velomobile Winter Tour Report 01

I had to turn back after the first hill

Day 1
9 October

Temperature 5°C
I started at 7 and drove for half an hour and realized that the Velomobile was far too heavy. Turned back and got rid of some kilograms. One of the things I had to leave was my DSLR-camera. Now I only have an old telephone when taking pictures.

Restarted at 9. This is my first stop on the way:

Distance made first day is 114.2 km.
Camped in Lidköping. Slept in tent and sleeping bag MegaLite. Rain.

Day 2
10 October

I did wake up very tired and started at 8. Temperature was +9°C in the morning. Rain.

Göta kanal.

Logged at midday:
This velomobile has no electric assist. With all this heavy winter equipment the ride is very, very slow. Would have wanted to have e-assist now in wintertime when the air is denser. The uphills are killing me.

Arrived at Ådåshult Camping where i dried the tent and slept under a porch. Distance made the second day is 102.9 km

Ådalshult Camping.

Day 3
11 October

6°C in the morning
A mouse found my cheese in the velomobile during the night just two meters from where I was sleeping.
I started at 7.

Lake Skagern early in the morning.

Logged at 8:30
It is extremely heavy to pedal up the very steep hills in the Swedish forest with this amount of winter equipment. It occasionally even tastes blood in the mouth. When coming down to three kilometers per hours, the GPS stops logging my route, it believes that I am standing still. I have arthritis in both knees and my right knee is starting to ache. So I am leaving the forest and going out onto the Highway 26 that is more flat.

Logged at 13,00
Velomobiles are faster than bicycles on the flats and very much faster on the downhills, but uphill they’re slower, especially when the velomobiles are loaded. But I believe that a normal bicycle with this much of load would have to be pushed to manage the uphills here. Fortunately I have extremely good gears, two in the front and 14 in the back, 28 in total. But when an old man on roller skis overtook me on a steep slope, I made my decision; I will swap to a velomobile with assist. I overtook the roller ski man in next downhill and changed my route towards Kristinehamn where I decided to rent a truck and make the swapping. Embarrassing, I was too optimistic but did learn a lesson. If I don’t try, how would I learn? 😏 😁

QV #144.

In Kristinehamn there was only one truck available for rent until the next morning. I made my decision without blinking. Drove home with the red QV #144 and made the blue QV #5 with electric assist ready before driving back to the same place. It took me four hours to drive the same distance that had taken me just over two days with velomobile.

I even took some time to mount a snow shovel with elastic cords on the back of the seat. Me optimistic? 🙂

I was back in Kristinehamn at three in the morning, parked at the rental place and went to sleep in the back of the truck hoping that the people who were going to use the truck at 7 would wake me up. I woke up before.

Only 57.5 km made the third day.
Temperature in the back of the truck 8°C. I used the MegaLite on foam mat.

Day 4
12 October

They invited me to have a hot chocolate at the rental place and I left at 8. What a difference! I did pedal almost as hard as before when I had no assist, but now I was able to make 14 km/h instead of 3 km/h on steep uphills. Maintaining a relatively hi speed in the uphills make a huge difference in the total average speed. My inner feelings started bubbling of joy when I reached the first hilltops at a good speed without being totally exhausted. And the downhills! Wow! They were great today. While enjoying the spectacular views over the hills I was able to make a maximum speed of 97 km/h!

Please note that the electric assist is only helping up to a speed of 25 km/h. Above that speed it’s only de pedalling that pushes the velomobile forward.

Sandslandet.
Can you drive on the rear wheels with that thing? the guys asked and started making tricks with their bikes.
The cabin at Vansbro Camping

I arrived at Vansbro in Dalarna after eight hours and made a total of 148 km. Now we are talking! 😎 Slept in a cabin this night. Extremely tired. I wander why. 😀

Day 5
13 October

I had a fantastic nine hours sleep in a warm cabin where I was able to dry my wet clothes.
Started at 7,30
0°C outside, no rain.

Logged at 8:
It is Sunday morning. I have the road for myself. Suddenly there is a nice fox crossing the road just a few meters in front of me. This is one of the advantages of being quite silent.

It is hunting time in Sweden right now.

With the assist I am dependent on technical parts not breaking. This is something I fear. ”I don’t want to give up because of technical problems”, I was thinking when the assist stopped working in a steep uphill. The motor was not hot and everything looked fine. Was it too cold? I disconnected the battery and connected it again and the assist was on. This happened a few times during the morning and I think that the battery needs to be checked. I have now sent a mail ordering a new battery to be delivered somewhere in the north.

I had a fantastic lunch in Älvdalen and was able to charge the battery. After a very steep road I reached 692 meters over the sea level. Going down from the summit was a fantastic experience at the same time as I started feeling that the temperature was lower here further north.

I arrived at Lillhärdal after sunset after a 195.2 km ride.

Dag 6
14 October

Slept outside under a shelter. Temperature was -2°C in the morning and I realized that I better send for my warmer sleeping bag.
Left at 8:45
Very tired 😴

The first snow.

Temperature was dropping and I had to start using wool underwear. I did choose to ride a longer way than necessary just to see the mountain scenery and to have less traffic on the road. I did pass several mountains with ski centers, but they didn’t have any snow in the ski slopes yet.

Very late in the evening I entered a tiny gravel road to look for a place to set up the tent. Suddenly I did find a hunters cabin with the sign “Welcome, feel like at home!”. Even though there was firewood for the stove in the cabin, I decided not to use the stove. Better to be safe than sorrow just in case the cabin happened to burn down because of me. I slept on a bench in -6°C.

Feel at home.

Distance made during day 6 is 122.4 km.

Day 7
15 October

Early morning.

I started on a very slippery road at 9:30. When making a breaking test I slipped for about 30 meters. I still have the summer tires on, Marathon Plus in the back and Durano Plus in the front. Fortunately the road was sanded on the very steep downhills and I was able to enjoy almost two hours of non-pedaling ride, but it was cold.

A very good friend Reinhold Skoglund came to meet me twenty-five kilometers from Brunflo near Östersund. He made a two minutes film of our encounter.

Distance made the seventh day is 78.7 km.

Total distance during seven days made from start to the first resting days is 815 km.

Thank you Anita and Reinhold for your fantastic welcoming! Having somewhere to rest and make preparations for next part of the trip is extremely valuable.

Now I have spent two days at Reinhold’s and his wife Anita’s home and plan to leave tomorrow morning the 18th of October with the larger sleeping bag that just arrived with the mail.

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21 svar på Velomobile Winter Tour Report 01

  1. Fritz skriver:

    Hi Alve!
    Very good report. I admittedly had to smile a little, as you reported, that it is so hard without engine. I remember when I was sweating up the hills behind you on our trips. I was always wondering how much faster you are with the engine than I am without it.
    Hold on. I’m sure you can do it. Now you hopefully have your real camera with you.
    Fritz

    • Alve Henricson skriver:

      Hi Fritz
      The difference in speed when going uphill without and with assist I guess is more or less this in my case:

      Km/h

      3 – 7
      5 – 10
      10 – 16
      15 – 22
      20 – 25
      25 – 25
      30 – 30

  2. Jan Skopal skriver:

    Great to follow your Journey, effort and challenges. Wish you all the best. Happy ride and hope you make it all the way to the top.
    Jan S

  3. Brigitte skriver:

    What a trip! Keep on going . We will follow you. I surely could not do this, too cold.

  4. John Highet skriver:

    I’m enjoying your diary Alve. Like you I put off getting e-assist for quite a while- mainly because of my pride! After a long trip around France with DB I got very tired and only just made it home to near London then a week later I ended up in hospital.
    DB then offered to make me an assist setup like on his QV and it has made a huge difference to my riding. As you point out- the maximum speed is no different but the average is much higher-plus I’m not exhaused when I finish my day’s riding!

  5. Robin skriver:

    Great diary post to read!

    The bit about the hunters cabin is amazing – can’t imagine something like that happening in Ireland.

    Best wishes for the rest of your journey!

    Robin

  6. Kristina skriver:

    Roligt att följa din resa norrut och lycka till, hoppas du klarar dig hela vägen. Måste du inte snart ha dubbar på däcken?

  7. Søren möller skriver:

    Fantastisk at følge din rejse mod det kolde nord, jeg håber vejret er med dig, så du når til dit mål.

  8. Dennis skriver:

    Good description about the benefits of a e assist.

    What kind of e assist do you use? And what kind of transmission do you have in the blue velomobile? I consider also adding an e assist to my Quattrovelo order.

    Greetings from Germany.

    • Alve Henricson skriver:

      Thank you for the comment.
      I have a Bafang BBS01. It has been working okay but the difference between pedals are large.
      You will have to install the assist yourself, they don’t come installed from factory.
      Greetings

      • Dennis skriver:

        Thanks for the answer. That’s interesting as the I read so far that the Tongsheng should have less resistance when the motor is not active. So it still feels ok for you?

        My dealer offered to install it as it can’t by installed by the manufacturer. So I can choose between the Bafang and the Tongsheng.

        Regarding transmission: You have the 75 chainring at the front and 11 gears in the back or also the Rohloff in between?

        • Alve Henricson skriver:

          I don’t know about other brands, have no problem as it is.
          In the blue QV I have installed the Rohloff with return chain inside the velomobile. Don’t remember the size of chainring.
          Regards

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