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Dan Isbell

How can I help you?

Welcome! My name is Dan Isbell and I am a velomobile ambassador from Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA. Let me know how I can help you discover a fantastic alternative to a car that’s much faster and more comfortable than a bicycle! Let’s schedule a chat and maybe even a test drive now!

 

Email: [email protected]

 

Useful links:    YouTube Channel    Blog    Technical Support    Create account

About me

Recumbent riding is one of my greatest joys, and for me velomobiles are the icing on the cycling cake. Nothing compares with riding the rollers, cresting some hilltops at 20 to 30 mph using pedal power as your only engine.

 

I have been enjoying cycling since my grade school days. I bought my first bike with money from my paper route. There has never been a time since then in my life that I have not owned a pedal-powered vehicle.

 

I am 74 years old, and I do not commute to a job in a velomobile like many of the Bülk owners do. At an earlier stage in my adult life, I was living exclusively on bikes for five years in eastern Iowa, here in the USA. Looking back fondly on those years, I wonder what it would have been like if I had owned a velomobile back then? Perhaps a Leitra was available in that decade? Hmmm…

 

In the early half of the 1980’s my wife sold her VW Beetle and I sold my VW Rabbit. We lived with only our 10-speed diamond frame bikes for transportation. Panniers were mounted on front and back wheel racks. In addition, we were pulling our two youngest children behind us in a Cannondale Bugger and a Burley trailer. Our grade school-aged older daughter rode her bike between us.

 

By 1986, our oldest child entered middle school and she was becoming more and more involved in extracurricular activities. We felt it was time to go back to owning a car. Of course we found ourselves riding our bikes less and less.

 

In the late 1990’s bone-on-bone osteoarthritis in my right hip was severe enough that I could no longer pedal any kind of bike without bumping my heel against the crank arm. I tried diamond frame, crank-forward, and recumbent bikes, thinking that perhaps the different riding posture when riding reclined might gain me additional room in my pedaling stroke, but that did not work either. Only after a complete right hip replacement surgery was I able to return to cycling.

 

When I was experimenting with them, I found that I truly liked the recumbent bikes better than my old reliable upright bike that I had owned since my college days in the early 1970’s. I decided to donate my 10 speed bike to the World of Bikes charity, and treat myself to a brand new recumbent two-wheeler to celebrate my return to cycling that was now made possible by the new hip.

 

While at the recumbent bike dealership waiting for my turn to test ride my two favorite picks for a two-wheeler, the salesperson talked me into test riding a recumbent trike. That was all it took! Ever since then I have pursued my new-found hobby of owning and riding a series of recumbents. Over the past two decades, I have purchased more than 15 trikes, plus a few ‘bent bikes.

 

I typically buy them, ride them a few thousand miles, and then sell them to make room in my budget as well as in my garage to purchase the next one that comes along and piques my interest.

 

As I became aware of velomobiles, they seemed to me to be a logical next step in my life-long passion for cycling. I held off buying my first velomobile for a while because I was concerned that the osteoarthritis in my left shoulder had left me too weak in the upper body to be able to wriggle up and out of a typical velomobile’s small cockpit opening.

 

In November of 2017 that left shoulder was replaced, and gradually I have regained much better upper body strength and range of motion than I had even thought possible. That shoulder surgery was followed by a left knee replacement in March of 2018. If you want to see the x-ray scanners light up like a Christmas tree, just follow me through airport security!

 

So one thing I have to offer to the Bülk ambassador program is that I might be uniquely positioned to answer questions people might have about whether their various joint replacements disqualify them from enjoying velomobile use.

 

Over the past five years or so, I have owned a variety of velos, including a Rotovelo, a Mulsanne, a Quatrevelo Plus, a WAW, a Hilgo, and then the same WAW again! I truly enjoyed all of them, including the Rotovelo and the Hilgo that I could never quite fit into comfortably with my long torso, long legs, and big feet.

 

I was unable to find a Rotovelo in my region of the country to test it out to see if I could fit it comfortably before I ordered one sight unseen. I sold the Rotovelo and moved on, but I was determined to try one on for size before I bought a second velomobile. I traveled to neighboring Wisconsin, and then as far away as British Columbia to test sit in, or to test ride a few velomobiles.

 

In the process, I learned just how crucial it is for most of us to have opportunities to climb in and try a velomobile on for size! Happily, as a Bülk ambassador, I will soon be able to offer that experience to lots of curious prospective velomobile buyers.

 

I decided to place an order for a Mulsanne, even though a test fit was not possible, because at that time, no one had ever imported one into North America. I did know that the Mulsanne had one of the largest cockpit openings of all the velomobiles on the market. The entry and exit from the Mulsanne was wonderfully easy, but pedaling room for my big feet inside the Mulsanne’s narrow front end was a ‘puzzle’ that I enjoyed solving with the advice from Cycles JV-Fenioux!

 

As a Bülk ambassador, I am happy to tell prospective buyers that the velomobile manufacturers will be very helpful if you have problems fitting into one of their models. They will offer you suggestions of possible modifications of crank arm length, crank arm shape, crankset q-factor, cycle shoe style, seat height, seat movement fore and aft, etc. All of that adjustability might just combine to get you situated right where you need to be, even in a velomobile that seems a little too cramped to fit your body.

 

When the prospect of an even more stable four-wheeled velomobile with a child passenger seat came along with the Quatrevelo and Q+, my curiosity got the best of me. I traded in the Mulsanne for the Q+. The Q+ was a joy to ride, but it was a bit too difficult for an old guy like me to work within the dark crowded confines of its rear derailleur and rear disc brakes rear axle assembly location, so……

 

I traded in the Q+ for a WAW that was equipped with a Rohloff rear hub gearing and a single front chain ring. What could be simpler! I enjoyed riding the WAW for a year, and its removeable front and rear shell sections, lack of a front derailleur, and Rohloff internal gearing truly made maintenance a breeze!

 

I remained on the lookout for new developments in the velomobiles being offered. When I read about the Hilgo’s unique rear drawer-slide derailleur and mid-drive, as well as its fully removeable top shell, it aroused my curiosity, so once again I watched the ads until I found one for sale. I sold my WAW to a fellow ‘Bentrider from Wisconsin, and I bought the used Hilgo.

 

I could tell when I bought it that my x-seam didn’t match up well with the Hilgo’s seat mounts, but I felt pretty certain I could modify them to make it work just fine. I actually enjoyed tinkering around inside the Hilgo with its entire top completely removeable with ten wingnuts. In a matter of only a few minutes, the entire drivetrain was easily accessible. Initially, I couldn’t fit its seat in a position where it worked optimally with my long legs. I even made a couple of extended seat mounting brackets and tried those, but eventually I sold the Hilgo.

 

Next I started watching the ads on ‘Bentrider looking for a used Q+ with a Rohloff internal gearing rear hub. I wanted to order a new Q+ with Rohloff, but import costs by then had sky-rocketed, and COVID had drastically lengthened velomobile build times, so I eventually dropped that idea.

 

At about that same time, I was offered the chance to buy back the WAW I had preciously sold. I bought it and soon modified it by adding a dual chainring crankset in place of the single that it was originally equipped with. That gave it a wonderfully broad gearing range, and I enjoyed riding it for yet another season.

 

Then last year, in the autumn of 2022, I sold my WAW to make room for a brand new Bülk. I still own a couple of recumbent trikes, but soon I will be riding them less and experiencing velomobile fun, riding the rollers once again, only this time in a marvelous Bülk velomobile.

Bülk MK1 Velomobile

After Eggert Bülk and Jens Buckbesch started the Milan project in 2005 (which is still running successfully today), they started a new velomobile project in 2021, the Bülk-MK1. It implements a new space utilization and aerodynamic concept. The findings from various wind tunnel tests were also taken into account. Jens documented every step of the Bülk-MK1 project, then he sent us very detailed info to create a PAGE where you can discover the philosophy of the Bülk-MK1.

WHAT IS A VELOMOBILE

A velomobile is a human-powered vehicle related to the bicycle, for everyday use, with a body/shell that provides comfort, weather protection and luggage space. Due to the aerodynamically shaped bodywork, you can achieve a decent speed with little effort (30-50 km/h on flat road). Velomobiles are very suitable as commuter vehicles, for shopping or holidays, also are a good way to clear your mind while taking a tour or a road trip with your friends.

Why you will love one

● Fun to drive with little effort on long distances

Environmental friendly transport

● Very suitable for commuting, shopping, holiday travels

Comfortable to drive

You are independent, needs only your force to work

Good for training and sport, good for your health

HOW TO ORDER YOURS

If you live in USA or Canada, please create an account, so you can order your velomobile. After you create your account on our website, you can access the configurator to create the velomobile after your needs, you will see also the final price and other details, if you follow the steps. Do you need help? Please contact me!

People. Experiences. Reviews.

Werner Klomp, one of our clients, took some time to share with us his experience over the years with a few models of velomobiles.

I just want to write something positive as a customer of VelomobileWorld.com; In one year, I drove about 16.000 till 20.000 km with a velomobile made by VelomobileWorld.com in Romania, and that’s already over 10 years with a lot of fun and almost no problems.

The velomobiles are getting better and better, lighter and lighter, faster and faster. Therefore I thank the Romanian producers and off course the designer Daniel Fenn and also the distributor Ymte with whom I have also good connections. If there is a problem, what normally is small, the help from all three of them is very fast. I never had a problem that big in the last 8 years that I couldn’t drive on to the destination I want.

The first Velomobile was a Strada, which I drove in two years about 50.000 km and the only problem was the broken suspension on the back. This part made from aluminum was on the post after two days at my place to repair it. Strada was a little bit big for me, that is when Daniel came to Velomobiel.nl and started to work there. At that time he designed the DF, which is like a smaller Strada, with the complete team from Velomobiel.nl. The DF velomobile came and I drove it with a lot of fun and speed, over 50.000 km in two years. By driving so many kilometers you’ll always find something to make better. All those experiences I offered to the team to make it even better than already was. The time goes on, people want to do their business to work, not always together, so Ymte started Intercitybike and Daniel is working for himself in southern Germany.

Daniel designed a new model called Alpha 7, which is a bit bigger than DF but a bit smaller than  DF XL. This velomobile is about 21 kg, which is 3 kg lighter than the normal DF, so as you can see, it is still getting better and better. This Velomobile is made in Romania of course, and at a really good quality. Also if the new velomobiles have some problems, they always fix them very fast and the customers are getting help. The Alpha is now also produced with tank steering, which is made from carbon fiber and very light.

At this moment I have an Alpha with tank steering at home and a DF that was specially made for me with special parts and special carbon fiber to make it lighter for me. This one made me happy and I drove 500 km already, with a lot of hill meters in it the last 5 days. The speed between Alpha and my special DF is almost the same, but for me the DF fits very well to my body, so I am very lucky to have this part built for me in Romania.

So I want to thank the whole team in Romania for their work, the good parts and the deliver … thanks a lot guys.

Velomobiles on world roads

We have happy clients that are delighted about the velomobile experience, in over 20 countries around the world.

Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, England, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain

China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia

USA, Canada, Brazil

Australia & New Zealand

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