STORIES FROM VELOMOBILE COMMUNITY
How to Stay Warm Cycling in the Winter
Author: BEN PARKE
Hello velomobile fans. This one really only applies to those of you that have the misfortune of living in the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere where it actually snows. One of my biggest concerns with the Bülk has always been what I will do when I get to winter. Since I'm trying to go car-free, I need to have some good tread in the snow and I know with the rear wheel being a 622 or a 700 C here in the US, I can find narrow enough tires with tread and spikes to work. But what do I do about the front?
I have in my stock of tires a set of marathon GT 365 tires. I think I learned about these tires from Saukki’s YouTube channel since he has the same fate as I do of living in a place where it snows a lot. Today with the temperature starting to drop into the 50s Fahrenheit I decided it was time to put in an order for some winter tires. I thought before I do that I will check my front wells and see if I can actually get the 365's in there. I can, and actually they were not as hard to put in there as I thought. These are 40-406 and I just tested the turning radius. I'll do a video of that for you, but amazingly enough, it is entirely acceptable. It was not in the W9. The turning radius was so large I couldn't turn around in the cul-de-sac, but that is not the case with these. The left is a little bit larger turning circle and I think through some adjustments I can get that to be equal to the right side.
In addition to being very strategic about my tire choice for winter riding, there's also a couple things we need to do to help prevent fogging because it does get pretty humid inside the velomobile. I just installed this FogCity anti-fog insert. It works great! I've had a chance to test it the past week or so. The FogCity insert can be found online. Motorcycle shops sell them and you can also get them from Velomobile World. I also have a wiper blade. This particular one is from HoVelo. There's also one from Velomobile SH that works really well. The final thing I'll need to do is to deal with fogging of the side windows. Most of the time I just wipe it off with my shirt sleeve, but this winter I'm going to try an anti-fogging spray. If that doesn't work well, then I will double glaze the windows (an option now available for new Bülk orders from Velomobile World.) The Bülk velomobile also has a nice Velcro strip that will cover the opening that brings air into the cockpit so I don't think I will need to tape over the air intake in the nose, but I will tape over the opening for the headlight for the winter just to keep the cold air out.
So now that we've prepared the velomobile for riding in the snow, we also need to take into consideration preparing ourselves for the experience. I usually wear a long sleeve thermal shirt and some warm pants and warm socks, and then winter cycling shoes. That's usually enough for most of the winter. I typically find that inside the velomobile is around 40° F warmer than outside. The shell will help hold your body heat in, and you basically end up acting as your own heater. I also make sure I carry a nice warm winter jacket, warm hat, warm gloves, and typically a pair of rain pants that will block the wind just in case I have a mechanical and I need to get out. I also throw a coat on when I'm coming to and from the house to get into the bike or to and from the grocery store. When you're out there in your sweaty clothes and you've got all that cold air, it's not going to be very pleasant!
The final thing to remember for winter riding in a velomobile is that you're probably not going to set any speed records in the cold. The increased air and rolling resistance are both going to slow you down. Give yourself some extra time to get to your destination, especially if you're dealing with snowy or icy roads, just like you would with a car.
For me, being able to ride all through the winter last year was a big factor in helping me mentally survive what ended up being 6 months of brutal cold and snow. Now that I've got my new Bülk, I feel like I'm even better prepared for this coming winter with all of the fog mediation options and the enclosed footwells.
If you're interested in having a much better option for staying warm riding in the winter this year, now is a great time to order a new velomobile. You can find lots of information here on the website about the various models on offer, including the Bülk. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Velomobile World!