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19 Jan 2010

My Northern velomobile ride

It's was around half past 9 when the first velonaut arrives. David is quickly followed by many others who where brave enough to make the journey through the snow. I'm very pleased with 13 out of 18, only 5 riders withdrew due weather or not feeling so well. Ymte had come all the way from Dronten and had done 90km when he sat down for coffee. Many others had done at least 35km to get to my place. The idea of starting the ride at 10:30 is set aside because of the snow, we leave just after 11.

As I turn right for the road past the golf course I immediately think that I'd better taken the next turn. This road has a layer of fresh snow and the 'rubber band effect' reduces me, to leader of the group, to riding 12km/h. Everybody seems to manage this part and where quickly back on to black tarmac again.

Who we think of as the 'slowest' rider gets a spot right behind me, there where the speed of the group is the lowest. Later on it turns out that he's pretty strong because he has no problem at all to keep up with me. He just needed some time to warm up. One rider was riding his first proper velomobile ride and he did struggle a bit in the end to keep up with the rest. But we're not in a hurry and he becomes my new 'anchor'. He was riding a test ride Mango, so he didn't have to chance to fully adept to a VM and vice versa.

Quest rider and experienced recumbent racer Jan Marcel does an excellent job as my wing man. He notices it when people fall back in the group and than 'rides shotgun' to tell me what's going on way behind me. In the meantime back home, my parents are doing an excellent job at preparing the 2 kinds of soup for after the ride.

As we pull in for our lunch stop another Quest rider shows up. I recognize him, it's Stefan from Enschede. He sort misjudged the snow and didn't make on time to ride with us from the beginning. Anyway, he was up to steam now after having ridden about 100km.

There a tiny bit of rain as we continue or ride. The wide concrete cycle paths are clean most of the time. We take the main road if they're not. As be approach the world famous TT circuit south of Assen the group speeds up a bit. The asphalt on the main road is so utterly smooth that some riders can't withstand it. And why not? It's legal, there's hardly any traffic on a day like this and it's great fun.

When our group of 14 is almost in the city centre I decide to stop for some group photo's in front of the museum. There are very few people on the streets and the few who are, naturally, surprised by the sight of 14 brightly coloured vehicles.

With less than 4km to go we leave the museum and I lead the group over another street covered with slushy snow. To my surprise, nobody gets stuck. Back at where we started Q rider Georg has the crazy idea of riding through a pile of snow, hard, solid, shoved snow. He fails and tips over. Nobody or nothing gets hurt and everybody has a laugh.

The soup is tasteful and everybody has some new stories to tell. We had true velomobile weather and some of us learned new things.

I didn't had time to make a video, luckily David and Wilfred did have. Alex was our photographer. He's planning to make a selection out of these 193 photo's.


  1. Thanks for organizing this ride. Just a few weeks and I'll have my very own velomobile, a block Sinner Mango+.

  2. Hi Peter

    Looks like it was an absolutly wonderful ride with a wonderful group of people.
    One day perhaps I will be able to join you and the Huneliggers on such a ride.

    What does Huneliggers mean in English?

    In Alex's pictures there were a couple of a plaque or sign in four different languages, "please Do Not Touch" with a contact number for Jan-Marcel.

    Is this a sign that Jan-Marcel has on his velomobile?

    Just curious.

    All The Best

    David Whitmon

  3. Thanks, your welcome.

    'Hune' is derived from hunebed, something very typical for our province. ( 'ligger' is someone in a recumbent position.

    The sign is something Jan Marcel has on the small foam cover of his Quest.