For a notorious Velomobile sceptic, a four day trip to a Velomobile factory in the Netherlands, and a day hanging out with entusiastic Velomobilistes might seem like a bad idea. I suppose I did it because I get fed up with people rejecting new ideas without ever trying them. And it was an opportunity you don't get offered very often!
My friend John has two Velomobiles, which to normal people might seem excessive, but John is not normal. The good thing is that he always has a spare one, so when he suggested we go to to Holland for the annual meeting and time trial in the Intercity bikes factory in Dronten I allowed myself to be persuaded. He also does a regular video blog, so you can watch his account of our journey here.
The first disadvantage of a velomobile is that every journey has to start and finish at your front door, so we had to do a five hour evening ride to Harwich and then camp in some woods overnight to get the morning boat This was my first long ride in the Quest, which weighs about 38 kilos plus I was carrying enough camping stuff for the weekend. I have to say for a heavy machine it rolled nicely if the hills were not extreme. You certainly get a big advantage above about 30 kmh, below 20 kph the weight starts to tell and it becomes a grind.
Coming off the boat in Holland we were with fellow rider Ian in a DF - the vehicle of choice for afficianados. This weighs closer to 24 kilos and is a stiffer and more compact machine. He is used to travelling everywhere at high speed and obviously found it frustrating waiting for me, but since I was navigating he didn't have any choice. We rode 25k to a campsite with a cabin and then set off early the next day for the 140k ride to Dronten.