I’ve promised myself to share my experiences with cycling long distances to work once I’ve gone 10 000 kilometres. Sitting on the train right now, it’s a perfect moment to start.
Over the past two years I’ve cycled about 14 000 kilometres to work. My daily commute is 44 km one way, thus doing 88 km every day. Quickly calculated this means I only went 160 times back and forth, or about 8.4 months. Or I was cycling for 480 straight hours, or 20 days non stop.
Doing such a long distance, I only deemed it possible with a velomobile. These low, fast bike machines, make you go faster then ever, trying to ignore the elements like wind, rain & temperature.
Spoiler alert: I sold my velomobile, as, cycling 3h a day, is hard to combine with working a full time job. Injuries are harder to recover from and I felt exhausted after many months of cycling everyday.
What did I like, love and disliked?
Going faster than ever! Mine had electric assist, making it easier to speed up.
The bafang is a great engine, making almost no noise and getting out of the way of the cycling experience. Really feels like going slightly off hill.
Able to maintain high speed and have less issues with wind. Hard side wind however, was sometimes tough to fight.
The visibility is really good as well. Contrary to what many people think, is an object of almost 3 meters long really good to see. The lights of the Waw are also very visible. If I could improve it, I would put the rear light higher and make it brighter. Maybe put in the hood.
The views while cycling the difference can be stunning. Specially when the weather is warm and great! When cold, you still don’t need a jacket. But good winter shoes and socks are a must.
The reactions of people can be strange. I was once followed by a car in a cycling only street. Once she overtook and blocked me, she asked me ‘what the hell I was driving’.
Turning is hell. If you need to go back, you have to step out, and lift the rear wheel by the back. Also, some cycle paths that go op and down, or have posts are not always suitable for driving with a velomobile.
If you come across a crossroads with houses, you really need to lower your speed and cross it defensively. Cycling 45 km/h is not an option.
Showering twice a day can be boring. As well is changing clothes. Even though the electric assist, cycling this amazing bike is very sporty and intense. People often think electric assist is like driving a car. They don’t realise how wrong they are, steering that car.
It was a great experience, but over for me now, as 44 kilometers one way, was 14 kilometers to far. Who knows, maybe in the future?