Who Runs The World? Velomobiles!

Rachel’s Team Pick:

Do you know what a velomobile is? Neither did I until I read this at GOOD:

If you’re road-tripping through the northwestern United States this weekend, don’t be alarmed if you see a pack of Europeans flying by in colorful bike pods. The vehicles are velomobiles, a covered recumbent bicycle (or tricycle) optimized for aerodynamics and long-distance travel. Departing from Portland tomorrow, the Roll Over America Tour is bringing velomobiles from coast to coast over the course of a 30-day road trip, hailed as the “world premier of velomobiling.”

What is a covered recumbent bicycle??? It looks to me like someone took the body of a motorcycle sidecar and put it on top of someone else’s bike. But it is so much more!

+ The shells reduce drag and make you more aerodynamic!
+ You get to sort of recline back while you pedal, which makes it more comfortable!
+ There’s cargo space in there!
+ They cite “protection from the elements,” which I hope means some sort of awesome Jetsons bubble-windshield
+ “One-third less effort” which, DUH, YES

I think these are being marketed primarily as long-distance vehicles, the structure and physical demands of the velomobile making it possible to bike (velo?? Velo is my favorite French word guys) for much farther than would ordinarily be feasible for people that aren’t Lance Armstrong. Look, this guy went on a whole QUEST!

What do you think? Do you LOOOOOOOVE IT? Do you want one? Is it because you’re European? Is it because it reminds you of the podracers in Star Wars? Would you wear an outfit that matched your velomobile? What would you name it? Most importantly, are you going to get me this for my birthday next month?

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


    do you need to know cycling to use this? or does knowledge of tricycling work?

  2. i want one except how do you lock it? do you park it? does it have a door? will i get numbers from the ladehs. maybe if i don’t pronounce it ladehs. hmm.

    • even if you pronounced it ladehs, I’m pretty sure if you had one of these, you would get my number. ;)

  3. I LOVE IT I WANT ONE WHERE DO I SIGN UP. no srsly, i love biking and i dont want to learn how to drive but i cannot go anywhere unless weather permits which sucks teh ballz.

  4. I love this. I want to ride one Now. I like when autostraddle has things that are awesome that are not necessarily related to my sexual orientation.

  5. i would love to ride around in one of these things but idk where is safe to ride/drive one.

    sucky texas

  6. Where do you park them? Is there some kind of way to prevent them from being stolen while you are not in them?

  7. 50s version of the future…and i’ve never really understood cycling while reclining. oxymoron?

    • As a few commenters pointed out above, they seem like they’d be pretty easy to steal, so that’s an option to consider.

  8. Wrt the locking concerns… I imagine it’d be a bit like stealing the Batmobile. Not exactly an inconspicuous getaway vehicle.

    Though I guess if you’re shelling out 12k for a bike that may not be reassuring enough. Maybe it could shoot a net at would-be-thieves. Or something with lasers.

  9. new article: How to Make Your Own Velomobile (and how to properly accessorize with pride stickers)

  10. Oh gods I could see SO MANY LESBIANS veloing.

    Also, I could easily see TONS of these things in SF.

  11. It’s like a kayak that’s a bike! Also, this video is strangely transfixing. Like, I think I can actually go to sleep now. To dream of Velo quests.

  12. After reading this article, last night I had a strange dream involving velomobiles, Pride celebrations in the small town where I went to college, and trick-or-treating in July.

  13. videos don’t work on my computer so i can’t see what they looks like in action, but i love these guys already. they’re like space ships with wheels!

Comments are closed.