Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter training

Winter training
The weather is crazy!  We were cycling at X-mas then after New Years day, the temperature dropped below -30C then it is again above freezing with rain and tonight the temperature will drop down to -15C.  I’m not cycling outside at the moment, the velomobile is stored for the worse of the winter, the roads are near impossible to ride during this period.  I use an old MTB to get some fresh air and a ride my road bike on a trainer.

I purchased a new Tacx Smart Vortex trainer to replace my old one that was difficult to setup.  It has all kinds of features.  The trainer is controlled using a computer, tablet or smartphone.  While this is good in theory, I find it is not the same in practice.  While the trainer works well, the bells and whistles are not working as promised.  I’m told the issue is the software provided.  For example, the Tacx training software does not see the Ant+ devices even with the Wahoo dongle.  The Wahoo software sees all devices but not the Tacx even if it recognizes the dongle and Ant+ icon appears when the dongle is connected.  I checked the support from Tacx and several people have the same issues I experienced and after several months there is no response from Tacx support.  To be fair, I’ve seen unaddressed problems from some other manufacturers. One wonders what kind of quality control and support these companies have where they completely ignore issues reported to them.  After all people have paid only a few hundred or a few thousand dollars for the devices and why would they expect them to work as advertised?

I may try some other software that I will have to purchase site unseen based on 3rd party recommendations.

Let’s look at recent industry news.

Cycle JV

Joel Vincent released on Facebook a video of the first ride of the Mulsanne.  Apparently the ride was a success but on the video you can hear a lot of creaking, the velomobile probably requires some more adjustments and this has to be expected at this point.


Velomobiel issued a warning about their blue Li-ion batteries.  The batteries should not to be charged at a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius or 32F.   Failure to follow this recommendation may completely damage the battery or at best lose some of its capacity.  Velomobiel recommends that owners take the battery indoors and let get warm before charging.  I think this is a very good advice not only for the blue Li-ion but for Lithium batteries in general.


Daniel is finally working on wheel pants for DF they will be approximately 550g a piece, probably turning radius would be between 14m and16m, depending on the tire rim offset, Daniel has been using wheels that provide narrower track.  The price will be in the 600€ range.  Not only will they fit the DF but they will be adjustable for the DF-XL and also the Evo-R, Evo-K and Evo-Ks.  From the weight you will be able to subtract some 210g for the wheel covers so the increase in weight will be about 850g.

At the same time, Daniel is also building a DF-XL with integrated pants.  Several people have made comments on the resemblance of this velomobile with the Quest or the Milan SL.   You be the judge.

A few people reported issues with the base of the DT Swiss Shock in the DF.  The base manages to come loose and the shock gets damaged.  DF users should inspect the shock to ensure the fastener is properly installed and there is no movement of the shock from side to side.


  1. as someone totally clueless: why don´t you just use your velomobile with a roller trainer? why switch to a road bike?

    1. Peter, I do not have rollers but a trainer stand that requires that you attach the trainer on the quick release holding the wheel of the bike. There are a number of reasons why velomobiles cannot use trainer stands: Velomobiles do not and cannot use quick release to hold the wheels because of the different rear wheel attachment system; most velomobiles like mine also have shells covering most of the rear wheel and a stand would not be able to attach. Rollers would work for a velomobiles but these are not providing the level of adjustment and simulation that electronic trainer stand can provide. I could and would prefer to use a recumbent bike like a high racer with 700 or 650B wheels on the trainer stand but I do not have one; this is why I use my road bike.

  2. Luc he is mentioning rollers where the front and rear wheel are on rollers and the rider pedals and balances, not a trainer attached to only the rear wheel.
    You put velo on backwards so the the rear wheel is on the double rollers and then chock up the front wheels for horizontal alignment. The front wheel roller would not have anything on or over it.

    1. Thank you Brad, I understood and there are rollers for trikes that I could use and does not require to put the front roller behind. The issue with rollers is that they do not have the smarts to simulate different riding conditions e.g.: climbing, cannot be controlled through a computer or provide info to a computer on power generated and settings at the time.