protects the chain against damp and dirt. The rear wheel has a Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub gear. The long wheelbase gives slow, stable steering. Taking tight corners at low speed calls for extreme handlebar turn angles. But it is a very pleasant bicycle to ride, and so I use it a lot. Next summer I will use it as a tourer on our holidays, carrying all the luggage so that my speed is better matched to that of my wife.
ViVOUW This is a folding bicycle constructed from 16 mm stainless steel tube, with a stiff, triangulated frame. It was designed to be suitable bike for tall people – I am almost 2 m tall myself. The inspiration for the spaceframe tubing comes from sources including Ducati motorbikes. ‘Vouw’ is ‘fold’ in Dutch. Designing the folding mechanism for this bicycle was a major challenge. It had to be strong, simple, lightweight and easily operated by hand without using tools, quickly, and it also had to look good! The result looks simple, but it is the result of many, many sketches. I am very proud of the headlight, a near perfect solution. Five 1.2V rechargeable batteries fit inside the steerer tube. On top is a waterproof switch and a compact LED headlight below the stem. At the bottom of the steerer tube is a connector for recharging. I choose a Shimano Alfine 8-speed, with 38T ring and 16T sprocket. Last autumn I tested the bike in the hilly Eifel region in Germany. Hill climbing: no problem! The Vivouw makes a comfortable travel bike. It can be quick-folded to fit in my car in a few minutes. Weight is around 15 kg. Now, I want to build a few more with some design changes. With a brazed rather than welded frame, and using powder-coated thin-wall cromoly steel tubing, I calculate that I should be able to achieve a bike weight of around 13 kg.
The Cabike one-line caption
Lights for the Vivouw folder are custom-made, with the batteries concealed within the steerer tube.
CURRENT PROJECT One constant problem is that I have too many ideas about bicycles to build. But when? I have to make choices. And improving my commuter vehicle seems like a good priority. The problem is this. When I ride the Quest in the dark, car headlights often blind me. And when it is raining, raindrops on my spectacles create beautiful stars, but no proper view! This can be a dangerous situation. I already had one accident, in a thunderstorm at night. Blinded by cars I went off the road and ended up in the
water in a ditch. I was upside down with the Quest on top of me and with my head in the water. A real nightmare! Luckily, I managed to get out. So I am now working on a recumbent with a roof rather like the BMW C1 motorcycle. The idea is that this recumbent will have three configurations. The first one is as a naked bike, without fairing or roof. The second is with just the fairing, and the third is fairing complete with roof. I am hoping that this type of roof will give me better vision and protection in the rain. The recumbent will have both front and rear suspension, and the chain will be protected against water, dirt and salt by an epoxy/glassfibre case. The frame is almost finished and is made of stainless steel, TIG welded. It has a Shimano 8-speed Alfine hub gear in the back wheel. I’m currently working on the moulds for the seat. I’ll be sure to send a picture when it’s finished. If any readers have comments on the bikes or questions, any feedback would be very welcome!
38 VELOVISION ISSUE 32 DECEMBER 2008
There’s more on the bikes, and contact details for Aalt, at his website: www.vibike.nl