Above is a picture of my Quest velomobile. The Quest is a velomobile made by Velomobiel.nl, De Vliet 6, 8253 PB Dronten, The Netherlands, tel 321-332717. For more information about velomobiles in general, cruise over to the North American Velomobilist and Mary Arneson's Velomobiling web sites. In addition, there are two North American-based velomobile products underway. The first, VelomobileUSA, LLC, is a Texas-based company which is actively selling the Alligt and Flevobike Alleweder in ready-to-ride and kit form. The second is a new design velomobile being developed by Rainforest Designs Ltd of British Columbia, Canada. Updates on this new velomobile are added frequently to the site, so check back often. I applaud both of these efforts and hope they help spur the growth of velomobile use in North America.
My Quest, Number 146, was the replacement for my Mango, which I sold to Ray Mickevicius, BlueVelo, Toronto, Canada in January 2006.
I have named this Quest Eos, Eos being the Titan goddess of the dawn. I figured this was a good name for a mode of transportation which would usher in the dawn of a cleaner, more sustainable world. Eos is also the sister of Selene, otherwise known by the Romans as Luna, Luna being my 2005 Prius, which is the backup transportation to the Quest.
Eos is a second generation Quest. The main improvement of this Quest over the original design is the use of a 26" rear wheel. Use of the larger wheel allowed for the elimination of the mid-drive and the use of a traditional long cage rear derailleur. The end result is a quieter drive train and the ability to achieve a larger gear range through the use of a 11-34 cassette. I added 155mm cranks, an extra side mirror, blinkers, an extra front spot light, and a horn to the base configuration.
The folks at Velomobiel.nl, namely Ymte Sijbrandij, were very easy to work with. Ymte was very prompt and thorough in his responses to all my questions. Currently you need to make payment via wire transfer or via certified check. If your bank allows it, try to have the monies sent to ING/Postbank in US currency and let Postbank handle the exchange into Euros. I have been told that Postbank uses a more favorable method for calculating the exchange rate.
The crate used to ship the Quest in was roughly 330 pounds and its dimensions (which are more important for obtaining a shipping quote via boat) are 9.2 ft. long x 2.6 ft. wide x 3.3 ft. high. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, the shipper I used, recommended that the crate be secured to a skid via strapping. The crate should be strong enough to withstand stacking and should be clearly marked as "Fragile" and indicate that the crate should only be lifted from the skid (two VMs shipped to the US have been damaged by fork lifts due to improper marking/handling). The shipper's address and your address should be clearly marked on the outside of the crate (see the photo section for an idea of what the crate should look like).
A couple of additional recommendations when arranging for shipping of your velomobile. Other's who have imported velomobiles from Europe have stressed that your invoice needs to be written in English. This simplifies the process of passing through US Customs. Also, make sure that you use the correct harmonized tariff. It should be HTS# 8712.00.5000, otherwise known as "Other Cycles" The duty rate for this category is 3.7%. Other types of bicycles carry a higher duty rate.
An article about my use of the Mango for year round bike commuting, which appeared in the Portland Press Herald March 15, 2005.
My letter to the editor describing why I choose to commute to work by bicycle.
Information about an effort to develop trails which connect Maine communities, known as Trails for a Healthy Maine Coalition.
International Human Powered Vehicle Association - Looking for information on HPV's, then here is your place
Bike Forums - Great message board for bike related issues
BentRiders Online - Magazine and online resource for recumbent riders