Cycling Tours 2020

In 2020, I did 57 day tours with the trikes and velomobile. A dozen of the tours with the velomobile where between 200km and 345km, while the longest trike tour was a mere 115km. The combined day tour mileage was 8,557km. Due to COVID-19, only one night was spend in a hotel. Total mileage of all my cycles in 2020 was 14,743km.

Day tour tracks in 2020

And last but not least, mid December 2020 this little blog crossed the 250,000 views milestone. On average, each visitor views two posts.

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Wendland Tour

The Christmas tour from Lauenburg south-east through the Wendland, crossing the Elb river at Dömitz and back home via Boitzenburg.

Since I totally forgot about the old Rundling villages in the area, my track was very close to a few of them, but I only rode through one, I think. Well, they are an other good excuse to do this tour again. Apart from the area being quite lovely, of course.

convenience break after 70km just before Bleckede

A few minutes later, a police van followed me through Bleckede and soon enough signaled the need for a talk. Thats the 5th police stop with the velomobile and the third this year (one was with the VTX, though). Again, very friendly officers who this time managed to keep out of the camera view.

While it was only 2°C, the weather was quite perfect.

The Elb bridge at Dömitz.

riding into the sunset

the 266km track

The planned efficiency test with the newly installed DD-hub motor was cut short, since I was going to be late for Christmas dinner. In the end, the Milan managed to consume 11.3Wh/km at a 52.2km/h average. The rather slow Marathon GT 365 at the front wheels didn’t help with efficiency at all, but I’m currently more concerned with good wet grip at colder temperatures than lowest possible consumption figures (the GT 365 excels in the wet grip department!). Better save than sorry.

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VM-Tour Altengamme 2020-12-13

Last Sunday we did our usual velomobile tour from Kaltehofe, through Vierlande to Altengamme and back. Initially we planned to cross the Elb river at Geesthacht and ride back to Hamburg via Harburg, but things changed along the way.

The meeting point at the flood barrier Billwerder bay

convenience break

Olli figured out why his Mango suddenly got so slow

Meeting Ilja with his DF on the dike street. I think, this is where the decision was made to cut the tour 30km short

convenience break on the dike

along the Elb dike

I think we all got cold feet and where looking for a place to get a coffee, when one of the ball bearings in my freshly installed direct-drive hub motor started to make a lot of noise (more about that later). It got so loud, that I was really pleased to have ear protection plugs at hand and cut the tour short.

Apart from that pesky ball bearing, the quiet MXUS hub motor is a way better match than the noisy Bafang CST geared hub motors. The MXUS is about 5% more efficient than the CST and, driven by a programmable Phaserunner motor controller, offers smooth regenerative braking.

the 50km track (clockwise)

Update 2020-12-20
The broken ball bearing of the hub motor was actually a completely disintegrated ball bearing inside the cassette adapter. I’ve swapped the damaged MXUS 3005 hub motor with 559 size rim for a MXUS 3006 in a 584 size rim and ordered new ball bearings.

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Police Stop (the 4th)

Yesterday, I had my first police stop this year. The friendly officers had seen the velomobile wizzing by in a diffent city district before and took the opportunity to inquire about this strange vehicle. After taking the opportunity for a photo, they assured me to inform their fellow officers to avoid wasting my time in the future.

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Optimal tire pressure

Lets start with this old article from 2006:

It got this handy graph from Frank Berto about optimum tire pressure for a certain tire load. Thats the point you shouldn’t forget: My optimum tire pressure (for my weight) is different from your optimum tire pressure (for your weight)!

The guys from Silca did run some tests, regarding the difference between tire rolling resistance on drum roll tests and real world road surfaces:

Thats the rolling resistance graph you get from drum roll rolling resistance tests, like you find at

The higher the tire pressure, the lower the rolling resistance (= the faster the tire)

While these tests are a valid tool to compare the rolling resistance of different tires, they don’t paint the whole picture.

On real world street surfaces, the tires behave a bit differently. Above a certain tire pressure (for a given rider weight), the rolling resistance actually increases.

Rider and bike total weight was 190 lbs, we used water inside water bottles to maintain equivalent total mass over the duration of the testing.

To wrap it up, just watch this very interesting interview with Josh Poertner the boss of Silca about optimum tire pressure

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VM-Tour Buchholz

Todays tour to Buchholz with Morten and Dirk in their Quest’s

convenience break

Morten and Dirk getting ready, after fixing an unruly chain

starting again

having a coffee and some pastries in front of the bakery

on the way back, we saw an other Milan velomobile near Hitfeld

typical overtaking situation on a narrow street

back in Hamburg

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Vortex-Leader 3×26″

Since the 24″ Kojaks produced some bad shimmy at the front wheels, I tried some 24″ Maxxis DTH yesterday, but that didn’t solve the problem. Looks like this trike with its funny steering geometry doesn’t like a 3×24″ wheel set-up, after all.

Hence, I’ve build a 26″ rear wheel with a polished Rigida DP22 rim, to match the Rigida DP22 front wheel set.

The 26″ wheels are shod with Continental Contact Speed 32-559 at the front and a slightly wider Continental Contact Speed 42-559 at the rear. While I’m not particularly fond of the Contact Speed in general (they are neither quick, nor offer good wet grip), they are cheap tires with reasonably good puncture protection and (most importantly) cured the shimmy problem. This trike definitely likes big front wheels.

Actually, the 26″ front wheel set with the polished rims was always supposed to go into this trike, anyway. Its very non standard steering geometry, due to the rear axle of the Trice Leader rear frame being a good 8cm lower than current ICE Trikes rear frames, makes it perfectly suited for a 3×26″ or 3×700 wheel set-up. Despite the big front wheels, the handling is pretty agile.

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The Vortex-Leader rolls again

I’ve finally finished the Vortex-Leader custom trike today. Well, not finished-finished, but its ride-able again.

It took me a while to get motivated to remove the green powder coating from the Trice Leader rear frame and have it glass-pearl blasted and nickel-plated like the Vortex+ cruciform. It was well worth the 6 hour effort, though.

To adapt the 38mm diameter Trice rear frame tube into the 42.6mm Vortex cruciform, I’ve used a 250mm long V4A stainless steel tube with 42.4mm diameter and 2mm wall thickness, cut a few millimeter wide slot along its length and inserted it 150mm deep into the cruciform. Since the rear frame tube is only 0.2mm smaller in diameter, it just slides in without noticeable play, now.

The adapter tube its fastened with a high strength stainless steel tube clamp to the rear frame tube. A second tube clamp is used to mount the rear idler.

The waterproof Rockbros frame bags hide the adapter tube and rear idler and offer plenty of space for spare tubes, tools, Fumpa pump, battery and even the Abus Bordo X. That silver tube, zip-tied to the head rest, is a Rohloff Lubmatic automatic chain oilier, btw.

The 2004 Trice Leader rear frame didn’t have a disk brake mount, hence I had to get creative. Luckily, the old Avid BB7 has about the same color and finish as the nickel-plated frame.

Since the Novosport trike seat didn’t offer enough lateral support and wasn’t very comfortable to begin with, the 2012 ICE Trike hard shell seat is a tremendous update to the trike and looks much better.

For now, I’ve mounted the old Ginkgo idler that I ripped out of the Milan velomobile. The ball bearings are in less than satisfying condition, though. Not sure if I’ll put in a new Ginkgo idler or a TerraCycle idler. Also, the handlebar stem needs a new polishing.

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VM-Tour Lauenburg-Runde

Yesterday, Morten organized a 120km round tour to Lauenburg and back.

We met with five velomobiles (two Quest, a Strada, a Milan SL, and my Milan GT) in Kaltehofe and picked-up three others along the way.

Olaf joined with his green-black Alpha 7 and Ilja with his white DF

Dieters orange DF suffert a flat on the way and we waited 5 min in front of an Aldi till he arrived

On the dike along the northern bank of the Elb river

The Alpha 7 and Milan SL Mk5 in matching colors

The weather got better along the way

After the lunch break in Arlenburg, we where met by the sun and even some blue sky

On the dike along the southern bank of the Elb river

The ferry from Hoopte to Zollenspieker

Unfortunately Henry, who also wanted to join us on the way, crashed his brand new Milan SL Mk6 a mere 20km from home. Looks like he didn’t got hurt much and was able to ride home, but his Milan suffered some severe damage.

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VM-Tour Altengamme

Some impressions from our 50km velomobile evening tour yesterday. We where two Quest, a Milan SL Mk5, an Alpha 7 and my Milan GT.

The image quality of my motorcycle dash cam is spectacularly bad, though. Video quality isn’t good either, but it was pretty cheap and is convenient to use.

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