Is An Enclosed Bicycle Just An HPV Or More

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Human Powered Vehicles, Streamliners, Streetliners, are unfamiliar names for most people outside of recumbent bike circles. So discussions about enclosed bicycles might raise some eyebrows and elicit hardy laughs from others wondering if you have lapsed into something futuristic.

Describing an enclosed bicycle is far easier than trying to remember such strange names as those mentioned above for the uninitiated. But that’s just what they are…enclosed. What are known as “fairings” surround, enclose or in many cases simply protect the riders of recumbent bikes. Candidly speaking drawing a little attention to the contraption is an absolute likelihood as well.


Road Bike cyclist do it with their brightly colored shirts, shoes and helmets, plus colorful bike frames. Recumbent bike riders do the same, but have the added advantage of adding additional components such as fairings. Some may be frontal and intended solely for additional aerodynamics. Others such as the streetliners enclose the bike again adding more aerodynamics, and protection from the elements.

Some (streamliners) Are Completely Homebuilt

Streamliners tend to be for the track only and are usually not fully enclosed having the head out. HPV’s on the other hand are fully enclosed for racing purposes. Some are completely homebuilt while others are sleek, custom built carbon fiber chassis fully enclosed with remote cameras and interior tablets for viewing on the race track.

Just such a Human Powered Vehicle broke yet another Human Powered Vehicle Speed Record at Battle Mountain, Utah in September 17, 2106, with a top speed of 89.59 MPH! Canadian Todd Reichert and team now hold that record with their Aerovelo HPV. An enclosed bike…recumbent bike that is.

So the question, is an HPV just an enclosed bike, or something more? It’s an effort to test human power to see where the limits lie. Create housings that will reduce wind resistance offering the potential for an economic and environmentally sound source of personal transportation. Just maybe it is really an effort, because of its uniqueness and quirkiness, as a neat way to entice people to exercise and have fun at the same time. Can you think of anything better?

Enclosed Bicycle Or Not It’s Still Based On A Recumbent

There are a few of these bicycle cars or more correctly tricycle cars being manufactured in the U.S. Really? Really. Velocity Velos came to life back at the time gas was $4 per gallon. Now they are producing fairings as well as complete vehicles, if they can be called that, at prices far more affordable than 16 years ago.

Taylor Wilhour produced his first Velocity Velo in 2010 and followed that up with a Ride Across America in 2011 with 34 other Velomobile enthusiasts in his own prototype.

So it can be an enclosed bicycle car or tricycle car. No matter what it’s called it is gaining momentum in the U.S., perhaps much as it did in Europe which has embraced this incredible source of transportation for years. Only within the last 15 years has it began to almost grudging emerge in the U.S. Can you say, “Welcome?” It’s still based on a recumbent, so if you can’t say welcome, just say “Get bent!”


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