French vélomobile meeting 2022

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From Friday 16th to Sunday 18th the 11th annual vélomobile meeting will be held at La Tranche-sur-Mer in Vendée. I have not added my name to the list of 42 planning to attend this year, it will be a surprise visit :giggle:. I will leave Saint Jean de Luz on Wednesday morning and drive north. On Thursday my route passes here:

fire-on-route.png

So it is possible that I may have to turn back :unsure: I am keeping up to date with the situation of course. For the moment the wind is pushing the fire towards Sainte Hélène.

I have planned 3 stages of 183, 153 and 132 km. Everything is packed and ready and Agilo is too! I have prepared as I would do to walk on the way of St James so minimal and light equipment. No cooking gear, this is France :giggle:. I am hoping for less wind because I am not taking the optional guy lines for the dome tent - 4 pickets less and no aluminum pole repair kit, 110 grams saved. The tent is 1 kg too heavy and the sleeping pad too long to go in front of the wheel well, those are my only issues with equipment.

I won't be following the E1 as often as @kitenteddy's Green Mambo tour. I know the coastal forest roads in the south a little and will be able to maintain a higher average speed there. I will not be crossing the marshes in the last section either, @kitenteddy told me they were not practicable with Agilo.

I will try to report here every evening but I don't think there will be photos until I get back home next week.
 
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Couldn't you reroute to get some safety distance from the fire?.g
The wind is pushing the fire to the east.

170km to Biscarrosse. Lots of pain... So much for being fit and ready. In fact I am trained for climbing steep hills and rolling down... The flat is a whole new world for me.
 
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We all love statistics :giggle:

The first hour I used 4.6 Wh/km. The second one only 2.8 Wh/km. That is the difference between the Basque country and the North.

I managed to clear the trip data, bike computer beginner, but the average speed in the first 2 hours was 27 km/h. Unloaded I manage 30, so I would estimate that a lighter Agilo here in the flat would be between 30 and 32 km/h on average.

Travel lighter would be a good idea... But I spent a very comfortable night despite the fire fighting air craft loading up on the lake. The wildlife was a little noisy too. No condensation in the tent and a good mattress.

I can't insert photos on this device so you will have to wait.
 
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OK so maybe @Reinhard or another administrator could change the title to "First voyage in Agilo". I got a bad case of tendinitis behind my left knee and turned around and came home... Sorry, no vélomobile meeting for me this year.

Photos and trip report later.
 
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I announced my non-venu just now ;)

So where to start? Injury:

I have had a hamstring injury in my left leg before (2010 ?) and reading medical sites discover now that the scar tissue never really heals 100%. Now that I know that I will adapt my driving style. The temperature was 33º C all day Wednesday and I may have exaggerated a little... A >6 litre day for 200 km (I got lost twice) and had to stop 20 min to repair once.

first-night.jpg

Lots of little friends in the night but no mosquitos got in the tent. A rabbit dug a little hole in front before being chased away by the camping ground cat. Just before dawn I heard a wild boar galloping along the beach... My rabbit:

my-rabbit.jpg

The next morning I didn't feel too bad so started north again. After 35 km of "mostly flat" it became clear that it was not a good idea to go any further. A short note on "mostly flat":

mostly-flat.png

If you look closely at the profile you will see a positive gradient that is so small that a lighter, faster vélomobile would not be affected. That stretch is about 15 km long and straight except for a couple of very slight corners. When you have a bad leg very slight gradients are not your friend...

So off to a camping ground in Le Teich, yes it has a pool! So pool, massage, rest in tent (away from the mosquitos...), pool, massage, walk around camping ground to keep leg mobile, dinner then sleep.

(insert photo of very similar campsite here, no not necessary...)

Battery:

I started by frying the charging board I use for charging both batteries at once from one charger... A too tired to think error. So that charge was after 186 km and I drove 14 km without using the motor. The second charge lasted 182.16 km with some Basque Country hills to climb. There I discovered that despite my old GSMoon motor being a clone of the BBS01 at least it has a freewheel when the motor is not receiving current. The BBS01B is still engaged when the battery is empty so you hear it grinding away and eating your precious Watts - 20.45 km on the way home :eek:

Cycle paths:

@kitenteddy said I would be fine on the cycle paths, maybe he wasn't driving 35 km/h? ;) A chicane:

a-chicane.jpg

I used cycle paths where they were a short cut and of course when the battery ran out of gas. Mostly I drove on the road and there is a lot of traffic including logging trucks on those roads. Once a day a driver made me notice I was driving on his road, or disagreed with my use of the road - black Range Rover which had to follow me for about 35 seconds. Or that I was nuts - van coming in the other direction. Hey I know I am nuts, no need to tell me! Considering the amount of traffic one unhappy person a day I can live with. Mostly very positive reactions, lots of instagram et al exposure I am guessing. Even a little GoPro action when I was driving parallel to the route on a good cycle path (with hurt leg rarely over 25.8 km/h).

Agilo stability in cross winds:

We have talked about this before in the Agilo thread but now I have significantly more experience and at speeds over 60 km/h @Felix :D Logging trucks are very big and very powerful, when they are empty drivers like to drive at 110 km/h (because they can) and being passed in both directions by these monsters I felt... Absolutely nothing! Busses at 80 km/h? Nothing much either. One logging truck threw a piece of bark at the windscreen - that made me think closed has some advantages over head out... Yesterday the wind was gusting strongly from the east so at a 90º angle to the road and I was > 65 km/h down a couple of hills in the home straight. You feel the gusts but have the time to compensate without wild swerving or any feeling of being in danger. (y) Bodo Sitko!

apple-stop.jpg

An apple stop and an example of the roads in the north of the Landes. I think the longest straight is over 15 km without a village or a corner. Many of the cycle paths/small forest roads are still closed since the huge forest fires during the summer. My route should have passed through the affected area but I did not see a single burnt tree.

420 km in all and just before the end, 25 km from home the Bayonne cathedral in the centre of the photo.

home-in-sight.jpg

I lost 1.5 kg body weight (fat) over the 4 days. No problems with hydration or "fringale" because I have long distance walking experience and know what my body needs. Temperatures too high for full windows (rain was announced for the return from Vendée), yesterday 26º air temperatures but with a tail wind blowing about the same speed as travel speed you do not get much fresh air...

I have read travel reports and suggestions etc. here but there is nothing that can replace your own experience. Now that I have tasted vélomobile travel I will be starting again as soon as I can. Projects to the south have a lot more vertical metres, that will be interesting. Before that i need to work on the brakes, coupled brakes suck badly on steep hills... Even VM.nl admit that from posts I have read. Yesterday the only emergency braking - a car refused a stop - and we both managed to stop in time. But there is not enough balanced braking power and my parking brake stopped working after just 200 km, can someone explain that? I reset the brakes in Bidart before the last big downhills, driving through Biarritz was a bit hairy in traffic.

So there we have it, Agilo as touring vélomobile. I need to work on the design of my forward luggage compartments and glue them in - speed bumps make the contents jump up even at very slow speed.

lugage-compatment.jpg

The tent goes here and on the other side more stuff but that one broke crossing a railway line after very few km.

I had too much stuff, some didn't come home but was recycled along the way. The tent was perfect but I would never share it with a second person - too small. The self inflating mattress is too heavy but perfect comfort, almost like the mattress at home.

Despite not reaching my initial goal a very satisfying 4 days.
 
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Thank you very much for this interesting travel report! :love:
Anyway, I'd like to see many more pictures of your agilo everyday life.
I hope your knee will get well soon.
 
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I calculated the battery use for the last 202.59 km and it was about 3.36 Wh/km. Despite my hamstring injury, and the damned Bafang which stays engaged when there is no battery, about 18 km of that, including a couple of very nasty climbs, were done with pedal power alone*. Downhill speed peaked at 65,72 km/h, the cars saw me coming and got out of the way on the last 2 downhill runs.

* I did not lose power in my leg, just cadence.
 
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Thank you very much for this interesting travel report! :love:
Anyway, I'd like to see many more pictures of your agilo everyday life.
I hope your knee will get well soon.

I preserved my knee as soon as I felt pain. And swimming pool sessions stopped it from getting any worse, today only a slightly tight sensation remains.

The next day trip will be to San Sebastian and I will be falling back on the motor quite a lot. I plan on about 80 km return so with the 180 km battery I should be fine :unsure:
 
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and the damned Bafang which stays engaged when there is no battery,
then you should repair your Bafang...

Beware! There seem to be two versions of the motor freewheel:
 
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then you should repair your Bafang...

Beware! There seem to be two versions of the motor freewheel:

So you think the clutch is broken? I will test it with the vélomobile empty and motor off, I easily reach >30 km/h. Saturday was the first time i noticed such behaviour.
 
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Is there a special medal/prize for driving up 2 x +7% gradient hills with a broken clutch, a sore hamstring and no battery? :rolleyes: It was pretty hard work...

I cheated and got out and pushed up the last 10% one behind the hospital :giggle:
 
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I told you to repair the motor, not to ruin your health!
:X3:

That was on Saturday coming home. Applying pressure does not hurt it is the repeated movement, pulling on the pedal and I think especially the high temperature that caused inflammation in the ligament/muscle junction.

I will go down and check the motor in a couple of minutes. There was a loud noise from the motor about 50 km from home, it could possibly have been one of the pawls breaking. For no obvious reason, I was just climbing a short ramp to a railway crossing.
 

JKL

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I will go down and check the motor in a couple of minutes. There was a loud noise from the motor about 50 km from home, it could possibly have been one of the pawls breaking. For no obvious reason, I was just climbing a short ramp to a railway crossing.
Hat der Motor eine Kühlung / einen Lüfter?

Gruß Jörg
 
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Applying pressure does not hurt it is the repeated movement, pulling on the pedal and I think especially the high temperature that caused inflammation in the ligament/muscle junction.
Since that was your first tour you might have to change something about your position in the agilo since that sounds like the usual ham string problem.

Regards,

Tim
 
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Does the motor have cooling / a fan?

No, but with the strong driver settings it doesn't even get slightly warm to the touch ;) On Saturday when it started dragging the exterior temperature was 26º C and interior temperature under the windscreen 31º C. Around the headlight there is a gap of 1 cm, that external air flows directly down over the motor. And the air from the foot holes flows upwards onto the motor too, under the hood where the motor is that's the coolest place in Agilo, much cooler than in the seat. The motor is protected from the sun and in a large well ventilated volume (my legs as ventilator), I think it receives less radiated heat than in direct sunlight and a few cm from the surface of the road. :unsure:

On Wednesday it was 33º C after I left Bayonne and the motor did not run because average speed was 27-28 km/h with >30-41 km/h down and 24 km/h up the very few remaining hills. I touched the motor regularly during the Basque Country section because there are a couple of longish climbs at about 6-7% and it was cool to the touch.

Thursday and Friday average speed was 25.4-25.8 km/h with my bad leg, I could not get my cadence higher without pain. Motor power was set to 20% all day except for a couple of short climbs in town in Biarritz. I had saved some battery for those red lights in traffic :cool:

The same motor in a smaller carbon fibre tube and in similar weather would not run for long without a fan I think...
 
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Seems likely, since the Bafang has one and multiple users reported broken clutches...

So I turned the pedals with no battery plugged in and the pedal shaft freewheel makes the normal noises when the pedals are turned in both directions. The noisiest thing is the Ginkgo idler pulley! And there is no resistance on the pedal. If I had known I would have unplugged the battery on Saturday... Or turned off the LCD, I need the battery for the lights.
 
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