maandag 29 december 2014

What! Already time for 2015?

Wow, times flies when you're having fun. Another year has gone by and I've built some bikes in the workshop. I've totally forgot that I've promised to show more pictures about our vacation bikes. So here you go, one teaser picture of my holiday bike before the vacation.
Not only did this type of bike proof to be a reliable tour bike but it is also a quick and comfortable bike for everyday use. Besides the two bikes for private use I was able to make a customer happy with another one of these.

So what is Vrijwiel up to in 2015?

Two main things will happen. First I am already busy making plans to mass produce an affordable velomobile. I'm still looking for the possibilities to produce it as a kit. I know, I already wrote about it almost a year ago, but then things like getting married and so came in between. In 2015 I will pick it up again and with some luck and support from you guys I'm sure it will happen.

The second big step for Vrijwiel will be the finalization of above mentioned "holiday"-bike. For a good production quality I'll have to gear up in the tool department. This will automatically have a positive effect on the Vrijwiel Solo bikes as well, so let's hope I will finally find that bag of money.

These are the two main things happening in 2015 besides that I will produce some films, maw some lawns and will get distracted by a lot of side projects. Stay tuned and have a "guten Rutsch" to 2015.


vrijdag 12 december 2014

Tour d'Artistique op vliegbasis Soesterberg

The last weeks the Vrijwiel workshop was filled by a little caravan. Not a used one, mind you, Vrijwiel built a new bicycle caravan for the exposition Tour d'Artistique by Pet van de Luitgaarden.
It had to be small enough to pull it by bike but big enough to sleep and live in it with two people. First I came up with a downsized classic design of a "normal" caravan but after visiting Paul Elkins site I got inspired by his emergency shelter. Thanks Paul!
The cigar look was especially fitting since we've decided to sticker it with cigar bands. So if you want to check out the cigar-bicycle-caravan come this weekend to the old air force base in Soesterberg. I heard that the entrance was for free!

maandag 11 augustus 2014

holidays and such

Dear readers, first of all thank you very much for you patience.
Of course, a lot has happened since the last entry form march 18th 2014. I will try to explain my absence in a few words before picking up on the latest developements.
  1. For our holiday trip to the Czech Republic we needed two "normal"recumbents, so I had to develop and build them.
  2. I got married :) 
  3. The marriage preparations took a lot of time.
  4. After the wedding I had to clean up and eat all the left overs.
  5. finally it was time to go an vacation.
  6. After my wife :D had pointed out that my last entry was from march 18th I sat down and began this little defence about why I didn't write anything until now.
Trip to Prague:

A while ago we had the idea to cycle to Prague during the summer holiday. But to be able to do so in the limited amount of time that we had, we would have to take a train back. That would mean we couldn't use the Vrijwiel Solo's but normal bikes instead. Since my backside is spoiled by recumbents during the last three or so years I didn't really want to go on my normal bike. The only realistic solution for me was to build two "normal" recumbents with two wheels each. So I did some research about what I had in mind. I don't really like the looks of recumbents with small wheels and according to what I've found everywhere, bigger wheels provide a better ride. So it had to be something fancy.
After some research I settled for a front wheel drive moving bottom bracket design. This way I had my two big wheels and I could use as much normal parts as possible, including a single chain.

I made some 3D drawings in Blender and went to the workshop. After making a kind of prototype/test case and learned how to ride on it the matter was settled, I would have to make two more but better. So I went on spending time in the workshop until I came up with these two.

This was the trip:

Saturday Juli 5th
Kockengen - Grietherort 138 km

On the first day I learn ho to get chocolate (and later other sweets) out of the bag under my seat while driving. A skill much used and appreciated during the trip) I am now definitely the king of the road!
In the evening we witness the Dutch team winning from Costa Rica.

Sunday Juli 6th
Grietherort - Werne 140 km

We experience some rain during our perfectly timed break. After the break we are able to cycle on dry. In the end we get soaked 200 meters away from our destination, the unofficial but totally luxurious bike hotel Stockum. Thanks a lot Herman and Gisela, we really enjoyed our stay.

Monday Juli 7th
Stockum - Werne - Hamm 21 km

It's nice weather outside, let's take a rest day. Maybe we have started off a bit fast with two long days. So we just decide to take a day of rest and visit some friends and family and eat at the famous Papa George in Werne.

Tuesday Juli 8th
Hamm - Schloss Neuhaus 88 km

It's a bit rainy and we cycle on. In the afternoon we arrive at a camp side outside of Paderborn next to the Lippesee. We get our own bathroom there and it starts raining. In the evening we can see the historical match Germany-Brazil and I can still hardly believe what I saw there.
Shortly after we arrive it starts raining and it won't stop until Wednesday afternoon...

Wednesday Juli 9th
Schloss Neuhaus - Scherfede 63 km

Rain rain rain, it is amazing how wet one can get on a bike. I have one fleece jacket with me but I don't dare wearing it on the bike because I am afarid not to be able to dry it. We stop in Paderborn to buy some dry socks and a new fleece jacket for Marlies and a cheap warm jumper for me. happy with our new gear we spend quite some time in a bakery to warm up and fuel our engines with bread.
We cycle on until Scherfede where we are allowed to stay in a garden hut of the local restaurant. Thank you very much "Louis"! We try to dry some clothes, have a wonderful dinner and visit my grandparents and family on the grave yard. In the evening we watch The Netherlands - Argentina ...what a waste of time...

Thursday Juli 10th
Scherfede - Hemeln 92 km

A nice, quiet cycling day with good weather and beautiful German cities. For example Warburg. If you are in the area, visit it, you will like it.

We arrive on a campsite in Hemeln just in time to put our bikes and our selfs under a roof and to see a very impressive thunderstorm above our heads.

Friday Juli 11th
Hemeln - Heldra 91 km

We are able to take cover twice for the two thunderstorms that day. So we consider our selfs lucky. IN the afternoon we get very nice weather and even a warm sunny evening.

We are allowed to pitch our tent in the garden next to the Biergarten where we stop to drink an evening beer. It's great to meet nice people. At this spot it is time to write about a little pest thing this holiday, the slugs. They are everywhere, I even had one in my bag and carried it along for a day. Not only that they slime on everything everywhere, they also shit on everything everywhere. And they are faster than one would expect...

Saturday Juli 12th
Heldra - Wernehausen 125 km

We have a good start this morning. We find nice bakeries to fill up on fuel and make a quick stop at a lake to fresh up. In the evening we are allowed to camp on a field of family Müller which we appreciate a lot.

Sunday Juli 13th
Wernehausen - Elsa 90 km

It's a gray day today. It never really stops raining. We try to find a cheap room in Rodach-Elsa but the renters aren't too friendly and the prices are very high. By "accident" we meet the very friendly famile Buff where we are allowed again to stay in their garden. I can watch them milking their cows and we are invited to watch the Championship Final. What can I say? It couldn't have gone better. :)

Monday Juli 14th
Elsa - Wirsberg 90 km

The day started gray but in the afternoon it got better. We spend the night in the garden of a youthhostel. It's a very nice campsite with good showers and we get a breakfast buffet in the morning! It's a good end of a day.

Tuesday Juli 15th
Wirsberg - Wölsauerhammer 70 km

It allready got steeper the last few days, but today we finally went over the highest point of our trip. The climbing went very well, even though we both were wondering before the trip whether it would be so handy to use front wheel drives for that. Driving on the forest paths between Bad Berneck and Fichtelberg was difficult because of the soft and deep gravel there but we make it through without accident.
In Wölsauerhammer we experience prototype hospitality: We are not only allowed to spend the night on the gras field of the fire brigade, but we are also invited to drink some beers with the people of the village. We meet very nice people and we are even invited for breakfast the next morning by Richard and Susanne. If you read this, thank you very much again!

Experiences like this let me look at people in a positive way. There are a lot of nice people out there, you just have to go and meet them.

Wednesday Juli 16th
Wölsauerhammer - Zádub 76 km

After a great breakfast Richard joins us on our first 10 km towards Czech today. We eat the rest of the big breakfast exactly on the border.
In Marianske Lazne we stop for a Pizza and realize that we need Czech Crowns. We spend the night on a field outside Zádub.

Thursday Juli 17th
Zádub - U Jezera 88 km

We continue cycling through Czech, a beautiful country as far as we can see. in the evening we find the Camp sight U Jezera. The two big Gambrinus we drink before going to bed are cold and very good.

Friday Juli 18th
U Jezera - Dobrichovice 78 km

After a nice warm day of cycling we find a perfect campsite next to the River Berounka where we can enjoy a swim and a Kozel before going to bed. We could cycle on to Prague the same day, but we don't feel like it. We give our selfs some rest before the big city.

Saturday Juli 19th
Dobrichovice - Prague 30 km

We arrive on the campsite Cisarska Louka where we are told that we can get a 5% discount because we are members of the ADAC. Unfortunately the discount won't show up on the bill... After asking about it we are being told that they forgot to put the discount in. "Sorry, it is in the computer now. We can't do anything for you." ... After explaining to them that it was them who made a mistake here, one of the workers, a young guy, offers us a beer instead. We accept his offer and leave in peace.
We enjoy the city for a few days before we leave for Dresden.

Tuesday Juli 22nd
Prague - Hrnevice 80 km

I'm glad we made it out of Prague alive and in the right direction. It still is a nice city but on the list good cycling cities it will show up somewhere at the bottom. Luckily we find the route after some searching and we are off. Because we only have 60  Crowns left we look for a cheap accomodation and we find it in Hrnevice in the form of a village playground/field.

Wednesday Juli 23rd
Hrnevice - Königstein 116 km

We make it to Germany and cycle on to Königstein where we find a very nice camp site with the right atmosphere. It's a nice place with nice people if you ever come to that area, stay at Ferdinands Homestay.

Thursday Juli 24th
Königstein - Dresden 49 km

We arrive in Dresden and enjoy the city. Our train leaves on monday, so we have enough time to spend in this relaxed and nice city. I can recommend the military history museum. (Militärhistorisches Museum) And don't be too lazy to cycle around the Heide, a forest area big enough to spend a day or more in just next to the city. We could walk 10 min from our Hostel in the Northern city to the beginning of the forest.

I'm impressed if you made it down to the end of the short summery our vacation. You must be really interested. In a few days i will make a post just about the bikes that brought us all the way and back again.

dinsdag 18 maart 2014

Production Solo

The Vrijwiel Solo will be available as a kit. Here are the data:
  •  280x75x75 (lxwxh)
  • track 66cm
  • weight appr. 28kg
  • 26inch rearwheel
  • sidebar steering (Panzerlenkung)
The development of the production frame is on it's way. The little tubes on the frame will accommodate the fairing. This way you can easily build your own velomobile without having to weld. More pictures will follow as soon as there is more to see, so stay tuned!

woensdag 12 februari 2014

Tuch down in Cologne and something to play with

Yesterday I went to Cologne by car. Next to me was the cool, fast and individual bakfiets from Vrijwiel. The city I had the pleasure to live in for a few years now has the pleasure to be host for the first Vrijwiel in Germany. If you want to meet it in its new habitat, have a look at the Kurfürstenstraße and maybe you are lucky.

 This is where it sleeps and dreams of the big tours to come.

And this grumpy looking man can be seen cycling around with it. Just ask him if he likes it, even though it doesn't seem like it on this picture, he usually doesn't bite.

There is also something new to give away, to keep or just to play with. A little Vrijwiel Solo for the people who want to start small before buying the real stuff. It's also a nice day dream device. Just imagine your next tour in it!

dinsdag 21 januari 2014

cool, fast and individual...

I've made two cargo bikes until now. The first one is the Bikbakfiets, it helps me bringing around the best sandwiches of Utrecht. Number two will move to Cologne soon to serve there as a multi-purpose-production-grocerie-BBQ-cruise bike. The philosophy of Vrijwiel bakfietsen is: cool, fast and individual.

If you are interested in your own one of a kind Vrijwiel bakfiets, don't hesitate to send me an email. The costs start at €1480,00 for a simple built with lots of donor parts. I will try to fulfill all your wishes (bikewise that is!) for an extra fee. We can talk about everything (that's for free, yeah!).