Tuesday 15 December 2009

A cold commute, and what goes on at work

This morning at 7 am when I left home it said -3 C on our thermometer, the probe of which dangles outside of, and a bit too close to a window, and -5 C on the computer, which tells us the temperature at the airport, very close to the half way point of my commute. Bike paths go to the airport as well, of course, but my route is slightly different.

It was quite cold, but my commute was also quite uneventful. There was plenty of ice either side of the cycle paths, but none on them.

As ever, it was very pleasant to be able to take a direct route without so many traffic lights as I'd go through on the road, and to be well away from cars for virtually my entire commute. It was also excellent to see how many other cyclists were about. All the groups of teenagers that I'm accustomed to seeing on their way to school were out there. Lots of adult commuters too at this time of day.

The Mango kept the weather off me, so I was warm as I cycled. I wore no gloves, and I got a bit too warm with my fleece on, though the tips of my toes were slightly cold when I arrived at work - the ligfietsgarage in Groningen.

The journey took a few minutes longer than usual as my British expectations mean I just can't trust this Dutch idea of there being no ice on cycle paths in the winter, and I go around corners extra slowly. However, it still took under an hour for the 30 km journey.

My Mango stayed outside for the day, picking up interesting patterns of ice on the bodywork and the cover, and a few icicles too.

Inside we were making more Mangos.

Three new Mangos are expected by their new owners at the end of the week, so we're busy. The bodies and frames for these three have been made already, but there are wheels to build and fit, transmission parts to install, pedals, seats, all the small electrical parts like lighting, indicator and brake lights, bike computers to set up. It takes a while.

The video shows how flexible the thinner parts of the body of the Mango can be. Of course not all the body is as thin as this. Some parts are structural so have to be very rigid.

Some of the Mangos in the shop right now. These are a selection of personal machines, test ride machines and a few which customers are waiting to pick up.

Anyway, once it had got dark again, a few minutes after five in the evening, I got back into my Mango and rode home again. Again I felt warm, while the world looked very cold around me.

It's supposed to be a bit colder tomorrow...

I've now had my own Mango for just a few days over two months (this was the first blog post mentioning it) and I've ridden over 2000 km in it. Most of this has been commuting, and of course it's all been in October, November and December, so it's involved quite a few cold and wet days. I'm not running up the distance as quickly as some of our customers, but even so, it's not too bad. It's roughly equivalent to Land's End to John o'Groats every six weeks as well as working - and I do ride other bikes as well.

A "review" of a bike by someone who makes them can never be impartial. However, I believe in "eating my own dogfood." I wouldn't be involved if I didn't like the product. It's a really good machine, which I'm very happy to be associated with, and extremely fortunate to be able to ride daily. However, there's no need to just take my word for it. Peter Haan made a video review of his Mango a few days ago.

Read my review of the Sinner Mango Velomobile.


Taliesin said...

That is great that you can still cycle with confidence all winter.

As the temperature in the UK is forcast to drop later this week, I'm going to have to decided if I trust the gritting of the main roads or save myself the worry and catch the bus.

Of course, minor roads won't be gritted, so I'll be doing little more than jogging pace unless I can see the surface is dry.

Anonymous said...

Last week we had temperatures in the range of -9 C during my commute hours, and my 1952 Raleigh Sports handled it brilliantly, along with appropriate clothes. Could use some good boots though, toes got a little nippy after 30 min.


Mango looks like a pretty interesting vehicle. Cool idea.

ben said...

The mango is an amazing looking velomobile. Wish I could try one out here in ohio. Do they make velomobiles to fit tall people (2meters high?)

David Hembrow said...

Ben: One of the Mango's designers is about 2.1 metres tall. Yes, it would fit you. We do export, but I can certainly understand you'd want to try it out first.

Duncan Watson said...

The Mango and Quest are both good velomobiles for tall people. In fact for shorter people it is advised to get a test fitting before purchase. I am a shorter person and right at the edge. Though I do fit, I sat in a friends Quest.

Of course both the Mango and the Quest are designed by tall Dutch people, so it makes sense they fit them well. But both are adjustable and will work for a wide range of people.

I am jealous of David's Mango. I want a velomobile for the winter myself. I will probably be working on a homebuilt version around a dutch tilting trike. I strongly prefer a trike in icy and snowy weather for the extra stability. In the US we are not as friendly to bicycle facilities in inclement weather.