I picked up this used Quest at the end of September 2011 and it has turned into an interesting year as I have ‘broken in’ this fine velomobile. I have refined my fiber glassing skills and resurrected some electrical engineering techniques.
I was aware that this velomobile was faster in the straights but I should be careful in the turns and in my stopping distances. This was somewhat hard to relearn since my previous Glyde velomobile excelled in turning fast and stopping quickly. So it wasn’t long before I found myself removing the top half of the Quest so that I could repair the damage caused to the front end of the velomobile when it came in contact with the rear end of a Dodge minivan. I still don’t know what went wrong. I was sure I had enough room to stop as I was applying the brakes and my glasses were fogging up in the 20 degree weather. I suspect that the minivan driver decided to back up to go around the car ahead of it that was making a left turn at the green light. The driver probably did not see me and was quite confused about what that bump was all about. And that’s why the front end of my Quest is now painted black as I did not think I could paint match the yellow. I think it looks pretty good and although the lighting was pushed in, it was realigned without any permanent damage.
My next surprise came in May of 2012 when the fiberglass failed on the left front shock absorber. This caused the wheel to come in contact with the wheel well and was an effective brake. My daughter was able to come to my rescue as I was only 10 miles from home and we verified that the Quest could fit in the back of a CRV with the hatch partially open. The fiberglass material on the left side was 67% thinner than the material on the right side. I applied an aluminum backing plate with a few layers of fiberglass on each side and have had no problems with the front end since. Here’s the issue:
Here’s the view from the bottom after the fix:
I then prepared to ride up to Stevens Point in Wisconsin to take part in the 2012 Hostel Shoppe Midwest recumbent rally starting August 10, 2012. I had all my camping gear inside the Quest and started my 2 day ride on August 9. Here’s my Garmin data http://connect.garmin.com/activity/211454190 Of course I chose the day that the draught of 2012 decided to end with about 1.5 inches of rain in unseasonably cool weather. Not a problem really, would have stayed drier had I used the factory hatch cover that was at home. But I learned a few lessons – don’t take a crushed limestone “rails to trail” in the rain unless you like to struggle at 7 mph for 20 miles. If the horn button gets wet enough – the horn will turn on constantly until the horn wire is disconnected. The problem with the factory hatch is that it is too warm in the summer, so I now have this magnetically attached camping foam cover. It keeps the rain off the horn button and allows me to see the Garmin 800. It also stores a little easier behind the seat.
and here’s a little extra horn button protection:
This first leg of the trip was 85 miles from Brookfield, Wi to Oshkosh, WI. Too bad I never made it to Stevens Point – the next day I was feeling great, nice sunny weather, 70 degrees F, except every time I started to hammer on the pedals I heard a strange noise. I stopped after 10 miles in Omro and could see nothing wrong -until I pushed down on the rear end and noticed that one of the swingarm mounts was pushing the fiber glass into the rear wheel well and moving the rear wheel. Although this was a known problem and had the initial factory supplied patch – it was not enough. I made it back to Oshkosh VERY slowly and this time my wife was kind enough to rescue me (CRV again). It got so bad that a left turn caused the wheel to rub against the wheel well. This repair took a little longer with a detailed multi layer patch to the outside (the wheel side) of the wheel well (instructions supplied by the manufacturer) and my own re engineering on the inside. I welded an extra piece of aluminum on the swingarm bracket to distribute the load on more of the wheel well.
The first leg of this trip also showed that the electrical battery was not up to spec, It only had about 7 watt-hours of its claimed 25 watt-hour capacity. After I returned from the trip I decided to put my 80 watt-hour dewalt battery into service that had been used as an experiment for the Alleweder’s power assist. This nano-phosphate lithium ion battery has a rapid charge in an hour and has 1000+ recharge cycles. Since the basic Quest system is a 6 volt system, I drop the 36 volt output to 12 Volts and then 6 volts. The 12 volt drop powers the 500 lumen lights and the USB charger. I rebuilt the original 6 volt battery pack to use as a backup only.
Finally, my most recent modification is the addition of a solar panel array. This can charge my cell phone or my Garmin 800 during my planned cross country trip in 2013 from San Diego to St. Augustine.
Stay tuned as I will be documenting this trip on this site…
So I’m making a quick run on to REI to pick up same stuff on March 12th (9 days before I leave for San Diego) and some guy runs a stop sign on a cross street. I hit the horn and the brakes, he stops in the middle of the intersection, I go to the right and we avoid hitting each other. But after going up on 2 wheels and back down to 3, I side swipe a stop sign on the cross street and hit a ditch full of ice cold water as the velo slowly turns on its side and I get an ice cold water bath ( look at the snow in the before picture – this is Wisconsin). I ‘borrowed’ the kitchen for 2 days to have a warm place to work as I patched both sides of this cosmetic damage. I decided to leave it unpainted as a reminder to be vigilant in my upcoming trip. The alignment was rechecked (perfect) and the tire wear after 3000 miles was non existent – so this was indeed cosmetic. After returning home from my successful cross country trip, I sanded things smooth and matched the paint as best as possible.
Before (March 12th):
After (May 13th):