Vineyard Dave: Mild Mannered Velomobile Maniac

Strictly speaking, “Vineyard Dave” is not a bike commuter. Dave is a full-time caretaker for his two teenage daughters who both have Autism Spectrum Disorder, and he uses his Quest velomobile to run day-to-day utilitarian trips.

Vinyard Dave
Utterly Practical

Dave lives on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

My point of reference for Martha’s Vinyard is that it was the filming location for the movie Jaws, in which a quaint New England village is terrorized by a sleek and efficient predator. I saw Jaws about 20 times when I was a kid. But I digress. Or do I?

Since buying the velomobile less than one-and-a-half years ago, Dave has put more than 9,500 miles on the nine-and-a half foot machine.

The Quest was initially designed and built by Velomobiel in The Netherlands, beginning in 1999.

Dave’s Quest is only the ninth to be made in North America–serial number QB009–built by Bluevelo in Toronto Canada

We began a correspondence after Dave left a comment about the lights on his velomobile. I asked for a photo, and got back a whole lot more.

Dave is a gear geek.

It came with tail light, brake light, turn signals, running lights, an Inoled Extreme head light in the nose, an interior light to illuminate the control panel and an electric horn. I added Ay Up lights off the front and an Ay Up light that I use as a flasher.

Control Panel
Control panel on the front left wheel well hump


All three wheels are suspended and are of a one-sided strut design, meaning there is no need to pull a wheel to deal with a flat.

It’s a monocoque design, meaning the body is the frame. Pull all the parts out and you would end up with an empty shell and a pile of unridable parts.

A triple road crank up front and a Shimano XT 11-34 nine-speed cassette in the back.

You cannot see the wheels from the inside. It has a load of storage space and a floor to carry whatever you have.

Vinyard Dave's Quest Velomobile

When Dave was done itemizing all the gear and specs, I got a sense of his competitive side–eviscerating the perception I’d been forming of him as a mild-mannered hippie dad with a funky bike. There’s more to this man-bike relationship than utility.

Plus it is fast. A conventional road bike cannot keep up with it. Fifteen-pound Merlin, Cervelo, and Trek time-trial specific bikes can’t stay with it–even though it weighs 83 pounds empty.

Vinyard DaveMy first time trial, a five-and-a-half mile triangle with a 90 degree, 180 degree, and another 90 degree turn, I did in 12 minutes and 52 seconds. The top three riders on time trial and conventional road bikes were 28, 32, and 36 seconds slower than I was–and I was carrying tools, a spare tire, a 100-ounce Camelback and a stainless steel thermos full of coffee. The top road rider was 35 years younger than me.

These things are a blast.

He’s not Matt Hooper–Richard Dreyfuss’ bearded, gear geek character in Jaws. Vineyard Dave is the damn shark!

Post navigation