A Brief Interlude with an Extraordinary Tricycle
The photos below are of Jeremy Taylor of the Weaver Valley Cycling Club. (http://www.weavervalleycc.org.uk/) He is en route from his home in Northwich, Cheshire. He's stopped briefly for a refreshment break at Conwy, before heading westwards along the A55 trunk road to Bangor, and thereafter to Llanberis via Caernarfon. He is meeting about thirty clubmates on a hotel based training weekend.
In common with his pals, Jeremy has a solo lightweight road bike, but on this occasion has chosen to use his trusty Velomobiel Quest foot-propelled tricycle. It is manufactured in Holland. See http://www.velomobiel.nl/
In guiding Jeremy the short distance from Conwy to the A55 slip road at Conwy Marina, your editor can vouch for the fact that a recumbent has all the advantages over the road bike in terms of speed and acceleration. But he's told that steep hills are a drag for recumbents. Your ed' was not prepared to test that theory - he finds them a drag on two wheels as well.
Would-be cycle tourists planning to use the A55 should note that this road is very heavily trafficked, being the main North Wales trunk route to Ireland. For much of the way the National Cycle Route offers an alternative way - often outstandingly attractive. But for recumbents, such as the one featured here, there are tight pinch points on the cycleway sections. These could present serious obstacles if the journey is not surveyed carefully beforehand. Also note that some sections of the A55 prohibit cycling e.g. between Llanddulas and Conwy Marina (J17 to J23).
Footnote:- Jeremy writes 2nd March 09
Shortly after I left Conwy and joined the
A55, I pulled into the layby just before the tunnel at Penmaenbach. A few
seconds later a police car pulled in behind me. He told me I was not to
proceed through the tunnel. Far too dangerous he thought. After a fair bit
of thought he decided my best option was to somehow get me and my machine
across the seaward side of the carriageway and onto the cycle path. This we
did, physically carrying the 'Quest' over to safety. He was very pleasant
with me and wished me well on my journey. He suggested I fitted a flag.
I continued on the pathway for some miles until I reached a roped-up gate at Pen y Clip. I spent some time getting the Quest through only to find a dead end a few yards on. I retraced my steps and got onto the pavement and eventually back onto the A55 after the second tunnel. (This problem will be solved from 6 April 2009 with the opening of the new cycle bridges at Pen y Clip)
I arrived in Llanberis at 6.30pm to my fellows' amazement. Most had assumed that I'd given up and gone home, so seeing the surprise in their faces was a great moment for me. I even got a congratulatory announcement and a round of applause at the evening meal.
I returned virtually the same way on Sunday. Although very tired, it was a good trip home in what I can only describe as an amazing pedal car. Total mileage for the weekend was around 200 miles and without any mechanical problems whatsoever.