Only when Ajatar 2 was finished I found out it is too small for an adult. Also it is a bit too clumsy for daily commuting. Hmm…something had to be done.
At March 2011 I started exploring different ways to design a velomobile for my needs, such as capability to transport some luggage and far lighter than Ajatar 2. I went through different options from fourwheeled constructions to threewheeled models, with 2 wheels at front or back, and then studied the options to have turning wheel at front or back.
I ended up with a basic metal construction that looked very much like an arrow. The rear part was made from an old KMX swingarm.
But how to create a steering mechanism? Would the system from a kart work? Luckily I found an affordable set of the essential parts from an online shop and tried. Yep, this works.
The mechanisms were built using recycled bike parts. A friend of mine helped with the welding (I can’t do any of it). Front 16″ wheels are from KMX. The wooden control stick was created from a willow in my garden. The short (152mm) pedals were provided by Pyörätohtori.
After a couple of day of building I was able to make the first test rides.
The support frame
The next target was to create the plywood body. I’m not a designer but I can design through trial and error, typically ending up with something that works. I started figuring out the possibilities that the arrow construction provided.
First I made the rough plywood shapes based on a simplistic idea. The I spent couple of hours removing the excess wood trying to dig out some smoothier forms.
Some assembling, tuning, wooden decorations etc. And ready for turning the heads. The text Nuoli on the left side is finnish and means arrow.
(No intel) Inside
The first version had a wooden control stick. But this had to be replaced with a metallic one, since the wooden was not stiff enough. The rear light system was ordered all the way from Hong Kong (~5$).
Adventure 1: Visiting a fair
Soon after the project was completed I visited a subcontracting fair at Tampere, Finland. I used Nuoli / Arrow for guerrilla marketing of a 3D printing event. A group of chinese businessmen came to chat and wanted to drive. And asked if I could sell them couple of hundreds of these. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. But I enjoyed their smiles!
Adventure 2: e-Arrow
I wasn’t fully happy with the power required to pedal. I added a standard e-bike rear wheel and battery from Greencycle. The driving experience was now totally different and far more enjoyable. The battery was nicely hidden inside the body.
Adventure 3: Theft
During the summer I typically drove Arrow to my work and locked it properly with a cable lock. Unfortunately I was too lazy to remove the battery and the key. One day my son called me to the office and asked if I knew where Arrow is? He had seen it just few seconds ago rolling in our neighborhoods. I asked him to follow it with bike, ran out and found a broken lock and empty parking lot. Somebody had stolen it!
Next I found out myself and my colleague chasing Arrow and the gang of boys who had decided to have some fun. Eventually, we got them. But the harm was already done. Broken parts and broken steering system. Not to mention the body.
After repair and rebuilding, Arrow is now back on the road. Smile and say hello when you meet us! And please stop to assist if I have problems due to drained battery (or any mechanical failure).