Roll Over America, the Germans Are Coming

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A view you might catch this summer (Courtesy of Josef Janning)

Watch your rearviews this summer, from July 28 to August 26th, in hopes that you might spy a group of Europeans pedaling their velomobiles from Portland, Oregon to Washington D.C.. According to their Web site,, we are told this is the first time such a crossing in the U.S. has taken place.

Such a bold claim may lead to the question, what is a velomobile? It's the fastest road bike for everyday use, according to the pod-encased pack that touts its speed. The eco-gang of Germans and Danes hope that by riding their contraptions across the country they will inspire Americans to buy a pod and start commuting.

They already have at least one convert, the American below who offers a point-by-point breakdown on the benefits of owning a velomobile. Aside from the environmental pros of taking a velomobile instead of a car, the pod apparently has some benefits over a bike—it protects you from the elements, it's more visible, it's more aerodynamic, and it's easier to paint large flames and racing streaks over its frame.

As the accented mass makes its way across the U.S. with pit stops at the Billings KOA and the Fort Wayne Johnny Appleseed Campground, will it inspire more converts? It's already garnered at least one high-powered endorsement.

“Roll over America is an exciting tour that will showcase the benefits and practicalities of velomobiles for long-distance travel as it brings national visibility to the health, fuel-efficient, and environmental value of human-powered vehicles.  Whether you’re on two wheels or three, headed to the neighborhood store or across the country, human-powered vehicles  — in their many forms — are the most efficient means of transport ever devised.”
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus

If his endorsement doesn't sell you, maybe this video of the newest velomobile model will.

–Joe Spring

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