Island weekend rendezvous planned for velomobiles

Photo by Trey Araujo

The third annual Martha’s Vineyard Velomobile Gathering will bring together on and off-Island owners of the distinctive three-wheeled pedal powered banana shaped cycles this Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30.

At 8 am,Saturday, a group of nine velocyclists that includes three Islanders will depart from the Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground and head for Main Street, Vineyard Haven, make a swing around West Chop, head out to State Road, then around Lambert’s Cove Road and ride up-Island on Middle Road in Chilmark.

The cycles, which event organizer David Whitmon said are capable of reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour but average closer to 20 mph, will turn right on Lobsterville Road and then left onto Lighthouse Road to the lighthouse. The return will be on Moshup’s Trail. There will be a stop at Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury around noon.

The planned Sunday ride will include a complimentary ride on the ferry to Chappaquiddick around noon, thanks to ferry owner, Peter Wells.

The Island velomobilists include recent Charter School graduate Trey Araujo, Bill Russell, Mr. Whitmon, and Myron Garfinkle (who will not be riding this weekend due to a wrist injury).

Mr. Whitmon said his velomobile is his car. The cycle’s low center of gravity makes it stable on the road and the bullet-like shape of the cowling that encloses a recumbent three-wheel cycle reduces wind resistance, allowing for road speeds approaching and sometimes exceeding the speed limits of Island roads. He said the velmobiles, which cost from around $3,000 to over $10,000, invariably draw a crowd whenever they stop.

“This ride is only going to get bigger in the upcoming years,” predicts Mr. Whitmon. The event has grown from 3 velomobiles the first year, to five last year and nine this year.