The UK weather is notorious for putting a damper on things. Cycling included. But, have you ever seen a fairing?
This. Imagine a city bike lane filled with these waterproof solutions to wet weather cycling! Add an e-motor and we are rocketing toward the future faster than you can say Phillip K Dick. Let's not get all dystopian though - this future forward vision is steeped in history and is brimming with possibilities.
In 1893 B. Larue & Cie designed the papillon fairing. Other designs followed, including an inflatable cycling cape designed by Archibald Sharp.
Left: Hase Fairing Right: Inflatable Bicycle Cape (not Archibald's!)
In 1913 Etienne Bunau-Varilla designed a fairing for a regular bike, which was such a popular innovation that the first fairing race took place in Berlin in 1914. It was a bit of a disaster.
After a few decades of the fairing disappearing from use, Charles Mochet introduced the Velocar in the 1930's. The Velocar was designed for racing and was a forerunner to today's modern recumbents. Evolution has been a good thing for recumbents though this is pretty awesome...
Mochet's aerodynamic design was so successful at winning cycling races, it was eventually banned and deemed "not a bicycle". Fairings have had a long history of being shamed, badmouthed and forbidden. Which makes us like them all the more. They are just badass.
But let’s talk practicalities rather than speed. Who wouldn’t want to be cocooned and protected from the great British weather in one of these? And why not enjoy some aerodynamic benefits? A fairing can help you conserve a bit of energy on your ride and take you further, or, with less effort. Win.
Speed may have been the reason fairings were invented, but, we think the prime appeal is keeping protected from the elements. Whether you are commuting to work or touring through the countryside, these are amazing additions to recumbent trikes. We’d love to see more recumbents with fairings whizzing across Blackfriars Bridge...alongside an inflatable bicycle cape or two....